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Bicyclist Killed in Tarpon Springs

Chris Russo May 26, 2011

May 26, 2011.  Tarpon Springs, Florida.  A bicyclist was riding on Alternate U.S. 19 against the flow of traffic on the eastern edge of the roadway when he was struck by a pickup truck.  The accident happened at approximately 7:30 p.m. near the intersection with Plaza Drive.  The truck was driven by Alanzo Williams, 52, of Holiday, Florida.  The bicyclist suffered fatal head injuries and was not wearing a helmet.

While it may be easy to judge the bicyclist for riding without a helmet and against the flow of traffic, there is going to be significant liability on the part of the truck driver as the cause of this crash.  There is no requirement in Florida that adults wear bicycle helmets.  Secondly, even if this bicyclist had been wearing a helmet, it likely would not have made a difference because the truck, even at the speed limit, would be going so fast that the impact was likely fatal anyway.  Bicycle helmets are not designed to protect in high speed impacts.  In this particular case because the bicyclist died, the helmet defense would have be able to say more likely than not that the bicyclist would have survived.  I just cannot buy that because I believe the impact was so significant anyway.  Next, the bicyclist, even though he was riding on the wrong side of the road (technically) is not something that should have caused his death.  The reason for this is because the law is that pedestrians are required to walk against the flow of traffic wherever possible.  Therefore, it is not so outlandish that the bicyclist was doing the same, albeit on a bike but perhaps at very low speed.  I would consider any difference negligible.  Instead, the driver of the truck should have been paying attention during daylight hours and avoided the bicyclist even if the bicyclist might not have been where he necessarily belonged.  As such, people make mistakes on the roadway all the time but that does not mean that whoever has the right of way has the right to mow someone over.  It is a right of way and not a right to plow over people.  The driver of the truck would likely say that either the sun was blinding him or that he just did not see the bicyclist and did not expect him to be where he was.  This case would likely result in some degree of comparative fault on behalf of both the bicyclist and the truck driver.  Since the damages of the bicyclist far exceed anything suffered by the truck driver, the survivors of the bicyclist have a wrongful death claim that an insurance company is likely to pay on.  The survivors need a probate in order to have authority to settle the wrongful death claim and in order to cash the check.  One final point that I would like to make is that even if the bicyclist was in significant debt at the time of his death, his survivors still collect regardless of his debt because the personal representative can apportion damages between the estate and the survivors.  Essentially, the personal representative in this claim should apportion all damages to the survivors as that is what the purpose of making a wrongful death claim is.  If you or a loved one have questions or concerns about wrongful death in Florida or car accident cases, please contact a Central Florida personal injury or wrongful death lawyer for free advice.  Most personal injury or wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning no fees or costs unless there is a recovery. 

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