Lakeland Bicycle Accident Attorneys
If there’s one thing that many Lakeland residents enjoy, it is taking in the sights and sounds of the city while riding a bike. In recent years, the city has earned a Bronze Level Bicycle Community designation from the League of American Bicyclists—one of the only areas in the state to gain this recognition. Lakeland has an extensive Lake-to-Lake bikeway system and historical or simply beautiful neighborhoods for people of all ages to enjoy.
Unfortunately, while bicycles are a healthy and environmentally friendly form of transportation, they’re also a major cause of accidental injury. Deaths resulting from bicycle accidents in the U.S. have been steadily increasing since 2010, even as the numbers of motor vehicle drivers and passengers killed in accidents have decreased.
If a Lakeland bicycle accident injured you, we don’t need to tell you how serious the injuries are. We can tell you, however, that you can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injuries.
An experienced Lakeland bicycle accident lawyer from the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys, like Frank and Jennifer Fernandez, can provide guidance and services to assist you in this process.
Table of Contents
- Dangers Bicycle Riders Face on the Road
- Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
- Seeking Compensation for your Lakeland Bicycle Accident Injuries
- What to Do Immediately After a Bicycle Accident
- Benefits of Hiring an Accident Attorney
- Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accident Claims in Florida
- Contact a Lakeland Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Bicycle Riders Face Many Dangers on the Road
While cycling can be an active and fun way to get from point A to point B, it also comes with many risks and dangers.
Getting into an accident on a bicycle is much different than collisions involving two vehicles, as cars afford drivers various protections, including seat belts and airbags. While bicyclists can wear protective gear, like helmets, it will never provide the protection that a vehicle could.
Bicycles are inherently dangerous, and the statistics speak volumes concerning bicycle accidents:
- Over 130,000 bicyclists are injured, and approximately 1,000 die in accidents in the United States every year
- The cost of bicycle accidents resulting in injuries and deaths regularly exceeds $23 billion in the United States annually
- Deaths involving bicyclists 20 years of age and older have nearly quadrupled since 1975
- The number of preventable deaths from bicycle accidents has increased by 44 percent in the last ten years alone
There are many reasons bicycle accidents occur, including weather and road conditions. In most cases, bicycle accidents result from other drivers’ actions and wrongdoings.
Bicyclists are encouraged to protect themselves while on the road and stay alert, but unfortunately, some accidents are unavoidable.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
There are several contributing factors to bicycle accidents in Florida. Most frequently, bicycle accidents result from drivers driving irresponsibly.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents are as follows:
Distracted driving frequently happens, as drivers mistakenly believe they can successfully multitask while operating a vehicle.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists three driving distractions:
- Visual: activities that cause drivers to take their eyes off the road
- Manual: activities that cause drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel
- Cognitive: activities that cause drivers to take their mind off of driving
Distracted driving can result when a driver engages in:
- Talking on the phone
- Changing the music or radio station
- Grooming or putting on makeup
- Attempting to grab an item out of a purse or off the floor
- Disciplining children in the backseat
When drivers are distracted, they aren’t paying attention to the road and others around them, including bicyclists. As a result, distracted driving makes it more difficult for drivers to share the road safely.
Speeding is dangerous for everyone on the road. In one recent year, speeding accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities.
A speeding driver requires greater stopping time, increasing the chances of accidents. Speeding drivers are dangerous for bicyclists on the road.
Failure to Yield
Drivers must yield to bicyclists on the road, but many are unaware of the requirement or don’t care to do so. Accidents resulting from a failure to yield most frequently occur at intersections and may involve other factors like aggressive driving or speeding.
Driving Under the Influence
When a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they put everyone at risk, including other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
On average, 32 people a day die from drunk-driving-related accidents. Driving while impaired significantly increases the chances of collisions resulting in severe injuries and even death for those involved.
Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
Bicyclists often pay the price for drivers running stop signs and red lights. In most cases, bicyclists believe they have the right of way, only to be struck down by a vehicle. Many stop light and stop sign cases also involve speeding or reckless driving.
Injuries Resulting from Bicycle Accidents
Injuries from bicycle accidents can vary but are typically severe, considering bicyclists have little protection in a collision.
The most common injuries resulting from bicycle accidents include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Fractured or broken bones
- Road rash
- Internal injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Amputation injuries
- Facial injuries
Injuries from bicycle accidents usually require extensive medical treatment and may leave victims with permanent disfigurement, scarring, or disability. Unfortunately, in the most severe cases, bicycle accident victims succumb to injuries and pass away.
A bicycle accident lawyer understands your frustration after sustaining substantial injuries in a bicycle accident. Therefore, they will work diligently to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.
