Today’s cars and trucks have numerous advanced safety features. These innovations, along with the natural protection these vehicles offer, frequently shield occupants from serious injury, especially in relatively low-speed collisions. Open vehicles, like bicycles and scooters, are a different story. These riders usually have little or no protection in these situations. As a result, even if a motorist barely taps a bicycle, the cyclist usually sustains serious injuries.
The diligent bicycle accident attorneys at Payer Law hit the ground running in these situations. Since we routinely handle these claims in Orange County and nearby jurisdictions, we know what it takes to obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
What Causes Bicycle Wrecks?
Many vehicle-on-bicycle collisions happen at or near intersections, frequently when the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is turning right or left.
Generally, when drivers turn right, they only look to the left. As a result, a driver might not see a bicycle rider in the designated bike lane to the right. So, the tortfeasor turns directly into the rider’s path.
Unfortunately for these riders, safety infrastructure might contribute to such wrecks. The large, concrete pillars which often separate bicycle lanes from other traffic lanes often reduce driver visibility. That lack of visibility isn’t an excuse for negligence. If anything, low visibility means that drivers must slow down and use extra caution.
Lack of visibility also affects left-turn crashes. This time, the culprit is usually the large pickup trucks, SUVs, and other such vehicles which dominate Orlando roads. These vehicles make it hard for drivers to spot small bicycles.
When motorists turn left against traffic, they wait until they think they see a break in traffic. Then, they suddenly accelerate to shoot through the gap they think they see. If a bicyclist is in the car’s path, the high-speed impact is normally fatal to the rider.
The thin bicycle helmets some riders wear normally protect them from accidental fall injuries. But they do little or no good in a collision with a large vehicle.
An Orlando bicycle accident lawyer can obtain compensation for any resulting injuries if the tortfeasor was legally negligent.
Usually, this negligence involves a lack of care. Both left-turn and right-turn wrecks clearly involve a lack of care. These drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to other motor vehicles, and bicycles are motor vehicles in Florida. Furthermore, these motorists did not maintain a proper lookout.
If a police officer issues a safety citation, which normally doesn’t happen, the negligence per se presumption could apply. Tortfeasors are presumptively liable for damages if they break non-penal safety laws and cause crashes. Responders often don’t issue citations because they do not want to take sides in what they see as a civil dispute.
A prima facie claim is not enough. The evidence must be strong enough to refute some common insurance company defenses, such as the last clear chance doctrine.
This principle often comes up in the aforementioned situations. If a bicycle rider could have avoided an oncoming car, perhaps by changing lanes or stopping suddenly, the bicyclist could be legally responsible for the wreck if s/he didn’t take full advantage of that chance.
However, there’s a difference between the last clear chance and any possible chance. Two-wheel vehicles, like bicycles, are very unstable. So, an emergency maneuver often causes riders to lose control of their bikes. That loss of control could cause a worse crash than the one it could have prevented.
Connect with a Hard-Working Orange County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced bicycle accident attorney in Orlando, contact Payer Law. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.