Deadly Bicycle Wreck In Largo
Investigators are looking for clues after a motorist struck and killed a bicycle rider shortly after sundown.
The accident occurred in a poorly-lit area of Largo. According to police, a motorist struck a rider who was on an unlit bicycle. The rider died at the scene.
Although the Largo Police Department is treating the death as a homicide, no charges have been filed at this time.
Evidence in Bicycle Wreck Claims
Proof is often hard to come by in fatal bicycle wreck claims. The primary sources of evidence, the police accident report, medical bills, and the victim’s own testimony, are usually unavailable.
Police accident reports are usually incomplete or inaccurate in these situations. If the victim doesn’t survive, the responding officer only hears one side of the story when s/he prepares the report.
Medical bills usually set a baseline for economic losses in a bicycle wreck claim. But if the victim didn’t make it to the hospital, there are no medical bills. Additionally, the damages available in a wrongful death claim, such as lost future emotional and financial support, are often difficult to calculate.
Finally, if the victim didn’t survive, there is no one to speak for the victim during trial. Instead, a Tampa personal injury attorney must handle this responsibility.
To fulfill this responsibility, attorneys need to find additional sources of evidence. Usually, a partnership with an outside professional, like an accountant or psychologist, handles much of the damages evidence.
As for evidence of the wreck, electronic proof often fills in the gap. A vehicle’s Event Data Recorder is a good example. These gadgets typically measure and record items like:
- Vehicle speed,
- Steering angle,
- Engine RPM, and
- Brake application.
A skilled attorney can put these pieces of evidence together and recreate the accident for jurors. As a result, they are usually willing to award maximum compensation. This compensation normally includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The evidence must be compelling enough to prove negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Negligence per se and ordinary negligence are the two most common legal theories in this area. Speed-related wrecks illustrate the difference between these two principles.
If the tortfeasor (negligent driver) exceeded the posted speed limit, the negligence per se doctrine could apply. Tortfeasors are presumptively liable for damages if:
- They violate a safety law, and
- That violation substantially causes injury.
The posted speed limit is a presumptively reasonable speed under ideal conditions. A busy intersection at night is far from an ideal environment. Arguably, drivers have a duty to slow down and operate well below the speed limit in these situations.
Furthermore, the evidence must be strong enough to refute some common insurance company defenses. In the above case, an insurance company lawyer might use the contributory negligence defense. Normally, this defense applies to operational errors, like speeding. But in this instance, it could apply to mechanical issues, such as the bicyclist’s failure to use electric lights.
However, even under these circumstances, the rider was far from invisible. Most bicycles have reflectors, and furthermore, at this time of year, it’s not completely dark in Florida at 9 p.m. So, most likely, the comparative fault defense would not hold up in court.
Count on a Diligent Hillsborough County Lawyer
Bicycle accident victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa bicycle accident lawyer, contact Mark H. Wright, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.