As a Miramar bicycle accident attorney, I was sorry to see a report about the death of a young boy on a bicycle trip with his father. Andrew Curtis, 9, was killed in an accident with a van on U.S. 1 in Jupiter. The Palm Beach Post reported Jan. 18 that Curtis was crossing the driveway to a condo building when Helen Bygel, 81, tried to pull out of the driveway. Curtis sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to St. Mary’s Medical Center, but died there. No injuries to Bygel or to the father were reported, and the article did not mention a criminal investigation. A neighbor who witnessed the crash, Patty Christman, said Curtis was wearing a helmet.
The crash took place at about 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 16. The boy and his father had apparently just visited the Publix up the highway from the Villas on the Green condominium building. Christman, who lives in the same condo building as Bygel, said they had a children’s movie and a bag of oranges. After she heard the crash, she said, she ran to the scene. She is now holding on to the father’s bicycle for safekeeping. A previous report from the Palm Beach Post said both bicycles were being ridden on the sidewalk. Christman told the newspaper that the entrance to the building is dangerous because residents typically don’t look right when they pull out of the driveway, only left.
Christman didn’t connect that behavior to Bygel or suggest that she was at fault for the crash. However, as a Margate bicycle accident lawyer, I think there’s a strong possibility that Bygel may not have been careful enough. Everyone who drives has seen drivers who cruise through right turns and stop signs without checking for bicyclists or pedestrians. In addition, Florida law actually requires drivers to leave three feet of roadway on the right for bicycles, and generally take steps to share the road. If Bygel failed to pay close enough attention before making her turn, she could be criminally charged in this little boy’s death. Even if she’s not, evidence of careless driving would give his family a strong case in a bicycle accident lawsuit.
If you or someone you love was hurt on a bicycle in Florida, you should talk to Cohn, Smith & Cohn as soon as possible. We represent bicyclists who were seriously injured and families that have lost a loved one in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness. In the majority of cases, unfortunately, that “someone else” who was careless was a driver who failed to pay close enough attention to the road or give the bicycle enough space. Less commonly, drivers who resent bicycles can even deliberately endanger the bicyclist. Our Cooper City bicycle accident attorneys help injured riders get the compensation they need after a crash to pay their medical bills and other crash-related costs. We also help people whose lives were changed forever recover compensation for a permanent disability or the loss of a loved one.
Cohn, Smith & Cohn offers free consultations, so you can tell us about your case and learn about your options at no further risk or obligation. To set up a meeting, call us today at (954) 431-8100 or send us a message online.