Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

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.

What Kinds of Motorcycle Accidents Are Most Common?

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:

  • Motorcycle operators under age 30 are most likely to die or be seriously injured
  • The rate of riders over 50 involved in fatal crashes is increasing 
  • Men are far more likely than women to be killed or seriously injured in a motorcycle crash
  • The greatest risk factors contributing to fatalities or serious injuries are speed, impairment, lack of helmet, and a lack of a motorcycle license

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:

  • Swerving in front of a motorcyclist
  • Failing to follow posted speed limits
  • Switching lanes without sufficient clearance
  • Failing to leave sufficient room between vehicles
  • Failure to see a motorcyclist changing or entering lanes
  • Driving under the influence

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. 

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What are the Most Common Injuries and Damages from a Motorcycle Accident?

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:

  • Bone fractures
  • Severe head traumas
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Brain damage
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of limbs
  • Paralysis/impaired mobility
  • Death

The majority of individuals involved in a motorcycle crash in Florida in 2019 sustained some form of injury:

  • 521 fatal
  • 1,885 incapacitating
  • 3,312 non-incapacitating 
  • 1,888 possible 
  • 1,124 not injured

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:

  1. Cognitive. Attention and concentration, memory, and executive functioning ability — the ability to plan and make decisions — can all be impacted by even mild head injuries. Depending on the areas of the brain that are impacted, language, communication, reaction time, and judgment can also be affected. 
  2. Behavioral/emotional. Head injuries can cause people to experience delusions and hallucinations, as well as extreme emotional disturbances, like explosive anger, extreme sadness or anxiety, and social inappropriateness.
  3. Motor. Brain and spinal injuries can impact the functioning of the rest of the body, especially coordination and balance, and they can impact an injured person’s ability to walk. When a neck or back injury is severe, varying degrees of paralysis may be a concern. 
  4. Sensory. Head injuries can also result in changes in vision and hearing or sensitivities to light.
  5. Physical. Many people with head injuries, or other neck and back injuries like whiplash, experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, or sleep disturbances. 

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.

What Kind of Legal Recovery Is Available for Motorcycle Accidents?

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: 

  • Seek medical attention. If you haven’t already, make sure to see a doctor as soon as possible. This is important for your own health and well-being — some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, can have delayed onset — but also for the health and well-being of your insurance settlement or legal case. 
  • Report your accident to insurance. Ideally, after you have spoken to a lawyer, but as soon as possible, report your accident to your insurance company. You are legally required to do this, but you do not have to give a recorded statement to your own or another driver’s insurance company just yet, and you definitely do not need to start agreeing to any settlement numbers.
  • Document your communication and expenses. Whether you see a lawsuit in your future or are hoping for an easy, fair insurance settlement for your motorcycle accident, the more documentation you have about your damages, the better. Medical bills? Keep the receipts. Rental vehicle or Uber rides? Keep the receipts? Missed work because you are injured, or did you need to hire a housekeeper or yard company because you can’t physically complete tasks around the house? Document every expense you believe is a result of your accident. The same goes for conversations you have with your doctors, insurance company, or any other parties involved in the accident. Even in the best of circumstances, our memories can’t hold onto all information. When you have been injured and might be on pain medication or are simply overwhelmed with stress, you will want to have notes to rely on when it comes time to prove your case to a jury.

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.

How Can FVF Help When You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

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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