Do I Really Need an Attorney for my Bicycle Accident Claim?
In the state of Florida, bicyclists near major metropolitan areas like Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville face the highest risks of fatal bicycle accidents in the US. Florida’s major cities record the highest rates of bicycle accident fatalities every year. Since bicycles offer no protection to riders and most traffic accidents involving bicycles cause the cyclist to be ejected or run over by an automobile, a much greater percentage of these accidents also result in permanent injuries or even death.
Any time a bicyclist is hurt in a collision with a motor vehicle, he/she is strongly encourages to speak with an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Often times, cyclists are struck because the motorist is distracted, inattentive, or somehow negligent. A driver involved in a bicycle accident is likely to have an insurance company’s adjusters working to protect their interests. Adjusters and corporate attorneys sometimes move quickly to refute or marginalize a hurt cyclist’s injury claim. Retaining the services of a competent bicycle accident attorney can help to protect your rights to legitimate compensation and may keep the opposing party from resorting to stall tactics or other methods of intimidation in response to your legitimate personal injury claim.
Personal Injury Attorneys and Bicycle Accident Claims
After any bicycle accident, a cyclist may endure a difficult recovery including weeks or months of acute hospital care and physical rehabilitation. Even in less severe bicycle accidents, an injured bicyclist might still face follow on treatments, doctor’s visits, outpatient physical therapy, and missed time from work. Quantifying these costs and recovering the damages from the at-fault driver often necessitates the legal expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.
The decision to hire a lawyer early in the process may send the message that your claim is serious. Any injured bicyclist who delays in hiring a lawyer could be perceived as an opportunity for a quick settlement by the insurance company. The insurance company might act quickly to offer a low-ball settlement that seems fair to the injured person at the time, but is extremely low in comparison to the long-term losses caused by the injury. In other cases, an insurance company could try to shift the blame to the cyclist or even deny the claim entirely.
Insurance adjusters and the insurer’s corporate attorneys realize that an injured cyclist acting alone may not understand his/her legal leverage or the true monetary value (due to unforeseen costs) of his/her injury. An experienced personal injury attorney can be the rider’s key to successfully recovering damages for the all medicals costs, lost wages, any loss of potential earning power (if applicable), and mental anguish.
Bicycle Accidents and Injury Statistics
In Florida and the surrounding vicinity, the average number of serious bicycle accidents equates to at least one accident per week each year. According to the Center for Head Injury and the NHTSA, the following statistics also apply to bicycle accidents:
- 85% of head injuries in bicycle accidents can be prevented by wearing a helmet
- 677 bicyclists died on US roads in 2011
- 48,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents in the US in 2011 (down from 52,000 in 2010)
- Bicyclist deaths represent about 2% of the nation’s total annual traffic fatalities
- At least 33% of bicycle accidents in Florida involve a car overtaking (passing) a cyclist headed in the same direction
- About 75% of all bicyclists who die in accidents each year die from traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Selecting the Right Personal Injury Attorney
It’s in your best interest to consider at least a few different attorneys. It is important to speak and meet with them before choosing one to handle your case. Be sure the attorney you decide to hire possesses significant case experience with bicycle accident claims. Your attorney should have a record of positive client outcomes consisting of fair settlements as well as a few trial victories. Also look for a bicycle accident lawyer is recognized among their peers by independent entities such as Avvo and Super Lawyers.
The Center for Head Injury Statistics