Motorcycles are inherently much more dangerous than closed vehicles. Motorcycles are harder to control, especially during any inclement weather. And, in the event of a crash, motorcycles have no restraint systems. Therefore, the motorcyclist serious injury rate is almost three times higher than the closed vehicle occupant serious injury rate.
Even if the victim is wearing a helmet, these crashes often cause serious head and spine injuries. Helmets do not protect against motion-related head injuries. Scrambling the brain is a lot like scrambling an egg. One can scramble an egg just by shaking it, and the same thing could happen to a brain. That same motion could also seriously injure the spine, leading to permanent paralysis.
So, an Orlando personal injury lawyer may be able to obtain substantial compensation in these cases. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Driver Impairment in Orange County
Most motorcycle crashes are not “accidents.” In fact, driver error causes about 95 percent of these incidents. Many times, that error involves one of the five types of impairment, as identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Alcohol: Despite a decades-long crackdown against drunk drivers, alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Florida. Alcohol impairs judgment and slows motor skills.
- Drowsiness: Fatigue has the same effect. People who are sleepy do not think clearly and are less alert. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC.
- Drugs: In many jurisdictions, there are more “drugged” drivers than “drunk” drivers. The responsible substance could be illegal street drugs, like heroin, prescription painkillers, like Oxycontin, or certain over-the-counter medicines, like Sominex.
- Distraction: Drivers are distracted when they take a hand off the wheel, take their eyes off the road, or take their minds off driving. Hand-held cell phones combine all three kinds of distracted driving. Hands-free cell phones are not much better. They are visually and cognitively distracting.
- Medical Condition: People with heart disease, epilepsy, and other such chronic conditions should not drive. These illnesses could cause a sudden and unexpected loss of consciousness.
Driving impairment could involve either ordinary negligence, which is a lack of reasonable care, or negligence per se, which is a violation of a penal safety law.
Driver Inattention in Florida
Inattention claims almost always involve negligence per se and the violation of a right-of-way law. However, in these situations, negligence per se may only raise a presumption of liability. Back up and left turn crashes are the most common types of inattention collisions.
For the most part, motorcycles are small and quiet. Therefore, when tortfeasors (negligent drivers) back out of their driveways or parking spaces, it is hard to see and hear approaching motorcycles. That fact is not an excuse for negligence. In fact, the opposite is true. Due to this issue, tortfeasors have a duty to use even more caution in these cases.
Left turn crashes are common as well. Many times, when tortfeasors make left turns against traffic, they do not see approaching motorcycles and turn directly into their paths. Making matters worse, many people drive large pickup trucks and SUVs which are difficult to see around.
Once again, lack of visibility is not an excuse for negligence. Instead, it’s a reason for tortfeasors to be even more careful. A greater duty makes liability easier to establish and also increases the amount of damages an Orange County jury may award.
Connect with Aggressive Attorneys
Motorcycle-vehicle crashes often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Brandon motorcycle accident attorney, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).