Bicycling is an increasingly popular method of transportation and a favorite pastime in our beautiful state of Florida. There are numerous professional and recreational rides and charity events, such as the Florida State Road Championships, the Orlando Airport Time Trial Series, and the Baldwin Park Tri, among others. Moreover, citizens have become increasingly green minded, as they work toward a sustainable future. Our hospitable climate allows professionals to bike to work year round, and cycling is an affordable and convenient way to commute. Visitors love to sightsee, as they bike around the lakes, gardens, and theme-park properties, as well. Every year, paved bicycle trails are added to the downtown and greater Orlando area totaling over 150 miles of paved bike paths.
Unfortunately, many automobile drivers are still unaware of or they disapprove of bicyclists’ right to the road. This lack of proper knowledge and acceptance can lead to negligence, road rage, distracted driving, and other situations that are dangerous to cyclists. Sometimes the results are devastating. In response, we serve residents and visitors who have fallen victim to bicycle accidents.
Bicycle Accidents: All Too Common
In part due to the number of cyclists, but also due to the metropolitan automobile traffic, there are thousands of bicycle crashes every year. In fact, recent statistics show that over the course of one year, 7,077 Florida bike accidents occurred within the state, resulting in 6,680 injuries and a tragic 135 fatalities. On average, almost 500 of these injuries take place in Orange County.
If inappropriately guided, navigating the legal system after a bicycle accident can add to the trauma. Recovering proper compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills can be stressful at best, as insurance companies have their own interests in mind. Moreover, the other party or parties involved in the accident will surely hire aggressive representation.
Since 1977, James O. Cunningham has been serving the greater Orlando area. We focus on personal injury law including bicycle accidents. We know that if you’ve been injured in a collision, you’ve been through enough. Whether your injuries are physical, emotional, or both, you need to focus on healing and on returning to your previous lifestyle. Allow us to handle the complex legal process.
Frequently Seen Injuries
The average SUV weighs over 3,000 pounds. Even at low speeds, a bicyclist struck by a vehicle will suffer serious injuries. Visitors and residents of Florida alike seek the legal expertise of James O. Cunningham for the following:
Unfortunately, these types of injuries often lead to extended hospital stays, extensive rehab, high medication costs, and more. These can be one-time fees, or they might need to be worked into your budget for the forthcoming weeks, months, or even years. Sadly many bicycle accident victims discover that their health insurance will not cover large chunks of their medical bills. This can include high deductibles and certain outpatient and homecare services necessary to recovery or quality of life.
If you’ve been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s important that you seek medical attention immediately. Even minor injuries can result in debilitating complications down the road, and proper documentation of the incident will be important to your case. Next, consult with an aggressive yet compassionate law office that is well versed in the laws relevant to cycling accidents and personal injuries. On a regular basis, we guide our clients through the legal system after having fallen victim to hit and runs, alcohol-related accidents, distracted drivers, wrongful deaths, and more.
Of course, prevention is the best defense. Protect yourself. Wear bright clothing, and choose a bike that is right for your size and your riding style. Be aware of your surroundings. This includes automobile traffic patterns, the weather, the pedestrian activity in the area, and roadway conditions. Also, just as you would in a car or on a motorcycle, be sure to avoid driver blind spots.
Furthermore, make sure to familiarize yourself with bicycle laws. For example, it is not only wise to ride with a bike light at night, but it’s a law. Moreover, riders under the age of 16 are legally required to wear a helmet.
In order to keep you and yours safe, utilize a paved bike path whenever possible. Some of the greater Orlando area paths include:
- Baldwin Park, Lake Nona, and Walt Disney World in Orange County;
- Celebration, St. Cloud Lakefront Park, Kissimmee Area of Osceola County;
- Cross Seminole Trail, Rinehart Trail, and Casselberry Greenway in Seminole County; and
- Spring-to-Spring Trail of Volusia County.
