With fairly flat geography, beautiful year-round weather, and a network of safe bike paths like Baldwin Park Trail, cyclists have a lot to love about rolling through and around Orlando, whether for exercise or as an environmentally friendly way to get to work. Yet too many people end up with serious injuries after Orlando bicycle accidents, leaving them with expensive medical bills and enormous pain.
Most Orlando bicycle accidents and their resulting injuries occur because of the negligence or recklessness of a motorist who fails to take appropriate care when sharing the road with a cyclist. Distracted drivers, drivers in a hurry, and drivers who simply fail to mind the presence of a bicycle on the roadway put cyclists at risk of serious injury and death every day throughout the Sunshine State.
If you suffered serious injuries in an Orlando-area bicycle accident, having an Orlando bicycle accident lawyer on your side may help you receive the compensation you need to treat your injuries and rebuild your life. With offices on both Florida Coasts, Dolman Law Group represents Florida bicycle accident victims in seeking that compensation.
About Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Dolman Law Group represents Floridians injured in a wide range of preventable accidents and incidents, including Orlando bicycle crashes. Our mission is to obtain compensation for our injured clients, so they can focus their energies on healing their bodies and rebuilding their lives.
Over the years, our firm has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for injured victims throughout the Sunshine State. We cannot guarantee a particular outcome in any specific case, but we can promise our clients will always have a lawyer on their side who gives them personalized attention and fights to get them every last dollar of compensation they deserve.
Common Orlando Bicycle Accident Injuries We Handle
According to a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida leads the nation in bicycle accident deaths. In addition to suffering far too many fatalities, our bicycle riders also sustain serious injuries in traffic accidents.
Bicycles offer riders no protection in an Orlando traffic accident. Wearing a helmet and other protective gear can help reduce a cyclist's risk of serious injury (a helmet, in particular, can reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 70 percent), but gear cannot eliminate that risk. As a result, cyclists can suffer severe or even fatal injuries in a bicycle accident. We review some of the more common of those injuries below.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Wearing a bicycle helmet may reduce your risk of serious injury. Nevertheless, many bicycle accident victims each year suffer traumatic brain injuries due to the force of impact they sustain in a collision.
Victims with even mild traumatic brain injury may suffer serious symptoms more than a year after the accident, such as:
- Memory problems, including both short - and long-term memory challenges, which can make it difficult to complete daily work responsibilities
- Decreased emotional control, including extreme emotional reactions to minor stimuli
- Changes in sleep habits, from sleeping too much to struggling with insomnia
- Tunnel vision, blurred vision, and light sensitivity
- Problems with focus and concentration that can make it difficult to get through even the most common task
- Challenges related to self-care
Many bicycle accident victims with a traumatic brain injury need assistance with decision-making and problem-solving. Others find it very difficult to complete creative tasks or fulfill their job responsibilities. An Orlando personal injury attorney can fight to get you fair compensation to get you the help you need if your life has been impacted by a TBI that was caused by negligence.
Spinal Cord Injury
While wearing protective gear may help protect against road rash and superficial injuries, it offers little protection to the spinal cord. In an Orlando traffic accident, cyclists risk getting thrown to the ground or against an object (such as a vehicle), which can cause serious injury to the spinal cord.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries, in which the spinal cord does not sever completely, can result in loss of feeling, sensation, and function to body parts below the injury site. Complete spinal cord injury can leave the victim completely paralyzed in the parts of the body affected.
Spinal cord injuries can lead to many secondary health complications that affect a victim's overall wellbeing and even their lifespan. They also cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least, to treat.
An Orlando bicycle accident victim risks losing a limb to a severe traffic accident, either from a violent impact that severs the limb from the body or trauma to the limb that makes amputation medically necessary to save the cyclist's life.
Amputees endure severe pain and emotional trauma after an Orlando cycling accident. They also frequently face significant long-term difficulties and health complications.
With the help of prosthetic devices, some may recover the ability to go about their daily lives more or less normally. Others, however, may struggle with chronic pain and physical limitations. Prosthetics are also expensive and may require periodic replacement that adds to the long-term cost of an Orlando bicycle accident injury.
