Cycling is a prevalent means of transportation in Florida, especially in the Tampa area. Some ride bicycles as a form of exercise, for some, it is a hobby, and some commute to work on a bike. However, as the number of bicycle riders on the roads increases, a bike accident also increases. You should contact a bike accident lawyer in Tampa if you or any of your loved ones get injured in a bike accident.
Over 4500 people got injured, and over 120 were killed through bike accidents in Florida, with most of them happening in Tampa. The sad thing is that most of these accidents occur because of negligence and motorists not paying proper attention while driving. Just a second of failure can be the difference between life and death.
If you get in an accident while riding a bike, you need to focus on recovering and leave the financial compensation claim in the hands of a bike accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will help you receive the maximum settlement for your injuries, medical bills, pain, and suffering.
An Overview of Bike Accidents in Tampa, Florida
With each passing year, the number of bike accidents goes up in the United States. Many citizens in Tampa have started riding bikes to protect the environment and lead a healthy lifestyle. As the number of cyclists increases, the number of accidents also increases.
The rate of deaths due to bike accidents in Florida is almost 60% more than any other state, and it leads the entire country. In 2017, nearly 800 people were killed in bike accidents in the USA, with 16% of them dying in Florida. Around 150 cyclists died because of bike accidents in Florida, out of which 44 died in Tampa.
A recent report suggests that Tampa is among the most dangerous cities in the USA when it comes to walking or riding a bicycle. Hillsborough County is another area where it is risky to ride bicycles.
Causes of Bike Accidents in Tampa, Florida
There are many motorists on Tampa roads who put bicycle riders in jeopardy by driving under the influence of banned substances, driving recklessly, using their mobile phones while driving, etc. As a bike has little to no protection, bike riders pick up serious, fatal injuries in most cases. Negligence and human error are the most common causes of bicycle accidents.
Here are some other common causes of bike accidents.
Operator errors –
If a motor vehicle driver or a bike rider makes an error while on the road, a major accident can occur. When motorists or bike riders do not stop at red lights or don’t give other vehicles the right of way, collisions take place. Some drivers don’t leave ideal space for bikers or open their car doors in a bike rider’s path. Turning very close to cyclists and not yielding to them at intersections also cause accidents.
Environment and weather conditions –
Sometimes, rough weather conditions can make it challenging to drive and reduce drivers’ visibility levels. It becomes even more difficult for cyclists during rainfall or snow, and the chances of slipping and hitting curbs or footpaths go up too. Bicycle riders commonly get injured during adverse weather. If bikers do not wear reflective, bright gear, it becomes difficult to see them at night, and many vehicles crash into bikers because of this.
High number of bicycle riders and tourists –
As the number of cyclists goes up, accidents also increase. Many tourists flock to Tampa because of the pleasant weather in the area and ride bicycles for fun. Most of these tourists are inexperienced as they don’t ride regularly and can get injured in bike accidents.
Breaking traffic rules –
Breaking standard traffic rules is a significant cause of bike accidents in Florida. Rough driving, speeding, driving in wrong lanes, not obeying traffic lights, driving close to cyclists, etc., commonly lead to bike accidents. Cyclists should also drive in their lane and maintain a proper distance from motor vehicles. They should pay extra attention to sharp left turns.
Distracted driving –
Cyclists are in danger when motor vehicle operators are distracted and do not pay proper attention to the road. Talking on the phone or texting, listening to loud music, playing videos or movies, not paying attention to the road and traffic, road rage, etc., regularly cause bike accidents. It is the duty of motorists to protect cyclists because even one second of negligence can kill someone on a bike.
Apart from the above causes, the design of intersections and roads can also put cyclists in danger. Some common reasons are:
- The lack of special lanes meant solely for cyclists.
- Not enough lighting on the roads or poorly maintained lights on the streets.
- A high number of lanes on the road.
- High-speed limits push drivers to drive fast and put cyclists at risk.
- The lack of traffic police officers and supervisors on the road.
A study concluded that there are 11 intersections in Tampa that oversee the highest number of bicycle accidents. In the past 6-7 years, there have been over 150 accidents at these intersections, and two people have died. Drivers have a duty to protect cyclists and other motorists on the road.
Most of the time, negligent drivers are at fault for causing bike accidents. It is recommended to partner with a bike accident lawyer in Tampa who can investigate and analyze your case properly and help you receive your entitled financial compensation.
Florida Bicycle Accident Law
In many cases, the cyclist does not have an insurance policy. The Florida bike accident law lets the victim file an injury compensation claim against the driver’s auto insurance policy responsible for the accident. Victims can recover money from the responsible driver’s property damage liability funds, body injury coverage, and other coverages included in the policy.
A bicycle accident victim can file for compensation against the responsible driver outside the no-fault insurance law domain if he suffers major injuries. These include major scarring, loss of certain body functions, physical disfigurement, etc.
Cars have a certain degree of protection, but cyclists do not have seat belts, airbags, a roof, etc., to protect them. Therefore, most bike accidents lead to serious injuries that cause a large amount of physical and mental trauma. If a person’s family member or friend dies in a bike accident, he can also file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
What to do Immediately After a Bike Accident?
