Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Tampa
With year-round pleasant weather and plenty of events and activities around the city, bicycle riding is popular in Tampa. Unfortunately, it’s also dangerous. The number of fatal and injury accidents has earned the area the designation as the most deadly metro area in Florida for bicyclists, with Florida being the most dangerous state in the nation to ride a bike.
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, the Tampa bicycle accident lawyers from Holliday Karatinos Law Firm can help you understand the personal injury claims process, which you can use to seek compensation for the financial and emotional impacts of your injury. We can also tell you how our legal team can assist you with your claim.
Holliday Karatinos Brings Experience to Your Claim
With over 65 years of collective experience helping the injured people of Florida, the legal team at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm has built a reputation as skilled courtroom advocates. Our lawyers are leaders in personal injury law, both inside and outside the courtroom, garnering more than $125 million in settlements and awards on behalf of our clients and sharing their extensive understanding of the law with law school students and other personal injury lawyers.
How Bicycle Accidents Happen in Tampa
According to People Powered Movement, the Tampa area has the highest traffic fatality rate of any large county in the U.S. and the highest number of bicycle accidents in the state. The Tampa region accounts for nearly one-third of all fatal bicycle crashes occurring in the state and more than 1,000 bicycle accidents overall. These statistics do not represent recent trends.
Traffic authorities in Tampa and te surrounding area have developed plans to reduce the number of injuries and fatal bicycle accidents on local roadways by improving roadways, educating motorists, and managing speed. These plans focus on high-injury areas throughout the city, particularly in low-income areas, where residents are more likely to rely on their bicycles as a primary source of transportation.
According to the executive director of Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization, one of the main issues factoring into bicycle accidents throughout the region is the design of the roads, which were originally country highways but are now in the middle of metropolitan areas. Because the design of the roads is not intended for multiple types of traffic, bicyclists are often left in heavily-traveled areas without a bicycle lane and are forced to either ride on sidewalks or in travel lanes of the roadway that are being utilized by drivers.
However, while the design of the roads in Tampa is far from ideal in many areas, the negligence of other roadway users is the leading cause of accidents.
This negligence can occur in many forms, such as:
- Alcohol-impaired drivers. Alcohol impairment creates deficits in the skills a driver needs to operate their vehicle safely, such as the ability to control one’s speed, maintain lane position, and respond adequately in emergency driving situations. While these deficits create risks for all other roadway users, they’re especially dangerous for vulnerable users such as bicyclists and pedestrians who lack the protective features of a steel frame, seat belts, and airbags.
- Distracted driving. Driver distractions involve anything that takes the driver’s eyes from watching the roadway, causes them to remove their hands from the proper position on the steering wheel, or causes their thoughts to stray from driving safely. Drivers who choose to engage in distractions such as texting, adjusting vehicle controls, visiting with passengers, daydreaming, attending to children or pets in the backseat, or other activities run the risk of failing to notice a bicyclist crossing the intersection or riding in the travel lane or the bike lane alongside them.
- Speeding. Speeding drivers are particularly dangerous for bicyclists because they not only have less time to perceive a hazard in the roadway, such as a slower-moving bicyclist but also have less time to respond to the hazard by slamming on their brakes. The increased speed of the vehicle requires the brakes to work harder to pull the vehicle to a complete stop, causing the vehicle to travel further while stopping.
- Left-turning drivers. When a driver turns left at an intersection that does not feature a green turn arrow that would indicate exclusive right-of-way for the turning driver, they must yield to the traffic traveling straight through the intersection in the lanes they must cross to complete their turn. Bicycles are less visible than other motor vehicle types. In chaotic traffic scenarios, a driver often focuses on larger obstacles, such as fast-moving cars and trucks, and fails to notice other, smaller forms of traffic.
- Right-turning drivers. Bicyclists are encouraged to use bike lanes when available and practical and are required to use the far-right edge of the roadway if there is no bike lane available and the rider is in the midst of faster-moving traffic. Unfortunately, drivers often fail to consider the bicycle lane when making right turns, either colliding with the bicyclist or turning into their path.
- Dooring. Dooring occurs when the occupant of a parked vehicle opens the door to the vehicle into the bicycle or travel lane, forcing a bicyclist to either collide with the door or swerve into an adjacent lane (and potentially into another vehicle) to avoid it.
- Tailgating. Some drivers of motor vehicles do not support sharing the road with bicyclists and become frustrated when riding behind one in an area where it is unsafe for them to pass the bicycle. One common and dangerous response is for the driver to tailgate the bicycle in an attempt to show annoyance, push the bicyclist to ride faster, or simply in preparation to pass at the first possible instant. Tailgating a bicycle is extremely unsafe, as the driver is allowing themselves little time to stop if the rider suddenly slows or stops.
