Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Bicycling in our beautiful Florida weather is inviting, but many roads can be hazardous. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable while sharing the road with larger, heavier, and better-protected vehicles. This is why cycling accidents are one of the most common types of collisions that cause serious injuries.
A broad range of hazards cause bicycle accidents, and they include:
- Being hit by a car is often due to a distracted driver or other driver error.
- Falling from a bike.
- Colliding into a hazard.
- Being hit by another cyclist.
- A car door opens as you pass by, or “being doored.”
- Pedestrian enters the path of the cyclist
Common Injuries from Bicycle Accidents
Some of the most common injuries resulting from bicycle accidents include:
- Abrasions, also called road rash–this injury results from scraping against the road.
- Traumatic brain injuries, also called TBIs. While helmets can lessen the severity, they are only partial protection.
- Dental fractures.
- Internal organ injuries.
- Broken bones and joints.
Injuries received from bicycling accidents, particularly those involving trucks or other large vehicles, can be devastating. For your health and your pending claim, it is essential that you seek immediate medical treatment after a bike accident. Often, a condition that is temporarily masked by adrenaline can worsen if left untreated.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for negligence–a common cause of action for cycling accidents–is four years. In the event of a fatality, the decedent’s personal representative will have two years to file a claim for wrongful death on behalf of the surviving family.
At The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, PA, we recommend speaking with a bicycle accident lawyer in Stuart soon after you’ve been hurt to consult on your rights. In addition to the statute of limitations, evidence can be lost, witnesses may become unavailable, and unexpected delays can always arise, making the case more difficult.
Compensation for Claims
Compensation for a bicycle accident will typically consist of “compensatory damages,” or economic and non-economic damages. On rare occasions, punitive damages may be awarded as well.
- Economic damages are objective financial losses, such as medical bills, a broken laptop that must be replaced, or lost wages. These are typically the most straightforward, though there is room for argument when estimating what future bills may arise.
- Non-economic damages are more intangible losses. They do not have a market value and may include physical and emotional pain, loss of consortium, or PTSD. These damages may require nuanced arguments and evidence from sources like expert witnesses.
- Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment against the responsible party if they acted intentionally or with gross negligence. However, they must be proven to a higher standard than other damages. If awarded, they are often the most significant sum of any class of damages.
Finally, Florida is a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction, meaning that any award of damages will be reduced by the amount of fault the injured party bears.
Liability for claims from injuries due to bicycle accidents is typically determined by negligence, which is a legal formula consisting of duty, breach, injury, and causation:
- Duty: The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, typically to act as a reasonable person under the circumstances.
- Breach: The defendant breached this duty, typically by acting unreasonably.
- Injury: The plaintiff suffered a personal injury or property damage.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the injury.
While initially straightforward, this analysis can quickly become complicated. For example, the fault may need to be apportioned among several parties, circumstances may impose a heightened duty, or the breach may need to be proven by indirect inferences more familiar to legal professionals. Additionally, if the accident involves an individual who is driving for their employer–there may be employer liability issues.
Contact us if you’ve been injured
If you or a loved one has been injured cycling in Martin County or the Treasure Coast, speak with one of the experienced Stuart bicycle accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, PA. Our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys will fight for your rights so that you can focus on healing and rebuilding your life. In addition, we work on a contingency basis, so there are no upfront legal fees.
Your Three Steps to Moving Forward
- Call our office and set up an intake call with our Client Happiness Coordinator.
- Attend a virtual or in-office consultation so we can better understand your case and determine how we can help guide you to success.
- Retain our firm so we may lead you through the legal process as quickly and painlessly as possible.