If you get into an accident while riding a bicycle in Tampa, calling medical authorities should be your first move. This will help you make the right recovery and proceed with your compensation claim process. Partnering with an experienced bike accident attorney is also important. Most insurance companies will try to blame the accident’s victim and try to reduce the amount of financial settlement as much as possible.
Here is what you should do after the bicycle accident:
- Call for medical assistance as soon as possible. Medical authorities will start your treatment quickly and properly diagnose your injuries’ type and extent. Your medical records and injuries will help build your injury compensation claim.
- In case of serious accidents, contact the police and call them at the accident’s location. They will make sure things are under control and proceed in a legal manner.
- Talk to witnesses and bystanders regarding the accident, record their statements, and store their contact information somewhere. You must also capture photos and videos at the scene of the accident. Again, they will help you back up your injury compensation claim.
- Do not get your bike repaired immediately and let it be in the same condition it is after the accident. The damage done on it will help prove your case.
- Get in touch with a bike accident lawyer in Tampa for the proper handling of your claim. It will be difficult for an injured victim to handle everything himself. An experienced lawyer will help you receive maximum compensation for your case and not let insurance companies undermine you.
How to Prove Negligence After a Tampa Bicycle Accident?
If you want a fair amount of financial settlement, you must prove the responsible party’s negligence and role in the accident. Firstly, you have to prove these elements of negligence.
- The responsible party owed the duty of care to you
- The party did not perform this duty of care
- The party caused the bicycle accident
- You suffered hefty damage to yourself and your property
Your lawyer will investigate everything related to your case and use the available evidence to develop a strong case. You can use a variety of evidence, such as:
- Diagnosis of your injuries and medical condition after the accident, cost of treatment and medicines, rehab procedures, etc.
- Statements from bystanders and witnesses near the scene of the accident.
- The footage is recorded by a vehicle’s dashcam and by road traffic cameras.
- Law enforcement and police citations.
- Photos and videos captured by you at the accident location. You can also show the damage done to your bicycle and other personal property.
- The driver’s phone records to check if he was on the phone when the accident took place. Medical tests of the responsible driver should also be done to see if he was under the influence of banned substances when the accident occurred.
How Much Time do you Have to File a Compensation Claim or Lawsuit after a Bike Accident in Tampa?
The statute of limitations in Florida for filing a claim is four years for bicycle accidents. It seems like a long time but does not delay filing your claim. You have to take proper medical assistance and treatment to recover, which takes a long time.
Also, as time passes by, it is also possible to lose critical evidence that backs up your compensation claim. Make sure you are quick to react and can receive an ideal amount of compensation.
Compensation You Can Receive After a Bike Accident in Tampa, FL
When you get injured because of a bike accident due to another driver’s negligence or fault, you are eligible to get compensation for the injuries suffered and other trauma incurred. This includes:
Medical bills –
You are entitled to get compensation from the responsible party if you visit the emergency room or get other treatment for your injuries. Whether the injuries are severe or life-threatening, a valid record of treatment history, costs, rehab process, etc., will help you receive the settlement you deserve.
Damage to personal property –
If any of your personal property was damaged in the bike accident, you could recover money for that. You can recover money for any lost or destroyed stuff beyond repair, like your bicycle, mobile phone, backpack, glasses, helmet, etc.
Loss of wages –
If you pick up severe injuries in a bike accident, you will not be able to work until you have recovered from your injuries. As you cannot work, you are entitled to receive compensation for the lost wages equal to what you would have gotten had you worked. In case of serious injuries where you cannot work anymore or if you get fired, you can ask for compensation for future income loss.
Pain and suffering –
Unlike property damage and medical bills, it is challenging to prove pain and suffering. Maybe you got physical disfigurement and feel inadequate in social situations or developed a fear of riding bikes after the accident. Some victims face psychological issues and cannot live an everyday life anymore. You can receive compensation for both mental and physical pain and suffering.
How Can a Bike Accident Lawyer in Tampa Help You Out?
A bike accident in Tampa, FL, will cause you much physical and mental distress. Also, insurance companies try to reduce the amount of compensation you deserve, and it is hard to deal with them. You should focus on recovering properly instead of dealing with the stress of filing a claim. An experienced bike accident lawyer can do this for you. He helps you out by:
- Gives you the right advice keeping in mind all the legal rules and regulations. He will guide you at every single step of the claim filing process.
- Investigate your accident case properly from every point of view and gather as much evidence against the responsible driver as possible.
- Through the ideal evidence and experts’ help, the lawyer will curate a substantial compensation claim and back it up with evidence.
- He will evaluate all the medical bills, loss of wages, and mental and physical trauma you go through after the accident and develop an accurate and ideal amount of compensation you deserve to get.
- Negotiating with profit-driven and stubborn insurance companies who try to blame you for the accident and reduce the amount of compensation you should receive.
- If an ideal compensation amount is not agreed upon and the responsible party does not co-operate, your lawyer will help you take the case to court.
Always focus on getting a full recovery after you get into a bike accident in Tampa, and do not worry about the process of filing a compensation claim. Contact a trustworthy bike accident lawyer in Tampa to help you with this.
At Coleman Law Group, our team of experienced attorneys is here to help you. Get in touch now for a free evaluation of your case and know what can be done to make sure you get the money you deserve.