Bicycle Accident Accounting in Tampa, FL
Bicyclists have the same right to be on the road as motorists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, when an accident takes place, it is the bicyclist who often suffers the worst injuries. And when a collision is the result of motorist or pedestrian negligence, the injured bicyclist has a legal right to seek compensation.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Even an experienced bicyclist can be injured in an accident. But speaking in broad terms, men, adolescents, and adults over the age of 50 tend to be in the highest risk group for bicycling accidents. Other factors that frequently contribute to bicycle accidents include time of day–collisions are more common at night–and whether or not the bicyclist was wearing a helmet.
It also should go without saying, but most bicycle accidents occur in heavily trafficked urban areas. The more cars on the road, the more likely one of them is to hit a bicyclist. Keep in mind, motorists are legally required to share the road with bicycles. Conversely, bicyclists must follow most of the same traffic laws as anyone operating a motor vehicle.
In addition, not all bicycle accidents are the result of negligent motorists. Many accidents, especially in cities, are the fault of poor road maintenance. Potholes, cracked cement, and even a damaged road sign can lead to a bicycle accident. When that happens, an injured cyclist may have a legal claim against the city or government agency responsible for keeping the roads in safe condition.
Determining Proper Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
Bicyclists are especially vulnerable when an accident occurs as they lack the protection of someone riding in a car or truck. Although many bicyclists do walk away from a collision with “just a few scratches,” many others suffer permanent–even fatal–injuries. A personal injury lawsuit is often the only way the victim, or their family, can obtain a full measure of compensation for what happened.
In any bicycle accident lawsuit, a plaintiff may seek economic damages, which include any out-of-pocket losses due to medical bills, therapy, missed time from work, and long-term reduction in earning capacity. An injured bicyclist can also demand non-economic damages, which reflect those things that cannot be precisely quantified yet definitely exist, such as ongoing pain and suffering or permanent disfigurement.
It is also possible to seek punitive damages in some bicycle accident cases. Punitive damages are designed to punish outrageous conduct as opposed to mere negligence. For example, if there is proof a motorist deliberately tried to run over a bicyclist, that could support an award of punitive damages.
Taking Proper Steps Following a Bicycle Accident
Many times, a bicyclist's first instinct is to pick themselves up and ride away from an accident. That is almost always a mistake. A bicycle accident should be treated no differently than a collision involving two cars. The injured bicyclist should seek immediate medical attention, gather information at the scene, and contact law local enforcement to obtain an official police report. It is also a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible following an accident, as an attorney can clearly advise an injured bicyclist of their legal rights and responsibilities.