Cycling is an integral part of childhood, especially in Florida, where sunshine dominates throughout the year. After learning how to ride a bike, many children carry their love into their adult years. Palm Harbor's proximity to many of Pinellas County's bike trails makes cycling a popular hobby, but some even rely on a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation. Regardless of the reason bicyclists are on the road or the trails, they risk accidents and injuries when negligent drivers strike them.
Getting in a traffic collision is dangerous no matter the situation, but bicycle accidents are among the most dangerous and deadly. Cyclists do not have the protection that those in passenger vehicles do when a crash occurs. If you or your child has sustained injuries in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident due to negligence, Florida law permits you to seek compensation for damages in civil court.
The experienced Palm Harbor bicycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have the knowledge and resources to help bicycle accident victims fight for compensation for their injuries.
- Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claim
- Compensation in Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claims
- Palm Harbor Bicycle Accidents Cause Severe Injuries
- Palm Harbor Bicycle Accidents Occur for Various Reasons
- Fighting the Insurance Company After a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident
- Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident FAQs
- Get the Legal Help You Need After a Palm Harbor Accident
Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claim
After sustaining injuries in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident, concentrating on your recovery needs to be your number one priority. Dealing with insurance adjusters pretending to be your friend and trying to find a way to avoid paying you compensation for your injuries only adds stress to your rehabilitation and recovery. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, knows how to handle persistent insurance providers that push the ethical envelope when dealing with claimants.
The Palm Harbor personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has ample experience fighting for victims of negligence, including bicycle accident victims. Several members of the firm have received national recognition for their professional excellence and outstanding client advocacy.
Prestigious national organizations such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers have recognized lawyers at Dolman Law Group.
Our Palm Harbor bicycle accident attorneys are committed to advocating for injured bicycle accident victims and helping them recover compensation for damages related to the accident and their injuries. Our experienced lawyers know how to apply Florida law to clients' cases to help them obtain the best outcome possible for their situations. Additionally, we are not intimidated by insurance carriers and their large legal teams. Let one of our compassionate bicycle accident attorneys handle the details of your case while you focus on healing from your injuries.
Dolman Law Group's Palm Harbor office is only a few blocks west of US Highway 19 at 2385 Tampa Road. We like face-to-face meetings with potential clients, but injuries and other travel-related issues sometimes make that impossible. We also offer convenient virtual meetings if you cannot travel to our Palm Harbor office. Contact us today for your free consultation and discuss the details of your Palm Harbor bicycle accident, your injuries, and the ways they have affected your life.
Compensation in Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claims
If you suffer injuries in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident because of a negligent motorist or another negligent party, Florida law permits you to sue for damages to recover losses related to the bicycle accident and your injuries. Each bicycle accident case is different, so the type and amount of compensation a victim might receive varies greatly among claims.
Examples of common damages included in bicycle accident claims include compensation for:
- Medical treatment costs, including ambulance transport, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, lab tests, prescription medication, doctor visits, and transportation costs to and from the doctor
- Estimated future medical expenses when a Palm Harbor bicycle accident causes a permanent injury requiring continuous care and treatment
- Rehabilitation expenses for specialized treatment, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and other treatments that help bicycle accident victims cope with the physical and emotional aftermath of their injuries
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity when a Palm Harbor bicycle accident causes injuries that prevent someone from returning to their job or working in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
Factors that impact the type and amount of compensation a bicycle accident victim might receive include:
- Severity and nature of injuries. Bicycle accident victims with the most severe injuries typically have the highest value claims. Severe injuries take a long time to heal and have the greatest impact on someone's life, providing grounds to seek noneconomic damages like pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
- Amount of economic loss. The total economic loss a bicycle accident victim incurs is strongly related to the severity and nature of the injuries. Severe injuries, especially multiple injuries or injuries that incapacitate someone, cost more to treat. Victims likely need one or more surgeries and probably need to spend weeks in the hospital. Making the loss even higher, many miss weeks or months of work.
- Likelihood of a full recovery. Bicycle accident victims who sustain a permanent injury usually have higher value claims, especially if they are unable to work. Injuries that leave permanent scars, especially in highly visible areas of the body, also typically increase the amount of a bicycle accident injury claim.
An experienced Palm Harbor bicycle accident attorney from Dolman Law Group can evaluate your claim, obtain your medical records, gather relevant documents, and consult with necessary experts to advise you on which damages apply to your case and how much you might receive in a settlement or jury verdict.
Palm Harbor Bicycle Accidents Cause Severe Injuries
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 1,000 cyclists lose their lives in bicycle accidents across the United States each year. The open nature of riding a bicycle puts cyclists at risk for severe injuries when a vehicle strikes them or when they fall from their bicycles.
