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Many people ride a bicycle to stay in shape, others do so because it is an enjoyable way to get around. But when traveling on Florida roadways, riding a bike can be dangerous.

In 2019 alone, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that there were 6,590 bicycle crashes across the state. These accidents resulted in about 160 fatalities.

When a bike collides with a vehicle, it can mean serious injury for the bicyclist. The cyclist can suffer spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and may even die. Many drivers are usually not on the lookout for bicycles, and this lack of attention increases the risk of a bicycle accident.

If you have been the victim of a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, depending on the circumstances of your case. To prove your case, you must establish that the driver’s negligence was the cause of your injury.

Bicycle accident claims have a similar process as car accident claims. However, there are certain legal issues that are unique to bikes. These claims can also be quite complicated to prove. But with the help of an experienced Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer, you can receive compensation from the negligent person.

What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Clearwater, Florida?

The number one cause of severe bicycle accidents in Clearwater, Florida, is speeding. Speeding by a car, truck, and other motor vehicle drivers can lead to severe injuries and even death. Other common causes of bike accidents include:

  • Running red lights
  • Making an illegal left or U-turn. There can be a collision with an oncoming bicyclist on the opposite lane.
  • Not giving bicyclists sufficient space to pass while driving
  • Illegally entering a bike lane
  • Opening a car door without checking to see if a bicyclist was approaching
  • Careless or inattentive driving (who may be making a call or texting while driving)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Bicycle accidents can also be caused by non-driver factors. These factors can include:

  • Roadway hazards
  • Unmarked construction sites
  • Construction site debris
  • Sand or gravel and other objects left on roadways

If the bicycle accident was due to a dangerous road condition, you might be entitled to compensation from the city or public agency. Therefore, you should not delay in contacting a Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer.

Common Types of Bicycle Accident Injuries

Bike accidents often result in very severe injuries. These injuries can range from a traumatic brain injury to spinal cord injury, and much worse injuries. More catastrophic injuries can even result in death.

Bicycle riders barely have protection. They do not have any special covering like drivers of cars or trucks. So, any impact with a motorist and/or pavement can cause a wide range of injuries. Due to this lack of protection, bike accidents can be more devastating than car accidents and even truck accidents.

If the bicyclist is thrown into traffic, to the ground, or against another object, they can sustain the following types of serious injuries:

#1. Traumatic Brain Injuries

When a bicycle accident occurs, the cyclist can suffer traumatic brain injuries if their head makes contact with any object. This can happen even when the cyclist is wearing a helmet.

The head trauma may be mild or severe. The cyclist may only suffer concussions. However, more serious head injuries can cause damage that can leave a devastating effect. Severe brain injuries can hurt the victim for days, weeks, or even months.

These severe traumatic brain injuries may arise from skull fractures or even objects penetrating into the cyclist’s brain. This can result in cognitive or physical disabilities that can affect the cyclist for the rest of their lives.

#2. Spinal Cord Injuries

A bike accident can cause injuries that can damage or penetrate a part of the spinal column. The collision between a bike and a vehicle can injure ligaments, discs, nerves, or vertebrae, resulting in spinal cord injuries.

Spinal cord injuries usually lead to significant complications. They can make the victim suffer chronic pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and even paralysis below the site of the injuries.

#3. Fractures and Broken Bones

The force of the collision in bicycle accidents can easily break a person’s bones. The cyclist could break their arms, legs, hips, hands, fingers, or facial bones.

Many times, these injuries require emergency medical treatments. The cyclist may need treatments for immobilization and traction or even emergency and reconstructive surgeries.

These types of injuries result in enormous pain and suffering. And not only that, but bone injuries can also lead to secondary issues. These may be in the form of substantial and overwhelming medical expenses, lost income due to inability to work, and a reduction in the quality of life.

#4. Head or Neck Injury

Serious bike crashes can lead to head and neck injuries. These kinds of injuries require immediate medical attention and can have very costly consequences. The bicyclist would require emergency medical care to avoid permanent consequences.

