Motorcyclists are among the people at a higher risk of suffering severe injuries on our roads, especially in Florida. These riders are not protected the same as motorists. This increases their risk of experiencing more severe injuries and sometimes death. There are so many causes of motorcycle accidents in the state, including motorists' failure to see riders, especially when making a left turn.
Dangerous left-turn accidents have been named as the most common motorcycle accidents across the globe. These accidents happen when a motorist pulls out in front of a rider when making a left turn. If a crash occurs, the results can be devastating for the rider. The good thing is that there are laws in place to help motorcyclists recover their damages when these accidents occur. If you are in Clay County, FL, you can get in touch with Clay County Personal Injury Attorney for guidance and support.
Understanding Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
As mentioned above, left-turn accidents happen when drivers fail to recognize motorcyclists when making a left-turn. When this happens, the motorcycle is hit by the turning vehicle as it goes through an intersection. All drivers must know that riders going through an uncontrolled intersection or going through green lights should be given rights of way. However, even with all the traffic rules in place, some drivers will still overlook their safety and other road users' safety, causing devastating accidents.
Like other states in the country, Florida has enough traffic rules that make the road safe for all road users. There are clear guidelines on how motorists should make safe left-turns. There are also guidelines on how all road users should approach intersections. For instance, if a driver is on the road with multiple lanes, it is safer for them to enter the left lane when trying to take a left-turn, and only turn when it is secure. Drivers are also required to check the traffic first before making a left-turn. If there are riders on the road, yield first and only make a turn when it is safe.
Unsafe left-turns are not just dangerous for motorcycles but other riders and motorists as well. Motorcyclists are not well-protected by the bikes, like motorists. Again, cyclists do not have sufficient safety measures like seatbelts that could minimize the extent of injuries a person might suffer in an accident. That is why motorcyclists are at higher risks when left-turn accidents occur. Some accidents will leave the Motorcyclist suffering life-changing injuries such as broken bones, traumatic injuries to the brain, abdominal wounds, and spinal cord injuries.
The good thing is that Florida has clear laws in place that enable the injured to seek compensation if at all, their injuries were due to negligence. With a reasonable personal injury attorney working by your side, you should recover a full for all the damages incurred in the accident. This could be done through negotiation for a settlement with the responsible insurance provider or filing a lawsuit in a civil court.
Common Causes of Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
There are several causes of left-turn motorcycle accidents in Florida today. Unfortunately, most of these accidents result from motorist’s negligence. Some of them include:
Failure to See the Rider
Motorcycles are smaller in size when compared to other vehicles. Thus, it may be difficult to spot them on the road as quickly as a vehicle. When they are less visible on the road, drivers may not be quick to spot a motorcyclist when making a left turn, especially when he/she is not careful enough. When a driver makes a quick left-turn without checking whether or not the road is clear, he/she can slam into a motorcycle as it goes through an intersection. The result could be devastating based on the speed at which the motorist was moving.
Running a Red Light
Drivers are not expected to rush through intersections, as this is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. When trying to beat a red light, it may be impossible for the motorist to notice a rider who already has the right of way and is legally entering an intersection. When the motorist comes to an intersection simultaneously as the Motorcyclist, there could be a severe crash, especially if both are traveling at high speed. Again, the driver may miscalculate the time he has to go through an intersection before crashing into a motorcyclist safely.
Entering an Intersection Illegally
Some motorists make an illegal entry into an intersection, which is when the light is red. This is the time motorcyclists have the right of way. Unlawful entry into an intersection will result in a devastating accident. Since riders are not aware of the motorist's intentions, nothing will be done to save them from a severe crash.
There is always a great feeling when a motorist gets ahead of other vehicles on the road. However, this requires the driver to travel at a higher speed than other cars. Again, the driver's concentration is mostly on the cars he/she is trying to overtake and not on other road users. If this happens with a motorcyclist on the same road, a severe accident will be inevitable, and the Motorcyclist is likely to suffer severe injuries.
The leading cause of road accidents in the country today is distracted driving. Many drivers lose their focus while driving, especially if they are traveling long distances. Also, today, there are many distractions, including mobile phones and other vehicle accessories, such as a radio. A little disturbance can result in a severe accident, especially when it involves something smaller, like a motorcycle. Making a left-turn requires as much concentration as a driver could get.
A little destruction will not allow him/her to notice an oncoming motorcyclist on time to avoid crashing on them. For that reason, texting or talking on the phone or drinking and eating while on the road is not allowed, as it is one of the main reasons we have so many left-turn accidents in the state.
Who Could Be Responsible?
Determining the at-fault party is the most important thing when pursuing compensation in a personal injury case. This starts with establishing the accident's cause, then deciding whether or not the suspected at-fault party owes a duty of care to the injured. In most cases, dangerous left-turn accidents are caused by drivers. The most crucial thing will be to establish whether or not the driver was negligent and how his/her negligence resulted in the damages the rider suffered.
In Florida, motorists are expected to be attentive on the road and adhere to all traffic rules for their safety and the safety of other road users. Negligence happens when these safety measures are not subscribed to. Speeding is among how drivers can demonstrate recklessness on the road. If a speeding driver crashes on a motorcyclist while making a left-turn in an intersection, the rider can get seriously injured and suffer other kinds of damage.
In intersections, riders have the right of way, and so, drivers are expected to slow down to allow them to pass intersections safely. Any driver who takes a left-turn without yielding the right of way to motorcyclists will be held responsible for any accident. Distracted driving is also a serious traffic offense since drivers are expected to always pay attention while on the road. If you are texting or speaking over the phone while driving, it will be easy to cause an accident, especially one involving a hardly visible motorcycle.
A driver owes a duty of care to all road users, including motorcyclists. By driving carefully, he/she will not only protect themselves against dangerous road crashes but also other road users. Negligence occurs when the motorists do something he/she is not required to do while on the road, causing an accident. There are some exceptions to this rule, though, whereby in some instances, the Motorcyclist can be found partly responsible for the resulting accident. Some of these incidences include:
- When the Motorcyclist is riding at a higher speed than required, while riding at greater speed, the rider does not give other motorists enough time to react.
- When riding on the wrong lane, it is possible to get injured, mainly if the road is only meant for those drivers that are taking a left-turn. A motorist can easily crash on the motorcycle as he/she was not expecting that anyone would be riding down that lane.
- Some motorcyclists speed down through intersections when motorists are waiting at the junction to take a left turn. Even when a rider has the right of way, there is a need to approach an intersection with great care to avoid avoidable accidents.
Engaging a qualified personal injury attorney could help determine the accident's actual cause and, eventually, the at-fault party. Your attorney can even hire other experts such as accident reconstruction experts to determine precisely what happened. With the at-fault party known, the plaintiff can decide on their next course of action to recover compensation for all the damages incurred in the accident.
Types of Injuries Suffered in an Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accident
As mentioned above, motorcyclists are usually the most susceptible road users as far as road accidents are concerned. Motorcycles do not have the outer body, which is the primary protection for motorists and their passengers. For that reason, a crash can result in severe injuries, some of which could be fatal. Dangerous left-turn accidents are even more devastating, especially if the vehicle caused the accident to move at high speed. Injuries in such accidents could range from minor to severe, depending on the accident's nature and severity. Some common damages that could be incurred in an unsafe left-turn accident include:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are prevalent in auto accidents. They are the kinds of injuries that occur when the normal functioning of the human brain is interrupted. Trauma to the brain can be caused by an object that comes into contact with the human head by force. It could also happen when the human head is violently shaken or moved back and forth, resulting in a road crash. A person could also suffer trauma in their brain if their skull or brain are wounded
They are the most severe kinds of injuries a person can experience in an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident. The human brain is susceptible such that several aspects of their life can be affected if it gets injured. The injuries can worsen when the rider is not wearing protective gear such as a helmet at the time the accident was happening. Trauma to the brain can affect several areas of a person's life, including their physical abilities, cognitive aptitudes, and emotions.
Some traumatic brain injuries could get better with immediate medical intervention and surgeries—however, those whose effects will be felt for the remaining part of the person’s life.
Road rash is also referred to as a road burn. It is the type of injury that occurs when a person's body is dragged on the road’s surface. As earlier mentioned, motorcyclists are not usually protected by the motorcycle body, so their body automatically comes into contact with the road's rough surface after a crash. As the body is dragged on the road, the friction causes a severe burn on their skin, which could be minor or severe, based on the crash's nature.
In most unsafe left turn motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists are knocked off their bikes, and then they travel along the road until they come to a stop. There is no particular part of a person’s body that can suffer this type of injury. The person could even suffer injuries in more parts of their body, including their hands and legs, the face, and the back.
