Bicycle Accident Attorney in Jacksonville
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Riding a bicycle is a healthy, environmentally-friendly activity that is fun and can reduce your costs for traveling short distances. Unfortunately, bicycle accidents involving automobiles are a major cause of serious injuries to children and adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1,000 bicyclists are killed in traffic each year, and more than 130,000 others are injured. While deaths of child bicyclists have declined dramatically across several decades, bicyclist fatalities among riders aged 20 and over have quadrupled.
Of course, that risk isn’t evenly distributed. For the past several years, Florida has led the country in the number of bicyclist fatalities. The state also has the highest per capita death rate for bicyclists. And, the per-bike-commuter fatality rate in Florida is three times that in California—the state with the next highest number of bicyclist deaths.
Protecting Against Florida Bicycle Accidents
There are many steps a bicyclist can take to reduce risks when riding on the road. Some of the most important include wearing a helmet, obeying traffic safety laws, and wearing reflective clothing when riding at night. A bicyclist should also refrain from riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and not wear headphones that will make it difficult to hear surrounding traffic. While a bike rider can take every precaution, they can still get hit by a car or truck. The larger size and higher speed of a motor vehicle may make it impossible for the bicyclist to take evasive action in time.
Often when a motor vehicle hits a bicyclist, the driver says that they simply failed to see the cyclist in time. Although this may be true, it is no defense against the charge of negligence while carelessly operating a motor vehicle. Note that the driver may not always be cited at the scene—in some cases, the bicyclist may even receive a citation. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver was in the right, and the injured cyclist or surviving family members may still be entitled to compensation. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., our injury attorneys are experienced at investigating and documenting personal injury and wrongful death claims for injured cyclists, and fighting for them in court.
Bicycle Accidents with Holt Harrell
Negligence in Bicycle Accident Cases
When you choose to drive a motor vehicle, you have a duty to operate that vehicle safely, for the protection of others on the road and their property. Not all drivers live up to that duty. Too often, a bicyclist is hurt or killed because a driver wasn’t paying attention, was driving too aggressively, or in some other way operated unsafely. Some common causes of bike accidents include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Driving in bicycle lanes
- Making illegal turns
- Driving under the influence
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Hazardous road conditions
- Intentional acts by drivers
- Distracted drivers
- Backing out of a driveway
- Failure to check blind spots
When a driver fails to live up to their duty and someone gets hurt as a result, they are usually liable for any damages caused. Those damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Cost of assistance needed due to the injuries
- Cost of equipment such as a wheelchair or an accessible van
- Cost of adaptations to your home to accommodate injury-related limitations
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
Every case is different, so the best source of information about the damages you may be entitled to is your bicycle injury attorney.
Bicycle Accident Attorneys Help You Recover from a Bike Injury
Car-on-bicycle collisions often cause serious injuries to the cyclist. In part, that’s because of the size and weight of the vehicle colliding with the bike. In part, it’s because the cyclist is entirely exposed, and may be struck directly by the vehicle, thrown, or even run over. The results can be catastrophic, with bike accident victims receiving extensive road rash, fractured limbs, neck or spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), disfigurement, or paralysis. If you were injured in a vehicle-related accident, you may be facing long-term recovery or lifelong injuries.
That means your recovery may be expensive, with large medical bills, additional assistance, and costly special equipment combined with extensive lost work time. Insurance companies know that long-term costs can be very high, and they don’t want to be on the hook for years of medical expenses and other damages. So, they’ll often offer a quick settlement, claiming that they understand the situation you’re in and know that you need the money as soon as possible. It’s more likely that they are trying to lock down a settlement before you find out the full extent of your damages so that they won’t have to pay the full amount. If they’re successful and you need future medical care, you could end up responsible for the bills.
The best way to avoid pitfalls like this is to consult an experienced bicycle accident attorney or wrongful death attorney right away after the accident. Let your personal injury lawyer talk with the insurance company, gather evidence, negotiate on your behalf, and—if it’s in your best interest—fight for you at trial. To learn more about how Harrell & Harrell can help, call 904-251-1111 right now.
DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU DESERVE.®
Bicycle Accident FAQs
After a bicycle accident injury, you’ll want to talk to a Jacksonville bicycle accident lawyer right away. There’s no substitute for personalized advice from an experienced attorney. Until then, the information below will give you a general idea of what to expect.
What you can do right after the accident will depend in part on how seriously you are hurt. Photos or a video of the scene may be helpful if you are able to take them safely. And, if you’re able, you should get contact information from any witnesses at the scene. You’ll also want to keep damaged property, such as a helmet or your bicycle.
Of course, your safety comes first. Let emergency personnel check you out at the scene, and if necessary get follow-up medical care immediately. Neglecting or delaying treatment can hurt your health and your claim.
You likely won’t be able to determine this on your own, and you definitely won’t want to rely on the word of the responsible party’s insurance carrier—it’s best if you don’t even talk to them. The best way to get reliable guidance about your rights after an injury is to talk to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
An experienced bike accident lawyer can help you at every step in the process, from handling the insurance company for you to investigating your case and gathering evidence, advising you on how to avoid common mistakes that could hurt your claim, negotiating for a settlement, working with expert witnesses to establish your claim, preparing witnesses for trial, and arguing your case to a jury.
The damages differ from case to case. Generally, these damages fall into two categories. The first is economic damages, which are just damages that have a monetary value attached. Economic damages include your lost income, your medical expenses, and other expenses you incurred because of your injury.
Non-economic damages are losses that can’t easily be assigned a number, such as pain and loss of quality of life.
In rare cases, punitive damages may also be available. However, punitive damages aren’t awarded often because a Florida court can only award them if there is clear and convincing evidence that the responsible party was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Your bicycle accident attorney can explain which types of damages may be available in your case.
A wide variety of factors can impact the value of a personal injury claim, including a bike accident claim. Some of the most significant are the extent of your injuries, whether the injury is temporary or permanent, the actual costs associated with medical care and recovery, how clear it is that the responsible party was negligent, and whether you contributed to the accident through your own negligence.
There are two ways you may be able to pursue compensation if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. First, if you have an automobile and carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it will likely cover injuries sustained when you were hit by a car on your bicycle. This will depend on the language of your policy.
You may also be able to pursue a lawsuit directly against the responsible driver. However, this is viable only if the driver has assets significant enough to allow you to collect your judgment.
In Florida, you can be awarded compensation for an injury that was partly your fault as long as you weren’t more than half responsible. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. So, for example, if you were 20% responsible, you would only be able to recover 80% of your damages.
Note that if you were injured before March 24, 2023, the rules may be different—consult a Jacksonville personal injury attorney to find out whether you may be entitled to compensation.
You’ll want to work with an attorney who has extensive experience with personal injury cases in Florida, particularly in the county where the case will be tried. At your free consultation, ask the attorney about their experience with cases like yours, and also about how many cases they have tried. While most cases settle, you should have an attorney who is willing and able to fight for your rights in court if necessary. And, you should use your consultation to make sure you’re comfortable with the attorney, and that they listen to your concerns and answer your questions clearly.
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