Some bicycle riders choose to wear protective gear that can protect against the risks of road rash. Unfortunately, Orlando's hot and humid climate makes wearing extra gear uncomfortable. As a result, many cyclists forego protective gear and instead choose lighter-weight clothing, which can lead to severe road rash injuries in an accident.
Road rash can present many of the same symptoms as a burn, especially when it covers much of the rider's body. The skin helps protect the body from infection, and road rash can strip away much of that protection.
This injury also often leaves behind substantial scarring. Victims with road rash on the face or visible areas of the body may suffer severe emotional trauma from living with disfiguring scars.
Many Orlando bicycle accident victims suffer breaks in the hands, wrists, and arms when they try to brace against a fall. Others suffer broken bones in the legs, hips, or torso when thrown to the hard road surface in an accident.
Broken bones can result in significant disabilities. Some require surgery to repair. Others, even when healed, leave cyclists in chronic pain and impair cyclists' mobility or dexterity.
Broken bones can prevent the cyclist victim from returning to work, especially in the case of victims who may work in highly physical professions or need full use of their bodies to complete their work responsibilities.
We Seek Compensation for Our Clients' Orlando Bicycle Accident Injuries
Some Orlando cyclists carry personal injury protection (PIP) and other forms of insurance that may pay for some of the expenses they face after a bicycle accident. However, even cyclists with good insurance coverage often discover that their injuries put them under significant financial strain.
With the help of an Orlando bicycle accident attorney from Dolman Law Group, Orlando cyclists who suffer injuries in preventable traffic accidents may have the ability to obtain compensation by taking legal action against a party at fault for the crash.
Every Orlando bicycle accident has unique facts and circumstances that affect the actions we may take for our clients. However, our efforts often include identifying potentially liable parties.
Identifying Parties with Legal Liability
In many Orlando bicycle traffic accidents, the motorist whose vehicle collided with a bicycle has a legal liability to the injured cyclist. Cars and trucks should never run into bicycles, after all, and when they do, it's commonly because a driver made a mistake behind the wheel. In those cases, the driver's auto liability insurance will often pay for at least some of the cyclist's injuries and losses.
However, factors beyond the control of a single car or truck driver can often also contribute to the cause of an Orlando bicycle accident. Additionally, other individuals, companies, or government agencies may have a legal responsibility to answer for the driver's actions.
At Dolman Law Group, our attorneys delve into the facts of an Orlando bicycle accident that injured our client to ensure we identify all parties who may have a legal liability to our client for damages.
In addition to motor vehicle drivers, other parties who may owe compensation to our clients can include:
- Employers. In an Orlando bicycle accident involving a commercial vehicle driven by an employee in connection with work, the employer may have a legal liability to the injured cyclist. In Florida, employers have to answer for their employees' errors in most cases. Employers may also face legal liability independently if they failed to supervise or train an employee in safe driving practices or properly maintain the vehicle that crashed into the bicycle.
- Manufacturers. Some bicycle accidents in the Orlando area result from a defective vehicle or a bicycle's mechanical failure. In those cases, the manufacturer of the vehicle or bicycle (or of the particular part that failed) may face legal liability to the injured cyclist.
- Local governments. Within reason, Orlando-area governments responsible for designing, building, and maintaining safe roads must answer to injured cyclists when a dangerous road condition causes an accident. We do not necessarily expect local road crews to fix potholes or broken traffic signals immediately. However, they should not allow them to go unaddressed without warning the public of the potential danger. Local government entities derelict in their duties to the public they serve may face legal liability due to the accidents they cause.
- Dram shops. Dram shops are establishments that serve or sell alcohol. Under Florida dram shop liability laws, these establishments can be held accountable for injuries that occur when a drunk driver causes a car accident (Florida Statutes § 768.125). If the dram shop over-served or sold alcohol to someone who was already under the influence of alcohol, this establishment may be responsible for any injuries victims sustained.
These are just some examples of parties that could face legal liability to Orlando cycling accident victims.
Florida Pure Comparative Negligence Laws
It is more common than you might think for injured bicyclists to be hesitant to contact an attorney. This is because they believe sharing fault for their injuries will prohibit them from recovering compensation. However, this is not the case. Florida follows a pure comparative negligence system under Florida Statutes § 768.81. This means you can be compensated for your damages despite sharing liability for your injuries.
