Caution Needed on the Road – Florida Leads the Nation in Motorcycle Fatalities
As the first days of summer start to descend on the country, the daily rhythms of life often alter to accommodate children off from school and the simple desire to do more things outside. Florida, in particular, sees a sharp increase in car traffic as families flock to the state to enjoy its myriad outdoor activities. As the roads become more crowded, the chance of accidents happening rises, and one group of drivers especially at risk for an accident are motorcyclists. Motorcycle accidents are not only more prevalent in Florida, but also more likely to result in death compared to similar accidents. An article in the Orlando Sentinel discussed a recent study by the AAA that showed Florida leads the nation in motorcycle fatalities, and highlighted the fact that while motorcycles only account for three percent of registered vehicles in the state, 20 percent of accidents involving motorcycles result in death. Florida does tend to have a higher amount of motorcycle riders on the roads due to the nice weather, which could explain part of the reason for the high number of fatalities, but many of these accidents are entirely preventable, and occur due to the negligence of the other drivers. Even when the injuries do not lead to death, motorcycle accident victims are frequently left with very serious and permanent impairments that significantly impact their lives. A discussion of the common causes of motorcycle accidents, and the legal recourse injured victims have against other drivers, will follow below.
Accident Causes and Injuries
Motorcycle riders are at a severe disadvantage in any car accident because they have nothing to protect themselves from colliding with the other vehicle, and are often ejected onto the road. Other than a helmet (not required under state law) and clothing, there is nothing to absorb the impact of the collision. This inherent vulnerability makes the propensity for sustaining serious injuries very high, and some of the more common types include:
- spinal cord injuries;
- facial damage;
- neck injuries;
- broken bones;
- traumatic brain injuries;
- paralysis; and
Many accidents involving motorcycles are a result of inattentive driving and failing to account for the presence of motorcycles on the road. Motorcycles, being considerably smaller than cars and trucks, can be missed if drivers are not paying sufficient attention, and drivers are also prone to make dangerous and reckless maneuvers around motorcycles thinking the rider will not be affected, or has room to compensate. Specifically, issues that frequently lead to accidents with motorcycles are:
- failing to yield;
- cutting off a motorcycle;
- not properly reacting to a motorcycle; and
- not leaving enough space between a vehicle and a motorcycle.
Getting Compensation from the At-Fault Driver
An injured party may be able to collect compensation from the person at fault for the accident if he/she can show the other person’s negligence caused the crash. Evidence must prove that the crash only occurred because the other driver was on the road, which may appear in accident reports, photos of the accident scene, witness statements, or footage from traffic cameras. Motorcycles are not included in Florida’s no-fault insurance rules because this coverage is limited to vehicles with four or more wheels, so injured parties can proceed directly to a legal action to recover damages. Damages an injured motorcyclist could recover include:
- past and future medical bills;
- lost wages;
- loss of earning capacity;
- pain and suffering; and
- loss of enjoyment of daily activities.
Get Legal Advice
Motorcycle accidents often leave the victims physically and emotionally devastated. If you were the victim of an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you hold the responsible party accountable. The experienced personal injury attorneys at the Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado know how to quickly and thoroughly gather the evidence you need to win your case, and will aggressively pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us for a free consultation.