Gainesville Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicyclists face unique challenges on Florida’s roads. Careless drivers, bad weather, hazardous road conditions, and many other threats on the road can exacerbate these difficulties. When accidents with motor vehicles occur, a cyclist’s minimal protective equipment can often lead to serious injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a Florida bicycle accident that was someone else’s fault, a personal injury claim can help you find the compensation you need. Make sure you get help from an experienced bicycle accident lawyer in Florida who knows how to fight for you.
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys are focused on helping you get the compensation they deserve. Based in Gainesville, FL, we’re available to help bike accident victims throughout Alachua County and throughout the state. For a free consultation about your case, call us or use our online contact form today.
Compensation After a Bike Accident in Florida
After a bike accident in Florida, there may be several types of compensation available for your losses. The types and amount will depend upon the unique circumstances of your case. However, there are common forms of compensation, including:
- Compensation for your medical bills and medical treatment.
Collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists can potentially lead to severe injuries like brain trauma and fractures. You may need extensive medical treatment after an accident, time in a hospital, and physical therapy for months or even years afterward. A bicycle accident claim may include the cost for any past, present, or future medical treatment related to the crash.
- Compensation for the wages you miss out on after an accident, and compensation for lost opportunities in the future.
A bicycle accident can put you out of work for a long time. Your injuries may also hurt your ability to earn money in the future. A bicycle accident claim may include compensation for the income you lose due to your injuries, and the opportunities you may lose in the future.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering.
A bike accident may leave you with lasting physical and emotional pain. Physical pain may hang around for years and prevent you from doing the activities you once loved. When an accident leaves you with mental pain, severe problems such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety may develop. Our experienced bike accident lawyers will work with you and medical professionals to understand your pain and how much compensation you may be entitled to.
- Compensation for property damage.
In a crash, it’s common for a bicycle to be destroyed. Bicycles are no match for motor vehicles, and even a minor impact can total your bike. A bike accident claim may include compensation for your bicycle, your clothing, your helmet, and any other personal possessions that were damaged or destroyed during the accident.
- Punitive damages may be available in a bike accident case.
Punitive damages are a special type of extra damages that a court can add to your award. In Florida, punitive damages may be available when the defendant’s conduct was intentional or reckless and resulted in your injuries. Punitive damages are a unique type of compensation, and their availability will depend upon your case.
Determining Fault In Bicycle Accidents
In Florida, bicycle accidents are treated similarly to other motor vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Cyclists are generally expected to follow the same legal duties and rules as other drivers, with few exceptions.
If a bicyclist acts negligently, such as not wearing a helmet, cycling under the influence, or ignoring right of way, this can impact the determination of fault. However, a significant number of severe bicycle crashes in Florida occur due to the negligence of other drivers.
Such negligence can include situations where drivers are drunk, texting while driving, not watching for cyclists when turning, disregarding traffic signs, or violating other traffic laws. If another driver is found responsible, a bicycle accident attorney will work diligently to help prove another driver owed you a duty of care.
Depending on the specifics of the accident, other parties might be responsible for injuries or fatalities, including government agencies or municipalities, bicycle manufacturers, or manufacturers of faulty bike parts.
After an initial consultation, our law firm can begin thoroughly and independently investigating the crash. We’ll work to find out what really happened, and who was actually responsible for your injuries.
Florida Statute Of Limitations For Bike Accident Injury Claims
Florida operates under a statute of limitations, which sets a specific timeframe within which legal action must be initiated for bike accident injury claims. Bike accident victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a suit for their injuries and any damage to their property. If someone dies due to a bike accident, a representative of their estate may bring a wrongful death suit within two years from the date of death.
There may be rare circumstances where you have a longer amount of time, but it’s important to know that courts usually enforce these limits without question. That means if you fail to file a suit within the legal time limits, you may lose your right to compensation.
