Motorcycle Accident Attorneys In Florida
In Florida, motorcycle accidents and motorcycle safety are important topics when discussing traffic accidents. In fact, the state has the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in the United States, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are inherent risks with riding a motorcycle; unlike cars and other vehicles, because motorcycle riders have no barrier between their bodies and the road and its surroundings.
Parker Waichman LLP, a national personal injury law firm with headquarters in Florida, has decades of experience successfully representing injured victims in accident lawsuits. Our firm offers free, no-obligation legal consultations. Contact one of our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys today with any questions about filing a claim. We work on a contingency fee, meaning you only pay lawyers’ fees if we win your case.
Florida Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries
Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car for several reasons. When you drive a car or other larger vehicle, you are surrounded by a metal barrier that offers protection in the event you get into an accident. There is no such barrier when riding a motorcycle; they have only their clothing and a helmet, if they are wearing one.
A motorcycle is very different from a car, presenting unique risks. First, a motorcycle has two wheels, making it less stable than a car. Riders must learn how to balance when driving a motorcycle; it takes more skill and focus in this regard than driving a car. Motorcycles are also lighter than other vehicles, meaning bikers will feel the impact more during a collision. Additionally, road hazards that would not significantly affect cars can easily cause a motorcycle accident. This includes things such as small objects and uneven surfaces.
Common sense dictates that riding a motorcycle carries greater risks compared to a car, but this notion is also supported by accident statistics. The risk of death is 35 times higher in a motorcycle accident compared to a car accident per mile traveled in 2006, according to the federal government.
Injuries associated with motorcycle accidents and other motor vehicle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), ranging from mild concussion to cognitive problems
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Back injuries such as a herniated disc
- Blunt force trauma to the chest
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
Florida has Highest Rate of Motorcycle Deaths in the U.S.
Florida leads the country in motorcycle deaths, according to NHTSA data for 2013. The state had the highest number of fatalities compared to any other state, totaling 467 deaths in 2013.
In 2016, AAA released a report showing that Florida motorcycle deaths jumped up by 23 percent in 2015; a total of 554 motorcyclists died on the road that year. In 2014, there were 449 motorcycle fatalities in Florida. Sadly, many of these deaths were preventable, according to NHTSA. The agency said 37 percent of deaths could have been prevented if riders were wearing a helmet.
Failing to wear a helmet is a major cause of motorcycle accidents in Florida. About half of motorcycle riders were seen on the road without one, a study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban
Transportation Research (CUTR) found. AAA reports that only 7 percent of motorists ride a motorcycle in Florida; yet motorcycle deaths made up 19 percent (one-fifth) of motor vehicle fatalities in the state.
NHTSA data shows that, among motorcyclists who died in crashes between 2013 and 2015, roughly 40 percent were not wearing helmets.
Florida repealed its motorcycle helmet law in 2000 for riders over the age of 21. Under state law, motorcyclists are not required to wear a helmet if they are over the age of 21 and carry an insurance policy covering a minimum of $10,000 in benefits for a motorcycle accident. Karen Morgan, AAA Public Policy Manager, notes that the absence of helmet requirements coincides with an increase in deaths. “Since the repeal of the helmet law in Florida, motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled,” Morgan said. “While helmet laws are a controversial issue, AAA strongly supports helmet laws. Bottom line helmets save lives.”
In a AAA Consumer Pulse survey, nearly 16 percent of motorcyclists said they do not carry insurance. At the same time, AAA found that 32 percent of Florida motorcyclists do not believe they should be required to wear a helmet.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Motorists on the road, motorcyclists or not, can take measures to prevent motorcycle accidents. One contributing factor is that car drivers often do not see bikers on the road. “Bikers should do everything possible to make themselves visible to motorists while riding,” said AAA spokesman Josh Carrasco. “Motorists need to keep their attention on the task of driving and be alert for increased motorcycle traffic.”
AAA says drivers should leave plenty of space for motorcyclists on the road, especially when there is uneven terrain, wet roads and heavy traffic. Make sure to actively look for bikers in traffic. Although motorcycles are loud, you may not necessarily hear them. Additionally, most motorcycle crashes involving cars occur during left-hand turns. As such, the auto group recommends being particularly careful when making left-hand turns. Avoid driving distracted. AAA says that taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds doubles the risk of an accident.
All motorists should avoid distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving and aggressive driving.
AAA advises motorcyclists to wear the appropriate safety gear. This includes helmets, eye protection, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing. The group says to wear bright clothing and reflective strips so other motorists can see them easily on the road.
Motorcyclists should receive proper training and avoid risky driving behaviors, such as weaving between lanes. AAA says bikers should comply with the speed limit and use their turn signals.
Filing a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit involving a motorcycle accident that occurred in Florida, contact one of our Florida accident attorneys today. Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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