Common bicycle accident injuries include:
- Cuts, Wounds, and Scrapes. Minor bumps and bruises from a tumble are not that serious, but cyclists face road rash, open wounds, and deep lacerations that can get infected and leave permanent scars when bicycle accidents occur at high speeds.
- Joint dislocation. Cyclists who fall or get thrown from their bikes often attempt to break their fall with their arms. Depending on the angle and impact of an accident, a cyclist might dislocate one or both shoulders.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Florida law requires all cyclists under age 16 to wear helmets. Children, teens, and adults who do not wear a helmet can suffer severe and fatal brain injuries. Even those wearing a helmet face the risk of a traumatic brain injury and long-term struggles with brain function.
- Neck and back injuries. Bicycle accidents can lead to various back and neck injuries ranging from soft tissue injuries like sprains, strains, and tears, to fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, and nerve damage. These injuries are often painful, require surgery, and sometimes people suffer chronic discomfort for life.
- Spinal cord injuries. Most spinal cord injuries occur in traffic collisions, including those involving cyclists. Full-body paralysis—called tetraplegia—is the most common spinal cord injury. Spinal cord damage is often permanent because spinal cord cells do not regenerate like other cells in the body. Permanent paralysis, even in part of the body, requires ongoing care, making spinal cord injuries among the most costly bicycle accident injuries.
- Amputation. Bicycle crashes that involve motor vehicles sometimes cause cyclists to get their appendages pinned under a car or truck, causing crushed limbs. If doctors cannot restore blood flow to the limbs, they must make the difficult decision to amputate to prevent infection from spreading throughout the body.
- Internal Damage. If a vehicle is traveling at high speed and it strikes a cyclist, a good chance exists that the cyclist will suffer severe internal damage. Even seemingly harmless broken ribs can puncture a lung, the chest wall, and other vital organs. Internal damage can lead to hemorrhaging and life-threatening injuries. Bicycle accident victims with severe internal damage sometimes need lifelong medical care to keep them alive.
Palm Harbor Bicycle Accidents Occur for Various Reasons
Many different scenarios and events can cause a dangerous bike accident in Palm Harbor. Most collisions occur because negligent drivers strike someone riding a bicycle, but other causes also come into play. Examples of situations that commonly lead to bicycle accidents include:
Distracted driving is among the most common causes of traffic crashes, including those between motor vehicles and bicycles. Florida's laws against using cell phones and driving have curbed distracted driving related to cell phone use, but drivers still engage in other dangerous and distracting driving behaviors that lead to accidents.
- Eating snacks and drinking
- Adjusting vehicle features like A/C, seats, mirrors, etc.
- Programming a GPS
- Tending to other occupants, especially those in the back seat
- Reaching for dropped items
- Personal grooming like brushing hair and applying makeup
- Concentrating on an event outside the vehicle
- Heated discussions with other occupants
Motorists need to process information around them, especially at intersections, to avoid causing or being involved in an accident. Alcohol consumption and drug use impair the ability to process information, putting cyclists at risk for accidents and injuries. Drivers cannot respond to cyclists on the road or at intersections because they struggle with the ability to judge time and space, and they have a slowed reaction time.
Drivers who regularly do not get enough sleep or suffer from fatigue because of diet, medication, an undiagnosed sleep condition, or other medical condition risk nodding off while driving and striking a cyclist on the road or at an intersection. Additionally, sleep deprivation impairs the body like alcohol, making it difficult for drowsy drivers to respond to cyclists.
Unfortunately, some motorists do not care about the rules of the road or the safety of others. They operate their vehicles recklessly, ignore traffic signs and signals, disobey speed limits, weave in and out of traffic, and engage in other dangerous driving behaviors. Reckless drivers do not yield to cyclists or anyone else on the road, potentially causing severe and fatal bicycle accidents with their erratic driving maneuvers.
Poor Street Maintenance
Government entities, including Pinellas County and the State of Florida, have a legal duty to maintain the streets and highways in Palm Harbor, keeping them safe from injuries caused by poor maintenance. Poor street maintenance can lead to bicycle accidents when cyclists hit potholes, depressions, sinkholes, and other hazards that cause loss of control. Young children are especially vulnerable to these issues because they have very little experience avoiding these dangers.
Fighting the Insurance Company After a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident
If you sustained injuries in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident, Florida law entitles you to seek compensation for damages related to the bicycle accident and your injuries. One or more insurance providers are often involved in bicycle accident claims and do not like to pay, even when they know their policyholder is at fault.
Some strategies insurance companies sometimes employ to deny or devalue bicycle accident claims include:
- Shifting as much blame for the accident as possible to the cyclist
- Shifting as much blame for the bicycle accident as possible to a third party, often another motorist
- Denying a bicycle accident claim because of a technicality or administrative error
- Downplaying injuries or arguing the cyclist was not injured because they had preexisting injuries.
