Spring Hill is a beautiful and engaging area for a bike ride with miles of paved and wilderness biking trails and pleasant weather year-round. Unfortunately, fast-moving vehicles and negligent drivers pack the streets in and around the city.
One of the main issues confronting vulnerable road users such as bicyclists and pedestrians in Spring Hill is that vehicles move through Florida’s roadways quickly. Human error remains the biggest factor in all traffic accidents, including those involving bicycles.
If a negligent driver has injured you while on your bicycle, you can seek compensation for your injuries through Florida’s personal injury claims process. An experienced Spring Hill bicycle accident lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will provide you with a free case evaluation.
Consult an attorney to obtain answers to the legal questions you have about your case, learn more about the personal injury claims process, and learn more about the services the Dolman Law Group legal team can provide to assist you with your claim.
Why Hire Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers?
The experienced Spring Hill injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has been assisting the injured across Florida for many years and is pleased with the results we have garnered on behalf of our clients, including both negotiated settlements and court verdicts.
The firm’s founder watched his father struggle to obtain the compensation needed after a serious injury and started assisting others with their claims to ensure that no one else has to endure the tactics of insurance companies without experienced and knowledgeable legal assistance.
Don’t Fight the Insurance Company Alone
Insurance companies notoriously use tactics to reduce and eliminate claims filed against the policies of their insured. While this is great for the company’s bottom line, it is disastrous for those injured due to someone else’s negligence.
The accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group understand the tactics of insurance companies, and we can provide experience to your side to help you fight the insurance company for the compensation you deserve.
How Do Bicycle Accidents Happen in Spring Hill?
The Spring Hill area sees around 29 bicycle accidents annually, and nearly all of those accidents result in an injury. Spring Hill is part of the Tampa Bay region, considered one of the most dangerous areas in the nation for bicyclists. Alcohol, tourists, and distracted drivers are some of the most hazardous factors facing riders in the area. Here is a look at those and other factors resulting in Spring Hill bicycle accidents.
Where Do Spring Hill Bicycle Accidents Occur?
Spring Hill has seen quite a bit of growth in recent years, resulting in increased traffic on roadways such as County Line Road, which lies between Pasco and Hernando Counties.
Not only has the road seen an increase in traffic but also in risky driving, with drivers traveling at a high rate of speed and cutting off other drivers to merge onto the roadway. The location also poses a difficulty for injured bicyclists, as one county’s emergency workers will often respond to the scene only to determine that the crash occurred in the other county’s jurisdiction.
US 19 is another site where fast-moving traffic and the presence of bicyclists frequently mix to result in a serious injury or even fatal accident.
Alcohol impairment deprives drivers of the skills they need to operate their vehicles safely and is a major cause of all traffic accidents, including bicycle accidents. Contrary to popular belief, the deficits caused to a driver’s skills and abilities by alcohol don’t begin when the driver reaches the legal impairment level for most adult drivers of 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood.
The deficits start with the first drink and worsen as the driver consumes more alcohol quickly.
- Drunk drivers have difficulty seeing bicycles as they experience changes to vision and visual processing, including the ability to track moving targets.
- Bicyclists are unsafe even in bicycle lanes around drunk drivers, as their impairment makes it difficult to maintain lane position.
- Alcohol-impaired drivers also have difficulty controlling their speed and cannot respond appropriately in emergency driving situations. If the driver sees a bicyclist in their path, they are less likely to be able to swerve successfully to avoid colliding with the rider. Because of the force created by the driver’s increased speed, the rider is more likely to suffer severe injuries.
While texting and driving are often immediately mentioned when the topic of distracted drivers arises, many things can distract a driver.
The three types of driver distractions are:
- Manual distractions cause the driver to remove their hands from the proper position on the steering wheel. Examples of manual distractions include adjusting vehicle or stereo controls, eating, drinking, or smoking.
- Visual distractions cause the driver to avert their eyes from watching the roadway. Common visual distractions include attending to pets or children in the back seat, looking for an object on the floor or in the back seat while driving, or even looking at other people or vehicles on the roadway.
- Cognitive distractions cause the driver’s mind to stray from driving safely. Common mental distractions include daydreaming, thinking about work, or visiting with passengers.
Texting and driving is a concern because the activity simultaneously causes the driver to take a hand from the steering wheel, look down at their phone, and think about something other than driving safely. In fact, in the time it takes a driver to read or reply to a text, their vehicle can travel the length of a football field while not attending to the roadway. This is plenty of time for bicyclists to enter the travel lane without the driver knowing.
In 2015, Hernando County—part of the nine-county region that makes up Florida’s Nature Coast—rebranded itself as the Adventure Coast to develop its own identity. At the same time, the Good Neighbor Trail was completed, providing bicyclists with the opportunity to ride from the Withlacoochee State Forest into downtown Brooksville.
