Unfortunately, people living in Florida are much more likely to need a Tampa bicycle accident attorney than people who live in other states. According to a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (better known as the CDC), Florida has the highest rate of bicycling deaths in the entire United States.
If someone dies in a Tampa bicycle accident, their loved ones can sue the insurance company and/or the guilty party for their pain and suffering. If you are injured in a bike accident, you still have the same rights — but you must take certain steps to protect them.
First, never admit fault in any way. It’s a common reflex to apologize when accidentally bumping into someone in a grocery store, and all too often this reflex transfers to bicycle or auto accidents. The insurance companies can and will use anything against you — even when it’s blatantly obvious you are the victim.
Even an Ounce of Prevention Might Save Your Life or Someone Else’s Life
Despite state and federal studies as well as investigative reports from daily newspapers such as The Tampa Tribune, we do not know exactly why Florida has such a high rate of fatal bicycle accidents. However, both drivers of automobiles and operators of bicycles can take steps to prevent accidents, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.
Safety Tips for Cyclists in Tampa
- Check your bicycle’s equipment (i.e. gears, brakes, and tires) regularly to ensure it is in working condition.
- Wear a helmet and make sure it fits properly. Under Florida state law, all bicycle riders and passengers under age 16 must wear a helmet. However, everyone should wear a helmet. Many fatalities in bike accidents are caused by head injuries.
- Wear sneakers or similar shoes; do not wear sandals or flip-flops when riding a bicycle in Tampa.
- Be visible. Wearing neon or bright colors as well as reflective shoes or tape will help motorists see you, especially at night.
- Stay alert. If you are busy listening to the latest tunes on your iPod or texting your best friend, you will not be able to hear what is going on around you. Also, do not bike when tired, injured, or sick.
- Follow all traffic laws.
- Ride with the traffic.
- Use bike lanes when available. Alternatively, keep your bicycle as far to the right of the road as possible.
- Yield to pedestrians and use audible signals (i.e. “turning right”) as necessary.
- Use a headlight lamp that shines white light that is visible for 500 feet and use a tail light lamp that shines white light that is visible for 600 feet when riding your bicycle in Tampa between sunset and sunrise. This is a Florida state law.
Bicycle-Related Safety Tips for Florida Drivers Operating Motor Vehicles
- Give bicyclists at least three feet of room at all times, whether you are passing or driving alongside a bike. This is a Florida state law.
- Yield to a bicyclist using the bike lane, especially when you are making a turn. Make your turns behind a bicyclist.
- Check for bicyclists before opening your car door.
- Refrain from using high-beam headlights at night when someone is operating a bicycle near your vehicle.
What to Do After a Florida Bike Accident
Despite your good intentions, the worst has happened. You have been injured or a loved one (i.e. spouse, child, parent, etc.) has died and you need a Tampa bicycle accident attorney.
Whether you were physically injured in a Florida bike accident or are emotionally suffering due to the death of a loved one in a Tampa bicycle accident, it is important to not speak to any other parties about the situation — especially insurance companies.
Of course, you should speak with doctors — especially if you are being treated for injuries sustained in an accident. If you are also upset about the situation or are the survivor of someone who has died in a bike-related accident, then you should also speak to a therapist and/or minister for comfort or more formal counseling.
However, be careful about saying things to your friends or colleagues. Also, be especially prudent about what you post on social media. Too many cases have been lost due to someone’s careless comments to a “friend” or a thoughtless Facebook post.
For example, let’s consider that you are suing ABC Insurance Company because John Doe’s drunken driving wrecked your bike and injured your back. A psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, and two of your church’s ministers agree you have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a direct result of the accident.
However, your friends drag you out to a bar one night to lift your spirits. Pictures of you smiling and perhaps even drinking land all over Facebook and Instagram. Your lawyer tells the insurance company you are in great physical and emotional pain as a direct result of their client’s actions. The insurance company disagrees and takes the case to trial. On the day of the trial, the insurance company’s lawyers pull out pages of Facebook and Instagram posts. They also have a deposition from a “friend” of yours saying you seemed just fine a few days after the accident. You naturally lose your case.
So, speak only to your lawyer, those professionals treating you, and trusted family members. This advice also applies if you are the survivor of someone who unfairly died in a Tampa bicycle accident.
How Denmon Pearlman Can Help You
Denmon Pearlman is a renowned law firm and can provide you with a highly experienced Tampa bicycle accident attorney. We handle everything in your case, including getting the myriad paperwork and other logistics in order (i.e. medical records, witness statements, accident reconstruction, hiring third-party experts, and communicating with the insurance company) — without any initial charges. We only receive compensation when you do.
Your first step to securing the services of a Tampa bicycle accident attorney is to request a free consultation. Our firm has experience winning cases against the city government, big businesses, and major insurance companies.
We will try our best to settle your case without a trial. However, we are not afraid to go to trial to fight for your rights when necessary and have secured plenty of awards for our clients in court.
There is no obligation for you to work with us if you do not feel comfortable after our initial consultation. Click on our Contact Us form or call 1-813-530-1087 today. Denmon Pearlman is available for you 24/7.