Bicycle accidents in Florida may result in severe injuries that can change your life either temporarily or permanently. For instance, you may have to take time off from work to nurse your injuries and schedule physical therapy sessions. The injuries will also bring a heavy burden of medical expenses on you. However, it is possible for you to recover compensation for all these burdens and for any inconvenience the accident caused. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, our experienced attorneys will fight to ensure you get your rightful compensation. We help clients receive different types of compensation for their injuries. This article focuses on the different types of compensation you can recover after a bicycle accident.
Types of Compensation for a Bicycle Accident
For a bicyclist involved in an accident, there are multiple types of compensation you can receive after you succeed in your bicycle injury compensation claim. The compensations are classified into two main groups. That is economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover all the monetary losses you suffered in the course of the accident. Non-economic damages account for damages that cannot be quantified that you suffered in the course of the accident and after the accident.
Apart from the two, you can also claim punitive damages and compensation for wrongful death. You will be granted punitive damages as compensation for definite harm incurred after the accident. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party whose actions of misconduct led to the accident. Compensation for wrongful death, on the other hand, will be granted if the accident resulted in the death of the victim. In this case, the third party, for instance, the spouse, children or parents of the deceased, will receive the compensation.
In order to receive these compensations, you must claim them by filing a personal injury claim/lawsuit. Moveover, in order to succeed in this, you have to seek a personal injury attorney to defend your rights. Attorneys from Clay County Personal Injury Attorney will ensure your rights are upheld and the process towards getting your compensation is flawless and quick. First, we will try to negotiate a payment deal with the insurance company of the at-fault party. If the company doesn’t offer you adequate compensation to end your case, we can petition your case in court and fight for you during the trial.
These are also known as special damages. They are a form of restitution to the victims for all the costs they incurred in the accident. Special compensation is the main form of monetary compensation granted to bicycle accident victims because their value is calculated based on proof of tangible effect as compared to non-economic damages. Economic damages are as follows;
A bicycle accident can result in slight bruises, cuts or serious problems like permanent disability or paralysis. Regardless of the degree of the injury, you have to be examined by a doctor immediately after the accident so that if you have any non-physical injuries like internal bleeding, they can be treated.
A victim of a bicycle accident can recover financial compensation for all the current and future expenses of physical or rehabilitative therapy, medical visits, hospital bills, prescription drug costs, and medical procedures that are connected to the accident and the sustained injuries. This will apply even if the victim’s health insurance company paid for part or entire medical treatment bills.
Your attorney, doctor, and other healthcare specialists will help you calculate your medical expenses before you can claim for compensation. Additionally, they can project future medical costs in the event that you haven’t fully healed when you are filing the compensation claim.
Under property compensation, it is within your rights to file a claim seeking reimbursements if your personal property was destroyed at the time of the accident. Among the items that you can claim compensation for include your clothing items, cycling helmet and any additional attachments that were on you or the bicycle during the accident. If your bicycle repair cost is lower than its value before it was involved in the accident, it is your right to seek compensation for repair costs. If the repair cost is higher than its value before the accident occurred or if your bicycle was destroyed beyond repair, you will only claim compensation that is equal to the value of your bike before the mishap occurred.
In order to get this compensation, you need to present documented estimates and accurate paperwork from a legalized bicycle shop. You have to take it to an expert to assess the degree of the damage which will help you to determine its market value. You then will be capable of making estimates like;
Costs of repair- you must have these estimates irrespective of whether or not your bicycle is beyond repair or it is possible to repair it.
The bicycle value in the state it was before the accident- ensure that what’s in the evaluation matches the current condition of the bicycle in regard to year and its model. If you have a problem identifying the bicycle brand, inquire from the shops that sell used bicycles in Clay County.
The bicycle value in the state it was after the mishap- in many cases, its value is usually lower than the value before the accident except if you had attached additional features on it.
In case you are incapable of returning to work due to the injuries you sustained in a bicycle accident, you can recover lost income compensation for all the period you miss to go to work. This includes the time you missed work to attend physical therapy and medical appointments. Apart from lost wages compensation, you may also be compensated for lost benefits like retirement and health benefits.