The effort paid off, and the county began seeing more visitors to the area than ever before. The county has since started to host significant cycling events, including the Bike Florida Spring Tour.
While providing trails for bicyclists has been a help in drawing tourists to the area, it hasn’t helped reduce the number of negligent drivers in the area. Instead, tourists in motor vehicles add another layer of danger to the congested roadways, as they are often unfamiliar with the road and prone to making errors while trying to find their destination.
Drivers Who Fail to Yield the Right-of-Way
Bicycles are considered vehicles in Florida, and riders are granted the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users. They must ride their bicycles on the road, either in or out of a bicycle lane, and yield at stop lights and stop signs. Likewise, drivers on the road are required to yield to bicyclists at certain times as well.
A common statement commonly made by motorists who have been in an accident with a bicyclist is that they didn’t even see the rider coming. Bicycles have slimmer, smaller profiles than motor vehicles do and fewer lights. Additionally, drivers often experience inattentional blindness in chaotic situations, which makes it more difficult to spot bicycles. Inattentional blindness is not a medical condition but simply how the brain prioritizes information in a busy environment such as a Spring Hill intersection.
The driver’s mind will focus on the biggest hazards, such as commercial vehicles and large pickup trucks while failing to register more minor dangers. While inattentional blindness is not an intentional deficit, drivers must ensure that a travel lane is clear before merging or turning into it.
Many motorists do not support sharing the road with bicyclists and become irritated or annoyed if caught driving behind one without room to pass. This can result in the driver following the bicycle closely, leading to a dangerous or even deadly situation for the rider if they slow or come to a sudden stop.
Braking a motor vehicle is a process in which the driver first notices a hazard on the roadway, responds to the danger by slamming on their brakes, and the brakes then work to pull the vehicle to a complete stop. Stopping is never instantaneous, and the heavier the vehicle is, the farther it will travel after the driver deploys the brakes. If the driver is tailgating a bicycle, they will not necessarily be able to completely stop their vehicle before a collision occurs.
Dooring accidents occur when an occupant of a motor vehicle parked alongside the roadway opens their door into a bicycle lane or travel lane and the path of an oncoming bicycle. This causes the rider to either collide with the door or forces them to swerve into an adjacent travel lane, placing them at risk of colliding with another vehicle in that lane.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
Every vehicle has a blind spot, an area around the vehicle where the driver cannot see through their rear or side view mirrors. Instead, they must twist in their seats to view this area and ensure it is clear. In smaller vehicles, the area is generally around the rear tires, while larger vehicles—including commercial trucks—have blind spots that extend the length of the vehicle. Bicyclists can become injured if drivers fail to check these areas before merging, turning, or backing up.
In Florida, motorists must ensure at least three feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle being ridden either in the bike lane or on the far-right edge of the travel lane. This additional space helps avoid the risk of the rider being knocked from their bike or off the roadway by a vehicle passing them too closely. The space also allows riders to safely move out of the bike lane to avoid dooring events in areas where motor vehicles park parallel.
The Types of Injuries Incurred in Bicycle Accidents
In terms of safety, bicyclists are at a distinct disadvantage compared to most other roadway users, as their vehicle lacks a protective frame, seat belts, airbags, and other safety features common in cars and trucks.
Additionally, the two-wheeled bicycle lacks the stability of four-wheeled vehicles. There is also an increased risk of severe injury due to the vast size and weight difference of the bicycle. Because of these issues, bicycle accidents can result in some of the most severe types of injuries that a person can experience, including catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic injuries are injuries simply due to the location on the body where they occurred—have a high likelihood of creating permanent disabilities that will hinder the sufferer’s ability to earn an income. The most common examples of catastrophic injuries involve traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, which can result from a bicycle accident.
In addition to catastrophic injuries, other types of injuries commonly experienced in Spring Hill bicycle accidents include:
- Broken bones. When a bicycle accident occurs, the most significant injuries are often when the vehicle impacts the body. This means that broken hips and legs are not uncommon injuries to be sustained in bicycle accidents. The arms and wrists are also at risk of bone fractures, as the rider has an instinctive urge to outstretch their arms when falling.
- Damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs can result in chronic pain and instability in the back.
- Facial injuries, including lacerations, damage to the rider’s teeth or eyes, or even fractures to the facial bones.
- Road rash is a deep skin abrasion that occurs when the skin makes contact with a rough surface, such as an asphalt road.
- Internal injuries result from the rider’s body colliding with the vehicle or other objects at the accident scene or the broken ends of fractured ribs puncturing internal organs.
What to Do After You Have Injuries from a Bicycle Accident
After getting injuries from a bicycle accident, there are some essential things to do to protect your ability to obtain the highest amount of compensation available for your injury.
