Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Some bicycle accidents involve nothing more than scraped knees, slightly torn pants, and maybe some embarrassment.
Other bike accidents have potentially far-reaching consequences for your physical and mental health, your finances, and even your ability to make a living.
If you’ve had an accident of the more serious kind, you need an experienced Tampa bicycle accident lawyer from Whittel & Melton on your team.
You may be eligible for compensation, but the party at fault and the insurance company – yours as well as theirs – will do everything they can to lower the payout or avoid making one altogether.
Your Whittel & Melton bike accident attorney will make sure that doesn’t happen. We will fight to secure the maximum compensation available to you.Tampa Bicycle Accident Statistics: What Do the Numbers Say?
Did you know that Florida is the most dangerous state for cyclists?
In 2021 alone, there were 6,361 bicycle crashes, resulting in 5,939 injuries and 178 fatalities.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that if you’ve been in a bike accident, you may be eligible for compensation.Who Is Eligible for Compensation in Tampa and Hillsborough County Bike Accidents?
You may get compensation if you were in a bike accident and sustained physical injury, property damage, and/or emotional suffering, whether you were:
- Driving a vehicle
- A passenger in a vehicle
- A pedestrian
In addition, if a family member or your spouse was killed in a bike accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.What Kind of Compensation Can You Get?
You can get compensated for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income or wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Repair costs of damaged property
Most serious bike accidents in our state are due to the negligence of another driver, such as:
- Failing to yield
- Running a red light
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Making turns without looking out for cyclists
- Failing to stop at a stop sign
- Driving in designated bike lanes
Other accidents are due to cyclists failing to:
- Wear helmets
- Wear bright clothing
- Use protective and/or reflective gear
- Follow traffic rules
- Keep their bike well-maintained and functioning properly
Sometimes, accidents are also caused by environmental factors such as bad weather, limited visibility, and poorly maintained roads.What Are Common Bike Accident Injuries?
Common injuries in Hillsborough County and Tampa bike accidents include:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Dental injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Brain injury
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of a traffic accident, you must first turn to your own insurance before going after any other parties – whether you were at fault or not. The same rules apply to Tampa and Hillsborough County bike accidents.
Here’s how it works:
1. Access Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Every driver in Tampa and Hillsborough County must carry Personal Injury Protection insurance. PIP covers up to $10,000 in immediate medical expenses and lost income. You have three options here:
- You have your own vehicle: Your insurer will pay, whether you were driving or not.
- You don’t have a car but live with a relative who does: Their PIP will kick in.
- You don’t have a car or live with a relative who does: The PIP of the at-fault vehicle will pay.
2. Tap the Other Party’s Bodily Injury (BI) Insurance
What if PIP is not enough to cover your losses?
If the driver that hit you carries Bodily Injury insurance, you can make a claim against that policy and recover for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. This is often the principal source of recovery in Hillsborough County and Tampa bike accident claims.
3. See If You Carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) Coverage
If the vehicle that hit you doesn’t carry BI insurance or it doesn’t provide enough coverage, you may be able to tap into your own UM/UIM insurance. Pull your auto insurance policy and check if it offers UM or UIM coverage. If it does, you can make a claim on the same grounds as with BI insurance.
4. Consider Filing a Lawsuit
Finally, if none of the options above works, you may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the party at fault. In some cases, you may also go after additional parties such as municipal or governmental agencies or the manufacturer of the bike or any defective parts.
In any case, you would need to prove that:
- The party at fault owed you a duty of care to follow traffic rules
- That duty was breached
- The breach caused the bike accident
- You suffered injury or injuries directly due to the accident
Under Florida law, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim and up to two years from the date of death for a wrongful death claim.
However, this doesn’t mean you should wait months or years to start the procedure. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to prove your case. Over time, critical evidence may get lost, and your memories of the accident may fade.
A lawsuit is often an expensive, complex, and drawn-out process, so it’s best to have a Tampa and Hillsborough County bicycle accident attorney by your side. Whittel & Melton’s bike accident lawyers are ideally positioned to guide you through the legal process and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.What If You Are Partially Responsible for the Accident?
