Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyers Advocate for Injured Cyclists
In Florida, bicyclists are afforded the same rights and responsibilities on the road as operators of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, cyclists can pay a much higher price when a negligent motorist causes an accident. The recovery from bicycle accidents can be long, painful, and expensive. Some injuries, especially to the head and neck, can affect victims for the rest of their lives.
Insurance companies often try to pay bicycle accident victims less than their claim is worth to protect their bottom line. In cases where a bicyclist was hit by a car, the motorist involved may have been driving illegally without insurance coverage or driving underinsured, making it challenging to recover damages. No matter the circumstances, if you have experienced a bicycle accident in the Tampa area, RTRLAW can provide the skilled legal representation you need to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. To find out how we can help you, contact RTRLAW today for a FREE, no-obligation case review at (813) 370-0229 or toll free at 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787). We take personal injury cases on a contingency basis, so you owe nothing unless we secure a settlement for you.
What Factors Contribute to Bike Crashes?
Bicycle accidents can result from careless pedestrians, unsafe sidewalks and trails, other bicyclists, or even defective bike parts. Although many of the most severe crashes occur when a rider is struck by a motor vehicle. The injuries from a crash involving a car or truck can be catastrophic for the bicyclist, and fatalities are possible.
Bicyclists can take steps to protect their safety when riding in traffic, such as wearing bright, reflective clothing and helmets, having lights on their bikes if they are riding after dark, and remaining aware of their surroundings. However, even the most careful and experienced bicyclist can be hit by a car or end up in an accident. You may expect the majority of crashes would occur at intersections where bikes and cars commonly cross paths, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 27% of bicycle accidents occur at intersections. Most crashes (64%) happen on sections of roads away from intersections. These accidents can actually lead to more severe injuries because the speeds involved at impact are typically higher.
Drivers are responsible for operating their cars safely and following all of the rules of the road, including sharing the roadway with bikes. However, many drivers fail to live up to this duty, leading to serious consequences for bicyclists. Common ways motor vehicle drivers cause bike accidents include:
- Distracted driving.
- Turning without looking in both directions.
- Ignoring traffic signals.
- Failing to yield.
- Failing to notice bicyclists.
- Drunk or drugged driving.
- Leaving insufficient space for bikes.
- Driving recklessly.
- Changing lanes without scanning for cyclists.
- Driving while fatigued or drowsy.
What Severe Injuries Can Result from Bicycle Accidents?
Bicyclists have little protection when it comes to accidents. Any crash, at any speed, has the potential to cause painful, long-lasting damage. Most bicycle accident injuries will require medical treatment. Even if you feel relatively ok after a collision, it’s still wise to seek an evaluation from a doctor as soon as possible to identify and treat any potential damage. Back and neck injuries are notorious for becoming worse as time passes because the damaged tissues continue to swell. Back, head/skull, neck and spinal cord injuries are among the most severe injuries possible, including the possibility of paralysis with some accidents. Other injuries bicyclists may encounter include:
- Fractured and broken bones
- Soft-tissue injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Lacerations and bruising
- Internal organ damage, such as punctured lungs
- “Road rash” (a term for cuts and burns on the skin caused by sliding across the pavement at speed)
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
Can You File a Claim if You Shared Some Fault in Your Bicycle Accident?
Insurance companies often attempt to blame victims for their own injuries by claiming they were not following the rules of the road when the accident happened. However, if a driver’s negligent actions contributed in any way to your crash, you are perfectly within your rights to bring a claim against them for your damages. Because Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, individuals who suffered losses due to an accident are eligible to file a claim against the responsible parties for those losses. The only time an individual cannot seek compensation is if they are 100% at fault for the accident.
However, investigating the accident and determining where fault lies is still crucial to your case because your settlement will be decreased by the amount of responsibility assigned to you. For example, if a driver successfully claims that a cyclist was impeding the flow of traffic by not staying as far right as possible when the accident happened, they may be found partially at fault for the crash. If the court assigns 40% of the fault to the cyclist and their damages total $100,000.00, their settlement would be reduced by 40% ($40,000.00), and they would only be able to recover $60,000.00.
The skilled personal injury lawyers at RTRLAW have years of experience investigating Florida bicycle accidents, and will ensure that fault is not unfairly placed on you for your crash. We utilize evidence including the police report, accident scene photos and video, eyewitness accounts, your medical records, and other relevant information to build a clear picture of what happened. We can also draw on the skills of expert crash reconstructionists if needed to refute the insurance company’s claims. We will always fight to get you the full compensation possible for your injuries.
What Damages Are Available to Victims?
Bicycle accidents can leave victims reeling. Without the benefit of any safety features or protections from collisions, a bicycle rider faces the risk of significant injuries from even a low-speed crash. Many victims require ongoing medical treatment and often miss work while recovering from their injuries. The lack of income and growing medical bills can quickly snowball into a stressful financial crisis for victims.
Personal injury lawyers help victims recover damages for their losses from those liable for the crash. Nothing will undo the actions that have already happened, but securing a fair settlement can keep the situation from becoming a financial disaster for you as well. You and your family deserve financial stability and a measure of justice for your losses.
To determine a fair settlement amount, your lawyer will consider all the ways your bicycle accident injuries have impacted you. Compensation is divided into three categories:
- Economic damages: This includes all monetary losses associated with the crash, such as medical bills, lost wages, prescription medication costs, expenses for doctor visits, and more. If your injuries are expected to be long-term, they may also cover your continuing medical care, in-home nursing, and the loss of future earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages: All accidents cause emotional impacts that are harder to quantify than economic losses. To determine proper compensation for the harm you’ve endured, your lawyer will consider the severity of your injuries, how long they will affect your life, and any extenuating circumstances related to the accident. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and scarring and disfigurement.
- Punitive damages: These damages may be assessed if your case goes to court and there is evidence that the defendant was found to have acted with intent to harm or in a grossly negligent manner. As the name suggests, punitive damages punish the defendant for their actions. Part of the intent of punitive damages is to discourage others from doing the same thing and causing the same harm to another victim and their family.
What Can RTRLAW Do for You?
When attempting to recover from painful bicycle accident injuries, the last thing you have the time or energy for is wrestling with an insurance company. Filing claims, providing proof of your injuries, and explaining over and over what happened during the accident can be draining. And any inadvertent mistakes may damage your claim.
At RTRLAW, our lawyers have years of experience investigating bicycle accidents and negotiating with insurance companies to get the most compensation possible for our clients. We also have extensive trial experience, and we will leverage it and will fight to get our clients the settlements they deserve. Since our founding in 1988, RTRLAW has helped tens of thousands of clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and judgments.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Tampa office with one of our experienced bicycle accident attorneys or give us a call at (813) 370-0229 or toll free at 1-833-HIRE-RTR (833-447-3787) for a FREE, no-obligation case review.