Riding a bicycle is fun and a great form of exercise and transportation, but it can be dangerous, too, with over 300,000 bicyclists in emergency rooms across the country in 2018 alone. For a bicycle rider, an accident can cause significant injuries and even death. Following an accident, it can be hard to figure out how you’ll pay for medical costs and make up for missed time at work. Was a driver responsible for your crash? Did the bike malfunction? Was there a hazard in the road? All these questions impact who’s responsible for your crash.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
Recent years have seen an increase in bicycle ridership, both for transportation and for pleasure. Depending on where you live, biking can be dangerous, especially if your community doesn’t provide protected bike lanes or trails. In fact, over 1,000 people died because of bicycle accidents in 2018.
One common reason for these accidents has little to do with biking itself. Instead, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 45,000 people were injured in 2015 after bicycle-automobile crashes. Drivers who refuse to share the road or give the proper right-of-way to cyclists put everyone on the street in danger.
The NHTSA reported that more than half of all bicycle-car accidents occurred at traffic intersections. Particularly worrisome is the possibility of a hit-and-run bike crash where the driver flees the scene of an accident, leaving you injured on the ground.
In a bicycle accident, head and neck injuries are prevalent. Other typical injuries include broken bones, severe scrapes, and muscle sprains. All of these injuries require professional diagnosis and treatment. Medical professionals can often miss head and neck trauma, especially when you’re not in pain. If you are unlucky enough to suffer an accident while riding your bike, make sure you immediately seek proper medical care.
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Seeking Compensation After a Bicycle Accident
Determining how to proceed after a cycling crash can be difficult. If you’re in a collision with a vehicle, your personal injury protection may reimburse specific medical bills. However, it’s not always clear that insurance is the best route to make you whole. You should speak with a bike accident lawyer to discuss Florida’s personal injury laws. Your attorney can help create a strategy for getting you what you’re owed.
Negligent Driver Liability
Because a bicycle-car accident is so dangerous for the rider, one typical outcome of a crash is pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for negligence. Motorists have a duty under Florida law to operate their vehicles responsibly. Careless or distracted driving can cause significant injuries to bike riders due to the lower profile bikes present than cars.
Drivers may fail to yield, run a stoplight or sign, text while driving, or drive under the influence. Any of these can be considered negligent conduct, particularly when it results in a collision with a cyclist. There are many other specific ways a driver can be negligent and you should speak with a bike accident lawyer to determine whether a motorist can be held liable after a crash.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In the horrible instance that a bicyclist dies after a crash with an automobile, the victim’s next of kin can seek to hold the motorist responsible. A wrongful death suit can be maintained if your loved one would still be alive, but the suit would be for the driver’s negligence. In addition to other damages available, this type of lawsuit can include compensation for the loss of support, care, and future earnings of the victim.
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Accidents Caused by Road Conditions
Most roads are property of a state or local government, and that government is responsible for the roads’ upkeep. Governments are typically immune from lawsuits by their citizens. However, if your community breached a duty to provide safe streets, you may be able to seek relief after an accident.
This is especially true if the government was aware of a hazardous condition and failed to issue a proper warning. For example, suppose that the city temporarily dug a trench to reach a pipe as part of road maintenance. The city needs to put up warning signs around the trench to give you fair warning. If you crash into the ditch on your bike because there are no cones, barrels, or signs around it, the city may be negligent and liable for your injuries.
Bike Manufacturer Liability
Some bicycle accidents occur without any fault of the rider, the road, the environment, or even motorists. Like all manufactured products, bicycles occasionally have flaws. If a defect causes a crash in which you suffer injuries, you can file a product liability lawsuit against the company that made the bike. For example, if your bike chain has a crucial deficiency, it could snap when shifting gears, leading to a loss of control.
Damages Available in a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
Florida bicycle accident laws govern what damages are available in a lawsuit and how they’re calculated. Generally, if another party like a driver was negligent and caused your accident, they’re liable for all reasonably foreseeable damages. These can include your medical bills, including rehabilitation and therapy, and your lost wages from missing work. The damages can also compensate you for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you have options. Contact a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you receive adequate compensation for your injuries. At GED Lawyers, our skilled Florida bike accident attorneys have knowledge and experience securing reimbursement for the victims of various types of bicycle accidents. We’ll review the circumstances of your accident, evaluate whether you can pursue compensation, and fight for you to receive everything you deserve. To meet with a member of our team, contact our office at 844-443-3529 or online to schedule a free case review to discuss your situation.