If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident in Port Richey, you have important legal rights that you should take steps to protect. Injured cyclists have the right to obtain compensation for their accident-related losses, and a negligent driver who hits you must be held responsible. This encourages safer driving habits in the future so the roads of Port Richey will be made safer for all bicyclists.
To find out if you have a claim, call Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Port Richey bicycle accident lawyer.
Despite being in the burgeoning metropolitan area of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, Port Richey has remained small since being settled in 1883. This limits traffic, which in turn makes the roads of Port Richey more inviting for bicycling enthusiasts.
There are also many biking trails throughout Port Richey and New Port Richey, including:
While bicycling is a healthy and enjoyable hobby, it can also be a dangerous one. Orlando Weekly reports that Florida has the most bicycle deaths in the United States. Florida also experienced a threefold increase in the number of fatalities among bicycle riders aged twenty and older between 1975 and 2017. Despite having less than 7 percent of the U.S. population, Florida accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. bicycle fatalities in 2017.
Recent years in the Port Richey area have produced highs of 152 bicycle crashes, 139 injuries, and 10 fatalities.
These are alarming facts that show just how dangerous it is to ride a bicycle here.
The first step in handling a bicycle accident claim is to determine who is legally at fault (liable) for causing your injuries. Some many individuals and companies could be found liable for causing your bike accident. It is important to work with a bike injury attorney who can identify the proper defendant—and find all potential defendants —to obtain the compensation to which you are legally entitled.
Negligent drivers account for a significant number of bicycle accident claims. If the driver was not paying attention, using a mobile device, speeding, or impaired by drugs or alcohol, it is highly likely that the driver will be found negligent. Negligent drivers have a legal obligation to compensate victims for the injuries they cause. This is why Florida—like other states—requires drivers to carry auto insurance with minimum amounts of liability coverage. Your bike accident lawyer will file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. If the company accepts liability, your attorney will then negotiate the value of your claim with the company’s claim adjuster.
Under Florida law, if a defective product causes an injury, victims can often recover compensation from the product’s manufacturer. This legal principle applies to cars, trucks, motorcycles, and the companies that manufacture them. Sometimes, issues like defective brakes, headlights, windshield wipers, accelerator pedals, or other vehicle components can cause serious bicycle accidents. When this occurs, victims may bring a claim against a vehicle or vehicle parts manufacturer.
Product liability laws extend to all manufacturers, including bicycle manufacturers. This means that you can also sue the manufacturer of a defective bicycle or defective safety equipment that caused your injuries. Examples of bicycle or safety equipment that could be defective include helmets, brakes, derailleurs, seats, handlebars, tires, or wheels. Because it can be difficult to determine whether defective equipment contributed to your accident, it’s always a good idea to have your case reviewed by an attorney.
Sometimes bicycle accidents occur because of poor road conditions. Poor conditions can be the result of inadequate road maintenance resulting in conditions like potholes or uneven pavement. Construction companies can be held liable for injuries that are caused by their poor work. Uneven paving, improperly sealed cracks, or crumbling asphalt can all be the result of negligence in the road repair process. These seemingly minor adverse conditions can have devastating consequences for bicyclists who are vulnerable to every bump and crack in the road.
Government agencies are often immune to lawsuits due to a legal doctrine known as sovereign immunity. This doctrine prevents public officials from being sued for negligence committed in their official capacities. However, the State of Florida has waived sovereign immunity for itself and its subdivisions by statute. This means that victims can sue the state and its government agencies for personal injuries sustained through the state’s negligence.
Claims against government agencies are subject to strict limitations with respect to timing and the amount of compensation you can recover. As a result, if you believe you have sustained injuries in an accident caused by the negligence of a government agency or worker, you should speak to a Port Richey bicycle accident lawyer as soon as you can.
Victims of bicycle accidents that occur in and around Port Richey do not have unlimited time to file a claim or lawsuit arising from their accident. In Florida personal injury cases, accident victims have four years from the date of their accident to file a claim or lawsuit that seeks damages and other types of monetary compensation for their injuries.
If you do not file a lawsuit promptly within that four-year deadline, the accident victim will be waiving his or her right to recover monetary compensation and damages. This is true even if the lawsuit is filed in the court system just one day late. Statutes of limitations prevent evidence in the case from growing stale and ensure that witnesses remain available if the matter goes to trial.
A knowledgeable Port Richey bicycle accident attorney at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can ensure that your claim or lawsuit is filed well before the statute of limitations deadline. This will help to ensure that you receive the necessary compensation and damages for the injuries that you suffered in your bicycle accident.
If you suffered injuries in a bicycle accident that occurred because of another person’s negligence, you may recover monetary compensation. Damages typically come through a favorable settlement from the at-fault person’s insurance company, a favorable jury verdict, or a favorable arbitration award.
The damages that one bicycle accident victim receives can be different from the damages received by someone else. The amounts and types of damages you may recover depend upon the seriousness of the bicycle accident, the injuries that you sustained, the medical treatment that you received for your injuries, and whether or not you suffered a permanent injury or disability in the accident.
