Last month, 24-year-old Jacob Landis, of Annapolis, Maryland, was severely injured after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in a bicycle accident in Florida in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip to raise money for deaf individuals. Our personal injury lawyers in Miami, Florida are all too familiar with these and many other unfortunate accidents cases over the years.
Landis was knocked unconscious at approximately 10:00 pm on September 21, 2013, after being hit by the mirror of a passing tractor-trailer on US Highway 27 southbound in Polk County, Florida. Landis was accompanied by his riding partner and cousin, Jack Riddle, who witnessed the incident. Landis was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for a concussion, multiple fractures and various lacerations. The truck that struck Landis did not stop after the crash, and, according to the local sheriff’s office, it was possible the driver of the truck didn’t realize he had hit the bicyclist.
At the time of the accident, Landis had been cycling for several months and rode almost 11,000 miles to 29 of the 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the U.S., raising $140,000 help the hearing impaired get fitted for cochlear implants.
As demonstrated by Landis’ accident and another recent incident involving a hit-and-run of two other individuals, bicycling on Florida’s roadways is becoming increasingly dangerous. According to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA), in 2011, 677 bicyclists were killed and another 48,000 injured in motor vehicle traffic accidents. Further, bicyclists accounted for 2% of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities and 2% of individuals injured in traffic crashes. In Florida, 125 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2011, accounting for 5.2% of all traffic fatalities.
According to a study conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation in 2003, Florida’s annual rate at which bicyclists are involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents was higher than that of the U.S. average and was frequently higher than that of almost all other states. The study hypothesized that the high fatality rate is due to the fact that, in the summer, people walk or ride bicycles more often at night, which is more dangerous, and begin earlier in southern states; and winter nights are longer than summer nights across the country, but remain warm enough in the south to encourage walking and bicycling, which increases pedestrians’ exposure to traffic during dangerous hours of darkness.
With ever-increasing traffic congestion and the tendency of Florida residents to ride bicycles or walk where they need to go, bicyclists are at greater risk than ever for being injured or killed in a traffic accident. If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation.
Our Miami bicycle accident attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals who have been seriously injured in auto, car, motor vehicle and bicycle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured contact the attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz, P.A today. All case calls are confidential and there are no fees unless we collect. Visit us online at www.injuryattorneyfla.com for more information on how we can help.