Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Established Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Clearwater with Proven Results Throughout Florida.
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Experienced Bicycle Injury Lawyer Covering All of Florida
As a passionate cyclist there’s nothing Jim enjoys more than getting out on hsi bike cruising the barrier islands and enjoying our beautiful Florida scenery. But as an injury lawyer there’s another side to biking in Florida that he also knows all too well: the impatient drivers who think that the road belongs exclusively to cars; the distracted drivers who are so engrossed in a cellphone conversation that they fail to notice cyclists on the road; the drivers who speed and disregard stop signs and traffic lights, and who use bike lanes as if they were for the benefit of cars; the hecklers that pass within inches, all the while yelling that bikes belong on sidewalks—and a few other choice words; the drivers that cut a bicycle off without a second thought.
Florida Cycling Accident Attorney Helping Fellow Cyclists
Jim knows firsthand the hazards cyclists face on Florida’s roads, because he deals with them also. So when clients come into the office with serious injuries, their lives turned upside down, their ability to ride put on long-term hold, his heart goes out to them. Jim fights aggressively for all his clients but holds a special place in his heart for fellow cyclists who were doing nothing more than exercising their legal right to share the road and paid a price that no one should have to pay.
Jim Dodson is an experienced personal injury lawyer, and a cyclist. If you’ve been hurt by an impatient, aggressive, distracted, impaired, or careless driver, you can count on him to fight with everything he’s got to see that justice is served.
Florida’s Sorry Cycling Safety Record
Although we have a climate that makes Florida a wonderful place to ride, our state is one of the most dangerous states for cyclists. Over 6,400 bicycle crashes caused 197 deaths and almost 9,00 injuries to cyclists in 2021 alone. Many of these were caused by drivers who weren’t paying attention to the road and didn’t see the bicycles, or they did see the cyclists but chose to disregard their right to share the road.
Why Cyclists Need to Carry UM (Uninsured Motorist) On Their Auto Insurance Policy
Over 40% of Florida drivers don’t have auto insurance to cover at fault drivers for your injuries and damages after a serious bicycle accident. This is why it is so important for every cyclist to have Uninsured Motorist coverage on their policy. UM will protect you in a number of ways when you are involved in a crash with another vehicle. It not only protects you while in your own vehicle, but the same protection covers you while riding your bicycle, as a pedestrian, riding in a friend’s car or driving a rental vehicle. It protects you in Florida or in another state.
Common Causes of Florida Bicycle Accidents
As nice as it is to bike in Florida, it can also be terrifying to share the road with cars and trucks that drive like you are invisible. Florida is the deadliest state in the country for cyclists. If you enjoy biking in Florida, you should take some important steps to protect yourself from serious injury. The common causes of cycling crashes in Florida are:
- Careless, inattentive, or distracted drivers
- Drivers of a vehicle passing too closely
- Drunk or impaired drivers
- Motorists hitting a cyclist riding on the sidewalk
- Road hazards: storm grates, bollards, debris or potholes
- Distracted cyclists and pedestrians on the trail or sidewalk
- Loose dogs chasing a cyclist
- Someone opening their car door into a cyclist (dooring)
Common Bicycle Injuries and Causes of Death for Cyclists
Common bicycle accident injuries resulting from collisions with motor vehicles include head injuries, bone fractures, and spinal injuries. Serious bicycle injuries result in permanent losses from traumatic brain injury, fracture surgeries, and nerve damage.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused By a Cycling Crash
Although head injuries occur in 22 to 47 percent of injured bicyclists, they are responsible for over 60 percent of all bicycle deaths. In addition to concussions, skull fractures, brain contusions, and intracranial hemorrhages fall into the category of MTBI. Traumatic brain injuries affect victims in a wide variety of ways that include physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and loss of smell, as well as changes in concentration, attention, speech, word finding, and other cognitive issues caused by the damaged area of the brain. Changes in sleep patterns, personality, energy, interests, decision-making, and loss of confidence may be experienced by the victim of MTBI.
Many traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed, particularly when patients are reluctant to admit they are experiencing the various changes they are going through. Frequently, it is the spouse or someone close to the person who first recognizes the significant changes.
All too often a treating physician will be dismissive of the patient with the assumption that the patient will usually recover from a concussion. Having the patient treated by a neurologist who understands the consequences of a traumatic brain injury is critical in order for the patient and loved ones to understand and be able to cope with the correct diagnosis. In many cases there is very little treatment available. Proper diagnosis and follow-up care is critical to document the full extent of the impact of the injury on the patient’s life. This documentation plays a huge role in obtaining full compensation for injuries sustained.
