Brandon Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Riding bicycles has become a very popular in and around Brandon. It’s good for personal fitness and the natural environment, and just plain fun. Sadly, however, cycling can also be very dangerous. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports there are more than 6,660 bicycle crashes and more than 150 crash-related fatalities per year in Florida, and in Hillsborough County alone, there are approximately 550 bicycle crashes each year.
Bicycle crashes can result in very serious injuries, such as multiple broken bones, spinal cord injuries, head and neck injuries, and internal injuries. Often, these injuries cause long-lasting pain and suffering that make everyday life difficult. Crash victims and their families also encounter additional difficulties, such as the need for ongoing medical care and financial problems.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, you do not have to handle all of these problems on your own. The expert Dennis Hernandez Brandon bicycle accident lawyers have helped hundreds of accident victims throughout Florida and want to help you hold the negligent party accountable and obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
Injuries and Fatalities from Bicycle Accidents
When you ride a bicycle on the roads in and around Brandon, you are very vulnerable. Some of our roads have debris and other obstacles on them that can make your ride perilous. Moreover, distracted, impaired or aggressive motorists are a constant danger. Except for a helmet (if you wear one) protecting your head, you are totally unprotected if a motor vehicle collides with you. You can be thrown off your bicycle and end up with life-threatening injuries, such as a spinal damage, damage to internal organs and traumatic brain injury.
Bicycle accident injuries can also be fatal. In fact, more than 850 people are killed each year in bicycle accidents in the U.S., with between 150 and 170 of those fatalities occurring in Florida. Data collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) actually show that Florida has the highest fatality rate in the U.S., with 5.96 bicycle accident fatalities per every million residents.
Throughout the country, the proportion of people killed on the nation’s roadways while not in a vehicle has increased dramatically in the past 25 years. NHTSA reports that the proportion of people killed “inside the vehicle” (occupants of passenger cars, light trucks, large trucks, buses, and other vehicles) has declined from a high of 80 percent in 1996 to 66 percent in 2019, while the proportion of people killed “outside the vehicle” (motorcyclists, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other nonoccupants) has increased from a low of 20 percent in 1996 to a high of 34 percent in 2019.
If you have lost a loved one due to bicycle accident injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages with a wrongful death suit. An experienced Dennis Hernandez Brandon bicycle accident lawyer can help you determine your best legal option, given the circumstances of your case.
Florida’s Bicycle Laws
According to Florida law, people on bicycles have to follow the same traffic laws as people driving motor vehicles. That means cyclists must ride with the flow of traffic, stop at stop signs and red lights, yield to vehicles when entering a roadway, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and use lights from dusk to dawn.
People driving motor vehicles also have a duty to share the road safely with cyclists. They have to yield to them when appropriate and pass them only when they have a minimum of three feet between their vehicle and the bicycle. Unfortunately, many motorists are negligent and ignore or forget their duty to treat bicycles on the road as vehicles. They recklessly change lanes in front of cyclists, pull out in front of them, sideswipe them and back up into them.
What Causes Bicycle Accidents in Brandon?
Many motorists are not cautious when driving and fail to be on the lookout for bicyclists and to yield the right-of-way when required to do so. Analyses of accident data suggest that the most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
- Impaired driving – NHSTA data on bicycle accident fatalities throughout the U.S. show that alcohol is a factor in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes.
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Lack of visibility – NHSTA reports that bicyclist deaths occur most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when visibility is decreased.
Preventing Bicycle Accidents
Cyclists can’t control motorists on the road, so the best advice for preventing a crash is to understand how to ride safely and avoid dangerous situations. The Florida Biking Association offers the following safety tips, developed by Cycling Savvy:
- Obey Florida’s traffic laws. When cycling in and around Brandon, ride with the flow of traffic, obey all traffic signs and lights, yield to traffic before entering a road, yield to traffic when changing lanes, and yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
- Follow the traffic at intersections. If you are turning right, you should stay in the right lane; if you are turning left, use the left turn lane; and if you are not turning, you should stay out of the turn lanes.