If you’ve been injured, don’t wait to start your claim. As years pass by, evidence may be lost, witnesses may be harder to contact, and your claim may become more difficult. By starting the process quickly, you’re protecting yourself, your bicycle accident claim, and your rights.
What To Do After Getting Into A Bicycle Accident
Experiencing a bicycle accident can be a disorienting and distressing event. Knowing the right steps to take in the aftermath is crucial for both your immediate well-being and any potential legal proceedings. Here’s what to do after getting into a bicycle accident:
1. Assess Your Injuries
Prioritize your safety and well-being. Before anything else, assess yourself for injuries. If you’re able to, move to a safe location off the road to prevent further harm.
2. Gather Information
Exchange information with the other parties involved. Obtain their names, contact details, driver’s license information, vehicle license plate numbers, and insurance information. Collect contact information from any witnesses as well.
3. Take Photos
Document the scene. Use your phone to take photos of the accident site, the vehicles involved, any visible injuries, road conditions, traffic signals, and signage. Visual evidence can be crucial in reconstructing the sequence of events.
4. Call The Police
Even if the accident seems minor, involving the police is important. They can create an official report that documents the accident’s details, which can serve as valuable evidence for insurance claims or potential legal actions.
5. Consider Contacting A Bike Accident Lawyer
If injuries or significant damages are involved, consulting a bike accident lawyer is advisable. They can provide legal guidance, help you understand your rights, and ensure you’re taking the appropriate steps for seeking compensation.
What If the Driver Fled the Scene of the Bike Crash?
Bicyclists are uniquely vulnerable on the road, and when a driver flees the scene, cyclists need to act fast to protect themselves. If you’re involved in an accident where the driver hit you and flees the scene, do your best to capture the license plate number and description of the vehicle that hit you. If you didn’t catch it, immediately talk with those in the area to see if anyone else did.
If you were injured and unable to get that information, and there were no witnesses, there may be other ways to get information about the driver. A personal injury lawyer can work with local authorities, talk with individuals and businesses who may have a video of the accident, and work diligently to uncover the identity of the person who hit you.
In some hit-and-run crashes, the responsible driver may never be found. Even if you are in this situation, you may still have an avenue for recovery under Florida law. If you have auto insurance that includes uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you may be entitled to benefits under that policy – even though you weren’t driving your car at the time. Our Florida personal injury lawyers are prepared to pursue every option for your recovery.
Tips for Protecting Your Rights After a Florida Bike Accident
Protect yourself, your rights, and your claim by following the tips below:
- Contact emergency medical services and get the care you need. Bike accidents can lead to severe injuries, and it’s critical to get care as fast as you can. In some cases, prompt medical care can mean the difference between a quick recovery and a lasting injury.
- Even if you feel okay after an accident, it’s still important to get a full medical evaluation. Injuries such as brain damage, internal injuries, and many others may only show up after time has passed. A comprehensive medical assessment will protect your health, and your claim, by identifying and documenting your injuries.
- Collect the driver’s contact and insurance policy information. After an accident, the responsible party’s insurance may be an important source of compensation.
- Write down the names and contact info of any witnesses to the accident. After an accident, witnesses may disappear quickly, so it’s essential to get their contact information before they’re gone. Ask someone on the scene to help if you are unable to do it yourself.
- Photograph and video the scene of the bike accident and the surrounding areas. Take pictures of any damage to your bike, damage to the motor vehicle, license plates, and anything else in the accident scene that may be helpful. This includes skid marks and any other relevant details. Also make sure that you capture the environment around the accident scene including lighting, visibility, signage, and other details. Every accident tells a story, and the more photos you can take, the better. If you are injured and unable to photograph the scene, see if there is someone who could take pictures for you.
- Contact the local authorities. Local police should arrive on the scene and prepare a report about the accident. When you’re talking with them, give only the facts you know and don’t accept or blame for the crash or speculate about its cause.