Road rash injuries are excruciating, and the pain could go on for a long time until the wounds are completely healed. The good thing is that these types of damages are rarely fatal. However, sometimes complications arise, and these could prolong the period within which the injured is healed. Some injuries are also expensive to treat as they require several surgical interventions on the affected parts. Other injuries are life-changing as the injured person may have to live with permanent scarring that results after healing.
Fractures and Broken Bones:
These, too, are common injuries that result from most motorcycle accidents. It is common to have broken bones and fractures, some of which can be quickly treated with immediate medical intervention. However, some broken bones and fractures can be severe, depending on the severity of the crash. If the Motorcyclist and the at-fault driver were moving at high speeds, the Motorcyclist would most likely hit the ground hard after a collision. He/she could even fall on a wrong angle and sometimes fall on a hard object. Sometimes a part of their body could be forced to land in an unnatural position. All these will cause the injuries even more severe.
Like most of these injuries, fractures and broken bones could occur in any person's body. The nature and position of the affected parts will determine the severity of these injuries. Fractured ribs are, for instance, quite common. Some are easy to treat, while others require more time and extensive treatment for complete healing.
Spinal Cord Injuries:
Like the brain, the human spinal cord is quite sensitive such that a single injury can significantly alter a person's life. Injuries to the spine mainly affect the spinal column, comprising of the spine and all its surrounding nerves. If any of these are disturbed in any way, their normal functioning is also affected. If the motorcyclists landed on his/her back or neck during the crash, or if he/she came into contact with an object that pierced his/her back, the results could be devastating.
Unfortunately, most injuries to the spine are severe and could result in complications such as paralysis. If the human spinal cord has been severely injured, a complete paralysis could occur from the point of injury going down to the legs. If, on the other hand, the cord was partly damaged, a partial paralysis could occur. Most people who have suffered severe injuries to their spine will need treatment and therapy for a long time, and sometimes for the remaining part of their lives.
Compensatory Damages in Unsafe Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
Florida laws provide a clear guideline on how personal injury cases are handled in the state. They also offer a clear direction on the damages that an injured person can recover in any accident type. An experienced attorney will guide you by creating a list of compensatory damages you feel you deserve, based on the nature and severity of the accident. The amount of money allocated to the losses will be based on the extent of the injuries and the amount of money you have lost or will lose after the accident. Here are the most common compensatory damages in an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident:
The first thing that should come to your mind after any type of accident is your wellbeing. Thus, you should think of the medical bills you have already paid out of your pocket and those that will need to be paid in the future, especially if you have suffered a catastrophic injury. The law requires the at-fault person to take care of the plaintiff's medical expenses. Therefore, include them all in your claim.
If you have been injured seriously to miss a significant amount of time out of work, you should be compensated for all the money you have not made within the recovery period. These damages will enable you to take care of your day-to-day financial needs before getting back to work. Many people miss out on job prospects as well, while others lose their jobs to more-abled people. If this happens, you might need to look for a new job, before which you will have to struggle to pay your bills and cater to your basic needs. That is why the law allows these damages to be included in a compensation claim.
Lost Earning Capacity
As earlier mentioned, there are those injuries that will take a much more extended period to heal. In some cases, the plaintiff will have to live with some injuries. Such damages will not allow you to continue being as productive as you were before the accident. You will lose many earning chances, and sometimes you may have to take a low paying job just to survive. The at-fault party is expected to compensate you for that loss as well.
Pain and Suffering
Motorcycle accident injuries are harrowing, and the pain could carry on for a very long time. The pain and suffering could result in other mental and psychological issues such as emotional distress and depression. Some injuries will take a long time to heal, which means a more extended period of pain and suffering. The plaintiff deserves compensation for this, as well.
In addition to monetary and non-monetary compensatory damages awarded in severe personal injury cases, the court may decide to grant the plaintiff punitive damages. These are given as a way to punish a reckless motorist and as a warning to others who may portray the same kind of behavior on the road, endangering the lives of other road users. The civil court is the one that determines the amount of money to award in this case.
Find a Clay County Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you have been involved in an unsafe left turn motorcycle accident, you may not know what to do to compensate for your damages. If you strongly believe that another person's negligence was the cause of your losses, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, we depend on our skills, experience, and thoroughness in handling injury cases. We will ensure that you get the compensation that you truly deserve. Call us at 904-494-8242 if you are in Clay County, FL, and let us help with your case.