Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

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The judicial system in the United States divides all cases into one of two distinct categories:  civil or criminal. However, sometimes a case will end up in both the criminal and the civil court systems. This normally occurs when a defendant’s illegal actions result in either physical injury or property damage to another person. In these cases, the jurisdiction in which the alleged crime occurred is entitled to prosecute the defendant under the criminal laws of the state. In addition, anyone injured by the defendant’s allegedly negligent or intentional actions is also entitled to bring a lawsuit seeking monetary damages.

bike-rider-1536275While the same set of actions may end up bringing a defendant to court in both civil and criminal courts, the burdens of proof in each system are different. In a criminal trial, a judge or jury must find the defendant guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, in civil cases, a judge or jury must determine liability only by a “preponderance of the evidence.” These terms, while difficult to assign an exact meaning to, represent a big difference in what is required to prove a case under each system.

Man Hits Bicyclist and Then Flees the Scene

A recent example of a situation that may land a defendant in both civil and criminal courts is a hit-and-run accident that occurred in Miami Beach earlier this month. According to one local news source, the accident occurred shortly after a man allegedly hijacked a car in the area of Washington Avenue and First Street.

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Earlier this month in Miami, two men lost their lives when they were involved in a fatal accident near the intersection of Northwest 12th Avenue and Northwest 54th Street. According to one local news source, the accident occurred at around 7:30 in the evening on a Monday, and it involved a bicyclist and a black Infiniti.

bike-1553527Evidently, the driver of the black Infiniti was traveling at a high rate of speed when he entered the intersection. As he did, he collided with a bicyclist. The bicyclist ended up underneath the Infiniti and was dragged for a full block until Northwest 54th Street, where the Infiniti then collided with a tree.

Upon the impact with the tree, the Infiniti exploded into a burst of flames. Witnesses to the accident told reporters that several people attempted to help the driver of the Infiniti out of the vehicle, but the flames were too intense. Emergency responders pronounced both the cyclist and the driver of the car dead upon their arrival. The crash remains under investigation.

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Florida decided a case that may have wide-ranging implications in many Florida personal injury lawsuits. In the case, Joerg v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the court held that the defendants were not entitled to introduce evidence of future medical payments that the injured party may receive through Medicare or Medicaid at the trial.

bicycle-3-1521637The Facts of the Case

In the case, the plaintiffs were the family of a developmentally disabled man named “Luke,” who was entitled to reimbursement for his medical expenses and medical bills through Medicare and Medicaid. Back in 2007, Luke was struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. Luke’s family filed suit against the driver of the vehicle as well as against State Farm, their own uninsured motorist carrier. Prior to proceeding to trial, the case against the driver was withdrawn, and the case went forward with regard to State Farm only.

Before the trial began, the plaintiffs filed a pre-trial motion to exclude any evidence of Medicare or Medicaid payments that Luke may receive in the future. After considering both parties’ arguments, the court allowed the defendant to introduce evidence of “future medical bills for specific treatment or services that are available . . . to all citizens regardless of their wealth or status.” However, the court did not allow State Farm to present evidence of Luke’s potential future Medicare or Medicaid benefits.

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