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.
The Dangers that Bicyclists Face
While Lakeland has strived to make bicycling a safe and popular form of both transportation and recreation, there remain hazards in the city, including:
- Congested roadways that do not provide a bike lane for riders to use or enough space between the bike lane and travel lane for the cyclist to feel safe riding alongside traffic.
- Bicycles lack the visibility found in other vehicles, such as passenger cars. They generally are not equipped with a headlight system and lack the size that would make them readily visible to drivers. Visibility is a concern all the time for bicyclists, but particularly at night.
- Sidewalks or off-road bike trails that do not adequately protect pedestrians from a collision.
- A lack of maneuverability due to the bicycle only having two wheels. This becomes particularly dangerous on damaged roadways, where potholes, uneven surfaces, or even debris can result in a bike crash.
- Intersections without enough visibility for the bicyclist to judge if there is a safe gap in traffic in which to cross or crosswalk signals that do not provide the bicyclist enough time to safely cross the road.
- Distracted or impaired drivers who fail to notice the bicyclist or who speed and can’t stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Bicycle paths that abruptly end, causing the rider to attempt to navigate areas that are not safe for bicyclists.
- A lack of the protective features found in automobiles, such as seat belts and airbags, that prevent ejection. Ejection is a near certainty in accidents where the bicycle is either struck by a fast-moving vehicle or strikes a vehicle or other object while moving at a high rate of speed.
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.
How Liability Is Proven
To prove that someone else is liable for the expenses and impacts of your injury, you must show:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, which simply means they needed to take reasonable actions to prevent harm to the safety or property of others.
- A breach in the duty of care occurred when the at-fault party violated the duty of care.
- The breach resulted in a bicycle accident that caused you to become injured and incur expenses and impacts.
The Type of Compensation You Can Seek
Individuals injured in bicycle accidents in Lakeland are permitted to pursue the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. What this means is that you can obtain compensation (damages) for both the financial harm the injury caused (economic) and the quality-of-life impacts (non-economic) that you incurred.
Some expenses and impacts commonly included in bicycle accident claims are:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency treatment, prescription medication, physician and surgical services, medical supplies used in your treatment, hospitalization, physical therapy or rehabilitation, and the provision of devices such as crutches or a wheelchair.
- Lost wages resulting from being too injured to report to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if your injury results in permanent disabilities that prevent you from earning in the same capacity as you did before the accident.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your bike and gear.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your accident keeps you from participating in the activities and events you enjoy.
The Time Limit for Filing Your Lakeland Bicycle Accident Claim
Individuals who have suffered a bicycle accident in Lakeland generally have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Failing to file your claim before the statutory deadline can result in the loss of your right to recover damages.
In certain circumstances, the statute of limitations can be tolled (extended), such as cases involving individuals who were injured when they were children and now have reached the age of majority and want to seek compensation.
Additionally, if your bicycle accident involved government liability, such as an obstructed view at an intersection that was the city maintenance crew’s responsibility to repair. Claims against government agencies often follow a different process with much shorter deadlines. Your Lakeland bicycle accident lawyer will advise you if there a different statutory deadline applies in your case.
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.