The Types of Injuries Incurred in Tampa Bicycle Accidents
Accidents occurring when a bicycle and a motor vehicle collide can result in soem of the most serious injuries a person can incur. These include catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that are highly likely to produce permanent disabilities that will impair the sufferer’s ability to earn an income or complete daily living tasks independently.
Other types of injuries that commonly occur as a result of a bicycle accident include:
- Broken bones, particularly in the lower extremities, as this is often the impact point with the vehicle, as well as the wrists and arms due to the rider’s instinctive urge to catch themselves when falling with outstretched arms.
- Road rash, which involves deep abrasions to the skin due tocontact with a rough surface such as an asphalt roadway.
- Facial damage, including cuts, lacerations, damage to the teeth or eyes, or even bone fractures in the face.
- Soft tissue damage, including strains, sprains, and injuries to ligaments and tendons.
- Internal injuries, such as damage to the lungs resulting from fractured ribs.
The Laws Designed to Protect Bicyclists in Florida
Several laws on Florida’s books protect bicyclists from injury, including by requiring that motorists give bicyclists three feet of space when passing them to avoid knocking riders from their bikes. Motorists must also yield to bicyclists in bicycle lanes when turning to avoid colliding with the rider or turning into their path.
The occupants of vehicles parked along the side of a roadway must look for bicyclists before opening their door into a bicycle or travel lane. Motorists must also dim their headlights for approaching bicyclists, just as they are with approaching cars.
Hiring an Attorney
An experienced bicycle accident attorney is crucial to protecting your right to compensation and helping you navigate this often complex legal process. Tampa bicycle accident lawyers generally work on a contingent fee basis, meaning you do not have to worry about paying for your attorney’s services until after compensation has been received for your claim.
We will not ask you to pay a retainer and or bill you for our attorney’s services. Instead, you will enter into a contingent fee agreement us that designates a percentage of the compensation you receive as payment for your attorney.
Counting the Costs
Once your attorney has assisted you in determining the liable party in your case and the relevant insurance policy that can be accessed to provide your compensation, they will establish a value to your claim. This value is not just a total of the expenses you incurred as a result of medical treatment and wage loss but also includes the value of the psychological effects you experienced and the consideration of future expenses and losses that will likely arise as a result of permanent injuries.
When your attorney files your claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider, the provider will hire a claims adjuster to evaluate it.
The claims adjuster will determine:
- If their insured was liable and the accident was coverable under the terms of the policy.
- How much compensation is owed to the claimant for their injury.
Remember that claims adjusters work for insurance companies. Insurance companies stay in business by collecting premiums, not paying for their insured’s liability. The adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company’s bottom line.
Insurance providers can either pay the claim, deny the claim, or offer a settlement. Initial settlement offers are generally far below the established value of the claim. Your attorney can negotiate with the claims adjuster to convince them to increase their offer.
If the insurance company fails to compensate the claim, it can be filed as a personal injury lawsuit so that a judge or jury can determine if the at-fault motorist was at-fault for the accident and the insurance company is responsible for paying you. In Florida, personal injury claimants usually have up to four years from the date of their injury to file a lawsuit.
Collection of Your Settlement or Award
When your claim has been compensated through a negotiated settlement or a court award, the proceeds will be sent directly to your attorney at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm. They will receive payment at that time, following the contingent fee agreement you entered when you hired them to assist you.
The attorney will also assist you in paying any medical liens placed on the award by group health insurers or health care providers who treated your injury or covered your treatment. Your attorney will meet with you to sign documents finalizing the case, and the remainder of the compensation will be provided to you.
Injured in a Bicycle Accident? Call Us
Bicycles are permitted on roadways in Tampa and granted the same rights and responsibilities as other roadway users, including the right to seek compensation for injuries incurred in accidents caused by negligent drivers.
The Tampa personal injury lawyers from Holliday Karatinos Law Firm have decades of collective experience helping those injured in traffic accidents—including bicycle accidents—in Florida. Since 2006, we have assisted our clients in recovering $125,000,000 in compensation to help pay for the profound expenses and impacts they faced after being injured due to someone else’s careless or reckless actions.
Let the attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm help you understand your rights in the personal injury claims process. We can evaluate your claim for free, answer the questions you have about your case, explore the legal options that are available for you, and tell you more about the services we provide. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (813) 868-1887.
"Attorney James Holliday is the best attorney I have ever worked with. I went to him after an auto accident and I was impressed with his knowledge of the situation and judgement on how to proceed. In the end, Mr. Holliday was able to obtain full compensation. He was also a pleasure to work with."
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Barb C.
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