Hallandale Beach Bicycle Accident Attorney
With ample sun and tree-lined boulevards, tourists and residents alike enjoy taking in the sights of Hallandale Beach on a bicycle. Due to the large number of tourists who wind up moving here to live after retirement, the city ranks as one of the fastest-growing areas in the Miami metropolitan district.
Unfortunately, the combination of bicyclists and a densely packed population that features many new and aging residents unfamiliar with the roadway can lead to dangerous or even deadly accidents between motorists and bicyclists. Indeed, Florida ranks as the most dangerous state in the country for bicyclists, accounting for more than 800 bicyclists killed in the nation each year.
If a Hallandale Beach bicycle accident injured you, an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn can help you understand the process of seeking compensation for your injuries through a bicycle accident lawsuit. Generally, you must file your bicycle accident claim within four years from the date on which the accident occurred.
Florida law considers bicyclists, along with pedestrians, to be vulnerable road users.
- Distracted drivers: Driving distractions cause all types of accidents and pose a particular danger to vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Driving distractions are divided into three main categories: (1) manual distractions, which cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel; (2) visual distractions, which avert the driver’s eyes from watching the roadway; and (3) cognitive distractions, which draw the driver’s attention from the task of driving safely. Texting and other types of cell phone use constitute a particular concern for city and state officials, as these activities present all three types of driving distractions. In the time it takes for a driver to read or respond to a text, the driver may travel the entire distance of a football field without looking at the road. This amounts to plenty of time for an unsuspecting bicyclist to enter an intersection and for a faster-moving vehicle to strike the bike. An estimated 40 percent of all bicycle accidents involve a bicyclist suffering a rear-end accident with a motorist.
- Inattentional blindness: Drivers that cause accidents with a bicyclist often claim that they didn’t see the bike. While this sounds like an easy attempt to shift liability off of the driver and onto the bicyclist, drivers often don’t see bikers that share the road. Inattentional blindness refers to the way the brain prioritizes hazards. In a perfect situation, in which a driver is paying attention to the road and constantly scanning the surrounding area for dangers, that driver’s mind prioritizes identifying the largest objects that could potentially cause the most damage. The largest objects on the roadway rarely include bicycles, motorcycles, or pedestrians, but rather passenger vehicles, SUVs, and commercial trucks and buses. Because of this, a driver may look right at a bicyclist directly ahead and not actually notice the bike’s presence.
- Failure to yield: All roadway users must yield the right-of-way to other roadway users in certain circumstances, such as at red lights or stop signs, crosswalks, when pulling or backing out onto the roadway from a parking lot or private drive, when making a left turn at an intersection that doesn’t feature a green turn arrow, or when making a U-turn. Failure to yield constitutes the leading cause of intersection accidents and a major hazard for bicyclists. Motorists often fail to realize that bicyclists have the same right to use the roadway as any other vehicle, leading to many failure-to-yield bicycle accidents.
- Riding at night: Inattentional blindness aside, bicycles are far less visible than other vehicles on the roadway, and this is particularly true at night when visibility is already reduced. While slightly more bicycle accidents occur during the daytime hours, the rate of bicycle accident fatalities goes up during the evening and late-night hours.
- Alcohol impairment: An estimated 37 percent of all bicycle accidents involve liquor. Alcohol impairment degrades the skills needed for safe driving, including the ability to pay attention to the task of driving, to multitask, to track moving targets, to brake or steer effectively, to maintain one’s lane of travel, and to exercise good judgment.
- Speeding: Speeding not only reduces the time the driver has to perceive danger and respond by braking, but it also increases the distance that the brakes need to pull the vehicle to a complete and safe stop. Additionally, speeding can make it difficult for other roadway users to accurately judge if the gap in traffic will allow sufficient time to cross the travel lane. All of these issues create life-threatening dangers for a relatively unprotected bicyclist.
Most Common Victims of Bicycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the individuals most likely to suffer injuries in a bicycle accident include:
- Adults. Many people believe that bicycle accidents most commonly involve children; however, the average age of a bicyclist killed in an accident has been increasing over the past many years. Currently, the average age is 47.
- Males. The vast majority of bicyclists killed in accidents on U.S. roadways are male. Men in the 50 to 54-year-old age group are the most common victims, and men die in bicycle accidents at eight times the rate of women.
- Urban bicyclists. 75 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occur in the city, compared to 25 percent outside of the city.
Injuries Caused by Bicycle Accidents
Florida only requires bicyclists under the age of 16 to wear helmets when riding their bikes on roadways in the state. An estimated 36 percent of bicyclists in the state do not wear helmets. Without a helmet, a rider is more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which involve damage to the brain caused by a sudden, violent blow to the head or body. About 166 brain injury-related deaths occur in the U.S. each day, and around 1.5 million people sustain a TBI each year.
