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Florida man charged with DUI manslaughter, teen bicyclist killed

Each year hundreds of bicyclists are struck in road accidents, and a sizeable percentage of these accidents prove to be fatal. Recently, a female football player at Seminole High School here in Florida who was riding her bike was hit and killed by a drunk driver. The deadly crash happened on the Indian Rocks Causeway Bridge.

According to investigators, the 69-year-old driver of Indian Rocks Beach was driving his 2014 BMW 320i westbound on the bridge approaching East Gulf Boulevard. The victim was riding her bicycle eastbound, in a designated bicycle lane, on the westbound side of the bridge. The bicycle of the victim did have a light on the front and back.

It is believed the driver's BMW swerved into the bicycle lane and struck the 17-year-old bicyclist. The victim was thrown from her bike due to the impact of the crash. She was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries and later succumbed to those injuries. The driver didn't incur any injuries. Investigators found impairment was a reason behind the crash and arrested the driver for DUI manslaughter and sent him to jail.

According to arrest document, the driver confessed that he should not have been drinking and driving. His bail is set at $200,000, which is believed to have been modified after his initial arrest considering the minor status of the victim and the chances of the man being a flight risk. Before he is released, he may be ordered to have GPS and continuous alcohol monitoring.

This recent incident shows how catastrophic a road accident can be for bicyclists. A biker may sustain severe bodily injuries such as broken bones, torn muscles and ligaments, and neck and head injuries. Recovering from these kinds of injuries can take a long time, and the medical care needed to address them can be costly. A victim of one of these crashes may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party, claiming compensation for medical expenses such as doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, and nursing services. A victim may also claim other damages like lost wages and pain and suffering. In the event of fatality, immediate family members may also file a wrongful death suit against the negligent party for damages like funeral expenses and loss of society and companionship. Although pursuing one of these wrongful death claims can't bring a loved one back, it can help provide a sense of financial relief and accountability that can't be obtained through the criminal court system.

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