Bicycle Accidents

Average Settlement for Bicyclist Hit By a Car in Florida

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

The popularity of bicycling as a form of commuting, recreation, exercise and sport has increased over the years, with more than 48 million Americans participating in 2019. While bicycling provides countless benefits to riders in terms of efficiency, health, and the environment, with benefit comes risk. In fact, Florida recorded a record 6,678 bicycle crashes on roadways in 2019. Very few cyclists hit by a car walk away with minimal injuries. Florida law permits bicycle accident survivors to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for their injuries. Many personal injury lawsuits reach settlement before trial. However, achieving a fair settlement for your injuries requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.  Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents Bicycle accidents can occur anywhere. However, bicyclists are often disproportionately injured in these accidents compared to motorists. Without a car to shield them, bicyclists have no physical protection other than their helmets. Even on neighborhood streets and at low speeds, bicycle accidents result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.  Bicycle accidents may be caused by any number of factors. These factors are important because they are used to establish fault. Common causes of bicycle accidents include: Driver inattention, Failure to yield,  Speeding, Dangerous road conditions, Riding at night, Impaired driving, and Bad weather. While many bicycle accidents result from driver error, in some situations, bicyclists may be found at least partially at fault for an accident.  Bicyclists should ride with caution at all times. However, when certain unavoidable conditions exist, such as dangerous weather or road conditions, bicyclists should raise their awareness to protect themselves from risk of bicycle accidents.  How is Fault Determined?   When determining fault, Florida operates under a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that even if a bicyclist partially caused their accident, they are not barred from recovering damages. Any value or settlement, however, is reduced by the bicyclist’s percentage of fault. Consider an example where a court finds a cyclist 20% liable and a driver 80% liable for a bicycle accident. In this situation, the court awards the cyclist 80% of their damages. Pure comparative negligence also impacts settlements because these percentages would be factored into negotiations.   What Should I Do First?  There are many steps to take after you suffer an accident on a bicycle. Knowing what to do immediately following a bicycle accident makes a difference in maintaining control and protecting your rights. Seek Medical Attention Even if you believe you have not been injured, seek medical attention. You may suffer injuries you are unaware of immediately following an accident. Medical records legitimately document your injuries and may increase the value of your bicycle accident settlement. Additionally, follow all required medical directions and recommendations for your recovery. Failing to follow through with prescribed medical treatment may negatively affect the value of your case.  Document the Scene If physically able, write down every detail about the accident, including the following information:  Where and when you were hit by a car;  Road, traffic, and weather conditions; and Diagrams showing the position of parties involved. Take photos of the car that struck you, the license plate of the vehicle, your injuries, and damage to your bicycle. Additionally, exchange contact information with the driver. This includes a photo of their driver’s license and their insurance information.  Call 911 Call and wait for law enforcement officials to arrive at the scene. Responding officers create accident reports. These reports provide crucial, unbiased information used in bicycle accident lawsuits and settlement negotiations. Additionally, law enforcement officials assess the scene and determine whether other factors may have contributed to the accident, such as driving under the influence.  Never Negotiate with the Motorist Even if a driver accepts blame for a bicycle accident, never accept any offers of settlement. You don’t know the full extent of your injuries and damage to your bike.  Keep All Documentation Your personal injury attorney will review and analyze all documentation related to your bicycle accident. Medical bills, bicycle repair receipts, and pay stubs are used to calculate the value of your claim.  What Duties Do Bicyclists Have in Florida? Florida law defines a bicycle as a vehicle. Therefore, Florida cyclists have all the same privileges, rights, and duties applicable to drivers. Bicyclists in Florida must undertake certain responsibilities. First, all bicyclists in Florida must ride in the bike lane if traveling at speeds slower than vehicle traffic. If no bike lane is available, bicyclists must ride as far to the right as is safe to avoid interrupting traffic.  If a bicyclist is younger than 16 years of age, they must wear a helmet at all times. Bicyclists also must obey all traffic signals while biking.  Is There an Average Settlement for a Cyclist Hit by a Car? There is no predetermined amount of money that a cyclist hit by a car can expect. Settlement depends on the success of negotiations and the particular facts of your case. However, your personal injury attorney may provide insight as to what damages you may be eligible to recover in your lawsuit. Additionally, once they have reviewed all relevant information related to your case, a personal injury attorney may provide you with a range of estimated settlement values.  What Factors Affect the Value of My Bicycle Accident Case? Those injured in a bicycle accident may recover for economic and non-economic losses.  Economic Damages  Economic damages include those tangible, calculable losses related to your bicycle accident. The most common economic damages include the following: Past and future medical expenses,  Lost wages and future loss of income, and Property damage and repair. Economic damages are generally easy to quantify and prove with documentary evidence. Recovery of these damages often alleviates the financial burden many feel following a bicycle accident. Non-Economic Damages   Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value and can vary widely. These losses may include: Pain and suffering, Emotional distress,  Loss of consortium, Loss of companionship, Disfigurement, and Mental anguish. Non-economic damages may vary from a fraction of the cost of your...

