As cycling increases in popularity, the risk of an accident is unfortunately increased, too. While some crashes might only result in minor scrapes and bruises, others could lead to severe and even life-threatening injuries.
If you were injured in a cycling wreck, a Pinellas County bicycle accident lawyer might be able to help you seek compensation for your losses. By enlisting a well-versed attorney, you could focus on your recovery with the knowledge that a legal professional is by your side.
The Legal Rights of Bicyclists in Pinellas County
Because bicyclists have to share Pinellas County roadways with motorists and other citizens, the Florida Statutes § 316.2065 states that cyclists must have all the same rights as any drivers on the road. Additionally, specific laws govern driver behavior to try to prevent bicycle wrecks. These include:
- Section 316.083—this statute requires that any vehicle “overtaking” a cyclist must pass at a safe distance, meaning with no less than three feet between them
- Section 316.151—under this statute, a cyclist at an intersection intending to turn left can use the full lane from which the turn is made
- Section 316.1995—this law prohibits motorists from driving on a bicycle path
It is important for any bicyclist injured in an accident to understand how the law treats their rules and safety in Pinellas County, which could be explained in depth by a well-versed attorney. By learning their rights, anyone hurt in a cycling crash might be able to determine if they have grounds for a claim.
Common Causes of Bicycle Crashes
Despite the legal protections in place, bicyclists are often overlooked on the roads. In fact, the failure of a driver to notice a cyclist is one of the most common causes of cycling accidents. These include drivers who:
- Fail to yield to a bicyclist with the right of way
- Over a bicyclist traveling in the same direction
- Turn into the path of a cyclist
- Pull onto a roadway from a driveway or side street
- Misjudge the passing distance required on the road
- Neglect to obey the rules of the road or street signage
- Are distracted
If a driver is found to have engaged in these or other neglectful behaviors behind the wheel, it might be grounds for a legal claim. However, it might be essential for an injured bicyclist to retain a well-practiced Pinellas County lawyer to discuss how liability is determined.
Determining Negligence for a Cycling Injury Claim
For a successful injury claim, an injured plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that a motorist or other individual was negligent. This is done through a series of steps, beginning with establishing that a defendant owed the injured bicyclist a duty of care and that, through their actions, this duty was breached.
For example, every driver has an obligation to follow the rules of the road, as well as all road signage. Therefore, if a motorist speeds, ignores a stop sign or red line, or engages in some other form of misconduct, this might be clear grounds for a breach of duty.
Next, an injured plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of duty—such as speeding, for instance—was the direct cause of an accident, and that this accident resulted in the claimant’s injuries. However, even when injuries are apparent, the process of proving negligence can often be complex. A skilled Pinellas County bicycle accident attorney could work to explain each step of the legal process to an injured claimant and work tirelessly to gather evidence of driver liability.
Recoverable Damages in a Bicycle Wreck Case
When a cyclist is involved in a crash with an automobile, the injuries suffered can be serious, ranging from lacerations and broken bones, to paralysis and brain damage. Because of this, there are numerous damages that might be requested in a claim, including economic and non-economic losses.
For example, an injured bicyclist might be able to request compensation for lost wages, medical bills—and other related medical expenses—and a decreased earning capacity. Furthermore, more subjective and emotional damages might be requested, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life, among others.
How a Pinellas County Bicycle Accident Attorney Might Help
If you were injured in a cycling crash, you might be traumatized and unsure of how to proceed. However, if the careless, reckless, or malicious behavior of another person caused your injuries, you should not have to shoulder the subsequent burdens alone.
A Pinellas County bicycle accident lawyer might be able to help. A compassionate and well-practiced attorney could help to assess your circumstances, gather evidence of liability, and file a claim on your behalf. To discuss your case further, call a legal professional today.
When you are injured by a motorist’s negligent behavior, a Pinellas County bicycle accident lawyer could help you recover much-needed compensation to get you on the road to recovery. Call us to discuss your case.