With consistently warm temperatures and sunny weather, biking season lasts for much of the year in Clearwater, Florida. The surrounding area also boasts a number of bike trails, presenting many riding opportunities for cyclists.
Most bicycle accidents are caused by careless and negligent motor vehicle drivers, and when a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the results can oftentimes be catastrophic and deadly.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary damages. A Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer can evaluate your case and discuss the potential damages that may be available to you. An experienced lawyer will also be able to determine the likely settlement range of your case and can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or “roll the dice” and take your case to trial.
Preventing Florida Bicycle Accidents
In the State of Florida, bicyclists are normally subject to the same rules of the road as motor vehicle drivers. This means that bicyclists should take care to do the following:
- Obey all traffic signs, such as stop signs and yield signs.
- Obey all traffic signals and traffic control devices, such as traffic lights and railroad crossing signals.
- Obey all posted speed limit signs.
- Remain in a designated bike lane, if one is available.
- Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
- No matter how careful bicyclists are, accidents will still happen—oftentimes through no fault of the bicyclist. Some of the most common causes of Clearwater bicycle accidents include the following:
- Negligent, distracted, or inattentive driving
- Motor vehicle driver failing to obey a stop sign or traffic control device
- Motor vehicle driver failing to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist at an intersection
- Defective bicycle parts, such as defective handlebars or brakes
- Rear-end collisions
- ‘Dooring’ accidents, where the driver or passenger of a parked car suddenly opens the car door into the pathway of an oncoming cyclist, resulting in serious injuries to the cyclist.
Proving Liability before Proving Damages
For the injured bicyclist to recover damages for injuries sustained in a bicycle accident that was caused by a motor vehicle driver, the injured cyclist must ordinarily prove negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. Specifically, the injured cyclist must prove that the driver breached the duty to act in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances and that this breach factually and proximately resulted in the cyclist’s injuries and damages. In some cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may simply stipulate to liability—or accept fault for the underlying bicycle accident.
Injuries Sustained in Clearwater Bicycle Accidents
When a motor vehicle collides with a cyclist, the results can oftentimes be catastrophic. Most cyclists have little-to-no head protection (with the possible exception of a bicycle helmet), and the cyclist’s body is directly exposed to the ground. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained in bicycle accidents include fractures and broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), soft tissue injuries, permanent scarring, cuts and bruises, and death.
Factors that Affect the Damage Calculation in Bicycle Accident Cases
A bicycle accident lawyer will be able to review the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and can approximate the likely settlement or verdict value for your case. The likely value of a case depends upon a variety of factors, including the nature, extent, and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries; the level of permanency or disability associated with the plaintiff’s injuries; and the findings of a medical expert or vocational rehabilitation expert—especially in cases of lost earning capacity or inability to work due to the injuries sustained.
Calculating Damages in Bicycle Accident Cases
A bicycle accident plaintiff may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages, can be calculated almost exactly in terms of dollars and cents. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are more difficult to prove. In cases of permanent impairment or long-term pain and suffering, some attorneys will advance a per diem (or per-day argument) when trying to arrive at a damage figure. Other attorneys may figure out the injured plaintiff’s life expectancy, consider the plaintiff’s injuries, and consult a mortality table to arrive at a figure for non-economic damages.
In any case, potential damages that may be available to injured Clearwater bicycle accident plaintiffs include the following:
- Payment of all related medical and hospital bills and expenses (including doctor bills, physical therapy bills, or surgery bills)
- Compensation for lost wages from time missed from work for attending medical appointments (and during the recovery period)
- Past, present, and future pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Past, present, and future mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of earning capacity in cases of permanent physical or mental impairment
- Compensation for permanent injuries and damages
- Payment of all causally related bills for psychological or psychiatric treatment
- Loss of consortium, companionship, or spousal support
- Compensation for future medical treatment or procedures (including future surgeries and hospital stays)
- Wrongful death
Contact a Clearwater Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Damage Evaluation
When a motor vehicle collides with a bicycle, the results can be catastrophic and deadly. If you or someone you love was injured in a bicycle accident that was caused by a motor vehicle driver’s negligence, you may have a right to recover damages under Florida law. In Clearwater bicycle accident cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is not on your side and does not have your best interests at heart. In bicycle accident cases, the insurance company’s main goal is to settle your case for as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
The experienced Clearwater bicycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group are ready and willing to fight the insurance company every step of the way or take your case to mediation, arbitration, or trial, if necessary. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer, please call us or contact us online.