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Tampa Bay’s Most Dangerous Intersections for Bicyclists

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

Tampa Bay is a notoriously dangerous place for bicycles. Drivers of larger vehicles treat bicyclists like they are in the way, even though the law gives bicycles just as much right as other vehicles to be on the road. Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable at intersections and prone  to serious injuries if they are involved in an accident. Drivers in Tampa Bay have an obligation to drive safely and respect bicyclists on the road. The Tampa Bay Times analyzed crash data from 2011 to 2018 and determined the 11 most dangerous intersections for bicyclists. Two of these intersections were tied for tenth place. These intersections accounted for a total of 158 crashes with 157 injuries and two fatalities. Eight of the intersections are in Pinellas County, two in Hillsborough County, and one in Pasco County. Only two of these intersections had dedicated bike lanes. Dangerous Intersections A complete map of the dangerous intersections and locations of bicycle accidents can be found here. Some of the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in the Tampa Bay area include: W Bay Drive and Seminole Boulevard—this intersection had the most crashes with 19 and 17 injuries. There are no dedicated bike lanes at this intersection. 66th Street N and 54th Avenue N—there were 18 crashes at this intersection, and one cyclist was killed. The intersection is surrounded by businesses and is in an area where many people don’t have cars. 34th Street N and 5th Avenue N—there were 16 crashes at this intersection 34th Street N and 1st Avenue N—close to another dangerous intersection, this intersection was also the site of 16 crashes N Nebraska Avenue and Fowler Avenue—there were 15 crashes in this intersection W Hillsborough Avenue and N Lois Avenue—there were 13 crashes here despite the existence of dedicated bike lanes All of the intersections in Pinellas County are in commercial areas where there is a high-density mixture of cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists on the road. On these types of roads, there are many points of conflict for a bicyclist, meaning there are many chances for them to encounter a vehicle. Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, it can be helpful to have an experienced Tampa Bay accident attorney evaluate your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk we have been helping bicycle accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 855-293-5630 to set up your free consultation today.

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Florida Ranks #1 in Fatal Bicycle Accidents

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

Florida has the perfect weather for bicyclists, and as a result of this, millions of bicycles hit Florida roads every day. However, Florida is also a very dangerous place for bicycles. According to the AAA, out of the 783 bicyclist deaths in the country in 2017, 125 of them occurred in Florida. This makes Florida the number one deadliest state for bicyclists. Common Causes of Bicycle Fatalities There are a number of different ways that a bicycle fatality can occur. Some fatalities are the fault of the bicyclist, but many result from negligence on the part of a motor vehicle driver. Some common causes of bicycle accidents include: Failure to Yield the Right of Way—one of the most common reasons for bicycle fatalities is the failure of drivers to yield the right of way to bicycles. This is the cause of one-third of deadly bicycle accidents. Bicyclist Not Visible—bicyclists should have lights on their bicycles when riding at night. Florida law requires bicyclists to have a light on the front and back of their bicycle when riding at night. The most dangerous time for bicyclists is between 9:00 p.m. and midnight. Poor visibility can also be the result of poor lighting on the roadways. Failure to Obey Traffic Signs and Signals—drivers and bicyclists who fail to obey signs and signals such as red lights and stop signs can cause serious accidents. Making an Improper Turn—this often happens when a driver makes a right turn without checking for a bicyclist coming up behind them. Preventing Bicycle Accidents Many drivers in Florida fail to obey the traffic laws that are in place to protect cyclists. Learning how to drive around bicycles properly should be an important part of driver education classes. In addition, cities should make roads safer for bicycles. The addition of more bike lanes and protected areas for bicycles to ride can make the roads safer for bicyclists and motorists. Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident, you may want to have your case evaluated by a Tampa Bay bicycle accident attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’ve been helping injured Floridians for over 30 years. Contact us onlineor call us at 855-293-5630 to set up your free consultation today.

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Does Florida Require Bicycle Helmets?

