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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

Gruesome Wreck Kills Bicycle Rider


Even though a cyclist is dead, authorities say they have no plans to press criminal charges against anyone.

This wreck happened on the Dale Mabry Highway. According to police, a bicyclist entered a crosswalk against the light. A sedan hit the bicyclist, propelling him into a pickup truck that was travelling in a different direction.

Neither driver was injured.

Collecting Evidence

Victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence, or a lack of ordinary care, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). In many bicycle crash claims, the necessary evidence is hard to obtain.

The police accident report is a good example. For victims, the serious injury and fatality rate is very high. As a result, the narrative portion of this report might only contain one side of the story. That’s why it is always important to have a Tampa personal injury attorney review your claim, no matter what the police accident report says.

Medical evidence is often an issue as well, especially in the wake of a bicycle accident. Many of these victims sustain head injuries. Thin bicycle helmets protect against accidental fall injuries. But they do little good in high-speed collisions.

The brain is very adept at concealing its own injuries. Therefore, many head injury victims “feel fine.” They only feel hurt once more advanced symptoms, like personality changes and severe chronic headaches, appear. By this time, these injuries are much more difficult to treat.

Attorneys can often connect victims with doctors experienced at treating car crash cases. These professionals know how to diagnose and treat accident-related head injuries.

Effective evidence collection is often the key to obtaining fair compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Liability Issues

Collecting evidence is not enough. Pieces of evidence are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. An attorney must know the right legal theory to use in order to make a compelling picture for the jury.

Bicycle accidents usually involve the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule. Ordinary negligence is basically a lack of care. This duty requires drivers to avoid accidents when possible. If a bicyclist is in the crosswalk, even if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) has the right-of-way, the duty of care requires the tortfeasor to avoid the bicyclist.

Negligence per se is a violation of a safety statute. This rule applies if the tortfeasor violates a safety law and that violation substantially causes injury. In these cases, there’s no need to prove a lack of care. Victim/plaintiffs need only prove cause.

Insurance companies have a chance to rebut the victim/plaintiff’s case. In many crosswalk accidents, this rebuttal involves the sudden emergency defense. This legal loophole excuses negligence if the tortfeasor:

  • Reasonably reacted to
  • A sudden emergency.

Lawyers argue that since the victim/plaintiff “darted out into traffic,” the tortfeasor could not avoid the crash.

Jaywalking bicyclists might be common hazards, but they are certainly not sudden emergencies. This description only applies to things like hood fly-ups and lightning strikes. 

Count On Dedicated Lawyers

Bicycle crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.


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