Generally speaking, the more extensive and expensive your medical treatment, the higher the damages you are eligible to recover in your bicycle accident case. For example, an accident victim who has to undergo a medical procedure, such as surgery, will likely recover more in damages than a soft tissue injury victim who went to a few doctor visits and attended some physical therapy.
Victims of bicycle accidents may recover economic damages, including out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and compensation for all related medical bills. In addition to these economic damages, the victim of a bicycle accident could also pursue and recover non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for all of their inconvenience, pain, and suffering. They can also compensate accident victims for lost quality of life and the inability to use a body part in the event of a permanent injury.
In cases where an accident victim passes away from injuries, surviving family members might pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault person’s insurance company. As part of a wrongful death claim, the claimant or personal representative could recover the costs of funeral and burial expenses, as well as compensation for the accident victim’s pain and suffering leading up to his or her death—and loss of the decedent’s companionship and future financial support.
The knowledgeable Port Richey bicycle accident lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can assist you with recovering the damages that you deserve for your bicycle accident injuries.
One of the most common questions our Port Richey bicycle accident lawyers hear is, “what is my claim worth?” The answer to this question depends on your injuries, how the accident occurred, who the at-fault party is, where the accident happened, and many other factors. Injury victims are entitled to compensation for specific costs and losses. By understanding each area of compensation, you will have a better idea of what your overall award will be.
You are entitled to compensation for all medical expenses you incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence. This includes doctor bills, prescriptions, over the counter medications, and assistive devices such as slings, crutches, braces, or wheelchairs. You are also entitled to compensation for the future medical bills you will incur throughout your life.
With permanent injuries, such as those involving spinal cord injuries or brain damage, these costs can be well into the millions of dollars. Since it is not possible to know exactly how much your future medical bills will be, your injury lawyer will likely have to hire a life care planner or economist to make projections about these costs.
In addition to medical care, many injury victims also need rehabilitative care. This type of care can include physical therapy, chiropractic care, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and many other types of services. If your injuries are comprehensive or severe, you might need all of these services, and you might need them for years to come. The person or party who caused your injuries is obligated to compensate you for all the services you will need.
You are also entitled to compensation for any lost wages that were caused by your injuries. This can include time off work for medical appointments, reduced hours, and other scheduling changes that ultimately reduced your paycheck. Lost wages are usually a simple calculation of the number of hours you missed multiplied by your hourly rate.
If you are salaried, you will receive prorated pay based on a forty-hour workweek. If you can prove that you lost any commissions, bonuses, overtime, or other special compensation, you can seek compensation for these losses as well.
If you have suffered permanent injuries, your injuries will likely impact your future earning potential. You might have to accept a part-time position or limit your responsibilities at a reduced rate of pay. Some injury victims never return to any kind of work.
Whatever the situation, if your accident has decreased your future earning capacity, the at-fault has a legal obligation to make up the difference. This difference should include any employment benefits such as health insurance or retirement contributions paid by your employer that you miss out on as a result of the accident.
In some cases, it is fairly clear exactly how much your income has been reduced. If, for example, you made a full-time salary of $50,000 per year before the accident and had to take a part-time job at $25,000 per year after the accident, then the at-fault party would likely have to compensate you for the $25,000 per year you lost. In other cases, it is less clear how your accident has affected your income.
Your lawyer might need to get expert testimony from an economist to prove the amount of your claim. The at-fault party’s lawyer might also challenge your stated earning capacity. In this case, the defense could hire a vocational expert to assess your ability to earn a living in the current job marketplace.
The expenses we have discussed up to here are tangible. You can establish them with receipts, an economist’s projections, or an itemized statement from a medical office. But there are many intangible losses that injury victims suffer. These are often more devastating than the tangible losses that have an easily ascertainable value.
Imagine, for example, that you can’t walk across the stage at your own graduation because you were in a wheelchair after a bike accident. Or that you could never pick up your own children because of permanent damage to your arm. These are very real and painful losses. Unfortunately, they do not lend themselves to an easy valuation.
Insurance companies try to solve this problem by simply multiplying the amount of your medical bills by a set amount. This is usually between one and three, depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of their client’s negligence. While this method might be easy for them, it is hardly fair to you. It does not account for your particular circumstances.
What if you were allergic to pain medication? This would increase your pain, and it would take more money to compensate you for it. What if you had an underlying medical condition that made your recovery more difficult? A person who suffers from osteoporosis, for example, will have a far more difficult time recovering from a broken bone. These are just some of the many circumstances that could increase your pain and suffering. A fair settlement offer must account for your specific pain and suffering—not the simple number the insurance company came up with.
A good bike injury lawyer can explain exactly how your injuries have affected your life. If the insurance company will not make an offer that fairly accounts for all of your intangible losses, you have the right to take your case to a jury and let your peers decide what your pain and suffering is fairly worth.
Unlike an insurance company that focuses on statistics and formulas, jurors are people who have the same struggles that you do. They can connect with an injury victim who testifies that she could not hold her own children due to the accident. While going to trial can be a lengthy, painful, and expensive process, it is sometimes the only way to get the compensation you fairly deserve.