- Don’t give recorded statements to insurers. Insurance companies may contact you after an accident and ask for recorded statements. This is standard procedure for them, but they’re not doing it for your benefit. If you make any mistakes or misremember a detail, they may use that statement against you later on. Before you make any recorded statements, speak with a lawyer about your accident.
- Get help from an experienced bike accident lawyer. Bike accidents can leave you injured, exhausted, and confused about your next steps. A personal injury attorney can handle any discussions with the insurance companies, prepare your claim, and fight for your compensation every step of the way.
Causes Of Bike Accidents In Gainesville, Florida
Florida’s warm climate and scenic routes make it an inviting destination for cyclists. However, the popularity of cycling also comes with its own set of challenges, as the state witnesses a significant number of bike accidents every year.
While Florida bike laws are put into place to help keep cyclists safe on the road, other drivers may not fully adhere to these regulations. Similar to accidents involving motor vehicles, there are several causes of bike accidents.
One of the most significant threats to cyclists is drivers who are not paying full attention to the road. The rise of smartphones and in-car entertainment systems has resulted in a surge of distracted driving incidents. When a driver’s eyes or mind is not on the road, they can easily overlook a cyclist.
Driver Fatigue or Drowsiness
A tired driver is a dangerous driver. Fatigued or drowsy drivers often have slowed reaction times and impaired judgment. Such a state can lead to mistakes that can put a bicyclist at high risk.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs greatly diminishes a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Reduced coordination, blurred vision, and impaired judgment can lead to severe accidents, especially involving vulnerable road users like cyclists.
A car traveling at high speeds is more likely to cause severe injuries or fatalities in the event of a collision. Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time and can make it harder to spot a cyclist, especially in areas with limited visibility.
Not Leaving an Adequate Buffer
Cyclists require a safe distance from motor vehicles to avoid being sideswiped or forced off the road. When drivers fail to leave an adequate buffer, it can result in dangerous situations for both parties.
Traffic Weaving and Unsafe Lane Changes
Erratic maneuvers, like weaving in and out of traffic or changing lanes without signaling, can catch cyclists off guard. These unpredictable actions can lead to dire consequences if a cyclist is in the driver’s blind spot or nearby.
Failing to Yield
All road users, including cyclists, have the right to use the road. When drivers don’t yield the right of way to cyclists at intersections or roundabouts, it can lead to dangerous collisions.
Failing to Look Before Turning
Drivers who don’t properly check for cyclists before making a turn can cause serious accidents, especially when cyclists are in blind spots.
Failing to Stop at a Red Light or Stop Sign
Disregarding traffic signals and signs endangers all road users. Cyclists crossing intersections can be particularly vulnerable to drivers who fail to stop as required.
What Are Some of the Consequences of Gainesville Bicycle Accidents?
Bicycle accidents in Gainesville can lead to severe and lasting impacts for the victims. Firstly, the physical repercussions are often immediate and can range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, or even fatalities. The lack of protective barriers for cyclists compared to car occupants makes them more susceptible to these injuries.
Beyond the physical consequences, the psychological and financial consequences can also be profound. Accident victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, or fear of returning to the road. Additionally, the mounting medical bills, potential loss of wages, and bike repair or replacement costs can strain one’s finances. This adds yet another layer of distress to an already challenging situation.
Common Bike Accident Injuries
Bicycling exposes riders to certain risks on the road. When accidents occur, cyclists, lacking the protective shell that vehicles offer, often bear the brunt of the impact. Below are some of the most common bike accident injuries:
- Cuts and abrasions
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Dental and facial injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
While bicycle helmets can help reduce the severity of some injuries, they may not prevent all of them. It’s best for cyclists to always be aware of their surroundings and follow all applicable traffic laws to ensure their safety.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident in Gainesville or South Florida, our experienced Florida bicycle accident attorneys can develop a legal strategy, prepare any evidence, and zealously fight for you in any proceedings. We’re proud of the work we do for clients, and we’re available to help you. Call us or use our online contact form today.