These actions include:
- Adhering to your doctor’s treatment plans for a good chance at both a physical and financial recovery.
- Keeping receipts for your expenses, like medical and car repair bills, and any other documentation you can use to show the expenses and impacts of your injury.
- Keep a journal where you can track how often you attend medical appointments and other details about the impacts of your injury on your life.
- Obtain a copy of the police report. The police department that investigated the accident can tell you the procedure for obtaining the report.
You should take all this information to Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA when you attend a free case evaluation with one of our experienced bicycle accident attorneys.
Seeking Compensation for the Costs and Impacts of Your Injury
Individuals who have injuries from a bicycle accident in Spring Hill can seek compensation for the costs and psychological impacts of their injury through Florida’s personal injury claims process. This process generally involves filing the claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. If the provider fails to pay the claim outright or enter a settlement agreement with the claimant, it becomes a personal injury lawsuit in order for the court to make decisions on matters such as determining liability and the amount of compensation owed to the claimant.
FAQs About the Spring Hill Bicycle Accident Claims Process
The process for seeking compensation after being injured in a Spring Hill bicycle accident is often complex for those who do not have experience with personal injury law. Here are some answers to general questions about that process.
Can I seek compensation for my injuries through my PIP policy?
Florida is known as a “no-fault” state when it comes to traffic accidents. This does not mean that there is no fault for an accident. Instead, the term references the type of insurance vehicles registered in the state must have. Florida drivers must obtain at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
PIP policies cover a portion of medical expenses and wage loss associated with injuries incurred in a traffic accident, regardless of who was at fault. The law states that coverage extends to the named insured and members of their household who are in a vehicle or a vehicle has struck them. This includes those hit by a vehicle when riding a bicycle.
If you or someone in your household has a PIP policy, you can seek coverage of up to 80 percent of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses, as well as up to 60 percent of lost wages for the time after the accident in which you were too injured to work, up to the limits of the policy.
Once the expenses have exceeded the policy limit, or if you do not have a PIP policy available to seek coverage from, you can seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance policy. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today to get started.
What can I get compensation for through the personal injury claims process?
In Florida, bicycle accident claimants can seek compensation for the monetary costs they incurred due to the accident. This includes compensation for medical expenses, wage loss, loss of future earning capacity (in cases involving permanent injuries that impact the sufferer’s ability to earn an income), and property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing their bicycle and gear.
Claimants can also seek compensation for the psychological impacts they experienced as a result of the injury, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
How long do I have to file a Spring Hill bicycle accident claim?
In most cases, Spring Hill bicycle accident claimants have four years from the date of their injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. This period can be tolled (extended) in certain circumstances, including injuries to minor children in bicycle accidents.
Injured children cannot file a legal claim independently. Instead, their parent or legal guardian can file the claim within the statute of limitations, or the minor can wait until they have reached the age of majority (18) and file the claim on their own within the four-year statute of limitations.
Filing your claim within the statute of limitations is crucial to obtaining compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury. Missing this deadline will generally result in losing your right to use the court process when seeking compensation for your injury.
While a settlement agreement resolves most personal injury claims, it is still important to mind the statute of limitations, as litigation is the legal consequence for insurers who do not want to fairly compensate those injured by their insured.
If you no longer have the right to pursue litigation, there is no consequence for an insurer who does not pay the claim. When the statute of limitations has expired, the insurance company will rarely be willing to negotiate a settlement because they do not have to. Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, for help today.
How much is my bicycle accident case worth?
Personal injury claimants often want to know what their case is worth or the “average” payout on a claim like theirs. The truth is that there is no easy answer to that question due to the many variables involved in bicycle accidents.
Some considerations that can affect the value of a claim include:
- How much insurance the at-fault party has. The availability of insurance resources plays a far larger role in a claim’s value than many people realize. Insurance policies have limits. If the expenses exceed the limit of the policy, there is often a discrepancy between the amount of the expenses and impacts the claimant suffered and the amount of compensation that is available for them.
- The severity of the claimant’s injuries. The more severe the injury, the more medical expenses you will incur, and the higher the likelihood of permanent disabilities that will impact the sufferer’s ability to earn an income in the future. Lost earning capacity can be a major component of a claim for damages.
- The clarity of liability. When a driver was clearly at fault for the accident—mainly if that fault involved recklessness, such as alcohol-impaired driving—it is usually a lot easier to justify the high value of a claim than it is in accidents where multiple parties (including the bicyclist) had some fault, but no one was overwhelmingly more at fault than others.
My spouse died in a Spring Hill bicycle accident. Can I seek compensation?
