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Bicycle Accident Attorney in Bradenton

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With beautiful weather and plenty of trails and dedicated bike lanes, bicyclists are a common sight on the city streets and coastal roads of Manatee County. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year more than 130,000 people are injured in bicycle accidents nationwide. The bicycle accident rate in Florida is 163 percent higher than the national average, making it the most dangerous state for biking in the country.

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, consult a Bradenton personal injury attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo. We will fight for your right to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. We take the time to understand the unique details of your case and build a legal strategy that addresses both your immediate and future needs. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Helmet next to bike on crosswalk after a bike accident

While some parts of Bradenton and the surrounding areas are relatively bike-friendly, accident rates remain high throughout the state. The most common causes include the following:

Driver Negligence

Most accidents occur when a negligent motorist hits a cyclist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), failure to yield the right of way often results in fatal bike accidents.

Other examples of driver negligence include the following:

  • Forcing a cyclist off the road
  • Pulling out suddenly in a cyclist’s path
  • Making a sudden lane change and hitting a cyclist
  • Blocking the bike lane, forcing the cyclist into the path of oncoming traffic
  • Opening the vehicle door in the path of a moving cyclist, i.e., dooring
  • Causing an accident due to distracted or impaired driving

Unsafe Passing

Unsafe passing is another leading cause of bicycle accidents. Motorists should always proceed cautiously when attempting to pass a bicyclist traveling in the same direction. Florida law requires at least three feet of clearance to pass a cyclist.

Unsafe Road Conditions

Unsafe road conditions are another common cause of crashes, such as:

  • Potholes
  • Poor street drainage
  • Uneven or cracked pavement
  • Missing or confusing signage or traffic lights
  • Unfinished or damaged shoulders
  • Construction site hazards
  • Poles, trees, or signs obstructing bike baths

Local municipalities are generally responsible for the upkeep of road surfaces and traffic signs and signals. They may also be responsible for maintaining safe construction zones as well, depending on the type of project impacting the flow of traffic.

If you lost control of your bike because of unsafe road conditions, your Bradenton bicycle accident lawyerwill investigate your accident and hold the responsible parties liable for your damages.

Injuries Sustained in Bicycle Accidents

Exterior of a building with a sign reading "Hospital"

When a negligent motorist collides with a bicycle, the cyclist is more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries. In 2021, there were over 1,000 fatal bike accidents in Florida and more than 2,000 non-fatal bike crashes.

The most common injuries sustained by bicyclists include the following:

Broken Bones

Accident victims with complex bone fractures may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation depending on the location and extent of the damage. Multiple fractures are typical in a bicycle accident and can take months to heal fully, especially if the surrounding tissues are damaged.

Head Injuries

Wearing a properly fitted bike helmet is the most effective way to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI). But depending on the angle and force of impact, a helmet may not be enough to protect the head and brain from trauma. Skull fractures and life-threatening brain bleeds are the most common head injuries resulting from bike accidents. If a victim survives, they may have a permanent disability.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Cyclists are especially susceptible to spinal cord injuries in an accident. A sudden, traumatic blow to the body can dislocate or fracture the vertebrae that protect and support the spinal cord. The site and extent of the damage to the spine will determine the parts of the body affected.

For example, if the bicyclist has an incomplete spinal cord injury, they may have some motor or sensory function below the injury site. With a complete spinal cord injury, there is no motor or sensory function below the site of injury. Victims with full or partial paralysis may require extensive medical care, assistance with everyday tasks, mobility aids, and modifications to their home and vehicle.

Important Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident

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To protect your rights and your health after an accident, here are some of the most important steps to take:

  • Call the police. When the officer arrives on the scene, tell them what happened to the best of your recollection. Do not admit fault. Ensure you receive a copy of their report.
  • Get medical attention. If you have pain or obvious signs of injuries, wait for an ambulance to arrive. If you don’t need emergency assistance, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Some injuries have delayed onset symptoms, and the paper trail of your medical records will help your case.
  • Exchange information. Obtain the driver’s name, contact information, license number, and insurance. If any witnesses observed the crash, obtain their contact information as well.
  • Document the accident scene. Take photos of the accident site, including damage to your bike and the vehicle, your injuries, and road conditions that may have contributed to the crash.

Finally, we do not recommend negotiating directly with insurance companies without the guidance of a Bradenton bicycle accident attorney. Insurance companies may offer you a quick settlement. However, it often is not enough to cover the physical, emotional, and financial losses resulting from a serious accident.

Proving Negligence in Bicycle Accident Cases

A bicyclist riding down the side of the road at sunset

To prove negligence, your attorney will need to show that the driver owed you a duty and breached that duty, which includes the following four elements:

  1. Duty of care: Motorists owe everyone on the road a duty of care by driving responsibly.
  2. Breach of duty: The negligent motorist breached that duty of care by driving recklessly or negligently.
  3. Causation: The motorist’s negligent actions are the direct cause of the accident and your injuries.
  4. Damages: You sustained significant damages, e.g., medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our team of bicycle accident lawyers in Bradenton will work diligently to prove negligence and build a strong case for compensation.

How Compensation Is Calculated

A printed medical billing statement with a stethoscope on top of it

In Florida, personal injury victims can pursue economic and non-economic damages. The total amount of your compensation is typically based on the seriousness of your injuries and how they have impacted your life.

  • Economic damages are direct financial losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. Medical compensation may include a wide range of current and future costs related to your treatment and recovery: ambulance transport, tests, hospitalization, surgery, medications, and physical therapy.
  • Non-economic damages are intangible losses that are more challenging to quantify—but are just as impactful, e.g., pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, mental and emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Kogan & DiSalvo

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When you choose Kogan & DiSalvo, you’ll have a world-class pool of resources working relentlessly on your behalf. Our Bradenton personal injury lawyers have devoted their legal careers to helping injury victims return to a financially and emotionally stable situation with honesty, integrity, and individualized attention.

Schedule a free consultation today about your bicycle accident. We have offices throughout Florida to assist clients in and around Bradenton, Manatee County, and across the state.

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