Other Bad Bicycle Injuries
Collisions with cars, trucks, and SUVs frequently result in surgery for hip fractures, femur fractures, collarbone fractures, shoulder separations and dislocations. Spinal injuries may result in compression fractures of the vertebra of the spine as well as herniated injuries of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. All of these are serious injuries. Surgeries frequently result in expenses in excess of $100,000 in medical bills alone. And they often involve extended periods of rehabilitation, both in outpatient and physical therapy settings.
Seeking Medical Treatment & Getting Your Bills Paid After a Cycling Crash
We always tell people the most important thing to focus on after a serious bicycle crash is your health and recovery. You should be getting the best medical treatment for your injury and working to get back on your bike, if at all possible. As your treatment progresses, keep in mind the best way to get your medical bills paid.
If you were not at fault in the crash, the insurance company will eventually pay your medical bills, assuming the driver had liability insurance or you have uninsured motorist coverage.
In Florida, no-fault insurance, also known as Personal Injury Protection, or PIP will pay your bills. PIP pays for medical expenses and lost earnings, regardless of who was at fault in any accident involving a motor vehicle. No-Fault applies when a cyclist is hit by a car and it can also be applied if the cyclist just had an accident not involving a car. Even if a cyclist is entirely at fault for the accident, no-fault benefits may be paid.
Florida No-Fault Coverage
- If you own a car and have it insured, your own no-fault coverage is primary and will cover roughly 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages, based on your average weekly pay, when you are injured in a bicycle accident. This is because no-fault coverage follows the policy holder, even in the case of a car injuring a bicyclist or pedestrian.
- If you don’t have your own no-fault coverage but live with a family member who does, their no-fault insurance may cover you.
- The insurance of the driver who caused the accident can also cover you.
Get the Legal Help You Need
The legal team at Jim Dodson Law has decades of experience handling complex bicycle accident cases. Just tell us what happened. Call to schedule a free consultation at 888-207-0905 or click below to complete our short form and we’ll call you back
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When you’re looking for a lawyer to represent you, one of the best ways to learn about the attorney you are considering hiring is to listen to what their former clients have to say.
"I just can't say enough. He took the weight of the world off my shoulders. And, I knew that he would take care of my situation with the dignity and respect."
What Happens if a Driver Without Insurance Hits Me While I was Riding My Bike?
Almost a quarter of Florida’s drivers are uninsured, and many others carry insufficient insurance to cover losses from a serious injury. If you have a no-fault policy on your own car or live in a household with a close family member who has it, your medical bills and some lost earnings will be covered up to $10,000 under your personal injury protection (PIP). This is a small amount unlikely to cover medical treatment and other losses from a serious injury.
You would ordinarily expect to recover money from the at-fault driver’s bodily injury insurance. The sad truth is that in Florida, bodily injury insurance is optional, so there may be no coverage on that end. Almost a quarter of Florida’s drivers are completely uninsured, and many more are underinsured. That’s why it is so important to have uninsured motorist coverage on your own policy.
If you have UM coverage on your own car insurance policy, it can pay your claim. UM coverage may also be available to you if you live in a household with a close family member who carries it. So if the car that caused the accident is uninsured or underinsured, you will look to your uninsured motorist coverage for a recovery if the coverage is available.
In Florida, when you purchase bodily injury insurance, it is assumed that you intended to purchase the same amount of Uninsured Motorist coverage. But you can waive your right to this valuable insurance. If your insurance company says you waived UM insurance, your lawyer should demand a copy of the waiver you signed. If they can’t produce a signed waiver, the company is legally required to cover you.
Unfortunately, many policies lack this important coverage. If you don’t have it on your policy and the driver who hit your bike is uninsured, a recovery may not be possible, unless the driver has substantial personal assets. That’s why it’s so important to include UM insurance when you purchase a policy for your car. It will cover you if you are injured while biking, walking in a hit-and-run crash, as well as when you are driving. Everyone should check with their insurance agent to ensure they are carrying UM insurance—before an accident happens.
Beware of the Insurance Adjuster After a Bicycle Accident
After a bike crash with a vehicle, you’re probably going to talk to at least two adjusters: one from your insurance company dealing with your medical bills, and one from the driver’s insurance company.
Keep in mind you should be as honest and forthright as possible with the adjuster for your insurance company. Never misrepresent what happened as it can create distrust with them.
However, even your insurance company may end up not being your best friend during this process, particularly if you present an uninsured motorist claim to them at some point. They have incentives that sometimes put the business interests of their company over your interest in having your claim fully paid. When talking to your insurance company or to the driver’s insurance company, keep an eye out for these three tactics, because your failure to do so can do a lot of damage to the value of your case.
