Motorcycle accidents are very common, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 467 fatal motorcycle accidents happen each year in Florida making it the state with the highest number of motorcycle accidents in the country.
Motorcycle safety equipment has advanced over recent years; however, a motorcyclist is still likely to suffer serious injuries in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists are far more likely to suffer serious injuries; in fact, they are 27 times more likely to die in car accidents compared to drivers and occupants of cars.
There are many ways drivers of motorcycles can reduce the risk of an accident, but unfortunately, no matter how responsible you are, all it takes is one drunk, distracted, or negligent driver to cause a tragic wreck.
Motorcycle accidents can be a life-altering event, leading to severe injuries, medical bills, and property damages. If you were injured or lost a loved one in a motorcycle collision, a personal injury lawyer from The Law Place can evaluate your case for free and help you determine the most strategic way to proceed.
Our personal injury lawyers have over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with motorcycle accidents, so call us today for a free consultation on (941) 444-4444. We are ready to get started on your case and fight for the justice that you deserve.
Why Does Florida Have So Many Motorcycle Accidents?
One of the reasons that so many motorcycle accidents occur in Florida is because it has a lot of motorcycle riders. Florida officially has the highest number of registered motorcycle drivers, and it also draws in outsiders with major bike rallies and events like Daytona Beach Bike Week and Biketoberfest.
There are many other factors that could contribute to this; for example, Florida has the largest elderly population. If you assume that elderly people are more likely to get into automobile accidents, this could certainly be a factor. Of course, there are many elderly motorcyclists on the roads of Florida who are more than capable of riding safely. But in some cases, elderly persons behind the wheel are suffering from decreased vision or cognitive decline, and this could be a factor in increasing all motor vehicle accidents.
Another leading factor is the many beautiful roads to travel in Florida that are a favorite of many avid motorcyclists. Quite simply, more motorcyclists on the road would result in a proportionate increase in the number of accidents.
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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Motorcycle accidents can occur for many reasons, and the vast majority of motorcycle crashes are entirely avoidable. You can reduce your risk by making a conscious effort to anticipate and avoid these common causes of motorcycle collisions:
- Cars turning left – Almost half of all collisions involving a motorcycle and another vehicle occur when cars make a left turn. These accidents are especially common at intersections and when riders attempt to overtake passenger vehicles. Motorcyclists should always approach intersections cautiously even when they have the right of way and never attempt to overtake a vehicle when approaching an intersection.
- Drunk driving – Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is the leading cause of accidents for all vehicle types, but statistics show that motorcycles are involved in a disproportionately high number of drunk-driving collisions. In fact, about 30 percent of riders who die in motorcycle collisions have a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher. Any person in charge of a motor vehicle should have a BAC of no more than 0.05 or will be found to be reckless and negligent in any accident case.
- Blind spots – Due to the fact that motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, it is easy for them to disappear in another vehicle’s blind spot. Riders should be aware of this fact and make an effort to stay visible, and in turn, drivers of cars should check their blind spots whenever necessary.
- Lane splitting – Lane splitting is the act of riding between two lanes, usually to bypass traffic congestion. This maneuver is incredibly risky due to the fact that other drivers are not expecting the rider to approach at a speed that is faster than the flow of traffic. It’s tempting tactic when you are stuck in gridlock highway traffic in the Florida heat, but doing so will increase your risk of crashing.
- Dangerous road conditions – Due to their two-wheeled structure, motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles. Potholes, slippery surfaces, and uneven pavement can be deadly for a motorcyclist. To reduce your risk, motorcyclists should avoid riding in adverse weather, and stick to familiar routes, especially when riding at night.
- Speeding – Speeding not only makes an accident more likely to occur, but it also results in more serious car accidents compared to collisions at lower speeds and more serious injury. Speeding can make it harder to control the motorcycle and harder to corner. All drivers on the road should obey speed limits and drive carefully at all times.
How to Avoid Motorcycle Crashes
According to Florida right of way laws, a motorcyclist is expected to do everything possible to avoid a crash. There are many things riders can do to avoid accidents:
- Maintain recommended speed – Motorcyclists are commonly known to break the speed limit because of their ability to easily travel at high speeds. Although it is understandable to want to go fast when you’re on a fast bike, if you want to avoid serious injury, you must drive at the recommended speed. Because of the small size of a motorcycle, it can be harder for cars to see, so traveling at a slower speed allows them more time to see you. Also, when a motorcycle accident happens, if you are traveling at a safe speed, the results will be far less serious.
