Florida is a dream destination for those who yearn for the open road and the freedom of two wheels. While plenty of people in the Sunshine State love their motorcycles — Florida has over half a million registered — they are still only a tiny fraction of the 22 million registered vehicles in the state. And unfortunately, motorcycle accidents have accounted for up to 20 percent of all vehicle fatalities in the state annually over the last several decades.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, reach out to an accident attorney who can educate you about your options for recovery.
Most experts agree that motorcycle accidents of all kinds are far too common in Florida. The University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research maintains the RIDE SMART FLORIDA program, intended to improve motorcycle safety throughout the state. According to data compiled as part of this awareness and prevention initiative. Their findings include:
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were a total of 8,038 motorcycle crashes with 519 fatalities in 2020. The counties that accounted for the largest number of motorcycle fatalities in 2015 were Miami-Dade, with 68 fatalities, followed by Hillsborough with 48 and Broward with 43.
The most common contributing factor in multi-vehicle collisions involving motorcycles is a failure to yield, especially when one vehicle is turning left and one is going straight. This scenario accounts for 40 percent of all intersection crashes. Even single-vehicle crashes, however, can have their root causes in other vehicles. When a motorcyclist swerves to avoid a car that fails to yield to their right of way and crashes, it is reported as a single-vehicle crash even though its primary contributing factor was the negligent driving of another person. Here are some other common contributing factors of collisions involving motorcycles:
Mopeds and ATVs can be dangerous, too. Of the 320 incapacitating injuries suffered by moped and ATV riders in 2019, 225 of the operators were not wearing a helmet. Unfortunately, many people have a false sense of safety because they remain on surface streets while riding their moped or scooter, but the fact remains that any collision with a larger vehicle has the potential to be deadly.
When it comes to crashes involving drivers of other types of vehicles because their drivers fail to see motorcyclists, there is very little difference between the kind of vehicle being driven and the rate at which the driver’s failure to see the motorcyclist causes an accident. About half of these crashes involved drivers with problems seeing the motorcyclist on the road in the first place. While there is little statistical difference between the type of vehicle driven and the frequency of an accident — how many drivers of passenger cars failed to see motorcyclists and how many drivers of, for example, pickup trucks failed to see them — the fact remains that the larger the vehicle that collides with a motorcycle, the higher the risk of serious injury or death.
The level of freedom that comes with the openness of a motorcycle also means an increased level of risk of injury. Common physical injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can be serious and even life-threatening:
The majority of individuals involved in a motorcycle crash in Florida in 2019 sustained some form of injury:
The life-altering damages an injured rider experiences after a motorcycle, however, are immense and go far beyond just the physical injuries. The severity of the physical injuries can lead to a lifetime of care needs, reduced quality of life, lost wages and so much more. The direct costs of medical care alone for severe head injury can cost injured motorcyclists millions of dollars in just the first few years, while the indirect costs of adaptive equipment, supportive services, and lost income are even greater.
Without access to proper care, people with serious injuries are in danger of social, emotional, and economic devastation. Those with head injuries account for more than half of unhoused people or people in unstable living conditions in the United States. The short-term and long-term impacts of head or spinal injuries can affect individuals in a number of different ways, including:
The road to recovery from motorcycle injuries can be extremely long and expensive, but there is hope for many people as long as they can get the care they need.
Whether your motorcycle accident resulted in a fractured tibia or severe head trauma, you have a right to explore your legal options for financial recovery when someone else contributed to your accident. This means speaking to a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights and get educated about those options so you can decide your next steps. You should:
Depending on the severity of injuries, recovery from the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can require extensive time and resources, from surgery to physical rehabilitation to learning a new trade or profession. In the most severe injury cases, even if the injuries are not fatal, constant care may be required, and it’s possible the injured motorcyclist will never regain the ability to be self-sufficient. If liability can be established against other parties, such as another driver, then financial recovery from a motorcycle accident settlement or trial verdict can make all the difference when it comes to having the best quality of life possible.
Very few auto collisions are more horrifying to consider than those involving a motorcyclist. While the devastation is very real, so is the opportunity to take back your life to the greatest extent possible. FVF wants survivors of motorcycle accidents to feel empowered and equipped with the knowledge they need to make decisions about what is best for them. Contact us today to get started.
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