When an individual dies in Florida due to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty, their surviving family members could benefit from a wrongful death claim. An administrator of the deceased’s estate or executor of their will must file a Florida wrongful death claim to benefit the estate and surviving family members who relied on the deceased for services and support.
While the wrongful death claim process is very similar to seeking compensation for a personal injury, there are several distinct differences, including the amount of time the claimant has to file a lawsuit. Wrongful death claimants in Florida generally have two years from the date of the deceased’s death to file the claim in court.
The type of compensation you can seek through a wrongful death claim includes:
- The loss of support and services the deceased provided for their family members.
- The loss of the deceased person’s companionship, protection, comfort, and guidance.
- The deceased’s final medical expenses and the costs of a funeral service and burial or cremation.
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings from the time of the injury until the time of death.
- The value of the earnings the deceased would have likely made through their career if they had survived the accident.
How do I prove that the driver who hit my bicycle was liable?
One of the cornerstones to having a successful outcome to your personal injury claim is the ability to provide that someone else was responsible for the accident.
To prove liability, you must show:
- The at-fault driver owed a duty of care to other roadway users to prevent harm by operating their vehicle safely and legally.
- A breach in the duty owed by the driver occurred when they took reckless or careless actions contrary to the notion of preventing harm. These actions can include drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, dooring, and several other driver behaviors known to result in bicycle accidents.
- Because of the breach, you suffered an injury in a Spring Hill bicycle accident. This injury caused you to incur expenses and psychological impacts.
I cannot afford a lawyer. Can I file my bicycle accident claim on my own?
Many people fail to seek the assistance of a lawyer when navigating the personal injury claims process, not because they do not want the help but because they do not believe they can afford the lawyer’s services. However, this is not true. Most personal injury lawyers use a contingent fee billing method that allows their clients to wait to pay for their services until they have received compensation for the claim.
Here is how it works:
- When you and your lawyer decide to begin working together on your claim, they will ask you to sign a contingent fee agreement. This agreement outlines your lawyer’s services and designates you to pay the lawyer a percentage of the compensation received.
- The lawyer and their legal team can begin working on the claim immediately, as they do not have to wait for an upfront investment for you to “retain” their services. Work can continue without the client worrying about receiving hourly charges and staying current on their payments to the lawyer.
- After the claim, the compensation received through a negotiated settlement or a court decision is sent directly to your lawyer. They will deposit these funds in a trust. The lawyer withdraws their payment from the trust. They can also help their client to settle any medical liens placed on the award.
- Once the lawyer has been paid, and the liens have been satisfied, they will meet with the client to sign documentation finalizing the case. The client receives an accounting of the services provided, the payment received, and payments to lienholders. The claimant receives the remainder of the compensation.
An experienced personal injury lawyer protects their client’s right to file a claim. They also protect the claim’s value from the tactics that insurance companies commonly use to reduce or eliminate a claim’s worth and aggressively advocate for their client’s right to the maximum compensation available.
Some of the services the legal team provides to support these goals include:
- Investigating the claim to determine all sources of liability and the associated insurance policies that the claimant can access to obtain compensation for the expenses and impacts of the claimant’s injury.
- Establishing a value to the claim that considers factors such as the severity of the injury, the impacts that the injury will likely have on the claimant’s future ability to earn an income, and the often profound psychological consequences of sustaining serious injuries.
- Gathering the evidence and documentation needed to prove the claim.
- Negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to garner a settlement that fairly compensates the claimant for their injury.
- Filing the claim as a personal injury lawsuit in civil court within the statute of limitations and representing the case during the court process through the filing of motions, responses to motions, jury selection, and pre-trial conferences.
- Litigation services, including witness depositions, the preparation of evidence exhibits, the delivery of opening and closing arguments, and the examination of witnesses.
- Assistance with receiving the compensation from a negotiated settlement or court award and satisfying medical liens placed on the award.
- Guidance and information throughout the process can assist the claimant in making crucial decisions in their case, such as accepting a settlement or filing a lawsuit.
In an instant, a bicycle accident can permanently change a person’s life, leaving them with permanent injuries, mounting expenses, and even a lifetime of medical treatment.
While it is impossible to fully restore everything lost when a severe injury occurs, a Spring Hill bicycle accident lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help you fight for the compensation available for your claim.
We will not simply settle for a low amount to resolve the claim quickly, but we can leverage our experience and reputation to help you obtain the compensation you need, whether that means another round of negotiations or going to court.
Speak with a Spring Hill Bicycle Lawyer at Dolman Law Group
If a negligent driver injured you in a bicycle accident in Spring Hill, an experienced attorney from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers can help you seek compensation for your injuries and assist you with your claim. Contact us online or by calling (352) 612-3437.
Spring Hill Office Location
10485 Heley St.
Spring Hill, FL 34609