The Tampa Bay area, which includes populous cities like St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa, is an ideal spot to ride your bike all year long. St. Petersburg is a particularly attractive cycling destination since it houses many cultural exhibits and seemingly endless miles of bike paths. The City of St. Petersburg strives to encourage cycling and has been officially recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly City.
While biking is a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, a person on a bicycle is no match for a distracted driver of a vehicle. In St. Petersburg, bicycle accidents are unfortunately an everyday occurrence. Sometimes, cyclists make it out alright while other times, they end up sustaining severe and life-threatening injuries. In extreme cases, cyclists may lose their lives because of a car-on-bike collision. According to the NHTSA, there were 857 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2018.
The injuries a cyclist can sustain when striking a vehicle are often catastrophic. Medical expenses and time away from work can place a significant debt burden on any bicycle crash victim. If you’re unsure of what steps to take after a bicycle accident in St. Petersburg, contact an accident attorney who looks out for and defends cyclists.
Responsibly Riding a Bicycle in St. Petersburg
Unfortunately, bicycle accidents in St. Petersburg and the rest of the Tampa Bay area are all too common. Whether you use your bicycle as a form of exercise, as a leisure activity, or as your main form of transportation, bicyclists are at high risk due to very little protection. Riding in narrow bike lanes as motorists zip by at high rates of speed, riders on light-weight bicycles stand little chance against much heavier and solid vehicles.
Here are some bicycle safety tips to lessen the likelihood of becoming a bicycle accident victim:
- Obey traffic signs and signals – Bicycles must follow the rules of the road like all other vehicles.
- Never ride against traffic – Motorists are not looking for bicyclists riding on the wrong side of the road. State law requires that bicyclists ride like other vehicles.
- Follow lane markings – Don’t turn left from the right lane. Don’t go straight in a lane marked “turn only”.
- Don’t pass on the right – Motorists may not look to see a bicycle passing on the right.
- Scan the road behind you – Learn to look back over your shoulder without losing balance or swerving or employ a rear-view mirror.
- Use lights and reflectors at night – The law requires a white headlight (visible from at least 500 feet) and a rear reflector or taillight (visible from 300 feet).
- Wear a safety helmet.
- Don’t listen to music with earbuds.
- Hand signals – Know and use hand signals to turn, change lanes and brake.
Despite many cyclists following the above guidelines to a T, injury accidents remain prevalent. In these situations, it’s imperative to seek quality legal counsel.
How a St. Pete Bicycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You
Bicycle accident cases are on par with car accident cases in terms of their complexity and the length of time it may take to resolve them. Bicycle accident attorneys can help you take the right steps to get your needed settlement quickly while also protecting your rights.
There are several tasks bike accident attorneys may complete to help you recover compensation after a bicycle crash, including:
- Gathering witness statements;
- Reviewing police and accident reports;
- Inspecting and documenting damage to the bike and personal property, such as clothing, helmets, gloves, shoes, etc.…;
- Investigating the driver’s driving record; and
- Working with experts to create reenactments to determine fault and causation.
A St. Pete bicycle accident lawyer will take the burden of fully investigating the crash off your shoulders so you can focus on recovering from your injuries. At Marsalisi Law, we strive to protect your rights and help heal. Whenever necessary, we will come to you at your home, the hospital, or treatment clinic to resolve important matters if you can’t make it to our office.
Types of Bicycle Accident Lawsuits You May Pursue
There are two types of bicycle accident lawsuits you could pursue: 1) a claim against the at-fault party; and 2) a product liability claim. One might be better than the other depending on the facts of your case. The more common of the two is a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party for negligence.
Considering a Claim Against the At-Fault Party
It’s highly unlikely the driver in your case will admit fault, which is why it’s important to conduct a thorough investigation of the crash to figure out liability and causation. Your bicycle accident lawyer will rely on all the evidence you provide to build your case in a manner that’s factual and favorable to you.
A successful bicycle accident lawyer will establish that:
- The at-fault party failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances;
- The at-fault party breached his duty of care to the cyclist;
- The breach of the duty of care caused the accident; and
- The accident resulted in an injury.
Your lawyer might advise you to file a bike accident lawsuit if filing a claim for damages through your insurance company presents challenges. Our goal at Marsalisi Law is to get you everything you deserve to make up for the financial burden, including the costs of your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related expenses you didn’t plan for.
Considering a Product Liability Claim after a Bike Crash
It takes several parties to put a safe bike together and get it to the sales floor. Like cars, a bicycle may have defective components that can either cause an accident or make an accident worse. If a defect in your bike contributed to your accident in any way, you might have a claim against the manufacturer. To bring a product liability lawsuit against a product manufacturer after a bicycle accident, your attorney must show that:
- The bicycle’s defects were unreasonably dangerous;
- You were operating the bicycle as the manufacturer intended; and
- The bicycle’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase.
A strict liability claim requires proof that the defect took place during the manufacturing process, which might require experts to testify.
Whichever direction you decide to go in, you should rely on your lawyer to provide all the information necessary to make the right decision. A dedicated bicycle accident lawyer will help you select the path that’s most likely to result in a fair settlement.
What Types of Compensation May be Available in a Bike Accident Case?
Because of the sheer size and weight difference between vehicles and bikes, the injuries cyclists sustain when the two collide are usually severe. Catastrophic injuries are common in car-on-bicycle crashes, they can take the longest to recover from, and can incur the most medical costs. It’s not uncommon for a cyclist who survives a crash with a car to suffer broken bones, internal injuries, or even become paralyzed. These medical conditions require months or years of recovery, which can considerably reduce their quality of life.
Bicyclists have the right to seek compensation in accidents caused by a driver’s negligence. If you have become injured, you might not be sure of how you will tackle the piling medical bills, especially if you’re in the hospital and unable to work. If you have a viable case against a negligent driver, it may be possible to recover compensation to pay all accident-related expenses.
As a bicycle accident victim, you might be able to recover compensation for:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages and earning capacity;
- Medical devices or products;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Costs of transportation to and from medical appointments;
- Property damage;
- And any other accident-related expenses.
Trust Your St. Petersburg Bicycle Accident Attorney to Help You Recover
Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi of Marsalisi Law is a dedicated St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer who has helped hundreds of cyclists on the path to recovery. We understand you’re experiencing a challenging and painful time in your life, and we want to help make the process as carefree as possible for you. Your rights and well-being are our top priority in every step we take.
At Marsalisi Law, we take no payments unless we win. We will take the burden of filing a claim and working with insurance companies off your shoulders so you can focus on attending medical appointments and therapy visits. Frank P. Marsalisi is a member of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and has won many successful bike accident cases throughout his career. Call (727) 800-5052 for a free consultation or complete our contact form. Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.
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“You can’t go wrong with Frank Marsalisi!”
Frank was referred to me by a former client of his after my accident with nothing but great reviews, both professionally and personally. From day one there was a level of comfortability and trust built based on what would be in my best interest moving forward. Never once did Frank make my case about what was in it for him but about healing my injuries in order to move on as normal as possible with my life.
“One of a kind lawyer …brilliance!”
Frank has exceptional auto accident liability law abilities and he is also very well-versed in state auto insurance laws. One of the things I like about Frank is that he never tried to sugar coat anything for me. If we were headed for trouble, he would let me know what the trouble was and what our options were. I always appreciated his honesty. This is trait that I do not find in many of today’s lawyers but Frank has performed integrity well beyond his means.
– Ms. C. M. Fraser