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Citrus Teen Dies From Injuries Caused in March Crash With Impaired Driver

Early this March, two middle school students at Inverness Middle School were riding their bicycles through the small rural town about an hour and a half north of Tampa, when an intoxicated driver hit the children. Initial reports indicated that they were brother and sister. The sister, 14, died shortly after arriving at the hospital and brother, 13, was in critical condition at Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville. Just a month later, he succumbed to his injuries as well. This tragic story of heartbreak is a good reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence. It also shows how quickly and frequently these senseless injuries occur.

Bicycle injuries in Florida

A 2015 report by the Tampa Tribune illustrates how serious the problem is in Florida, explaining that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Florida with 0.57 fatal bicycle accidents per 100,000 residents, while the national average is nearly half that with just 0.23 per 100,000.  Therefore, we are among the most dangerous places to ride a bicycle in America. This dubious distinction should be cause for serious concern.

DUI a factor in most fatalities

According to the most recent numbers from the CDC, 31 percent of all traffic accident fatalities involve an impaired driver. This should come as no surprise. Nevertheless, the problem continues. More frightening is the number of adults who self-report drinking and driving. In 2014, nearly 121 million Americans drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to the CDC. This only accounts for adults. This number says nothing of the large number of minors who drink and drive.

Should I talk to the insurance company?

If an impaired driver has hit you or someone you love, you have rights. But you may only have a limited time to enforce those rights. You should never talk to the insurance company until you have first consulted with an attorney. The insurance company might tell you that failure to speak with them or answer questions will result in not being paid. This is a lie. You have an absolute right to consult with an attorney before answering questions. Rest assured, if an insurance company refuses to pay a valid claim for injuries because you wanted to speak with an attorney, this would look very bad for the insurance company at trial. You can always delay the conversation.

How do I get help?

Be respectful and courteous at all times when dealing with an insurance company. The easiest thing you can do is let the adjuster know you are very busy and need to reschedule the phone call or interview for another time. Once you have done so, contact an experienced and aggressive auto accident attorney who can help you prepare your statement and decide whether you are getting a fair offer. If not, your attorney can step in to negotiate for you. If the insurance company still will not pay a fair amount of compensation, your attorney may advise you that filing a lawsuit is needed. Each of these decisions will be made through close and careful assistance of a skilled lawyer who knows this area of practice. For more information or to get help with your case, contact the Romero Law Firm, serving Bradenton and all of the surrounding Tampa Bay area.

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