The brain, despite controlling nearly all of the body’s functions and involuntary responses, has only a limited ability to heal itself after an injury. Because of this, TBI victims often face permanent disabilities that disrupt every aspect of their lives.
Other common injuries that occur in bicycle accidents include:
- Facial trauma, including cuts, bruises, and abrasions to the skin, fractures to the teeth or facial bones, or damage to the eyes.
- Spinal injuries, including damage to the spinal cord, fractured vertebrae in the back or neck, or bulging or ruptured discs. Individuals involved in bicycle accidents also often suffer soft tissue injuries in the neck. Back and neck injuries can prove extremely painful, can alter your ability to carry out daily tasks, and can even cause paralysis over some or all of your body. Paralysis involves a loss of sensation and function below the site of the injury and most often results due to damage to the spinal cord, which extends from the base of the skull to the waist.
- Road rash, also known as friction burn, occurs when the skin makes contact with a rough surface, such as asphalt. While this type of injury often heals fully within days or weeks with at-home care, injured individuals face a risk of infection with the injury, particularly if the injury cuts deep enough to expose muscle or bone; involves a foreign object, such as a pebble or a piece of glass embedded in the wound; covers a large portion of a limb; occurs on a sensitive spot on the body, such as the hands, face, feet, or genitals; or bleeds excessively.
- Bone fractures. Bicyclists can break bones due to contact with the windshield or side of a vehicle, or from becoming airborne after impact by a vehicle. Bicyclists commonly suffer fractures to the arms and wrists in an accident due to the body’s instinctive urge to catch itself when falling by outstretching the arms.
- Damage to the joints. The knees, ankles, shoulders, and wrists of a bicyclist involved in an accident with a motor vehicle often become injured due to the force of the collision and the brain’s attempt to protect the body from falling or impact through the use of the limbs.
- Internal damage. The impact of the body against a vehicle or other objects can result in damage to the internal organs. Organs that most frequently suffer damage in bicycle accidents include the lungs, spleen, kidney, and liver.
When you’ve suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, life can prove extremely stressful and confusing. You have priorities in your life that your injury prevents you from attending to, expenses mount, and the severity of your injury may even impact the relationships that you have with your family and friends. A Hallandale Beach bicycle accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Jared Springarn can provide the legal experience and deep understanding of the accident claim process that you need to pursue maximum compensation through a bicycle accident lawsuit. An experienced attorney will know when to continue negotiating with insurance companies and when to take your case to trial.
To receive compensation for your injuries through a bicycle accident lawsuit, you must prove that your injuries occurred as the result of someone’s negligence.
To do this, you must establish:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, which refers to the way a reasonable person would act in similar circumstances to prevent others from suffering harm. The duty of care that a driver owes to other roadway users is to drive safely and legally.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care. Drivers breach their duty of care to other users of the roadway by exhibiting behavior contrary to the duty of care, such as driving while distracted, while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, or too fast for road conditions.
- The at-fault party’s breach of the duty of care caused an accident that resulted in your injuries and subsequent financial and psychological impacts.
Florida allows bicycle accident claimants to use the legal process to recover economic and non-economic damages. Recovering damages involves obtaining compensation for the expenses (economic damages) and impacts (non-economic damages) that you’ve incurred already and will continue to incur because of your injury.
Economic damages that you may qualify to recover include:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency treatment, ambulance transport, hospitalization, the services of physicians and surgeons, prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and the provision of assistive devices such as prosthetics, a wheelchair, or crutches.
- Lost wages resulting from being too injured to work.
- Loss of future earning capacity if you acquire permanent disabilities from your injury that impact your ability to earn an income in the future.
Examples of the type of non-economic damages you can claim include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, if your injury prevents you from participating in hobbies and activities you previously enjoyed.
- Loss of consortium, which involves compensating an injured individual’s spouse for loss of physical intimacy and companionship.
Let an experienced Hallandale Beach bicycle accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Jared Spingarn provide more information about the bicycle accident claims process and outline the services that our legal team can provide for you, such as determining liability, establishing a value to your case that is based on the expenses and impacts you have already incurred as well as those you will likely face in the future, handling all settlement negotiations, collecting evidence and witness testimony that you need to prove your case, providing litigation services, and collecting your settlement or award.
“What a great team. Took care of my accident case and got me a very great settlement. Thank you so much to the team for their great efforts and always being transparent with all the information they provided. Highly recommend they will take care of you like family.”
800 SE 4th Avenue, Suite 806
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009