SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY
Much like motorcyclists, bicyclists do not have the same structural protections that drivers of cars and trucks enjoy. Therefore, the likelihood of serious bodily injury or death increases when a bicycle is involved in a motor vehicle collision. Bicyclists generally have the same rights and duties as those driving larger cars and trucks. Indeed, a bicycle is considered a motor vehicle in Florida. Unfortunately, sometimes bicyclists are not as easily identifiable, especially when drivers are speeding or distracted, such as with cell phones. The minimum clearance for passing a bicyclist is 3 feet. Sometimes, drivers cut this distance too close causing the bicyclist to crash. Because Florida is a “comparative negligence state,” even if the bicyclist is partially at fault for the accident, he or she can still recover a percentage of the total damages.
Bicyclists generally have the same rights and duties as those driving larger cars and trucks. Indeed, a bicycle is considered a motor vehicle in Florida.
Basics of a Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
When a bicyclist is injured because of the careless or reckless actions of a driver, the bicyclist may be entitled to monetary compensation. This monetary award can be used to compensate the bicyclist for his or her medical expenses, ongoing therapy or rehabilitation costs, lost wages due from time missed from work, and other losses and expenses that often accompany a bicycle accident. But an injured bicyclist will not obtain any compensation award unless he or she can prove that four factual propositions more likely than not exist:
(1) that the negligent driver owed the bicyclist a duty of care
(2) that by his or her negligence, the driver breached the duty of care
(3) that the negligent driver’s actions caused the bicyclist’s injuries
(4) that the bicyclist’s injuries can be compensated through money
Duty of Care: Every driver of a motor vehicle owes a duty of care to others who share the roads, shoulders, and sidewalks – including bicyclists. This requires the driver to operate the motor vehicle in a reasonably careful manner. Breach of Duty: A breach of the duty of care occurs when a driver fails to operate his or her motor vehicle in a reasonably careful manner. Speeding, disobeying or failing to see traffic signs and signals, and driving while drunk or distracted are just a few of the ways a breach of the duty of care can occur in the context of a bicycle injury case. Causation: There must be a causal link between the negligent driver’s conduct and the bicyclist’s injuries. Where the driver strikes the bicyclist, sending the bicyclist flying off his or her bicycle, causation can be easy to show. But where there are no witnesses to the accident, or where there are events and circumstances that intervene between the negligent driver’s conduct and the bicyclist’s injuries, causation may be more difficult to show. Sometimes showing causation requires the use of expert witnesses and accident reconstructionsists. Compensable Injuries: It may seem elementary, but the bicyclist must suffer injuries or losses that can be compensated with a monetary judgment. That is, the injured bicyclist must produce proof showing that he or she suffered compensable losses. This can require production of medical bills and statements, timesheets or payroll records, and other such objective evidence. If injuries cannot be compensated with money in some way, then there is nothing the court can do for you.
Help for Your Bicycle Injury Case
At Burnett Wilson Reeder, our Tampa Bicycle Injury Lawyers are familiar with the devastating consequences that can accompany a bicycle accident related injury. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death as the result of a bicycle accident and you believe that the negligence of another is at fault, we encourage you to call Burnett Wilson Reeder for a free consultation. While you focus on your health and recovery, we at Burnett Wilson Reeder will investigate the cause of your bicycle accident and fight vigorously on your behalf to obtain monetary damages. Learn how we can help you by contacting us today at (813) 221-5000 and scheduling a free consultation to discuss your case with our experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.