Other types of injuries that a cyclist can suffer if in a Clearwater bike accident include:

  • Scrapes and cuts
  • Bruises
  • Road rash
  • Dislocations
  • Internal injuries
  • Dental injury
  • Physical scars
  • Paralysis

Some of these injuries can have long-term effects and even lead to death. Bicyclists may also suffer emotionally and psychologically from the trauma of a bike accident.

Thankfully, if you’ve been a victim of a Clearwater bicycle accident, you can seek compensation for these injuries and other accident-related losses. A Clearwater bike accident lawyer can help you get compensation for any type of severe injury that you have suffered.

What to Do If You Get Hit By a Bike?

Safety is key when riding a bicycle. To reduce the rate of Clearwater bicycle accidents, bicyclists need to observe certain safety measures. The most important safety tips for Florida bicyclists include:

  • Wearing a helmet,
  • Using protective and reflective gear,
  • Wearing bright clothing,
  • Observing proper bike maintenance, and
  • Following traffic laws.

However, even after taking all safety measures, you can still be involved in a bike accident. Knowing what to do immediately afterward can make a difference in how well your rights are protected.

  • Receive medical treatment: Bicycle accidents can be pretty serious. As such, if you are involved in a bicycle collision, ensure that you get proper medical attention right away. Get a doctor to examine you. The doctor may then recommend medication, additional tests, and rehabilitation. Ensure you keep a record of all the expenses.
  • Call the police: If you get in a bicycle accident, call the police as soon as possible. This is very important, especially if there are serious injuries, death, or considerable damage to property. When you contact the police, be honest with them as you report the accident. However, you must be aware that your statements will be recorded and can be used in court. So don’t cave to any pressure to admit fault for the accident. At this point, it’s better to contact an attorney to be present with you as you give your statement.
  • Record all-important details: If you can, write down the contact information of the negligent driver. If you cannot, try to note the license plate number or other identifying characteristics of the vehicle. It is essential to do this, particularly if the accident was a hit and run. Documenting the accident may also include taking pictures of any injuries, road conditions, and damage to your bicycle. Also, write down all you recollect of how the crash happened. Do this while the facts are still fresh in your mind. Additionally, if there were any witnesses, try to get their contact information.
  • Get a Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer: At some point after the accident, the driver’s insurance company may contact you. You must remember that insurance companies typically represent their own interests. So, you must be careful about what you tell them. Don’t accept any offers quickly. The settlement negotiations process can be long and difficult. You could end up getting only a quarter of the compensation due you.

So the best thing to do is to have a Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer on your side. Direct all communication with the insurance company to your lawyer. An expert bicycle accident lawyer will also help you take your claims before the court if negotiations fail. At Denmon Pearlman, our bicycle accident attorneys are ready to aggressively fight for you. Let us do all the work.

How Do I Prove Negligence After a Bicycle Accident in Clearwater?

If you have suffered any injuries in a bicycle accident, whether bicycle or pedestrian accident, you must prove that the driver was negligent before your claim can stand.

However, all bicycle accidents are not caused by a driver. If the accident was not caused by a negligent driver, you might still have a lawsuit. For example, if the accident happened because of a hazard in the road, the roadway hazard could be the evidence of negligence. Other examples of negligence include broken street lights, unmarked potholes, uncovered drains or manholes, and objects left in the street.

You may have a claim if you can prove that someone has been negligent. The negligent person may be a local property owner, business, or even the city. As long as the person failed to act reasonably under the circumstances, you have a claim. But it does not end there. You also have to prove that this negligence caused your injury.

If your injury was caused by a malfunction on your bike, then you may have a claim against the manufacturer. These kinds of cases are known as product liability cases.

Product liability cases can be complex to prove. That is why it is really helpful to hire a qualified Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer. The bicycle accident lawyer will help you navigate the complex areas of your trial. They will defend your rights and keep you informed on all that you need to know as your lawsuit progresses.

