What Florida Residents need to Know about Bicycle Injuries
The rising cost of transportation has led to an increase in bicycle use. That in turn has led to an increase in the number of bicycle accidents that occur each year. Florida has a bicycle accident rate that is higher than the national average, since tourists regularly ride here as well. As such, our firm handles a good number of bicycle injury cases each year. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked concerning bicycle claims.
Why should I work with an attorney?
After an injury, the first thing that is usually done is to file a claim for damages with the responsible party’s insurance company. Most people feel this is enough, and are dismayed to find that insurance companies sometimes try to sidestep responsibility, or worse, shift the blame to the victim to avoid paying. Hiring an attorney puts the insurance company on notice, and lets them know you plan to exercise your rights in order to obtain the compensation you’re entitled to.
When seeking relief, there are several things that need to be accomplished in order to prove liability, including:
- Collecting evidence
- Obtaining police reports
- Interviewing witnesses
- Reconstructing the crime scene
- Gathering medical records concerning injuries
- Photographing the accident scene, bicycle and any related property damage
These things in and of themselves can be time-consuming endeavors that the average person would likely be unable to accomplish, especially while recovering from an injury. By allowing us to handle your case, you will be able to focus on getting well rather than worrying about obtaining justice for your injuries.
What kind of damages can a bicycle accident case pursue?
Bicycle accidents tend to result in devastating injuries, since there is little to protect a rider who is struck. A bicycle accident claim can pursue damages for medical expenses related to injuries that include, but are not limited to:
- Traumatic brain injury or severe head injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Permanent disfigurement or loss of limbs
- Damage to internal organs
Victims can also obtain damages for lost wages and pain and suffering. In the case of death, family members may seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death suit. The amount of compensation is different in each case, and based upon the individual circumstances surrounding the accident. No specific guarantee regarding the exact amount of compensation can be given, since there are a number of things that play a role in determining this.
Who is liable for damages in bicycle accidents?
This will depend upon the nature of the accident. To establish liability, the victim will first have to show that the accident was the cause of negligence on the part of another, and that the individual responsible had a duty to act in a responsible manner towards him or her.
When the accident is the result of a collision with a motor vehicle, the driver could be held liable if he or she were operating negligently, as Florida law requires all motorists to drive in a reasonably prudent manner at all times. The most common types of negligence concerning drivers and bicycle riders are:
- Improper passing
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Operating while impaired
Property owners who fail to maintain safe conditions for people to ride on can also be held responsible if they know or should have known about certain deficiencies. This can include rough or uneven pavement, poor lighting, or objects in the road, among other things. Bicycle manufacturers can also be charged with negligence if the accident is due to a faulty design. Some common design problems include faulty brakes, handlebars, or tires.
How is compensation calculated?
The courts will look at similar cases that were recently decided to determine how much if any compensation should be awarded. Judges may also consider other factors such as:
- Amount of medical expenses
- Cost of medical care needed in the future, if the injury is ongoing
- Amount of lost wages, both now and in the future
- Loss of consortium when the injury is to a child or spouse
- Whether or not there has been mental anguish associated with the accident
- If there is a decrease in the victim’s quality of life, and if so, for how long
In cases of severe negligence, courts may also award punitive damages as a means of punishment. Punitive damages are used as sanctions against an offender in lieu of jail time, as civil cases do not provide for criminal punishment. They are also awarded in an effort to deter others from committing the same or similar acts against others in the future.
Why should I choose your law firm?
Bicycle injury cases are very complicated matters that should only be handled by attorneys who are experienced at dealing with them. Here at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh, our lawyers have handled numerous bicycle injury cases over the years, and are very experienced at handling them. In all, our firm has settled more than 10,000 accident cases, a good number of which were related to cycling.
We also have the resources needed to build and prove your case in a court of law if need be. Not every law firm can easily take a case to trial, as doing so can sometimes be expensive. Insurance companies are well aware as to which law firms are willing to litigate, and in turn are more willing to make a reasonable settlement sooner to avoid this additional expense themselves.
The first thing you should do after a bicycle accident is to seek the appropriate medical attention. Your next step should be to contact us for a free consultation of your case. Recovering your damages is easier to do when you contact an attorney shortly after an accident, since the details are still fresh in your mind, and evidence may be easier to obtain. We have offices located throughout Florida, and invite you to call any one of them to schedule an appointment.
Fighting to Protect Your Rights
The Lawyers of Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh are committed to the protection of your legal rights after an accident.
With more than 100 years of combined experience and over 10,000 accident and personal injury cases resolved, Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh have the experience and resources to effectively represent those injured from accidents and get the compensation they deserve. At Shapiro, Goldman Babboni & Walsh, this compensation is known by one word: "Justice."