Common Injuries Resulting From Lakeland Bicycle Accidents
In Florida, only children younger than 16 must wear a helmet when cycling. Because the bicycle offers little protection from the rider being ejected in a collision, traumatic brain injuries are among both the most serious and the most common of bicycle accident injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries involve damage to the brain from a sudden blow to the head or body. They can penetrate, meaning an object punctures the thick, bony protection of the skull, or they can remain closed, where the damage remains in the cavity of the skull.
The brain has only a limited ability to heal, and because it is such a vital organ to the body, the damage created often results in permanent disabilities or deficits, including memory loss, blindness, difficulty speaking or understanding spoken language, difficulty moving in a balanced, coordinated manner, or even the ability to be conscious or aware after the injury.
Other common injuries that occur as a result of a bicycle accident include:
- Spinal cord injuries: Like the brain, the spinal cord also serves critical functions in the body and does not generally heal from damage. This bundle of nerves that extends down the back from the base of the skull partners with the brain to make up the body’s central nervous system. The spinal cord’s primary task is to relay messages to and from the brain to other parts of the body. Damage on the cord disrupts this communication at the site of the damage, resulting in a loss of sensation and function known as paralysis. Tetraplegia, or quadriplegia, occurs when an injury in the cervical (neck) area of the spine paralyzes the body below the injury. Individuals whose injuries occur lower on the spine will likely experience paralysis in the lower extremities, which is known as paraplegia.
- Facial injuries: Hitting your head on any object can result in injury, particularly if it involves the more delicate structure of the facial bones and sensitive organs such as the eyes, or nose. Dental injuries are often commonly caused by bicycle accidents.
- Road rash: While road rash is not one of the most serious injuries one can incur in a biking accident, it is one of the most common. Road rash refers to a deep abrasion on the skin caused by contact with a rough surface such as an asphalt roadway. The condition is also commonly referred to as a friction burn, and doctors diagnose severity in degrees like other burns. A higher degree of burn can pose a risk of infection and scarring that could require a skin graft.
- Bone fractures: Any bone can break in a bicycle accident depending on the speed at which the accident occurred, the angle at which a car struck the bicycle, and how the rider landed after the collision. One very common bone fracture resulting from Lakeland bicycle accidents is a broken arm due to the body’s instinctive urge to catch itself with outstretched arms when falling.
- Internal injuries, including damage to the kidney, spleen, liver, lungs, or heart. A pneumothorax is a common type of internal injury in which an individual’s lung collapses, often due to being punctured by a broken rib.
Seeking Compensation for your Lakeland Bicycle Accident Injuries
To obtain compensation for the expenses and psychological impacts of your Lakeland bicycle accident injury, you must be able to show that it resulted, at least in part, from someone else’s careless or reckless actions.
Common types of accidents resulting from carelessness or recklessness—commonly referred to as negligence—include:
- Accidents in which a motor vehicle strikes a bicycle.
- Accidents in which two bicycles collide.
- Dooring accidents, which occur when an occupant in a motor vehicle parked on the side of the road opens his or her door into the path of an approaching bicycle, causing the rider to either collide with the door or potentially swerve into traffic to avoid it.
- Accidents in which a bicyclist collides with a pedestrian.
- Accidents resulting from defective bicycle parts. Manufacturers have the responsibility to ensure that their products do not present unreasonable risks when used properly by consumers.
- Accidents resulting from road defects, obstructed views, and other road safety and maintenance issues that governmental agencies
If someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you can seek compensation.
Liability for Bicycle Accidents in Florida
If you suffer injuries in a bicycle accident caused by another driver, you can sue the responsible party for compensation.
Holding an individual accountable for their involvement in your accident requires you to prove the party was negligent. Negligence is a person’s failure to exercise reasonable care.
Proving a party’s negligence requires showing:
- The party owed you a duty of care by driving responsibly
- They breached this duty of care by engaging in unsafe driving practices
- Their breach was the cause of your accident
- You suffered injuries and losses as a result of your accident
Establishing the other party’s negligence is one of the most critical parts of your case. A bicycle accident lawyer can thoroughly review the details of your accident and gather essential evidence to prove the other party’s liability.
Comparative Fault in Florida
Many bicyclists fear how their actions might hurt their case. However, if you share some responsibility for your bicycle accident, you may still receive financial recovery for your injuries.
Florida operates under comparative fault. Under the comparative fault system, your percentage of fault impacts your recovery amount.
For example, if your settlement amount totals $25,000, but you were 10 percent at fault, you would end up with $22,500.
If you have any doubts regarding fault, do not hesitate to discuss your situation with your bicycle accident attorney for more information.
Damages for Bicycle Accidents in Florida
Depending on the details of your accident, you may be eligible to pursue financial recovery. Damages serve to compensate you for your injuries and losses after your accident.
Economic damages represent losses that are easily quantifiable and proven. They include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning potential
- Property damage
Non-economic damages represent intangible losses, making them more challenging to prove and calculate.
