While in the mid-1900s bicycles were primarily considered the purview of children, by the turn of the century they had become a means of adult fitness as well as recreation. Now, bicycles are an accepted means of local commutation and/or city travel. Current desires to keep in shape, save money on gasoline, minimize pollution, and navigate traffic jams more easily have combined to make bicycle riding extremely popular.
Decades ago, when bicycles were being used by children on small, intra-community streets and often on sidewalks, the hazards of bicycle riding were few — mostly limited to badly scraped knees. These days, however, with bicycles being used to navigate metropolitan areas crowded with traffic, and to travel larger roads to jobs miles away, the hazards for bicyclists have increased exponentially. Even with helmets (not required for adults in Florida), the vulnerability of bicyclists is enormous.
How Staples, Ellis + Associates Can Help
If you, or someone you love, has been injured in a bicycle accident due to the negligence or recklessness of the driver of a car or other vehicle, our skilled bicycle accident attorneys are ready to negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or his or her insurance company, or, if necessary, to take the issue to court. We have an excellent record of successful outcomes and will fight vigorously for your right to obtain just compensation for your trauma and its aftermath.
Common Bicycle Accident Injuries
Because other vehicles on the road are much larger, heavier, and faster than bicycles, cyclists suffer much more serious injuries than drivers if the two collide. Even if the driver makes no physical contact with the cyclist, if his or her illegal action endangers the cyclist, the driver can be held responsible for the cyclist’s injuries. If, for example, the driver makes an illegal turn, cutting the cyclist off, and as a result, the cyclist falls and is seriously injured, the driver can be sued for damages.
Injuries that bicyclists may suffer include:
- Head injuries and/or traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured limbs or other bones
- Torn ligaments
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
How Fault Is Determined in a Collision Between a Car and a Bicycle
Not all bicyclists are aware that they are legally obligated to obey the same traffic regulations as cars. This means bicyclists, like motorists, should:
- Ride with, not against, traffic
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and traffic regulations
- Have both front and rear lights and reflectors on their bicycles
- Make hand signals to indicate turns or changes of lane
In addition, cyclists are required by law to wear reflective clothing so motorists will see them after dark or during bad weather. Both drivers and cyclists are expected to pay attention while driving or riding, not be distracted by headsets or text messages, and not to be impaired by alcohol or drugs. Determining fault for a bicycle-car accident is especially important in Florida, a state that uses a pure comparative negligence standard.
Pure Comparative Negligence in Florida
Pure comparative negligence means that the court determines whether only one of the parties involved is at fault or whether each party shares a percentage of blame. If the latter applies in your case, for example, if the driver made an illegal turn but your bicycle was not properly equipped with lights, the court may decide that you were partially responsible for the accident. Depending on the particular circumstances, the court will assign you a percentage of responsibility which will then be deducted from the damages you win. So, if the court finds you 20 percent responsible for the accident and then awards you damages in the amount of $100,000, you will actually receive $80,000.
Compensation Our Bicycle Accident Attorneys Can Win for You
If you have been seriously injured in a bicycle accident and someone else is at least partially at fault, the highly capable bicycle accident attorneys at Staples, Ellis + Associates will offer you a free consultation to evaluate your case. If we believe you are entitled to collect damages, we will collect evidence from the police and from doctors who have treated you. We will also examine the site of the accident, take any necessary photographs, and interview any witnesses. Moreover, we have the resources to bring in experts in various fields if it will help us to support your claim.
You are entitled to two types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are designed to reimburse you for all measurable expenses related to your injuries. These may include, depending on your age and the type of injury you sustained:
- Medical and rehabilitative courses
- Property damages
- Loss of income (present and future)
- Long-term healthcare
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are meant to compensate you for more intangible harm, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or impairment
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It is also possible, in cases that involve particularly abominable behavior on the part of the individual responsible, such as driving while impaired by drugs, to have punitive damages awarded. These are damages designed to punish the guilty person and to serve as a warning to anyone else contemplating such egregious behavior.
Contact Our Pensacola Bicycle Accident Lawyer
When you have suffered a serious injury in a bicycle accident, you have enough to contend without trying to negotiate with insurance companies or trying to untangle the complexities of legal matters. When you call on Staples, Ellis + Associates, you can rest assured that you will be supported by a team of Pensacola personal injury attorneys who have a great deal of experience with bicycle accidents. We know exactly what we’re doing and we do it well. Give us a call or contact us through our website. We will give you the compassionate, respectful service you deserve.