No matter where you are driving in the state, you’re bound to find numerous motorcycles on the road, as Florida has one of the largest numbers of registered motorcycle riders in the country.
Sadly, there is a direct correlation between this and the number of injury accidents and fatalities. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcycle accidents are 28 times more likely to end with a fatality versus accidents with other types of vehicles.
Part of this can be attributed to vehicle drivers not seeing the motorcycle on the road. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t looking, while other times the motorcycle rider may be hard to spot as he or she is in the car’s blind spot. Drivers are typically looking for another vehicle, not necessarily a motorcycle.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is, all drivers have a duty to check for something that may be in their blind spot before pulling onto a roadway or changing lanes. Motorcycle riders aren’t exempt from the law, either. A motorcycle rider also has the duty to operate his or her motorcycle in accordance with applicable laws and always be on the lookout for hazards.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident involving a motorcycle due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to speak with a motorcycle accident attorney in Florida as soon as possible. At Emmanuel Shepard & Condon, we have years of experience handling motorcycle injury claims. Our team of Florida accident attorneys has represented countless motorcycle riders who sustained serious injuries in accidents caused by other drivers’ negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. We are here to protect your rights, so it’s important to involve us in the case as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
While it’s certainly possible for a motorcycle to be in an accident due to their own negligence, the fact is that many accidents are caused by drivers in other vehicles or trucks. Some of the main causes for motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted Drivers: Motorcycle riders aren’t the only ones at risk by a distracted driver. This is one of the leading causes of accidents across the nation. Motorcycles are hard enough to spot on the road as is, but if you are more distracted by something else going on, the risk of striking a motorcycle rises. Some drivers are distracted by text messages, changing the radio station, reading the GPS, eating, and more.
- Traffic Offenses: Even drivers who are not distracted can disobey traffic laws. This can include driving at a speed higher than the posted speed limit, failure to stop at a red light or stop sign, improper lane changes, not yielding the right of way, driving too fast for conditions, etc. When drivers fail to obey traffic laws, they put others at risk, including motorcycle riders.
- Drunk Drivers: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a major risk to everyone else on the road, including pedestrians and motorcycle riders.
- Aggressive Drivers: Some people are aggressive drivers by nature, and some don’t like motorcycle riders to begin with. This behavior may translate into the aggressive driver taking his or her frustrations out on the motorcycle.
In some cases, the accident is not necessarily the fault of another driver. If you are riding your motorcycle and you crash due to the failure of a part on your bike, you may have a product defect claim. This would be a claim presented against the manufacturer of the part and maybe even the manufacturer of the motorcycle. When important parts fail because they are defective, the motorcycle rider can easily lose control and be involved in a serious injury collision.
Another thing that motorcycles especially have to watch out for is road hazards. Motorcycles handle differently than other vehicles, and that means hitting a large pothole could cause a motorcycle rider to lose control of their bike.
Common Types of Injuries in Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries in motorcycle accidents tend to be severe because the rider has little protection compared to someone riding in a vehicle wearing a seatbelt. Florida is one state where helmets are not required, and therefore, some riders choose not to wear one. It’s important to understand that even if you are wearing a helmet, there is still a risk of sustaining serious injuries. Some common injuries seen in motorcycle accidents can include:
- Neck, back, or knee injuries
- Dislocated bones
- Sprains and other soft tissue injuries
- Bone fractures, including collarbone, ribs, jaw, nose, leg, arm, hand, and wrist
- Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries
- Injuries to the eye
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
Many injuries require emergency medical treatment, and it’s likely you will be transported from the scene to a hospital via ambulance. It’s not uncommon for victims to need emergency surgery in order to stabilize them. They may require additional hospitalization, physical therapy, retraining at work, and more. Motorcycle accidents can wreak havoc on all aspects of a person’s life. This is why it’s important you understand your rights if the accident was not your fault.
Compensation Available in a Pensacola Motorcycle Accident
Accident victims have a right to pursue reimbursement of damages from the at-fault party in a motorcycle collision. The compensation that is available is like other types of personal injury claims. Damages can be broken down into several main categories:
- Medical treatment expenses, including expected treatment in the future
- Loss of earnings, including future wages if you are on temporary or permanent disability
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium or loss of companionship claim
- Punitive damages (only applicable in limited scenarios)
Reasons to Hire a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Pursuing a claim for damages in a Pensacola motorcycle accident can be complex. As you are probably already aware, the at-fault driver’s insurance company is likely to deny your claim or try to offer you much less than it’s worth. It is their job to reduce exposure for their company. They are not looking out for you, which is why it’s important to look out for your own interests. You deserve a Florida motorcycle lawyer who will protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon today to schedule an initial consultation.