Port Richey, Florida—with its scenic trails and routes—offers many opportunities for bicyclists to enjoy the outdoors. Despite the many bicycling opportunities in and around Port Richey, bicyclists are unfortunately at a significant disadvantage when compared with the operators and passengers of other vehicles. This is because cyclists, like pedestrians, are completely exposed to their surrounding environments and do not have an outer shell surrounding them. Consequently, if they are involved in an accident, they can suffer serious injuries to any part of their body. Head injuries can also occur in bicycle accidents because helmets sometimes crack or do not fully protect the cyclist.
When a bicyclist suffers a serious injury in an accident, he or she might require medical procedures and/or lengthy medical treatment. The accident victim may also need to miss time away from work to treat—and recover from—injuries suffered in the accident. Medical bills can pile up, and accident victims often have no idea where to turn next.
The experienced Port Richey bicycle accident attorneys at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can answer all of your legal questions and can help you develop a plan of action for moving your case forward.
This article attempts to answer some of the most basic questions that bicycle accident victims have about their cases. For more information about how we could assist, please give us a call today.
Bicycle accidents can lead to very debilitating injuries. This is especially true if the force of the impact causes the bicycle accident victim to fall to the ground or strike another vehicle.
Victims of bicycle accidents could suffer any of the following serious injuries:
The first thing that you should do after a bicycle accident is get the treatment you need for your injuries. You should seek follow-up care at a local hospital or emergency room, and if necessary, follow up with a primary care doctor or specialist. You may also need to undergo a procedure—such as a surgical procedure to fix a broken bone—or attend physical therapy sessions.
While you are receiving treatment for your injuries following a bicycle accident, you should have an experienced Port Richey bicycle accident attorney on board in your case. The knowledgeable legal team at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your accident and work to get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Bicycle accidents are especially common in tourist areas, including along beaches and lakes in the Port Richey area, which cyclists and pedestrians tend to enjoy. These accidents commonly take place at traffic intersections, on roadways with bike lanes, and in parking lots and parking garages.
In many instances, bicycle accidents occur because of negligence on the part of another driver. When motor vehicle operators fail to pay attention to the road and violate traffic laws, they increase the chances that they will collide with a bicyclist.
Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents that occur in and around Port Richey include:
Motor vehicle drivers whose negligence results in a bicycle accident can cause victims to suffer serious injuries. If you have suffered serious or permanent injuries in a Port Richey bicycle accident, you might file a claim against the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance company. The knowledgeable legal team at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can assist you throughout every aspect of your claim and can help you pursue the monetary compensation and damages that you need for your bicycle accident injuries.
If you suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident, you could file a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company. At some point in time after the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company might ask you to give a recorded statement. You should never agree to give a recorded statement to the insurance company without having an attorney present with you. This is because the insurance company will do everything possible to find a way to deny your claim—or at least avoid paying you its full value. In short, the at-fault party’s insurance company is never on your side.
When your attorney submits a claim on your behalf, he or she typically does so by submitting a settlement demand package. The demand package will include a demand letter that makes a monetary demand for settlement. In cases where a bicycle accident victim suffered serious and permanent injuries, the initial demand may be for the full limits of the available insurance coverage.
The demand package will also include any police reports that officers prepared following your bicycle accident, along with all of your related medical records and bills. If you lost wages because of injuries you suffered in your bicycle accident, your attorney can include any lost wage documentation submitted by your employer. Finally, your attorney can include a victim impact statement that describes what the accident has done to your life and overall well-being.
Upon receipt of the settlement demand package, the insurance company adjuster assigned to oversee the case will decide whether or not to accept fault (or liability) for the accident. In some bicycle accident cases, fault is clear-cut, and a driver clearly caused the accident. However, at other times, it can be difficult to determine exactly who or what caused the accident. In Florida, victims of bicycle accidents can recover monetary compensation for the at-fault person’s percentage of fault in causing the accident.
If the adjuster accepts full or partial liability for the accident, he or she will likely make an introductory offer to settle the case. You should know that initial settlement offers by insurance company adjusters are routinely low and are unlikely to fully compensate a bicycle accident victim for the injuries he or she suffered.
In fact, in many personal injury cases—including those that involve bicycle accidents—it will take several rounds of negotiations between the insurance company adjuster and the accident victim’s lawyer to reach a favorable settlement offer. In some instances, the personal injury attorney may even need to file a lawsuit to light a fire under the insurance company’s feet and get them to take the case seriously.
The knowledgeable legal team at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers can assist you with negotiating a favorable settlement offer in your bicycle accident case. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair and full monetary compensation for your injuries, our legal team could file a lawsuit and litigate the case on your behalf to try to recover what you deserve.
After a bicycle accident, you will likely feel overwhelmed by the legal process. You don’t have to handle the paperwork and fight the insurance company on your own. Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys knows how to get insurance companies to pay up, and we will never collect legal fees unless we win your case. Call the Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers at (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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NICOLETTI WALKER ACCIDENT INJURY LAWYERS – PORT RICHEY
Port Richey 34668