Florida continues to be ranked one of the worst states in the country in which to be a cyclist. A study by The Governors Highway Safety Association has placed it at the very top of the list of the most dangerous places in which to ride a bike for transportation. In fact, the annual death toll for bicyclists in Florida is 110 people. On top of that, hundreds more suffer injuries and wind up in the hospital after being hit by a car or truck while riding their bike. Even more tragic than these numbers is the fact that in any given year, more than half of these bicycle accident victims are children.
If an automobile recently hit you while you were riding your bike, you might be entitled to financial compensation. An Orlando bicycle accident lawyer could review what happened to you to see if you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
The driver of a motor vehicle has a responsibility to drive with care. The most common “reason” we hear from drivers after a car-bike collision is that they did not see the bike. However, that is not a valid an excuse.
Unsafe properties can also lead to injury: it is the responsibility of property owners to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. This may include installing signage to warn of hazards, placing a fence around a property, or repairing and maintaining the property.
A defect in the bike may also have played a part in the accident. Sometimes there is a product defect in a critical part of the bike that finally breaks, causing a crash. This can be equally deadly, especially if the biker is traveling at a high speed at the time. The U.S. Consumer Safety Commission has listed recalls on such things as cable stops, handlebars, unsafe spoke protector disks, bicycle suspension forks, and front trays
If a defendant’s carelessness, recklessness, or criminal conduct causes a bicycle accident, that defendant could be held liable for the claimant’s resulting financial and emotional losses. This compensation takes the form of economic, non-economic, and (occasionally) punitive damages.
A claimant could pursue economic damages from the person responsible for causing the crash. Economic damages are easy to quantify with a clear dollar value, and some examples include:
Orlando attorneys have handled many bike accident claims and know how to help someone search for proof of their economic losses. They also have experience helping claimants quantify expected future losses, which can be a factor in incidents where a cyclist sustained lasting brain damage.
For example, they can review previous pay stubs, look at the claimant’s level of education and experience, consider the salaries of other professionals in the same field, and study projections to determine a reasonable value for their anticipated lost income. A knowledgeable attorney could also meet with local medical experts to review a patient’s medical records and come up with a value of anticipated healthcare needs.
Non-economic damages are more subjective in nature and less quantifiable. These losses are more personal and unique to each individual claimant. A court cannot look at non-economic damages and easily put a value on the claim by looking at a chart; instead, they need to consider each individual claim. Non-economic damages include the following:
A legal professional could help someone calculate the true value of their non-economic losses by helping show the court how their injuries have affected their life.
In limited circumstances, Orlando courts will also award punitive damages to claimants in order to punish a defendant’s particularly egregious, malicious, or reckless behavior. An Orlando bicycle accident attorney could review the facts of the case to see if punitive damages could be available.
Fortunately, there are no statutory limits on the recovery of damages in Florida. However, an Orlando court could reduce the damages award if they determine that the claimant was partially responsible for the crash. Florida operates with a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that an injured party can still collect damages even if they bear some responsibility. The damages they collect would be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault.
For example, if a reckless drunk driver crashed into a cyclist who was making an illegal turn, the court might decide that the driver was 60% to blame, while the cyclist was 40% at fault. In that situation, the court might award the cyclist only 60% of their anticipated damages.
You might face a grueling physical and emotional recovery after your bike crash. If someone else was at fault, you should not also have to bear the financial burden. Let an Orlando bicycle accident lawyer help you handle the legal case. They could work on holding the responsible parties accountable while you focus on getting better. Call today for a free consultation.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys