According to state statute 316.209(2), (3), a motorist should not overtake or pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. Riding a motorcycle is risky for anyone. However, it is the reckless driving that heightens the potential of hazardous accidents. Whenever a cyclist tries to switch lanes or race the traffic light, more often they are not careful to checkout on the oncoming large vehicles. Unlike vehicles, motorcycles lack overall protection. Unfortunately, the cars must coexist with the motorcycles, and both motorists should know who has a right-of-way and strictly adhere to it. A driver who violates the right-of-way may cause an accident, and the motorist gets hurt the most. The motorist can seek legal representation to be compensated by the driver who hit him/her. We at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, ensure our clients get compensated for all damages, injuries, and losses caused.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The weather in Florida is warm and sunny, which encourages cyclists to ride their motorcycles daily. Some people even create a competition for it as it is enjoyable and fun like Biketoberfest rally. The event draws motorcycle enthusiasts' attention all over the country. Sadly, the city leads the entire nation with the number of deaths and injuries from motorcycles. Clearly, the higher the number of motorists on the road, the higher the risk for motorcycle accidents.
In line with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), on the 2016 fatal crash data, more deaths were caused by cyclists. Deaths related to motorcycles were 28 times more than deaths related to vehicles. Around that year, cyclist deaths led by 5,286, which was higher than in the previous year, 2015. This implies that when you get out to ride a motorcycle, you risk facing a fatal accident.
The motorcycles' accidents and injuries were increasing at a high rate. Fortunately, in the past few years, the number of motorists' deaths declined. For instance, following Ride Smart Florida, 515 motorists and 30 passengers lost their lives in 2016 alone. The following year, another 488 motorists and 12 passengers died. While it may seem a good trend, there are too many cyclists facing wrongful deaths and others getting injured in motorcycle accidents.
The research by the NHTSA revealed that 52% of the motorcycle fatalities were from collisions with another type of motor vehicle. Another 22% of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred with non-moving objects. It is estimated that riding on a motorcycle now is 26 times more deadly than riding a car.
Generally, helmet laws play an essential role in reducing fatalities and injuries related to motorcycle accidents. Unfortunately, some individuals violate the helmet law, which raises the number of casualties from traffic collisions. It is a limited amount of protection that causes severe damages to motorcycle operators.
What Constitutes Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accidents
To drive recklessly is any kind of behavior behind the wheel that compromises the safety of other people. In statute 316.192, driving recklessly is referred to as willful or malicious disregard for the protection of individuals or properties. It is a criminal traffic offense that is considered a misdemeanor. Violators of this law risk imprisonment of hefty fines of both.
Despite the popularity of riding motorcycles, the nature of motorcycles makes riding them a potential danger. The failure of motorists to recognize motorcycles in traffic is the primary cause of motorcycle accidents. Some of these accidents happen during a short trip associated with errands, recreation, or shopping. Other than the helmet, nothing else protects the cyclist when a crash occurs. Some of the most common examples of reckless driving include:
- Speeding - More than often, motorcycles speed beyond the limits on the highways.
- Tailgating - Regardless of who is behind the other, the motorcyclist is injured the most in the event of an accident. If the motorcycle stops short, a car can be too close. The car behind spikes and the cyclist is sent to the other edge. Drivers stop short, but they can not stop the motorist behind them in time. The cyclist goes soaring once again.
- Lack of signaling- Everyone using the road should tell what the front driver plans to do when the driver signals. This may not always be the case. A driver might make a sudden change of lane without signaling, hence, creating an accident.
- Red lights and traffic signs running- Most of the motorcycle accidents outside the highway happen at the intersections. There should be no driver or motorist in a hurry to run through the red traffic light or pedestrian crossing.
- Distracted driving - A good number of motorcycle accidents occur due to distractions. Some try to retrieve ringing phones from the pocket, some gazing on an amazing portrait beside the road, and some sending SMS.
- Intoxicated drivers - Drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are more likely to cause accidents.
- Failure to surrender - The most significant source of motorcycle accidents is probably sudden weaving on the road. When a driver changes lanes without notice, it may make a motorist who wasn't falling on their field of sight prevent an accident.
Catastrophic Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The blunt force of a collision between a heavy vehicle and a motorcycle is often catastrophic. Particularly to the rider due to lack of overall protection. Although helmet laws have reduced the rate of motorcycle accident-related deaths, crashes caused by reckless drivers exposes the cyclists in a horrific personal injury such as:
Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury is the most common injury caused by vehicular accidents. The injuries show some or no sensation below the injury point and may result in paralysis. As a result, the injured individual is limited in performing daily chores without assistance. The patient undergoes medical expenses, including home modifications, power chairs, and vehicles.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Even after using helmets, riders still sustain a TBI during a crash. A severe TBI interferes with the brain's functions, affecting the victim's behavior, cognitive skills, sensations, and motor functions. Unfortunately, the victim may not be the same person again after a catastrophic accident that led to a TBI, which may require personal lifetime care.
In motorcycle accidents, the most common fractures occur on the arms and legs. If one or more bones are broken, the cyclist would have to extend a hospital stay. Motorists who wear half-shell helmets may suffer from facial or jaw fractures. Besides, broken ribs may harm the lungs leading to future surgeries and rehabilitation. Possible implications of broken bones are limitless, and the worst situation is where the injured limbs delay the injured from going back to work.
Internal bleeding is not always visible and requires immediate medical attention. One who suffers from internal bleeding experiences symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, and bruising around the abdomen.
Soon after accidents, insurance companies are always quick to close the case by offering low initial settlement amounts. The offer might seem significant initially, but it might not cover future medical care or long-term expenses. Do not settle for less. Involve a Clay County Personal Injury Attorney to get what you deserve.
What To Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents have steadily increased in Florida, and with it comes crush-related motorcycle deaths. Cyclists are vulnerable to a high risk of fatal injury because they have no safety. The first thing to do after the accident is to stay calm, relax, and compose. Besides the pain, you can be furious, frustrated, and unable to think objectively. If you walked away with an injury, you just need to do the following or ask your loved one for support to follow up your case on your behalf:
Seek Medical Attention
After an accident in normal circumstances, emergency medical teams will appear on the scene, and victims are taken to the nearby hospitals. However, you ought to give priority to your wellbeing. You might not feel pain after the accident due to the pounding adrenaline in your body. Moreover, some injuries will not show any symptoms immediately following the accident, like the TBIs, fractured ribs, and bleeding internally. The choice to seek treatment will save your life. Have your health history as evidence in the search for compensation.
Gather Contact Information
The police officers collect information from witnesses and drivers when they come into the scene of an incident with a motorcycle. However, sometimes they make mistakes and omit some information to suit their evidence. As you wait for their arrival, make use of that time to gather the most information possible. Get names, emails, addresses, and names of the witnesses, passengers, and drivers present in the scene.
Take Pictures and Videos
Use your smartphone or camera to take photos and videos of your damaged motorcycle, visible injuries, and each vehicle involved in the accident. The images of the scene offer more valuable clues compared to the handwritten interpretation. They may be used to assist attorneys and insurance firms in determining the liability. The photos also act as additional information in court.
Acquire a Report from the Police
Law enforcement may take up to ten days to finish a report of the accident. If you want to obtain a document of the final traffic crash report, you can order it online or visit the closest Florida Highway Patrol Troop Station and get the copy in person. In both ways, there are fees involved meant for convenience.
File an Insurance Claim Application
The first step in your damages recovery plan is to file an insurance claim with the motorcycle insurer. You need to report any incidents as per the specific requirements of your policy. Only inform the accident without additional information. They might use the evidence in denying or reducing the validity of your argument. The insurance company should start investigating with the at-fault driver.
Keep Records of Medical Bills, Receipts, and Pay Stubs
All economic damages associated with the incident and the injuries must be verified for you to win in a personal injury case. You need to have medical bills, prescriptions, the journey to and from doctor's appointments, and payslips of your earnings. If you needed to make adjustments in your home to make it available to you after the incident, you would need to keep a list of those costs to share with your lawyer.
Maintain a Regular Update On Your Diary
In a personal injury lawsuit, the part that adds value and is difficult to quantify lies in the non-financial losses. Maintain a regular journal detailing your health care needs. The journal could be used as proof of your claim. The doctor, as well, will use the symptoms to be better at handling your illness.
Avoid Sharing Details of Your Accident
The insurance adjusters have comprehensive expertise and can make recommendations to claimants who will end up in devaluing their claims. Typically, the adjusters speak to the family and friends of the victim. Alternatively, the best way to stop sharing the accident details. Let your attorney manage all insurance company correspondence.
Keep Away from Social Media
Do not write something on your social media accounts about the motorcycle accident. The insurance companies may look for some means of devaluing your claim. They might use the pictures to reduce your injuries. They might as well use your history to claim you sustained an injury from another accident.