The Palm Harbor bicycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have experience dealing with insurance companies and their questionable tactics, so they know how to help bicycle accident victims fight insurance companies to get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident FAQs
Coping with bicycle accident injuries might leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure about your next steps. Consult with an experienced Palm Harbor bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your legal options and learn more about how to recover damages for your injuries if they occurred because of a motorist or another negligent party.
Until you have the chance to meet with an attorney, the following answers to frequently asked questions about Palm Harbor bicycle accidents provide introductory information about the legal process of filing an accident injury claim and ways an experienced lawyer can help.
Does My Mandatory Florida No-Fault Insurance Apply After a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident?
Yes, it does. Florida requires everyone who registers a vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to comply with the state's no-fault insurance laws. Coverage applies to a car accident but also applies if you are involved in a traffic accident as a cyclist or pedestrian. PIP insurance includes 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages up to the policy limit.
Bicycle accident injuries are often serious, so exhausting the $10,000 minimum happens quickly. Once you meet policy limits, you must absorb costs or take further action to recover compensation beyond your PIP insurance. This begins with filing a claim against the policy of the motorist who hit you and potentially a civil lawsuit if the insurance carrier won't pay fair compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Palm Harbor Bicycle Accidents?
If you sustain injuries in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident, you have four years from the accident to take legal action against the motorist or another party at fault for the accident and your injuries. If your child or another loved one died from fatal bicycle accident injuries, Florida law gives you two years to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages related to your loss.
Even though you have ample time to bring a lawsuit after a Palm Harbor bicycle accident, you do not want to wait until the last minute. It's in your best interest to contact an experienced Palm Harbor bicycle accident lawyer soon after your accident. If you wait too long and file after the deadline, it's unlikely a Florida court will hear your case. Additionally, you lose any leverage you have with the insurance carrier for negotiating a fair settlement.
The quality of and availability of evidence to support your claim diminishes as time passes, making it even more important to take swift legal action. Witnesses relocate, die, and their recall of the events of the bicycle accident becomes less clear. If surrounding businesses or traffic cameras have video evidence of the bicycle accident, it might get lost or taped over if you wait to let someone investigate the accident for a lawsuit.
Once you contact a lawyer and let them get involved with your case, they can immediately begin to gather evidence that supports your claim and gives you the best chance to receive maximum compensation for Palm Harbor bicycle accident injuries.
How Much Money Can I Get for My Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Once you meet with a lawyer, they will evaluate your claim and your injuries and place a monetary value on your bicycle accident claim. The insurance company will also put a value on the claim, and you can be sure it will be lower than your lawyer's figure.
A negotiated personal injury settlement usually falls between these two values, making it difficult to predict a financial outcome for your bicycle accident claim. Insurance carriers stay in business by paying out as little as possible on claims; they only care about the injured person and their needed medical treatment to the extent that they need to follow legal guidelines about handling claims.
Your lawyer will aggressively pursue to recover every dollar possible for damages related to your bicycle accident injuries. The entire value of your bicycle accident claim includes economic and noneconomic losses related to the accident and your injuries.
Economic losses include medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, and other expenses related to the accident and your injuries. Noneconomic losses compensate bicycle accident victims for how injuries impact their lives, including pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and reduced quality of life. Lawyers often consult with experts to help them value the noneconomic portion of the claim.
What if I Suffered Bicycle Accident Injuries Because of an Uninsured Driver?
Your legal options to recover damages vary based on your insurance type. Your PIP coverage will kick in if an uninsured driver causes a bicycle accident. If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, it will kick in to cover expenses and lost wages not covered by your personal injury protection coverage. However, Florida does not require uninsured motorist coverage, so there is a good chance you might not have it.
If you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to directly sue the uninsured driver who caused the accident after you meet your PIP policy limits. Although you can sue the driver, it might be difficult to collect damages if a court rules in your favor. If the driver had the financial means to pay for the expenses related to a bicycle accident and injuries, it's likely they would have had insurance coverage. Yet, a direct lawsuit against an uninsured driver is typically the best chance a bicycle accident victim has to recover damages in these situations.
What Should I Do if a Hit-and-Run Driver Causes My Bicycle Accident Injuries?
Uninsured motorist coverage also kicks in when a hit-and-run accident occurs once you exhaust your PIP coverage. However, Floridians are not required to purchase uninsured motorist insurance when they register a vehicle, as mentioned above. If you do not own a vehicle and have auto insurance or if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you will have to absorb the costs related to the bicycle accident if you cannot identify the responsible hit-and-run driver.
