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Bicycling Fatalities in Florida

As citizens become more informed and concerned about their own physical health levels and about carbon emissions, more and more people each year are using bicycles for transportation, especially in major cities.  Due to the increase of cyclists, many states have attempted to make the roads safer for them to ride.  Noting the increase of bikers and the necessity to keep them safe, Florida has put into motion a strategic highway safety plan.

Despite its good intentions, Florida is currently known as one of the most fatal states for cyclists.  While the population of the entire state only accounts for 6% of the national population, the number of bicycle traffic fatalities in Florida represent over 17% of national bicycle fatalities.

While there are several ways to recover for damages that occurred during a vehicle-bicycle accident, if there was a fatality or serious injury, the stakes are usually higher and the loss is usually greater.  Because of that, there are slightly different options that you should consider if you have lost a loved one in a vehicle-bicycle accident.

Wrongful Death Suits

An option for the families of cyclists who have passed away after being hit is a wrongful death suit against the at fault driver. if the driver was at fault.  A wrongful death lawsuit allows the survivors of a decedent who passed away due to the negligence or misconduct of another to sue for money damages.  Potential survivors include the spouse, children, and parents of the decedent and any other blood relatives or adoptive relatives that were at least partly dependent on the decedent for support or services.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

To prove wrongful death, you must show the following:

  1. The bicyclist’s death was the result of
  2. deliberate, reckless, or negligent behavior on behalf of the defendant
  3. and that behavior caused damages that the bicyclist would have been able to recover if he/she not died.

In The Event of a Hit and Run

In addition to the civil consequences that could come along with a wrongful death case, a person who hits a cyclist and runs after the accident (i.e. fails to provide necessary contact information and exchange insurance contact information) can be subject to criminal penalties also.  Last  year, Florida enacted The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act that creates a mandatory four-year prison sentence for those who hit and run when a fatality is involved.  The legislation also increases the penalties for those who flee incidents that involved injuries of varying severity.

If you have been severely hurt by a driver while biking or if you have lost a loved one who was involved in an accident on his/her bicycle, you should consider recovering for your injuries from the person responsible.  Call one of the experienced Clearwater attorneys at Roman & Roman, we can help you file a wrongful death or negligence case.

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