Lakeland Bicycle Accident Attorneys
Whether for personal wellness, recreation or sport, more and more people are riding bicycles on the roadways in and around Lakeland. While cycling has many benefits, it 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. In Polk County alone, there are approximately150 bicycle crashes each year.
These bicycle crashes can cause very serious injuries, such as head and neck injuries, multiple broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and internal injuries. Often, these injuries cause chronic pain and long-lasting suffering that make coping with everyday life difficult. Accident victims and their families also face additional difficulties, such as the need for extensive medical treatment and financial hardship.
If you or a family member has been recently injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, you do not have to face all of these difficulties alone. The Dennis Hernandez Lakeland bicycle accident attorneys have helped numerous accident victims throughout Florida and want to help you hold the at-fault party accountable and get the financial compensation you deserve.
Factors Causing Bicycle Accidents in Lakeland
When motorists are negligent, they may fail to look out for bicyclists and yield the right-of-way when they are supposed to. National data on accidents suggest that this negligent driving is related to several factors:
- Impaired driving – According to NHSTA, alcohol is a factor in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes.
- Distracted driving – Using cell phones, other mobile devices and systems installed in vehicles has led to a huge increase in accidents caused by distracted driving.
- Aggressive driving or speeding
- 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.
Injuries Fatalities from Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle on the roads in and around Lakeland puts you in a very vulnerable position. If there are debris and other obstacles on a road, you are in danger of falling or swerving into traffic. In addition, impaired, distracted or aggressive drivers are a constant threat. With only a helmet to protect your head (if indeed you wear one), you are at high risk of serious injury if a motor vehicle hits you. You could be thrown from your bicycle and sustain life-threatening injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal damage or damage to internal organs.
Bicycle accident injuries can also be fatal. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that throughout the U.S., the percentage of people killed on roadways while not in a vehicle (motorcyclists, pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and other nonoccupants) has increased dramatically in the past 25 years from a low of 20 percent in 1996 to a high of 34 percent in 2019. Data collected by NHTSA also show that Florida has the highest fatality rate in the U.S., with 5.96 bicycle accident fatalities per every million residents.
If a family member suffered fatal injuries in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages with a wrongful death suit. An experienced Dennis Hernandez Lakeland bicycle accident attorney can help you decide on the best course of action, given the circumstances of your case.
Riding Safely to Prevent 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:
- Follow Florida’s traffic laws. According to Florida law, cyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as motorists. In other words, cyclists should ride with the flow of traffic, stop at all stop signs and red lights, yield to cars and trucks when entering a roadway, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and use lights from dusk to dawn.
- Stay with the flow of traffic at intersections. When cyclists are turning right, they should stay in the right lane; when turning left, they should use the left lane; and when going straight, they should stay out of the turn lanes.
- Ride in the traffic lanes. When there is no bike lane, cyclists should ride in the traffic lane, not on the shoulder of the road. Motorists may not be able to see them or judge the distance between them if they are too far to the right on the road.
- Pass stopped vehicles with caution. Cyclists put themselves at risk when they pass stopped vehicles. Traffic can start moving at any time, and motorists may not see them, and people in parked cars can open a door directly in their path.
- Signal when turning or changing lanes. Cyclists need to use signals when turning and changing lanes to let motorists know their intentions so the motorists can be careful to avoid a collision.
Steps to Take after a Bicycle Crash in Lakeland
Even if you don’t appear injured from a bicycle accident, you should take certain precautions to protect your health and your rights. The following are important steps you can take to maintain your well-being after a crash:
- Report the crash to the police. Reporting the crash to the police is the first step in protecting your rights. The report will document details about the crash that you might not be able to recall at a later date.
- Collect information from the other person involved in the accident, as well as witnesses. If possible, ask for the other party’s name, address, phone number, license number and insurance company. 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 the statements when you can. However, don’t participate in a conversation about who or what caused the crash or apologize for anything.
- Take photos of the crash scene and your bicycle. Document the damage by taking photos of the accident scene, your bicycle and yourself.
- Contact 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.
- 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 repair your bicycle or discard your clothing. Even if you took photos, your damaged bicycle may be necessary to show how the crash occurred and demonstrate the other party’s negligence.
- 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.
- Talk with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The Dennis Hernandez bicycle accident attorneys can help right away. We will listen to what happened and explain your rights and how best to protect them. The 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 Your Bicycle Accident Injuries
With a bicycle accident injury claim, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for damages related to your injuries. These damages include:
- 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
After reviewing the details of your bicycle crash and injuries, a skilled Dennis Hernandez bicycle accident attorney can give you a good idea of how much compensation you may be entitled to.
Get Expert Help from Experienced Lakeland Bicycle Accident Attorneys
The Dennis Hernandez Lakeland bicycle accident attorneys want to find out what happened to you and help you get compensated fairly for your injuries. We are committed to:
- Listening closely to what happened to you.
- Investigating your accident and injuries.
- Advising you on the best course of action.
- Collecting the evidence necessary to demonstrate the other party’s negligence.
- Responding promptly to your questions and concerns.
- Negotiating vigorously with insurance company representatives and defense attorneys on your behalf.
- Preparing a strong case demonstrating your need for compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the bicycle accident.
- Protecting your rights throughout negotiations and fighting for your rights at trial, if necessary.
Many other personal injury attorneys prefer to settle out of court and avoid going to trial, but Dennis Hernandez attorneys never back down. We’ll fight for your rights and won’t settle for less than what you deserve.
Call us in Lakeland at 863.888.0000 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website to get started on your case.