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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Oct. 29, 2014

On October 15, 2104, a collision between a car driver and bicyclist resulted in fatal injury. The traffic crash occurred in Hillsborough County near the crossing of Woodland Corporate Boulevard and Waters Avenue at about 9:00 P.M. According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Michael D. Pilnacek, driving westbound on Waters Avenue, struck Jose Antonio Baez Gutierrez, as he rode his bicycle across the road. Michael D. Pilnacek, driving a Chevrolet truck, was traveling at approximately 45 MPH. According to the Sheriff’s Office press release, Pilnacek did not see Gutierrez when he was crossing. Witnesses stated that Pilnacek had a green light. Gutierrez was transported to Joseph’s Hospital for treatment. Gutierrez, unable to recover from injuries, passed away at 11:30 P.M. At this time, there are no charges pending.

Bicyclists Have Legal Access to Roadways, but Is Safety a Concern?

In Florida, the bicycle is defined as a vehicle. Therefore, those who commute by bike enjoy all of the rights and obligations afforded to other drivers. Just as other vehicle drivers, cyclists must abide by all traffic laws and local ordinances. Although roadways are accessible to cyclists, drivers must also be aware of the rights of cyclists and provide a safe environment for those who choose alternate modes of transportation. Since every driver has a duty to follow traffic laws and avoid collision when possible, drivers should pay special attention to cyclists in order to maintain a high level of safety for all vehicles. Under Florida law, a driver is required to maintain a minimum of three feet safe distance between the car and bicycles when the driver passes the cyclist.

Wrongful Death Claim: Benefiting Families Who Suffer Due to Wrongful Conduct

It is disheartening any time a life is lost due to preventable tragedy. Not only is an individual deprived of his or her life, but families also suffer due to the negligent actions of another. In this current situation, Gutierrez may have had family members who depended on him for care and support. Florida law offers recourse for family members of those who have lost their life due to the negligence of another. A wrongful death claim can be brought by the surviving parents, siblings, spouse, and children. Each family member may recover for loss of financial support. The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of companionship and for mental suffering. Surviving children may also recover for loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as mental suffering. Funeral expenses may be recovered as well. The Florida Legislature designed this law to help families deal with the emotional and financial impact of losing a loved one.

Did You Lose a Family Member Due to The Negligence of Another?

Vehicle accidents are often the source of preventable, wrongful deaths. If your loved one has passed away as a result of the negligence of another person, you may be able to recover compensation for loss of emotional and financial support. We understand the emotional suffering from unexpectedly losing a loved one and we also understand the financial burdens that sometimes follow. The experienced attorneys at Mike Walker Law in Clearwater, Florida will explain the legal options available to you, aggressively represent your interests, and work to recover the maximum amount of compensation for the loss of your loved one.