A quarter of people living in Florida ride a bicycle at least once per week, according to an AAA consumer survey. Whether for leisure, sports or an eco-friendly means of transportation, bicycles are an everyday presence on the roads, among motor vehicles. And, unfortunately, almost every day, bicycle accidents occur, changing the course of people's lives. If you are a bicycle accident victim, you need to rely on the experience and professionalism of an Orlando bicycle accident lawyer at VG Law to obtain fair compensation for your injuries, pain, medical costs and more.

We know how difficult and confusing the first days after a crash are for any bicycle rider. You are in hospital and worrry if you will be able to ride a bike ever again, or return to life as you knew it. You worry about the mounting medical bills accumulating with every day spent in hospital. On top of that, an insurance company adjuster is nagging you to sign a settlement. All bicycle accident lawyers will give you the same advice: do not settle quicky! Instead, hire an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf and file a personal injury claim that covers all your actual costs and losses.

Statistical Data on Bike Accidents in Florida

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Unfortunately, data collected by the National Highway Safety Administration are not encouraging. In 2018, 161 people died in bicycle crashes. Most accidents - 90 - occurred during weekdays. As for the hours when riders suffered bike accidents, the peak intervals are:

  • 6 a.m to 8:59 a.m. - 22.2%
  • 6 p.m. to 8:59 p.m. - 18.9%
  • 9 p.m to 11:59 p.m. - 17.8%.

As for the most frequent causes of accidents leading to bike injuries and death, these are:

  • 38.5% failure to give right of way
  • 8.7% not visible (poor light, dark clothing. etc.)
  • 6.8% failure to obey traffic signs, signals, or officer.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the driver at fault is guilty of negligence and is liable to pay compensations for your pain and suffering, as well as for your overall costs to recover from the accident.

Types of Injuries Caused By Bicycle Accidents

As the bicycle accident statistics above prove, a lot of riders are involved in motor vehicle accidents. Although not all of these accidents are fatal, the majority of bicycle accident victims suffer serious to catastrophic injuries, such as:

  • soft tissue damage
  • fractures
  • internal organ damage
  • amputation
  • spinal cord injuries
  • head injury
  • traumatic brain injury.

The severity of the injuries is also influenced by the failure to wear a bike helmet. Although it is not mandatory by law (with an exception to be explained below), wearing a helmet is the most effective way of mitigating potential injuries. However, according to the AAA survey cited above, 36% of the respondents stated that they do not wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

Florida Laws on  Bicycle Riding

According to Florida Statutes Title XXIII Chapter 316, a cyclist has the same rights and obligations as motor vehicle drivers on the roads. The statutes stipulate that bicyclists must:

  • always ride sitting on a permanent and regular saddle
  • only carry the number of persons the bicycle is designed or equipped for
  • wear a helmet if they are under 16 years old
  • use a light if they ride during nighttime.

However, cyclists over 16 years old are not obliged by law to wear a helmet or to keep both hands on the handlebars at all times.

What You Should Do after a Bike Accident

According to experienced bicycle accident attorneys at VG Law, this is the order of actions you should take after a bicycle crash:

1. Seek Medical Assistance

if you were involved in a motor vehicle traffic accident while riding a bike, the first thing you must do is call 9-1-1 and seek medical assistance. Never walk away from a crash, because bicycle injuries may not have symptoms immediately. However, if you suffered a strong impact to the head, you may suffer complications, such as:

  • persisting headaches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • increased sensitivity to visual and audio stimuli
  • memory problems
  • dizziness.

All these are symptoms of brain injury, a condition which must be monitored and treated in hospital from the earliest possible moment. Apart from risking your health (and even life), nor seeking medical help can be construed by the negligent driver's insurance company as failure to mitigate damages and used to reduce or even deny your claim for compensation.

2. Document the Accident Scene

As you are waiting for the ambulance, depending on your condition, try to collect as much evidence as possible at the crash scene. For example:

  • take photos of your injuries
  • take photos of your damaged bike and the passenger car or vehicle that hit you
  • collect contact details from eyewitnesses
  • get the driver's name, license plate, and insurance information.

If you hurt your head, neck or spine, do not attempt to sit or stand up and do not let anyone move you. You may have sustained injuries which will be made worse if you are not handled carefully by experienced EMTs.

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3. Contact an Orlando Bicycle Accident Lawyer

As we explained earlier in the article, you will be contacted by the at-fault's driver insurance company very soon after the accident, usually while you are in hospital. Insurance adjusters know that you are in a vulnerable state and will try to persuade you to settle quickly,  stating things such as:

  • you caused the accident
  • you will not be able to prove the driver's fault
  • you are not as hurt and injured as you believe you are.

Be aware that anything you say to the representative of the insurance company will be used against you later on during settlement negotiation or a personal injury lawsuit. You should not engage in discussions and simply state that your lawyer will contact them to discuss your claim.

If you were in a car accident, learn more from VG Law: What to do fter an auto accident in Florida?

How an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Helps You Win a Fair Settlement

Now you may wonder: what exactly can a bicycle accident lawyer do for me? Why can't I negotiate my personal injury claim on my own? Here are a few ways in which an experienced attorney can win a higher settlement award than you can:

Determining the Circumstances of the Accident

A personal injury attorney will start by putting together evidence that shows how the bike accident actually happened. In order to do so, they will collect:

  • the police report prepared at the scene of the accidents
  • video footage from surveillance cameras on the road
  • photos and videos taken by witnesses.

Calculating the Maximum Compensation You Are Entitled to

Using legal experience from previous cases and the total bills you accumulated (medical costs, rehabilitation and long term care costs, costs to repair damaged properties), the bicycle accident attorney will calculate both economic compensations and non-economic compensations.

Non-economic compensations cover your:

  • pain and suffering
  • mental anguish caused by your catastrophic injuries
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of companionship.

Using Knowledge of the Law in Negotiations

A skilled lawyer will use any applicable law in your favor. For instance, an insurance adjuster will claim that you are not entited to compensation because you are partly at fault for the accident. However, Florida laws state that if you are less than 50% at fault for the crash, you are still entitled to receive compensation.

The compensation will be calculated as a percentage of your corresponding degree of responsibility (comparative negligence statute). Thus, a $50,000 claim for 30% responsibility will be reduced to $35,000.

Also, personal injury lawyers know when they should continue negotiating to obtain an out-of-court settlement and when they should advise their client to prepare for a bike accident lawsuit. Actually, this is another tactic used by insurance companies - taking their time during negotiations in the hope that you will exceed the statute of limitations of 4 (four) years after the accident when you decide to take your case to court.

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At VG Law, our main focus is you and your peace of mind. We will diligently work in the background while you recover from your injuries and prepare a bicycle accident claim that represents fair compensation for your losses. At the same time, we will always keep you informed at each step and give you the relevant information you need to know.

Our strength lies in the diversity of our team's experienced, united by a single goal: to fight aggressively for each client and reach the best resolution possible. We are also motivated to succeed by our contingency fee policy. We will not ask you to pay any advance fee. Our lawyers will be paid only after they win your settlement or jury award.

As we explained above, time is very important, so do not waste it trying to reason with insurance agencies. Hire an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney at VG Law to fight on your behalf. Call us: 833-HELP-365!

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