Lost wage compensation is calculated by taking your wage per hour and multiplying it by the total number of hours or days you missed work. However, if you are an independent contractor and not an employee, calculating lost wages may be more complicated. In this case, an economist could develop a formula to calculate your lost wages. One of the things the economist would look at is your work history which will help him or her to predict what work you would have missed. Other factors include the hours you worked, the yearly salary, and job frequency in the past.
Additionally, it is easier for victims who were employed to receive this compensation as compared to the self-employed or unemployed ones. In case you are self-employed, you may be needed to prove to the jury that you would have been making money for the entire lost period if it were not for the injuries.
Lost income damages are calculated from the moment you sustain injuries until the time a settlement is reached. However, you might be eligible for receiving damages in the future in case you sustained very severe injuries that they threaten your future wages. Under these circumstances, there are multiple factors used to decide whether or not you are entitled to the damages of future wages. They include your experience, life expectancy, age, health condition, skills, occupation, training, and talent. Your past wages may also be considered while estimating the amount you could get in case the injuries affect your future earnings. The purpose of these compensations is to recover whatever you would have earned if the accident hadn’t occurred.
A bicycle accident may result in serious injuries that permanently impair your physical or cognitive abilities. Permanently limited cognitive abilities may be as a result of a traumatic brain injury including a severe concussion. On the other hand, permanently limited physical abilities may be due to broken bones, injuries of the spinal code, paralysis, etc. These permanent impairments often occur when a victim of a bicycle accident falls from his or her bicycle and strikes his or her head and body directly on a surface.
Most of the time, a permanent injury will significantly affect your ability to carry out your daily duties or report to your place of work. For instance, you may be forced to resign your current job position and work at a place that requires less physical demands. In other cases, you may be forced to switch your job or career. Changing jobs can have negative financial consequences that can fully be compensated for under the laws of the state of Florida.
Even though there is no precise formula to calculate lost earning potential, these compensations are usually determined by comparing the victim’s income before the accident to his/her income and position after the accident. These compensations are meant to recover the reduced future income of the victim which may result from the necessity to switch positions or jobs because of the injuries. Vocational rehabilitation experts and economists can often help with determining compensation for lost earning potential in these cases.
Also note that if there’s any possibility of permanent disability which you might experience in the future after the compensation hearing, it is crucial to ensure all the lost wages and the benefits are accurately estimated into the future. The reason for this is that many bicycle accidents eventually affect the victim’s ability to earn when they are seriously injured.
Non-economic damages are also referred to as general damages. They are meant to compensate victims for intangible harm caused as a result of the accident. The harm can be emotional, psychosocial or mental. Non-economic damages are granted in order to help those victims who may never fully recover their original lives due to the accident.
In order to be compensated by the party at fault, you have to provide proof beyond doubt that it was their negligence or deliberate action that directly caused the injuries. You can prove this successfully by using the following;
Medical and police reports
Non-economic damages include;
Pain and suffering
Bicycle accident injuries can be severe and debilitating. Sometimes you have to undergo painful medical procedures, physical therapy, and treatments. You have to know that the traumatic pain and suffering that results from a physical injury can be compensated for in the form of financial damages.
Unlike in the case of lost wages and medical bills, damages for pain and suffering can’t be determined using any particular formula. The compensations usually focus on the seriousness of the injuries, pain, and prediction of any imminent pain that you may experience as a result of the accident. Factors that can contribute to determining damages for pain and suffering are;
Your recovery time period
Whether you sustained permanent injuries
Whether you can go back to and maintain the initial lifestyle you had prior to the accident
If there is a need for any medical procedures in the future. For instance surgeries
Whether the symptoms are long-lasting and if they are, the period they will last
Your life expectancy
Whether the medication you are receiving eliminates or relieves your symptoms
Whether your symptoms and condition can be eased or not, and if they can, when and how
Whether or not you are capable of participating in similar professional and personal activities like you were prior to the accident
How do you prove pain and suffering in a bicycle accident?
Since there’s no clear method to calculate compensations for pain and suffering, it can be hard to determine the amount in the case of bicycle accidents. Also, you cannot determine the exact intensity of pain and suffering one is going through. Therefore, it will depend on your attorney’s preparedness for you to succeed in this claim. He or she has to gather all the necessary documentation showing how much pain and suffering you are going through, the period of time you have suffered together with any other loss you incurred for him/her to build a strong case.