- Be mindful around larger vehicles – A motorcyclist must watch out for large vehicles like semi-trucks and campers. They have large blind spots that make it more difficult to see motorcycles. They may change lanes thinking that the road is clear, resulting in an accident.
- Don’t drink and drive – As mentioned above, driving while under the influence is a leading cause of road accidents. Motorcycle rallies and events often involve alcohol, but if you are the driver, don’t drink or take any other substances that would impair your driving.
- Wear appropriate safety gear – Florida is a warm state, and motorcycle riders have been known to wear shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops. Any motorcyclist must wear a helmet, gloves, boots, coat, and pants at all times. Motorcycle gear manufacturers understand the need for comfort, and there are many lightweight alternatives that allow for summer rides, so there is no excuse.
- Maintain your motorcycle – Properly maintain your vehicle and replace your tires as often as needed. Failure to do so can become a deadly mistake, and furthermore, you may be found negligent in the event of an accident. Motorcycle riders have a responsibility to themselves and other drivers on the roads of Florida to maintain their vehicle.
What to Do at the Scene of Motorcycle Crashes
If you have suffered an injury in a road accident, there are some things you can do. This would increase safety and assist in your compensation case if the accident wasn’t your fault.
- Safety first – Get out of the roadway and help to ensure anyone else involved is away from traffic hazards. If someone stops to help, make sure they aren’t putting themselves in harm’s way.
- Call the police – Police support can be necessary to ensure that the accident is properly assessed, and police reports can be useful evidence in a future court case. You should call the police even if you aren’t immediately considering seeking damages. You may have an injury that isn’t apparent yet. Don’t do yourself an injustice by thinking you aren’t going to need evidence. Florida Statute 316.062 also requires you to call the police to the scene of the accident.
- Eyewitness statements – Evidence is the key to winning any court case or in gaining compensation. If there are eyewitnesses to the accident before, during, or after it happened, they could be very useful in your case.
- Take photos – Take photos of the scene of the accident. Photos will show the road conditions, skid marks, and other clues that can lead to fault determination.
- See a doctor – Even if you don’t feel as though you have sustained any injuries, there is likely to be some if you were on a motorcycle, and some can become apparent later on. A doctor can evaluate you and see if you have head, neck, and/ or injuries to an extremity. A doctor may be able to find and correct things that could be painful later on. Be sure to keep a record of any doctor or hospital visits and a copy of any medical bills.
- Contact a lawyer – Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, they can advise you of what steps to take. Even if you feel you were at fault, you may be only partially at fault, and courts can split damages under the theory of comparative negligence. So, even if you think you were at fault, you still have rights, and a lawyer can give useful information about your rights and what damages may be available to you or the other party.
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Types of Damages
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida, then you may be able to claim for damages. Types of damages can include:
- Medical bills – If you have had to seek medical help for injuries sustained in the accident, then you should receive damages to help to cover the cost of any medical expenses.
- Loss of wages – If you lost wages because you couldn’t go to work for a period of time because of the accident, then you deserve compensation.
- Pain and suffering – This covers emotional and mental suffering, as well as a loss of enjoyment in activities you may no longer be able to partake in because of the accident.
- Damage to property – If your vehicle or any other property you may have was damaged in the accident, then you deserve compensation to pay for any repair bills.
- Wrongful death – If you have lost a loved one because of the accident, then you deserve compensation to cover funeral costs and loss of consortium.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Compensation
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Florida, you may be entitled to financial compensation. In nearly all cases, the motorcycle crash occurs because one or both drivers make driving errors. When drivers fail to take the care and caution that a reasonable driver would, they are liable for any injuries and property damages.
At The Law Place, our accident attorneys have experience handling motorcycle accident cases. Unlike other law firms, we work as a team to guide you through the process and handle all the complexities of your unique situation. Many of the attorneys at our Florida based law firm have an AVVO 10.0 rating, which is the highest possible rating coming from a variety of sources, including trial skills and client reviews. Our team is diverse and incredibly skilled. Our passion has led to favorable outcomes in countless cases. And remember, there is no fee to hire us. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t get paid until you do.
Contact The Law Place today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.