Remember that the law changes in order to best protect the visitors and citizens of the area. For example, in 2012, an amendment was passed to allow cyclists to mount flashing bike lights. Make sure to stay up to date.
Compensation for Injured Bicyclists
Are you concerned that you may have been partially at fault for a collision or another accident? Under Florida law, this does not necessarily preclude you from receiving much needed compensation. For example, percentage of fault may be calculated, and damages may be allocated according to this division.
These legal details are complex, and not just any attorney will serve you best. Make sure to hire a specialist. A seasoned personal injury attorney will help you gather the necessary resources and paperwork so that you may obtain your much-needed compensation: witness statements, accident reports, cyclist statements, photographs from the scene of the accident, medical records, expert testimonies, and more.
Whether the cause of the accident was a driver unaware of bicyclists’ rights, a hazardous riding condition, or something else, victims of cycling accidents may qualify for a number of different types of compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney will consider the following:
- Medical Expenses: Depending on the severity of the injuries, bicyclists might need to pay for hospital and clinic fees, which can be astronomical. Ambulance, Emergency Room, surgical, therapy, and rehabilitation costs are only a handful of the fees that victims of bicycle accidents might incur. Oftentimes, health insurance will not cover all medical expenses, so compensation may be awarded as a part of a personal injury or other settlement.
- Lost Wages: If a bicycle accident renders you unable to work, the victim of an accident can seek compensation for the income they would have earned had they not been injured in the crash.
- Pain and Suffering: While we cannot go back in time to undo a tragedy, compensation can be awarded for pain and other suffering, such as scarring, bodily aches, limited ranges of motion, and other types of restrictions and agony.
- Mental Anguish: Even if you haven’t suffered a physical injury, compensation may be awarded for mental anguish. Anxiety, grief, and depression are debilitating conditions that can damage your quality of life.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation may be awarded if a spouse or another family member is suffering due to the wrongful acts of the other party.
- Funeral Expenses: It is not unusual for a funeral to cost as much as $10,000, which is no small expense. If your family has suffered a tragic loss due to a cycling accident, it may be possible to recover funeral-related charges.
Whether you’re suffering from emotional anguish, a devastating physical injury, the loss of your beloved husband or wife, or any other consequence of a bicycle accident, please don’t wait to consult a legal representative. Statutes of limitations are not the only time-sensitive factors. An attorney who specializes in this area of law will be able to recommend specific courses of action that can affect the outcome of your case. For example, you will be advised to seek medical attention immediately and to never accept verbal or written settlements that could preclude you from receiving the full compensation that you need.
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents happen daily in Florida. Our firm, however, is known for our success rates in the courtroom. In order to best serve the greater Orlando area, we have workplaces in a number of counties in addition to our Orange County main office:
We understand that bicycle accidents can lead to severe physical and emotional trauma and unwanted lifestyle changes. The legal process can be daunting especially for already-distressed bicyclists. With the help of client-centric professionals, however, these lawsuits are manageable. We’ll handle the legalese so that you can focus on healing and, whenever possible, returning to the lifestyle that you worked hard to obtain: your career, your pastimes, and the people that you love.
If you have been injured, please know that you can contact Florida bicycle accident lawyer James O. Cunningham at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) to schedule a free consultation. With over three decades of experience in personal injury law, our dedicated history and ongoing commitment allow us to best serve Florida’s residents and visitors. Always with your best interests in mind, our caring professionals will help you determine your next steps.
Additional Florida Bicycle Accident Resources
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Florida's Integrated Report Exchange System - Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report 2014 (PDF)
- Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
- business5Motorcycle Accident
A car turned in front of me causing me to spend 2 days in the hospital with surgery. They had only minimum coverage. My insurance even claimed I had no uninsured motorist coverage. I was sure I was in for a long battle. I had never stayed in the hospital, hired an attorney or met James before. Did some online searching and gave him a call. James came through like a champ. Best phone call I’ve ever made.
- Gordon, a Personal Injury client0.3