- Use the traffic lanes. When there is no bike lane, riding to the far right on the righthand side of the road can be very dangerous. Motorists may not be able to see you or judge the safe passing distance. Riding toward the middle of a traffic lane rather than to the far right of the lane is actually safer.
- Pass with caution. Passing stopped vehicles is very dangerous because traffic can start moving at any time, and motorists may not see you. Passing parked cars is also very dangerous because someone can open a vehicle door directly in your path and throw you off your bicycle.
- Use signals for turning and changing lanes. Using signals when turning and changing lanes is important to let motorists know your intentions so they can be careful to avoid hitting you.
What to Do after a Bicycle Accident in Brandon
Whether you think you’re injured or not following a bicycle accident, you need to be cautious and protect your health and your rights. Here are some steps you should take to ensure you can recover as much as possible after a crash:
- Report the accident to the police. Many accident victims don’t realize they have been injured until hours or even days after a crash. By reporting the crash to the police, you are taking the first step in protecting your rights. The accident report will document facts about the crash that you might not be able to recall later on.
- Get information from the other party and witnesses. Get the other party’s name, address, phone number, license number and insurance company name, if possible. Also get contact information from witnesses, if there are any available.
- Don’t make any statements about fault. If the other party talks about what happened, listen and write down his comments when you can, but don’t comment on how the crash happened or apologize for anything.
- Take photos of your bicycle and the crash scene. If possible, document the damage to your bike, bicycle equipment and you by taking photos of the accident scene.
- Don’t get your bicycle or other equipment fixed. Even if you have photos, your damaged bicycle may be needed to prove how the crash occurred and show that the other party was negligent. The responsible party’s insurance company may also want to examine the damage.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. As soon possible, call your insurance company to report the crash. However, do not contact the other party’s insurance company. To protect your rights and make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to, let your bicycle accident attorney handle further communication with insurance companies.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you’re feeling fine following a bicycle accident, you should get checked out by a qualified healthcare provider. Some injuries may not be evident right away or even after a few days, but they could be dangerous if ignored. When you go to the hospital or doctor, have them submit your medical bills to your insurance company.
- Document your injuries. Take photos of visible injuries and of your condition (e.g., using crutches to walk, a cast on your leg). Keeping a journal about your physical and emotional condition – your pain, difficulties doing everyday activities, stress, etc. – can also be helpful.
- Don’t post anything on social media about the accident or your injuries. Anything you post about your recovery or your activities could potentially be used by insurers or attorneys to fight your claim.
- Get advice from an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The expert Dennis Hernandez bicycle accident attorneys will help you understand your rights and how best to protect them. Your consultation will be free of charge and will help you decide if you should file a claim against the negligent party to recover damages for your injury.
Compensation for Bicycle Accident Injuries
By filing a bicycle accident personal injury claim, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for the following damages:
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Medical expenses already incurred as well as those possible in the future
- Income lost due to time off work due to accident injuries
- Diminished earning capacity
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
Get Help from Experienced Brandon Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The Dennis Hernandez Brandon bicycle accident attorneys want to hear what happened to you and make sure you are compensated fairly for your injuries. We will:
- Listen to what happened to you.
- Investigate your accident and injuries.
- Advise you on your best course of action.
- Collect all evidence needed to demonstrate negligence on the driver’s part.
- Respond promptly to all of your questions and concerns.
- Negotiate vigorously with insurance companies and defense attorneys on your behalf.
- Prepare a strong case to demonstrate your need for compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the bicycle accident.
- Protect your rights throughout negotiations and fight for your rights at trial, if necessary.
Lots of other Florida lawyers are eager to settle out of court and avoid going to trial, but Dennis Hernandez attorneys never back down and settle for less than what you deserve.
Call us in Brandon at 813.250.0000 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website to get started on your case.