You might be partially responsible if you were negligent or reckless at the time of the accident, such as if you failed to take necessary safety precautions or didn’t follow traffic rules.
This is known as contributory negligence, but it doesn’t affect your ability to recover damages in this state as long as another party was mainly at fault.What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
Just had a bike accident? Don’t panic. Follow the steps below to ensure that you’re safe and have an optimal chance of getting compensation.
- Assess the situation. Take a good look at the scene to assess yourself and others for injuries. Even if everyone seems fine, it’s best to call 911 right away. Not all types of trauma are readily apparent. If you’re in pain, have hit your head, or can’t move, ask someone else to make the call.
- Speak to the police. If the accident is grave enough to cause injury, the police will likely get involved. Talk to them, describe what happened, and answer any questions they may have.
- Gather information. Once you’ve made sure that everyone is okay and has received medical attention, it’s time to start collecting information. Write down the other party’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information. If there are any eyewitnesses, try to get their contact details as well.
- Take photos. Ideally, you want to have photos of your injuries, all bikes and vehicles involved, and the accident scene.
- Take notes. Wire down any key details you can remember – such as the time, date, location, and road and weather conditions – as soon as possible after the accident.
- Contact Whittel & Melton. The sooner, the better. Working with an experienced bike accident lawyer from our team will help you secure the best possible settlement.
- Sign anything. Don’t sign any paperwork, give a statement, or consent to anything before talking to one of our bicycle accident attorneys.
- Speak to the other party. This includes their representatives, insurers, and lawyers. Always speak with a bike accident attorney in Tampa or Hillsborough County first.
- Admit fault. This includes anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault, such as saying that you’re sorry.
- Delay contacting Whittel & Melton. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to prove your case.
Here are the answers to questions we often get in our practice:
Is It Worth Getting a Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
Yes, absolutely. A good bicycle injury attorney in Tampa or Hillsborough County can help you determine your eligibility for compensation, gather evidence to support your case, prepare a statement for the insurance companies, find witnesses for testimony, handle communications on your behalf, and ensure that you get the best possible settlement.
What Do You Do After a Minor Bike Accident?
If you’ve just had a bike accident, start by assessing yourself and everyone else at the scene for injuries. Then, call 911 and make sure that everyone receives medical attention. Not all trauma is visible or readily apparent. In addition, getting medical assistance early can help document your injuries.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Bicycle Accident in Tampa?
You have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. The deadline for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death. However, you shouldn’t wait that long to get the process started. It’s best to seek legal action right away.
To maximize your chances of success, hire a Tampa bicycle accident lawyer from Whittel & Melton right away.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Bicycle Accident That Was My Fault in Tampa?
You should always have an experienced Tampa bicycle accident attorney at your side.
Also, note that being at fault doesn’t normally impact your ability to recover compensation. Florida is a no-fault state. This means two things.
First, you must always tap into your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance before going after other parties, whether you’re at fault or not.
Second, you don’t lose your eligibility for compensation even if you were contributorily negligent, as long as the other party is largely at fault.
What Happens if the Person at Fault in a Bicycle Accident Has No Insurance in Hillsborough County?
If the other party has no insurance, you may be able to tap into:
- If you have a vehicle: Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
- You don’t have a vehicle but live with a relative who does: Your relative’s PIP.
- You don’t have a vehicle or live with a relative who does: Your auto insurance policy if it includes Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.
- Court-appointed damages: In some cases, you may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
What Should I Tell My Insurance Company After a Bicycle Accident?
You should always report any accidents to your insurer. That said, don’t speak with your insurer, give a statement, or sign any paperwork before speaking with a Whittel & Melton bike accident attorney.Need a Tampa Bicycle Accident Lawyer?
You’ve come to the right place. Whittel & Melton is the premier law firm specializing in bike accident cases in Tampa and Hillsborough County.
Contact Whittel & Melton for a free consultation today. We’ll ensure that you get the compensation you deserve – and not a penny less.