Don't Embrace a Deal Early
The one strategy that insurance companies use to waive lawsuits and avoid large settlements is by enticing the victims with an early settlement. They may not be in business if they have to pay each claim fully. That is why they would do anything to spend less. Speak first to an attorney to have a higher negotiated settlement for you.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
You must contact an attorney immediately after the accident to handle your case. Our attorney would gather all the necessary evidence that proves the other driver's involvement.
Compensation For Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accidents
Cyclists always wonder whether they can be compensated even when the driving may be considered reckless. In Clay County, you are entitled to pursue damages from someone who played a role in the accident. The judge may reduce the total costs of your recovery damages based on the percentage of your fault. But, you still stand to collect the following as compensation for your suffering:
Medical bills are the initial costs of an accident due to the injuries. The driver involved should be responsible for the accident and cater for the medical expenses the victim suffered. The amount to be paid should provide for the related acute and long-term injury care.
If the injured cyclist is unable to return to work, he or she is entitled to recover any lost wages and loss of future income.
Emotional Pain and Suffering
A physical injury is not proof of pain and suffering. A victim of a motorcycle accident suffers pain, anguish, psychological damage, and mental distress. The victim is compensated for the shock, stress, and the toll of recovering from the accident.
If you are catastrophically injured and unable to cater for your family members, you must be compensated. The compensation includes the cost of service you provided, loss of guidance, care, and companionship they have suffered.
Some injuries can lead to changing your home to make it more accessible for you after the accident. This includes nursing care and home attendant. All these expenses should be recovered as your damages.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
This will cover the damages you undergo due to a lack of enjoyment of life after the accident. They include recreation, hobbies, exercise, and day-to-day activities.
Death can occur immediately after the motorcycle accident or sometime later after the accident. In this case, the immediate family members deserve to be compensated. They get paid for losing a parent, spouse, or child according to their relationship with the victim.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents
The Statute of Limitations, in this case, shows how long a victim should take to submit a personal injury claim. You will be faced with losses, damages, and other hardships if you were involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered enormous injuries. You should not bear the pain and suffering alone. Claim your compensation by filing a case in court.
For a motorcycle accident, the time limit is four years for personal injury claims. In case a cyclist dies as a result of the accident, the law allows an additional two years from the time of death to file a lawsuit. The imposed time limit is to protect the evidence from getting lost over time.
You must contact our personal injury attorney as soon as the accidents happen. The attorney will get the ball rolling to ensure the case is as strong as possible. Working on your case sooner is an advantage in terms of witnesses and evidence as they are prone to get lost if you wait for long.
Your injuries and treatment determine the time taken for the case to end. We always advise our clients not to be in a hurry to settle the case. Some injuries might happen months later after the accident, and you wouldn't be able to get fully compensated. For a successful claim, evaluation involves our attorney immediately to get the right full and fair damage recoveries.
How an Attorney Can Help in a Motorcycle Accident
If you were hurt in a reckless driving motorcycle accident, you require the help of a Personal Injury Attorney who understands the complexities of dishonest insurance carriers—those who take advantage of motorists who may not be aware of how to fight against their tactics.
The main challenge in a motorcycle accident lawsuit is not understanding the law. Specifically, where a case is complicated and involves more than two parties. Only an experienced legal attorney that can help you navigate the confusing legal process.
Another factor where an attorney comes in handy is when proving negligence and assigning responsibility. One party must be accorded the responsibility and liability depending on the circumstances that led to the accident. In the case of multiple parties, the attorney should be able to make them split a percentage of the responsibility and the total cost of the financial liability. A skilled attorney can prove the other party at-fault for the accident.
An insurance company would first want to make a deal for an early settlement when you are involved in an accident. They aim to spend as little as possible. Do not be quick to accept their offer. Involve an attorney who would help inappropriate monetary compensation for your claim.
On your own, you cannot tell the exact amount you deserve as the full compensation. After a motorcycle accident, there are various damages that you may be entitled to. Your attorney would be able to calculate the multiple losses and their worth to determine a fair settlement. He or she will help you to recover all the damages caused.
The last thing you can think of is dealing with the legal aspects of your case when you are involved in a reckless motorcycle accident and severely injured. The aftermath can cause overwhelming stress and anxiety. You worry more about the future bills payments and the pain from the injury. Hiring a personal injury attorney will not only reduce the burden, but you will also gain confidence that your rights are protected as you focus on your health.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you sustain a personal injury while riding a motorcycle, you have a right to be compensated for your expenses and hardships. The insurance company of the driver at-fault or the driver should pay you back. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we will ensure that you recover all the damages you deserve. We have handled many cases throughout the state involving motorcycle riders. We want to help you with your case. If you have any questions, feel free to call our office at 904-494-8242, and we will assist you with legal matters.