They can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
In some special cases, bicycle accident victims may qualify to receive punitive damages. A judge may assess punitive damages when a defendant took grossly negligent, intentional, or reckless actions.
These damages punish defendants for wrongdoing while deterring others from committing these same acts.
Calculating damages can be a particularly challenging part of bicycle accident cases. Your bicycle accident attorney has the knowledge and skill to accurately calculate the value of your case and determine the financial recovery you may receive.
You can trust your lawyer to do everything in their power to fight for compensation on your behalf.
What to Do Immediately After a Bicycle Accident
What you do after an accident can impact your future case. Therefore, you should follow specific steps to preserve your right to pursue compensation.
Move out of the Way
If possible, get yourself out of harm’s way immediately after your accident. For example, if you’re in the middle of the road, move to the side if you can. Moving ensures you don’t suffer additional injuries from being in a hazardous location.
If you can, call 911 right away. If you’re too injured to call, ask a witness or passerby to call for you.
Police reports play a vital role in accident cases, as they can help establish liability and determine the cause of an accident. After law enforcement arrives at the accident scene, they take down important information and details to compile into a police report.
Your Lakeland bicycle accident lawyer will eventually request a copy of the report for your case.
Get Medical Attention
If you suffer severe injuries during the accident, you will receive emergency medical treatment at the scene. However, if you do not get medical attention immediately after your accident, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.
The adrenaline released during a traumatic event, like an accident, can mask the pain an injury might usually cause, making you believe you’re uninjured. However, a doctor can examine you and determine the extent of your injuries.
Additionally, always follow the doctor’s orders and complete medical treatment. Failing to do so can have a substantial negative impact on your case.
Gather Information and Evidence
As soon as you’re able to do so, being gathering information and evidence, including:
- The other driver’s information
- Photos and videos
- Witness information
If you cannot do so, you can ask witnesses to assist you with getting these details.
Also, document anything relevant to your accident, like keeping a journal with information regarding your injuries, pain, and medical treatment.
Evidence and documentation are crucial for bicycle accident cases and could help your attorney build your case.
Speak to a Bicycle Accident Lawyer
As soon as you can, schedule an appointment with an attorney. A lawyer will ask essential questions to understand your situation better and give you the best possible legal advice and plan of action to proceed with your case.
Benefits of Hiring a Lakeland Bicycle Accident Attorney
While you may feel it’s manageable to handle your case independently, having a bicycle accident lawyer on your side is always best.
Your attorney will supervise your case from beginning to end, handling your claim correctly and promptly.
They will complete every critical task related to your case, including:
- Investigating your accident
- Collecting relevant evidence
- Interviewing witnesses and experts
- Calculating your damages
- Communicating with the opposing party and insurance company
- Establishing the other party’s liability
- Engaging in pre-trial settlement negotiations
- Representing you at trial, if needed
You can trust your lawyer to go the extra mile to represent your best interests and seek the most favorable result on your behalf.
Having a qualified bicycle accident lawyer on your side can give you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on what matters most to you, including your physical and mental recovery.
Statute of Limitations for Bicycle Accident Claims in Florida
You do not have unlimited time to file a lawsuit for a bicycle accident. Statutes of limitations impose restrictions on the allotted time to file a claim.
In Florida, you have four years from your bicycle accident to file your lawsuit.
You must keep the statute of limitations in mind, as failure to file your claim within the specified time will result in forfeiture of your rights to pursue compensation for your injuries.
When you have a skilled bicycle accident attorney working on your case, you can rest assured they will file your lawsuit on time, allowing you to seek the financial recovery you need after your accident.
Injured in a Lakeland Bicycle Accident? The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys Can Help
Often, injured people hesitate to seek compensation for their injuries because they do not feel like they can afford to hire a lawyer. However, having an experienced attorney on your side to provide guidance and services aimed at helping you obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to you is a vital decision.
After all, the adjuster and the attorneys working for the at-fault party’s insurance company will certainly hire legal counsel to look out for their interests. You deserve someone to look after you.
To ensure that anyone who needs our assistance has access to it, regardless of financial status, we offer:
- A free case evaluation, which is no-obligation time that you can spend speaking with our attorney about your case, receiving answers to your legal questions, and learning more about the personal injury process and the additional services the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys can provide.
- A client-friendly, contingent-fee payment arrangement. You won’t need to pay for your attorney’s services unless they bring about a successful outcome in your case.
Let’s talk about your case and explore the legal options that are available to you. For your free case evaluation, contact Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys online or call (863) 230-8361.
The Fernandez Firm – Lakeland
100 S Kentucky Ave #285
Lakeland, Florida, 33801
I was recently injured in an automobile accident. Contacting the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys was the wisest choice I made. They navigated me through the process from beginning to end. The outcome was positive and painless. I appreciate the hard work of your firm and highly recommend anyone else in a similar situation to contact you.