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

With its beautiful weather and scenic drives, Florida is a great place to ride a bicycle. It’s also a dangerous place. In fact, Pinellas County has been named one of the most dangerous places to ride a bicycle in America. Helmets can go a long way toward protecting a bicyclist in the event of an accident. Studies have shown that helmet use can result in a 69% reduction in head injuries.  Yet many cyclists don’t wear helmets, and Florida has some specific rules regarding helmet use. Florida Law Florida law requires that bicycle helmets be used by children. A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years old must wear a properly fitted helmet that is fastened securely by a strap and meets federal safety standards. The term “passenger” includes any child who is riding in a trailer or semitrailer that is attached to a bicycle. Florida has no requirement that individuals age 16 and older wear helmets. So, while wearing a bicycle helmet is a wise and important thing to do, failing to do so is not against the law in Florida. Is Not Wearing a Helmet Considered Negligence? Because we all know the importance of wearing a bicycle helmet to reduce injury, it may seem that failing to wear one would be considered negligence. However, under Florida law, the failure of a person to wear a bicycle helmet, or the failure of a parent or guardian to prevent a child from riding a bike without a helmet, cannot be considered evidence of negligence or contributory negligence. This means that if you are involved in an accident and you were not wearing your helmet, that fact will not affect any compensation for your injuries to which you may be entitled. Regardless of what the law says, it is still important for children and adults to wear helmets when riding bicycles. Bicycle accidents can result in serious, life-altering traumatic brain injury. This risk is greatly increased if a bicycle helmet is not worn. While bicycle helmets may be uncomfortable and unattractive to some, it’s important to keep yourself and your family safe. Contact a Tampa Bay Bicycle Accident Attorney If you or your child has been injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience representing the victims of bicycle accidents. Contact us online or call us at 855-293-5630 to set up your free consultation today.

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Bicycle Accidents

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

More Americans are bicycling to commute, to get exercise, or just for fun. When cars fail to safely share the road with bicyclists, dangerous accidents can occur. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 840 bicyclists were killedin motor vehicle accidents in 2015 alone. Thousands more were injured. When a crash occurs between a car and bicyclist, it is the cyclist who is most likely to be injured. Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents When an accident involves a car and a bicycle, it is typically the driver of the car that is at fault. Drivers need to be aware of bicyclists on the road and act accordingly. Some common causes of bicycle accidents include: Being Hit with an Open Door–when a bicyclist is hit by an open door on a vehicle, the effects can be devastating. Drivers have an obligation to check around them before opening the vehicle door. Intersection Accidents–drivers must exercise due care when entering an intersection to avoid a collision with a bicycle. It is common for a car to make a left turn in front of a cyclist, ignoring the right of way. Bicyclists should also yield the right of way when necessary. Right Turns in Front of a Cyclist--drivers should pay attention and be aware of their surroundings, especially when making turns. A right turn in front of a cyclist can be deadly. Rear-ending a Cyclist—sometimes bicyclists have to ride in the road with cars when there are no bike lanes available. Cars should leave plenty of stopping room in front of them and keep in mind that cyclists can’t always keep up the pace. Common Bicycle Accident Injuries An accident that involves a vehicle and a bicycle will come with certain common injuries. Typically, the bicyclist involved in the accident will be hit by the car and then will hit the pavement. This can result in blunt force trauma to the body. Common bicycle accident injuries that result include: Traumatic brain injury and other head injuries Facial fractures and lacerations Spinal cord injuries Bone fractures Damage to internal organs Other soft tissue injuries Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured in a bicycle accident, you should contact an experienced bicycle accident attorney near you. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have the experience you need and are here to help. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-855-293-5630 to set up your free consultation today.

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Pinellas County: Most Dangerous Place to Ride a Bike

Category: Bicycle Accidents |

With its great weather and scenic roadways, it seems like Florida would be the perfect place to ride a bicycle. However, Florida has by far the highest per capita death rate for bicyclists in the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, Pinellas County is the most dangerous county in the state. A six-mile stretch of Park Boulevard in Pinellas County has been the scene of several deaths and dozens of injuries and is one of the most dangerous roadways in the country for bicyclists. Contributing Factors Pinellas County has many large, multi-lane roads which can be especially dangerous to cyclists. The county’s infrastructure is not particularly conducive to cycling and is very much oriented towards cars as the main form of transportation. The designers of many Florida cities had cars in mind and did not account for pedestrian or bicycle traffic. There are a large number of cars on the road in Pinellas County, and Florida drivers are some of the worst in the country. These factors taken together with the fact that the number of bicyclists in the county is on the rise, offer another explanation for the high fatality rate. In addition, Florida has a deeply rooted car culture, and there’s not much respect or space given to bicyclists on the road. Solutions The state and the county have recognized the high rate of cyclist deaths and plan to take steps to improve the situation. Since 2009 Pinellas County has added miles of bike lanes to its roadways. Park Boulevard, one of the most dangerous roadways, has no bike lanes and a majority of cyclists are forced to ride on the sidewalk. In addition, many bike crashes occur because cyclists don’t use crosswalks. The county is hoping to curb this problem by installing three mid-block crosswalks on Park Boulevard with signals that can be activated by pedestrians and cyclists with a push of a button. There is currently no guarantee that drivers will stop at a crosswalk without a red-light signal but there’s hope that pedestrian accidents can be reduced. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-855-293-5630 to schedule your free consultation.

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