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Near-Fatal Bicycle-Vehicle Collision In Port St. Lucie

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A motorist nearly killed an 8-year-old girl who was riding her bicycle shortly before sundown.

According to the St. Lucie County Fire Department, the girl was riding on the sidewalk near the intersection of Southeast Manth Lane and Ron Ricco Terrace. When she came off a side street and onto Manth, a motorist struck her bicycle, throwing the girl onto the pavement. First responders airlifted the seriously injured girl to a nearby pediatric trauma center. The tortfeasor (negligent driver), a 22-year-old man, was uninjured.

The police do not plan to press charges.

Vehicle-Bicycle Collisions

Florida has the highest number of bicycle deaths per capita in the country. Many Southern states have relatively low population densities, even in urban areas, so there are usually more cars on the road.

Largely because of the increase in device-related distracted driving, many of these motorists rely on their peripheral vision to watch the road. Florida has a cellphone law, but it only applies to a few drivers and for the most part, drivers may legally use smartphones. This lack of focus is especially problematic when child bicyclists are around, because they are harder to spot and do not always follow the rules of the road.

When a fast-moving, 4,000-pound car collides into a slow-moving, 5- pound bicycle, the bicyclist is nearly always seriously injured, with wounds like:

  • Head and Neck Injuries: Bicycle helmets provide adequate protection against accidental falls, but they are of little use in high-speed collisions, and provide no protection whatsoever for the neck.
  • Broken Bones: In some cases, a broken bone is little more than a nuisance. But in car wreck cases, the shattered bones typically require aggressive and painful surgical treatment followed by long-term physical therapy.
  • Biker’s Arm: As riders fall off their bikes, they naturally extend their arms to brace themselves. This reaction often causes permanent nerve damage under their arms.

Compensation in these cases normally includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life. Punitive damages may be available as well, in some instances.

Establishing Liability

To obtain compensation, a victim/plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the defendant was negligent.

  • Standard Negligence: Before they slide behind the wheel, drivers have a duty to be well-rested and sober; while in traffic, they have a legal duty to watch the road and pay attention to driving.
  • Negligence Per Se: Driving under the influence, ignoring a stop sign, speeding, and making an unsafe lane change are just a few of the violations that may result in a finding of negligence as a matter of law. In most jurisdictions, the jury decides if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) violated a safety statute and that violation substantially caused the victim’s injury.

The tortfeasor can then introduce mitigating circumstances, such as contributory negligence (the victim was partially at fault for the crash).

Rely On Experienced Attorneys

Drivers have a legal duty to avoid vehicle-bicycle collisions. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. An attorney can secure ongoing medical care for victims, even if they have no money and no insurance.

Resources:

tcpalm.com/story/news/local/st-lucie-county/2017/02/24/child-struck-by-vehicle-in-port-st-lucie-/98374448/

governing.com/gov-data/transportation-infrastructure/most-bicycle-cyclist-deaths-per-capita-by-state-data.html

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