It's crucial that you file a police report and provide law enforcement with as much information as possible. Fortunately, Palm Harbor is a busy area, so it's difficult for motorists to leave the scene of an accident and get away with it. If the Florida Highway Patrol of the Pinellas County Sheriff locates the driver, you can sue them for damages and potentially recover some or all of the losses incurred because of your Palm Harbor bicycle accident.
Can I Bring a Lawsuit if My Child Suffered Fatal Injuries in a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident?
Florida law permits eligible surviving family members to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against a party responsible for a child's fatal bicycle accident injuries. However, you cannot directly bring the lawsuit against the at-fault party unless you are the personal representative of your child's estate. Technically, the estate of the deceased files a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased would have had a cause for action had they survived their injuries.
If the estate wins the lawsuit, the court will award damages.
Common damages included in Florida bicycle accident claims include compensation for:
- Income the deceased could have earned if they survived the bike accident
- Loss of comfort and companionship you suffered because of losing a child
- Funeral or memorial service expenses and costs for cremation or burial
If you have lost a child in a Palm Harbor bicycle accident, one of the compassionate and knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyers from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can answer any questions you have about a wrongful death claim and advise your next steps forward.
Can I Sue for Damages After a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident if I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?
Yes. You can still bring a lawsuit for damages after a bicycle accident if you were not wearing a helmet. Florida law only requires those under 16 to wear a helmet when they are riding a bicycle. If you are an adult, you are complying with the law when you do not wear a helmet, so you are not disqualified from seeking compensation for damages.
However, the other side might argue that your injuries are more severe because you weren't wearing a helmet, especially if you suffered head trauma. This could reduce the amount of damages you can recover. Let a Palm Harbor bicycle accident attorney review your case and let you know how your situation could play out.
Should I Accept an Early Settlement Offer from the Insurance Provider?
You should always consult with a lawyer when you receive a settlement offer from an insurance company. Insurance companies make predatory offers soon after an accident to close a claim and move on. Once someone accepts a settlement offer, they must also waive their right to seek future compensation for the same injuries. Accepting an early settlement offer ensures that insurance companies pay the lowest amount possible for a claim, even when they know their policyholder is fully responsible for injuries and they should pay much more.
It's best to let an experienced lawyer handle communications with the insurance company and for you to view an early settlement offer as a starting point for negotiations.
Lawyers are trained negotiators who often recover far more damages for their clients than what clients can do for themselves. You need to give your body time to heal and learn the true scope of your injuries and whether you'll make a full recovery so your attorney can properly value your claim and help you get the maximum compensation possible for your Palm Harbor bicycle accident injuries.
How Long Will it Take to Resolve My Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claim?
Every personal injury claim has different facts and circumstances that impact its timeline, making it impossible to predict how long it will take to resolve your Palm Harbor bicycle accident claim. Most claims get resolved with an agreed settlement, but some go to trial. If your claim goes to trial, preparation takes at least one year.
Also, your lawyer needs to coordinate schedules with the court, you, and other witnesses, sometimes leading to additional challenges. You might not resolve your claim for two years or longer. However, if liability for your Palm Harbor bicycle accident is clear and doctors have confirmed your long-term prognosis, you could settle in under a year. Your attorney can evaluate your claim and identify potential challenges and give you an idea of how long resolving your case might take.
Do I Have to Go to Court for My Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Claim?
It's likely your claim will settle long before it goes to trial. Both sides have an incentive to avoid litigation in personal injury claims, including those involving bicycle accident claims. It's expensive to go to court and drags claims on far longer than most would like.
However, negotiations do not always go well, forcing some cases to go to trial. Although you probably will not have to go to court for your Palm Harbor bicycle accident claim, you should remain prepared for the possibility. Also, even though you might not have to tell your story in a courtroom, you will likely have to give a statement during a deposition. Your lawyer will prepare you for what's to come with your case as they identify challenges that might force them to take your claim to trial.
Can I Afford to Hire a Palm Harbor Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Some accident victims do not hire a lawyer after an accident because they worry about affordability. You can definitely afford to hire a lawyer and will likely get a better outcome with an experienced attorney advocating for you. When you meet with a lawyer, they will review your claim. If they find you have a viable claim and you want to hire them, you do not have to pay money upfront.
Instead, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA deducts attorney fees and other costs of representation only from any compensation we secure for you in a settlement or court-awarded damages. Don't let worries about cost prevent you from getting the legal help you need. Call us for your free case evaluation with our Palm Harbor bicycle accident attorneys.
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Palm Harbor Accident
Severe bicycle accident injuries devastate victims and their families, sometimes leaving them to absorb related financial losses. You should not have to deal with financial hardship on top of your injuries' emotional and physical pain. Let Dolman Law Group help. Contact us today at (727) 677-5558 to discuss the details of your Palm Harbor bicycle accident during a free consultation or submit your case for review online.
Palm Harbor Office Location
2385 Tampa Road Suite 4
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
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