In certain situations, your personal injury lawyer may find it necessary to bring in a medical specialist who may successfully testify about the length of time your symptoms are likely to last. The medical expert may also determine whether you will require any medical treatment for your injury. Lastly, the medical expert might be capable of casually relating your symptoms, damages, and injuries to the bicycle accident.
Damages for emotional distress aim at compensating the bicycle accident victim for any psychological problem the injuries could have caused that in turn affect their everyday life. There signs to look for to prove that the victim is suffering from emotional distress. They include fear, lack of sleep, and anxiety. This form of compensation is very subjective, and it literally may change depending on the victim. Thus, it is significant that you note any psychological symptom right after the accident. Ensure you notify your doctor of any symptoms of psychological damage for documentation purposes.
Having a medical record of emotional suffering is very important since you might need it to argue your personal injury claim. You may also need the same details when pursuing damages from your insurance provider. Another method you can use to gather proof is by observing how you feel from the time you sustained the injury and keeping a daily record. You can record this in a daily journal or a diary.
Loss of enjoyment of life
It is no doubt that severe injuries may hinder you from taking part in daily activities like sporting, your hobbies, and any other recreational activity. Similarly, a serious injury may stop you from having pleasure or the fulfillment you used to get from participating in various intellectual sessions. Lacking the capacity to take part in both mental and physical activities may severely affect how you live your life. It means that you will not be capable of experiencing the fun you once were experiencing before you got injured.
All these new life experiences can lead to an overall loss of enjoyment in life. You can be compensated for this loss by being granted financial compensations after you file a compensation claim. However, it is difficult to determine the compensation amount you will receive since it largely depends on the judges’ discretion. To have a rough idea of what to expect, you can refer to the members of your family to know what they would demand were they in a similar situation. Alternatively, the best thing to do is to seek counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney who will advise on the average amount of compensation you should expect to receive.
Wrongful Death Compensation
If you have proof that the bicycle accident resulted in the demise of a member of your family, you can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for the loss. The court considers several factors when deciding the amount of compensation to be given to the family members of the deceased. They include what relationship the deceased had with the person filing the claim, the deceased’s net salary accessible by the family member, life expectancy of and the value of the deceased’s services.
There are a number of benefits one can receive if their loved one is killed in the course of a bicycle accident. The major one is;
Loss of companionship or affection
Most people believe that compensation given to injured persons or members of the family of the deceased is entirely economic. While medical bills and loss of future income are the most common topics of compensation, loss of affection or companionship can also be compensated. Children, spouse, and immediate family members of the deceased can file a lawsuit to recover the loss they went through after the demise of their loved one.
Damages granted in loss of affection aim at representing the benefits one would have experienced from the company and affection of the dead. To be granted this damages, a jury considers different aspects of the relationship you had with the deceased. For instance, the living arrangements, the relationship state at the time of death and the activities and interests in common may all be considered to determine damages.
Other wrongful compensation you can be granted include
Medical expenses you incurred from when the accident occurred to the time the victim died
Lost future income
Loss of financial support
Unlike special and general damages which aim at making the victim of a bicycle accident whole financially, the aim of punitive damages is to penalize or punish the party at fault for their behavior that led to the injury. In certain cases, the victim is allowed to claim punitive compensation if he or she can prove that the at-fault party was intentional, malicious, grossly negligent, or reckless.
For the defendant to be ruled grossly negligent, the plaintiff has to prove that he or she acted consciously indifferent with disregard for someone else’s rights, safety or life. There has to be a basis for you to claim punitive damages, if you have no evidence to support the claim of intentional behavior or gross negligence, then you and your attorney might be subject to sanctions by the jury. This helps to prevent the filing of non-serious lawsuits.
In Clay County, there is a limitation on how much the victim of a bicycle accident can be granted for punitive compensation. The victim can only be compensated with 3 times the amount of the non-economic and economic damages or with $500,000 depending on which is greater.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Experienced in Bicycle Accident Cases Near Me
If you or someone you love has sustained serious injuries due to a bicycle accident, reach out to the Clay County Personal Injury Attorney at 904-494-8242 as soon as possible. Our attorneys have an understanding of various types of compensation a victim of a bicycle accident is entitled to, and we will walk you through the type of compensation you may be able to receive. Call us now to examine your case while gathering any relevant information that we can use to support your damage claims.