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit After A Bicycle Accident In Clearwater?

If you have been injured in a bike accident or you know someone who has, then it is best to begin the process of filing your claim right away.

Under Florida law, injured bicyclists have up to four years to file a personal injury claim. However, where there has been a wrongful death, the victim’s relatives have up to two years to file a lawsuit for compensation.

The costs to consider when filing a claim includes hardship that affects your health, your ability to work, and your bike.

Contact a lawyer for bike accidents as soon as you can. That’s the best way to recover monetary damages quickly. The attorneys at Denmon Pearlman can help with your case while you focus on healing both physically and mentally.

What If I Share Some of the Blame for the Bike Accident?

In Clearwater, cyclists have rights just like other vehicle drivers out on the roads. They also have legal responsibilities and are required to follow the rules of the road. This means that cyclists can actually be the ones at fault for an accident. This is the case even if the cyclist gets an injury from the crash.

If the accident was also the fault of another driver, it becomes “contributory negligence.” This means that the actions of the cyclist, as well as that of the other driver, contributed to the crash. However, even if you think you may have contributed to the bicycle crash, you may still be entitled to compensation.

Keep in mind that if you were partially at fault for the accident, the damages awarded to you might be reduced. But as long as you were not entirely at fault, you should still be entitled to some compensation. This is, of course, if the other party was more at fault than you were.

Calculating fault and compensation in these circumstances can be complicated. As a result, it is important to immediately contact a Clearwater bicycle accident attorney once the accident happens so you can build a good understanding of your rights in the circumstances.

What Type of Compensation Can I Seek After Being Hurt in a Bicycle Accident?

Generally, if you have been in a bike accident, you are entitled to certain monetary compensation. But the actual amount of compensation that you will get depends on the circumstances of your case.

The different types of compensation that you may seek if you have been in a bicycle accident include:

  • Cost of Bike Repairs: This is the first compensation to seek. You are entitled to compensation for any damage that happened to your bike in the course of the accident. These include the cost of repairs and the cost of replacing parts.
  • Medical Bills and other Related Expenses: You are also entitled to compensation for any bodily injuries which you sustained during the crash. This includes payment for your medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and prescription drugs.
  • The Bicyclists’ Lost Income and Wages: If you are unable to do your work because of the injury, you might be entitled to your lost wages. This will also apply if you were not able to return to work in your full capacity.
  • Compensation for Pain and Suffering: You can obtain compensation for the pain and suffering that you endured from the injuries you sustained in the bike accident. This type of personal injury damage is more subjective than other types of damages. It compensates you for the physical, emotional, and psychological distress that arose because of the accident. You may even get compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Damages to Families After a Fatal Bicycle Accident: If a loved one dies in a collision with a car, you can bring a wrongful death claim on their behalf. To be able to do this, you must be either the victim’s spouse or child. Parents can also bring a wrongful death suit, as long as the child was not married and did not have any children. These kinds of suits allow a loved one to recover the value of the victim’s life. The court will take the victim’s lost lifetime earnings and other financial benefits, such as pensions, into account. It may also include medical bills incurred before the death as well as funeral/burial costs.

When Should I Contact a Bicycle Accident Lawyer After an Accident?

If you have been in a bicycle accident, immediately contact an experienced Clearwater bicycle accident lawyer. It is always better to retain a Bicycle Accident Lawyer before you start negotiations with an insurance company. They may want to pay you the lowest amount of money possible. But we can help.

At Denmon Pearlman, our bicycle accident lawyers are deeply experienced in dealing with insurance companies, and we know exactly how to help you collect the compensation you deserve. We can negotiate the best settlement deal for you.

Our skilled legal team will work tirelessly to ensure that you get due compensation for your injuries. And even if your claim goes to trial, our lawyers have experienced trial attorneys who will fight for your right to full and fair compensation.

If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your bicycle accident claim, contact us today. Our services include a free initial compensation so we can learn your story and advice you of the next steps in your case.

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