Ocala Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Ocala is a great place for cyclists. However, any time you ride your bicycle, you risk a driver hitting you and causing life-changing injuries.
Drivers do not always recognize or understand the rights of bicyclists on Ocala roads, and drivers often make mistakes that cause cyclists injuries. If you suffered injuries you believe resulted from another party’s negligence, be sure to get help from a skilled Ocala bicycle accident lawyer from Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A.
Our team believes in the rights of cyclists to navigate Ocala roads safely on their bikes, and we do our part to hold drivers accountable for dangerous conduct that causes harm. Our Ocala personal injury lawyers regularly obtains six and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for victims of traffic crashes, and we can assess the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Anyone dealing with a bicycle crash should get the medical attention they need, then contact our firm to learn about their legal rights.
Bicycle Accidents in Florida
Whether you ride for exercise, fun, or transportation or want a flat, hilly, quick, or long ride, Ocala contains bike lanes, paths, and trails to suit your needs. But reports show that Florida is the deadliest state for bicyclists. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported 6,400 bicycle crashes last year, resulting in 186 fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable due to driver negligence.
Bicycles are vehicles under the law and generally have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers. Drivers might become impatient with slower cyclists but cannot negligently pass or otherwise move around a cyclist.
As far too many cyclists in Ocala know, drivers do not follow these principles, putting riders in danger every day. While Ocala has plans to improve bicycle safety – both on and off the roads – these plans will not go into effect until 2035. Until then, cyclists might need to take legal action if unsafe drivers cause them injury.
Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Florida
Bicycle crashes are the result of several different causes, and some of the most frequent can include:
- Distracted driving – Many drivers do other things while behind the wheel, such as talking or texting on a cell phone. Bicycles are already difficult to see, and distractions increase the chances that drivers will miss a cyclist and hit them. Your lawyer might subpoena a driver’s phone records in these cases to secure evidence of distractions if a driver was in the process of using a cell phone at the moment of a bicycle accident.
- Failure to provide an adequate buffer – Some motorists will drive too close to bicyclists in road lanes, which can mean they do not have adequate time to avoid striking the bicyclists if the bicyclist suddenly slows or stops.
- Speeding – Some drivers in Florida will operate over posted speed limits, and speeding violations mean that drivers might not come to complete stops in time to avoid striking bicyclists. A high-speed accident is much more likely to severely injure a cyclist.
- Weaving through traffic or unsafe lane changes – A driver constantly changing lanes will be much more likely to strike a bicyclist on the side of the road because the driver is typically paying much more attention to other cars than bicycles. Erratic driving, in general, can increase the chances of a bike collision.
- Unsafe turns – Left turns are especially hazardous for bicyclists, as drivers might not pay attention enough to see an oncoming bicycle before turning. A highly dangerous right-turn bike crash is the right hook accident, when a driver turns into the path of a cyclist in the bike lane to the right.
- Running red lights or stop signs – When drivers must stop at intersections but do not, crossing bicyclists are at serious risk of suffering injuries in collisions. Running traffic signs and signals is dangerous for everyone on the road – especially vulnerable cyclists.
- Drunk or drugged driving – No driver in Florida can legally operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, and for a good reason. However, some drivers still take this extraordinary risk, and bicyclists can frequently be the victims of drunk driving accidents. Any impaired driver will be at enhanced risk of missing a cyclist or failing to follow traffic laws, leading to a crash. While many people associate drunk driving accidents with nighttime, these collisions can happen anytime during the day, even at popular cycling times.
- Driver fatigue – Many people get behind the wheel while exhausted, and a tired driver is dangerous because they can nod off or even fall asleep while behind the wheel and cause a collision. Fatigue also slows reaction times and awareness, increasing the chances a driver will hit a cyclist.
- Dooring – Dooring involves motor vehicle drivers or passengers opening vehicle doors into traffic lanes without checking for oncoming bicyclists. Dooring incidents can often cause serious accidents that may result in significant injuries for bicyclists. If a door suddenly opens and a cyclist crashes into it, the cyclist can suffer severe upper body injuries and fall off their bike.
- Aggressive or reckless driving – Under Florida Statute § 316.192, reckless driving involves operating a motor vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Florida Statute establishes that aggressive or careless driving involves exceeding a posted speed, unsafely or improperly changing lanes, following another vehicle too closely (tailgating), failing to yield the right-of-way, improperly passing, and violating traffic control and signal devices.
