People who choose to ride their bicycles on roads that are shared by motor vehicles are taking a risk. If they are involved in a collision, they may be vulnerable to severe injuries that can forever change their lives. However, just because they assume this risk does not mean that an at-fault driver is not responsible for their actions.
While many motorists are not aware of or choose to ignore the rights of bicyclists on the road, the simple fact is that drivers have as much of a duty to protect bicyclists as they do other drivers in full-sized vehicles. As a result, bike riders who are injured because of the negligence of others have the right to demand compensation.
A St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyer could help you hold the negligent driver who injured you responsible for their actions. This includes claiming compensation for medical costs, reimbursement for lost income, and payments meant to cover any mental suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. In these respects and more, a dedicated personal injury attorney could stand up to insurance companies while protecting your rights and best interests.
Driver Duties Towards Bike Riders
All drivers assume a duty of care whenever they get behind the wheel. They cannot avoid this responsibility and it extends towards all other people that they may encounter while on the road. It does not matter if the injured party is a fellow driver, a passenger, or a bike rider—all people who encounter drivers are protected by Florida state civil law.
Any failure to provide this protection that results in an injury is known as a breach of duty. This breach is the core of the legal theory known as negligence. It is the injured party’s responsibility in court to provide evidence that the defendant’s breach of duty resulted in an injury and that they are accordingly owed damages.
For example, this can include evidence that:
- The defendant was speeding at the time of the collision
- The defendant failed to yield to the bike rider as required by law
- The defendant made an improper lane change without signaling
- The defendant travelled in a bike lane
A police report can be a particularly powerful piece of evidence in these cases. If the police issue a citation to the defendant driver concerning the accident, the court may assume that the defendant is at-fault using the concept of negligence per se. A St. Petersburg bicycle accident attorney could help potential clients gather evidence and frame it within the legal concept of negligence.
Compensable Injuries in Bicycle Accident Cases
People riding bicycles have little physical protection in the event of an accident. While a helmet may help if a rider falls on their own, even low-speed collisions with vehicles may render this equipment useless. Simply being knocked off a bike by a car can result in severe cuts and scrapes or broken bones.
Higher-speed collisions can throw a rider into oncoming traffic or result in them being trapped under the defendant’s car. This can cause long-lasting injuries that not only require extensive medical care but may permanently hinder a plaintiff’s ability to earn a living. A bicycle accident lawyer in St. Petersburg could demand compensation on a potential client’s behalf for the full value of these injuries and losses, incorporating costs associated with medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Statute of Limitations
Regardless of the value of the claim, plaintiffs must meet the statute of limitations. This is a time limit imposed by law on people bringing personal injury cases to court.
Under Florida Statutes §95.11, this time limit is four years. If this time limit passes, the court may refuse to hear the case and insurance companies would refuse to negotiate a settlement. For this reason, it is vital that individuals get a start on their case immediately.
Talk to a St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Attorney Today
Bike riders enjoy the same rights and privileges as all other people on Florida’s roads. This includes the right to hold negligent drivers civilly responsible for their actions. When a driver is at fault for an accident, an injured bike rider may demand compensation for physical injuries, lost income, and mental anguish.
A skilled St. Petersburg bicycle accident lawyer could take the lead in these cases by working to fully investigate every claim and provide powerful evidence to insurance companies and juries. Call today to schedule a consultation and start working to pursue every dollar of recovery to which you may be entitled.