Robert, a long-time triathlete, took every advantage of the Sunshine State to ride his bicycle along scenic highways and bridges that span Florida’s stunning waterways. After all, Florida seems like the perfect place to cycle with its balmy temperatures, beautiful sunsets, and sandy backdrops. But far too often, drivers and cyclists collide.
Many drivers label cyclists like Robert as nuisances that cross into traffic lanes, causing unnecessary accidents. But in many cases, like Robert’s, riders are minding their business in designated bike lanes when distracted drivers veer into them without warning.
Robert was fortunate to be alive, but his body and bike suffered horrifying damage. Despite his severe injuries, like any athlete, Robert cared more about replacing his expensive bike than seeking damages for medical bills. He didn’t think that was too much to ask. But the driver’s insurance company thought otherwise.
This frustrating turn of events led Robert to our personal injury experts at KL Injury Attorneys. Now it was our turn to step in the ring, flex our legal muscles, and get the compensation he deserved for his property damage and injuries.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Florida’s weather and well-maintained roads look like a cyclist’s dream, but accident statistics reveal the truth: For those on two wheels, Florida can be a nightmare. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that Florida leads the nation in bicycle fatalities. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Crash Dashboard shows almost 6,000 bicycle accidents occurred in 2020, resulting in 169 deaths. One of the worst offenders? Distracted drivers. Smartphones are quickly becoming the leading cause of distracted driving which almost cost Robert his life.
As Robert pedaled toward a bridge on Hillsboro Boulevard, a distracted driver looking at her phone drifted into the bike lane, striking his tire. The collision knocked Robert off the bike with such force that the clips connecting his feet to the pedals detached, ejecting him into the road. His pants shredded as he slid across the pavement.
Robert suffered extensive post-traumatic bruising and road rash along with a closed fracture and ligament tears. The tears required immediate bracing, followed by surgery to resolve. In contrast, the driver walked away injury-free.
Drivers who text, email, watch videos, or fiddle with their GPS place others in significant danger. The NHTSA reported that distracted driving claimed more than 3,000 lives in 2019. The National Safety Council found that texting causes one out of every four car accidents and 330,000 injuries. But unlike fender benders, cycling crashes are much more dangerous because the rider has no protection. In scenarios like Robert’s, injuries are almost guaranteed in the best-case scenarios, and death is a serious risk.
Why Personal Injury Victims Should Never Fight Insurers Alone
His bike and bones in shatters, Robert was down, but the athlete in him wasn’t out just yet. After multiple wrist injections, Robert opted for surgery and headed on the road to recovery. He was happy to be alive and felt he could overcome his injuries. But to get back in the saddle, he needed a new bike.
Robert filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, State Farm, to pay for the replacement. At first, he wasn’t looking for compensation for his extensive medical bills. All Robert wanted was a fair value for the damage to his competitive-level bike.
However, unlike a good neighbor, State Farm wasn’t there when he needed support. The insurance adjuster offered an insulting $2,000 for his bike and tires—equipment that costs upward of $10,000 to $20,000 brand-new. After several rounds of nickel-and-diming, Robert’s frustration finally boiled over. It appeared that handling the claim himself was going nowhere. He needed professional help, so he made a call to KL Injury Attorneys.
Personal Injury Law Firm Steps into the Ring
When Robert contacted KL and told us his story, one point was clear: He wasn’t prioritizing physical recovery. We witness this behavior from athletic clients all the time. “No pain, no gain” is something they live by, so athletes usually care more about the property than their health.
In Robert’s case, we felt his injuries were significant and worthy of bringing to light. In addition to payment for his bike, Robert deserved compensation for his pain. Robert would have let State Farm off the hook for his bodily claim, but there was no way we were going to let them slide. We took the reins of Robert’s case and helped him get the settlement he needed to replace the bike and make a full recovery without worrying about medical bills. State Farm’s initial offer for Robert’s bike and injuries was $2,000. Once we got involved, State Farm paid $75,000 in total damages.
If you or someone you love is involved in a bicycle accident, don’t tough it out or try to fight alone. Remember, you have the same rights as anyone in a motor vehicle, and your life is just as important. Don’t hesitate to call in professionals for help. At KL, we understand how to overcome pushback from insurance companies. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients throughout Florida. If you or a loved one has been injured, please do not hesitate to contact us.