- Nighttime accidents – Drivers often have difficulty seeing bicyclists at night. Even if cyclists have all the proper lights and reflective devices, drivers still might not pay sufficient attention. The law permits cyclists to share the road at any time or night, and drivers should recognize this.
- Bad weather – Whether it is rain or another condition, poor weather can impact drivers’ ability to see or stop. Drivers should use proper caution in poor weather to avoid collisions, but they often fail to do so and hit cyclists.
- Bicycle issues – Some bicycles might fail to perform correctly, and the injured parties in these cases can file legal claims against manufacturers that did not sell safe bikes.
These are only some reasons drivers hit and injure cyclists in the Ocala area. Negligent drivers and insurance companies often blame bicyclists for their own injuries. They argue that cyclists engage in risky behavior by bicycle riding and should pay for part or all of their injuries.
You never have to accept this argument in a bicycle accident claim. Instead, seek legal help from our lawyers who can challenge the assertion that you were negligent. We know how to investigate the cause of a crash and provide evidence to prove driver negligence and liability. This is difficult to do independently, especially when you are already dealing with serious injuries. Let us help with your case.
Bicycle Accident Injuries and Compensation
Cyclists have little protection when a car or truck hits them. There are no seat belts, airbags, or crumple zones on bicycles, and a car often collides directly with a cyclist’s body. The cyclist can also fly off their bike, leading to additional trauma with the ground or other objects. For these reasons, cyclists tend to suffer life-altering injuries.
Many cyclists suffer:
- Broken bones and fractures
- Sprains and strains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Dental damage
- Fractured jaw, nose, or cheekbones
- Eye injuries or vision loss
- Facial injuries
- Wrongful death
Cyclists usually require emergency medical care following a crash, including ambulance transportation. Even if you can drive yourself, you should seek medical attention at an emergency room or urgent care as soon as you can following an accident. Never disregard soreness, pain, or disorientation as expected after a collision. These can signal serious injuries, so get a prompt diagnosis for your health and legal claim.
You can receive treatment recommendations when you get an immediate diagnosis of your injuries. This can help avoid complications and, if possible, improve your prognosis.
Further, you will need to provide proof of the injuries you suffered to insurance companies as part of your claim. The sooner you see a medical professional following your accident, the easier it is to prove your injuries and seek compensation.
Compensation for your injuries
Several factors will determine the financial compensation you need and deserve for your bicycle accident. When another party is at fault, they will only compensate you for the damages you can support with evidence.
Damages typically come in two forms: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages relate to tangible costs and financial losses, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Out-of-pocket expenses relating to an accident
- Future medical expenses and lost earning ability
You might assume you will present your medical bills to the insurance company and collect compensation for those expenses. However, you might forget about many losses you incurred or will incur.
For example, even if you missed a few days of work due to your injuries, you can lose earnings that impact your overall financial situation. Some people must travel long distances to see the right specialists or undergo surgeries, and they might not realize that transportation costs are compensable.
You can also seek compensation for future losses you expect to incur. If you have a permanent injury requiring medical care for the rest of your life, your lawyer can calculate what future medical expenses to demand. This often requires assistance from medical experts who can estimate your future bills. The same goes for future lost earning ability if you cannot return to your previous work.
Non-economic damages relate to areas that are much more difficult to quantify because the losses are subjective.
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Wrongful death cases will also result in significant damages for the family members of a deceased bicyclist. Make sure you have legal representation for assistance in calculating the value of a wrongful death case as quickly as possible because there are strict time limits in these cases.
Do You Need a Bicycle Accident Attorney?
Do you need to add legal fees to your list for your bicycle accident claim with all these expenses and losses? If you know a driver hit you, can’t you file the injury claim yourself?
The answer is yes. Always hire a bicycle accident lawyer. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and do everything possible to minimize your financial recovery. You need a legal advocate who regularly stands up to insurance companies on your side.
You don’t have to worry about the cost of an attorney. Due to contingency fee arrangements, everyone can afford to hire an accident attorney, and you will pay nothing until your case resolves favorably.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation With an Ocala Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Did you or your loved one recently suffer injuries from a Florida bicycle crash? You will want to be quick to contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. for assistance with every single step of the daunting legal process.
Our firm knows how complicated these claims can be for the average person, but we will take the time to explain your rights to you and then fight to ensure that you recover as much financial compensation as possible.