For example, if a distracted driver struck you, but you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the judge might find you 15 percent liable for your traumatic brain injury. For this reason, you could expect your bicycle accident injury settlement to be reduced by 15 percent to account for your portion of fault.
If you have questions or concerns surrounding how your injury settlement could be affected by the state's pure comparative negligence laws, be sure to contact your attorney for more information.
Assessing the Severity of Our Clients' Injuries and the Scope of Their Legal Rights
As lawyers for injured Orlando-area bicycle riders, we understand the importance of forming a complete and accurate picture of how an accident affects our clients' lives. This picture forms the basis of our calculation of the full amount of damages our clients have suffered and deserve to receive as compensation, as well as our evaluation of when and how to seek that compensation from parties with legal liability.
We cannot guarantee the type or amount of compensation any person will receive. We do, however, often take legal action on our clients' behalf seeking payment for:
- Medical costs resulting from a bicycle accident injury, including co-pays, deductibles, doctor's visits, hospitalization, medications, long-term care, and medical equipment
- Non-medical costs incurred because of the accident or its resulting injuries, including bicycle repair or replacement costs and the expenses associated with hiring help with daily activities that the injury prevents our client from performing, such as childcare and transportation
- Current and future lost wages due to our client missing work while recovering or losing the ability to work because of a disabling injury
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life caused by the trauma of the Orlando bicycle accident and the injuries it inflicted
In extraordinary cases, the court may award punitive damages that seek to punish the at-fault party and deter future dangerous behavior.
At Dolman Law Group, we dig deep into the facts to make sure that when we take action on our clients' behalf, we do so with the confidence of knowing we have the complete picture of the harm our clients have suffered and how the law can help them obtain the compensation they deserve.
Taking Action in and Out of Court
With a deep understanding of the facts and law in hand, our lawyers at Dolman Law Group will develop personalized, intelligent legal strategies designed to get our clients paid fair compensation as soon as possible.
These strategies can vary based on individual circumstances, but they typically include negotiation with defense lawyers and insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement of our clients' claims.
Most Orlando bicycle accident matters get resolved through negotiation, but it takes a resourceful attorney to negotiate a reasonable settlement. This is, in part, because insurance companies are profit-driven. This means they are unlikely to be willing to settle your claim fairly without putting up a fight.
Bicyclists are at risk of being taken advantage of by insurance companies that are looking to reduce their profit loss. If you hope to avoid being taken advantage of during your greatest time of need, you may want to enlist the services of a bicycle accident attorney in Orlando, so the insurance company knows you mean business.
However, it is important to remember that obtaining fair compensation through an insurance settlement may not always be possible. Instead, when the insurance company is not required to pay out beyond the policy's limits or you have suffered damages the insurer won't cover, you may need to explore alternative recovery options.
Litigation in Florida courts may be necessary when negotiation does not achieve the outcome we and our client think is fair as compensation for an Orlando bicycle accident injury. Our team consists of seasoned, aggressive trial lawyers who feel as comfortable in a courtroom as in a living room. When we go to trial, we are always prepared to put on the strongest possible case for our clients.
The Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accidents in Orlando
If you have decided to move forward with your Orlando bicycle accident claim, you need to act quickly. The Florida statute of limitations under Florida Statutes § 95.11 only allows for a maximum of four years following the accident before the deadline to file a lawsuit expires. If the statute of limitations expires before you have an opportunity to get your lawsuit filed, the judge will have no other choice but to dismiss your case.
It is important to remember that the four-year statute of limitations is only applicable to personal injury claims. If you lost a loved one due to fatal bicycle accident injuries in Orlando, you will need to file your claim under the wrongful death statute of limitations, which is two years, per Florida Statutes § 95.11 (4)(d).
Did You Suffer Injuries in an Orlando Bicycle Accident?
If you suffered injuries in an Orlando bicycle accident, you may have a right to compensation for the harm done to you by someone else's dangerous decisions or actions. Contact Dolman Law Group today at (407) 759-4565 for a free evaluation of your legal rights.
1701 Park Center Drive, Suite #240-G
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 759-4565