Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Pensacola, FL
There is nothing more terrifying to a cyclist than the prospect of being struck by a car. But bicycle accidents happen every day throughout the United States, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that bicycle accidents account for over two percent of all traffic-related deaths. And in Florida, fatal bicycle accidents are especially common.
When a bicycle accident occurs through no fault of his or her own, someone needs to be held responsible. At the law offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A., our bicycle accident attorneys are prepared to investigate your case and help you to bring forth a claim for damages. We are passionate about representing cyclists harmed in crashes in seeking the justice they deserve.
How Bicycle Accidents Happen
Like most other traffic accidents, bicycle accidents are completely preventable and occur due to the negligence of one or both parties involved. How often is it the fault of the motorist? Well, while some accidents are caused by the irresponsible actions of cyclists, such as swerving between traffic or failing to yield at stop signs and traffic lights, motorists are often to blame for cyclists’ injuries and deaths. Top causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Failure to look when turning right. One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents is a motorist making a right-hand turn when a cyclist is traveling straight through an intersection, but is riding to the right of the motor vehicle. As the two approach the intersection, the car may turn right, failing to see the cyclist, and therefore striking them.
- Failing to yield when turning left. Another common cause of accident is a motorist’s failure to yield to a cyclist who is traveling straight through an intersection when the motorist is making a left-hand turn. This often occurs because cyclists are much smaller and harder to see.
- Dooring incidents. One tragic bicycle accident type that occurs is when a cyclist is riding to the right of traffic on the shoulder of the road, or perhaps even riding in a designated bike lane, and a door on the driver’s side of a vehicle opens. In this case, it may catch the cyclist by surprise, either hitting them, creating a barrier that they hit, or forcing them into oncoming traffic.
- Negligence-based incidents. In addition to the types of accidents listed above, any time a driver acts negligently around a bicyclist, an accident is possible. Negligent acts that can cause or contribute to an accident include speeding, driving while intoxicated or impaired, tailgating, illegally changing lanes, and failing to yield. This list is not inclusive.
Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle accidents can cause severe and even fatal injuries. When not fatal, injuries may be so serious that they prevent a cyclist from ever returning to life as normal, or perhaps ever again mounting a bike. Common injuries include:
- Road rash/road burn. A cyclist who is hit will almost always fall off their bike and contact the ground. This can lead to road rash/road burn injuries that are very painful, and sometimes even disfiguring depending upon severity and location.
- Bone fracture injuries. Bone fracture injuries are very common. Collarbone and wrist fractures are especially typical, as a cyclist may extend their arm to “break” their fall. Fractures in other parts of the body, including the spine, are very possible as well.
- Head and brain injuries. The most vulnerable part of the body is the brain, and if a cyclist is hit and their head contacts a solid object–such as the ground–a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is possible. The risk is increased if the cyclist is not wearing a helmet at the time.
- Spinal cord injuries. One of the most tragic injuries is a spinal cord injury, which occurs when the spinal cord is impacted during a crash. These injuries are not reversible, meaning that the affected victim will have to live with partial or complete paralysis for the rest of their life.
Other injuries include internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, external injuries (lacerations and bruises), and psychological injuries. Physical and psychological injuries can also impact one’s ability to work and earn an income, care for him or herself, and more. Indeed, a cyclist seriously injured in a crash may incur a range of economic and noneconomic losses.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident in Florida
The first priority after a bicycle crash or any type of traffic-related accident is to ensure that everyone is okay. So, the first call you should make is to 911 to bring an ambulance to the scene. Everyone involved in the crash should be checked over by a first responder, just to be on the safe side.
Gather Information at the Scene
Although the police will produce an official report that will be relied upon heavily with any legal claim, it is also very good idea for you to gather your own information and create your own report. Exchange contact and insurance information with the others involved in the crash. Also take multiple photos of the accident scene and your injuries and note if there are any traffic cameras nearby from which video footage could be captured.
Be Careful What You Say About the Accident
When interacting with others involved, be courteous, but never apologize or admit any kind of fault for the accident. In Florida, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, they amount of compensation you receive for any injuries you might have sustained will be reduced. It is best to say as little as possible about the accident and leave the determination of fault for the experts to sort out.
See a Doctor as Soon as Possible
Although you will be checked out by a first responder at the scene, some injuries are not felt or detected until later on after the adrenaline rush wears off. For this reason, it is very important to go in for a full medical examination as soon as you can after the crash. The sooner any injuries you have are discovered, the sooner you can get properly treated and on the road to recovery.
Call the Police
Whenever there is an accident, the police should be called to the scene, even if there are only minor injuries. It is very important to bring the police, because they will help secure the scene and ensure that everyone is out of the way of traffic, and they will produce an official report about what happened.
Your Rights if Hit by a Car
You deserve to be compensated for the full extent of your injuries when a motorist hits you. If you are injured in a crash, you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or file a lawsuit directly against the other driver. Through either, you can seek the full extent of damages you’ve suffered, including compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and all other losses. You also have the right to seek competent legal representation in your pursuit of damages.
Bicycle Accident Statute of Limitations
The state of Florida mandates that if you are going to file a civil action for recovery after an accident based on negligence, you file the suit within four years from the date of the cause of action. If you fail to act within this statute of limitations, you will be barred from recovery indefinitely.
How Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
Some describe riding a bike as taking your life in your hands every time you enter a roadway, and to some extent, this is true. Riding a bicycle can be dangerous, and hundreds of crashes are reported on an annual basis. However, our lawyers can help you to seek compensation for your damages if you ever suffer through a crash. When you call the law offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A., our Florida injury attorneys will get to work on your case immediately. We not only know how to investigate bicycle accidents to prove fault and negligence, but how to negotiate with insurance adjusters to maximize settlements.
For more information about how we can help you, contact us for a free consultation. You can reach us at 1-888-219-4561, or by visiting our law office in person today!