Keep an Eye Out for These Adjuster Tactics
Insurance Adjusters Will Encourage You To Settle Quickly Following Your Bike Accident
This is one of the primary business tactics of an adjuster representing the other driver’s insurance company. There are several companies who regularly make it a practice to contact someone after a crash and encourage them to accept $1000 or $1500 to settle their case before talking to an attorney. I’ve talked to many people over the years who didn’t realize the extent of their injury and accepted one of these token settlements only to realize later they needed surgery and could do nothing about it. They had signed a release of all claims in exchange for a small amount. Insurance companies realize quick settlements save them a ton of money.
The Insurance Company Will Ask About Your Medical History
Insurance companies love to use information about prior injuries to reduce the value of your present claim. Prior injuries are a legitimate concern and can affect your current claim. You simply do not want to get into a conversation with the claims adjuster that allows them to pry into your prior medical history at an early stage after your injury. Don’t let them take advantage of your medical history.
Insurance Adjusters Will Ask About Your Injuries. Don't Answer Them!
This is probably the most common tactic we see. Many people tend to downplay the significance of their injuries until they realize its full extent later. When you tell an adjuster “it isn’t that bad” or “I think I’ll be okay” or “I’m not having a problem with my back” it will hurt your claim if your injury persists or becomes much more serious as the days and weeks progress. Later claiming the same injury is much worse makes it sound like you’ve changed your story. They will use your earlier description against you.
Insurance Adjusters Will Ask to Get a Recorded Statement from You
If you agree to give them a recorded statement, the adjuster will try to get you to minimize your injuries or admit you were at least partly to blame in your Florida bicycle accident. They are trained to ask questions to provoke answers that will be used to harm your case. These people are highly skilled at getting the answers they want. Don’t help them.
If you agree to give a recorded statement to a claims adjuster, you need to be truthful. It generally is not in your best interest to volunteer subjects you were not asked. They will probably ask you things you weren’t expecting. You must never assume the other driver will be honest or agree with what you recall. If you simply don’t know how the crash occurred, they may rely on the other driver’s version and assume it is accurate.
How Much is My Florida Bicycle Accident Claim Worth?
This is one of the most frequent questions we are asked when talking to a cycling client after a crash. It’s something people naturally think about. Most of us assume if we have been hurt in an accident caused by a driver who did something wrong they should be held responsible for what they’ve done. If you have those feelings you’re absolutely correct. While it’s natural to begin wondering what kind of value your case may have, the honest answer is no one, not even a lawyer, can tell you what your case will be worth right after your accident.
The value of a bicycle accident case is not based on a certain formula. It is a combination of many things such as :
Was the driver entirely at fault in causing the accident, or can their insurance company successfully argue you were also partly to blame?
- How serious was your injury? Will you require surgery and if so, what kind of surgery? How long will your treatment and recovery require?
- Will you suffer any obvious scarring or disfigurement?
- Will you recover completely? Will you be able to do all the activities you enjoyed before the accident or will you have permanent limitations?
- How high will your medical bills be? What medical treatment will you need in the future? How much will your future treatment cost? Will any of your bills be paid by insurance and how much will you be required to pay them back out of your settlement?
Fellow Florida Cyclists!
Jim Dobson is a friend of the cycling community and a dedicated cyclist himself. If you as a cyclist need the assistance of legal help give him a call. You owe it yourself to get the help you deserve.
Gary S., Florida Cyclist
Representation from a Florida Bicycle Accident Lawyer Is Your Best Asset After an Accident
We hope for a day when Florida’s roads will become more bike-friendly and dedicated bike trails will make it easy and safe to get everywhere we want to go without taking our lives in our hands. But in the meantime, if you are hurt or if someone in your family was killed because of a negligent driver’s disregard for the rules of the road, Jim will do everything the law allows to ensure that you get a full and adequate recovery that will compensate you for all your losses, both financial losses and the loss of the ability to enjoy your life and do the things you love.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer Who is a Cyclist for Your Bicycle Accident Claim
- A cyclist who is a lawyer understands the dangers and frustrations people on bicycles encounter on a daily basis simply enjoying the sport we love.
- A cyclist who is an attorney understands what it means being unable to ride because of a serious bicycle injury.
- An attorney who is a cyclist understands how you feel when the bicycle you’ve invested in, cared for, and enjoyed on a daily basis is suddenly damaged beyond repair and will give you your best chance for having it replaced.
- An attorney who is a cyclist understands what it’s like to encounter an unexpected obstruction on the road or a driver who makes an unexpected turn into your path causing you to crash.
- An attorney who shares your love of cycling has the passion to stand up for you to an insurance company which has no clue what a cyclist experiences after a serious injury.