In most parts of the country, motorcycle accidents decline sharply from the late fall to the early spring. But in Florida, the weather is generally warm all year long, so riders are out all year long. Since there are more riders on the roads, one might think that vehicle operators are more cautious around motorcycles and keep more of a lookout. But that is often not the case, and in fact, the old saying might be true, because familiarity may breed contempt in this area.
Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Statistically, motorcycle-vehicle crashes are twenty-seven times more deadly than vehicle-vehicle crashes. The high fatality rate is related to the visibility issue. Many motorcycle-vehicle crashes occur because drivers do not see motorcycle riders as they make left turns against traffic or change lanes in traffic, and in both these cases, the vehicles usually accelerates suddenly. This sudden burst of speed contributes to serious injuries like:
- Paralysis: In most medium or high-speed crashes, the riders are thrown off their bikes. Even if riders do not land on their necks or backs, the jarring motion is more than enough to cause serious injury.
- Nerve Damage: As bikers fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. When they hit the ground, this reaction often causes “biker’s arm,” or permanent nerve damage in the brachial plexus area.
- Blood Loss: High-impact fall injuries nearly always cause massive internal and external trauma, and many people cannot recover from the resulting exsanguination.
Motorcycle wrecks do not fall under the no-fault law, so these victims are always entitled to compensation for their economic damages, such as lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of consortium (companionship). Punitive damages are available as well, in some cases.
Motorcycle Crash Liability
Excessive speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal crashes in Florida, and speed is even deadlier for non-motorists. The pedestrian fatality rate is only about 15 percent at 30mph, but that rate increases to 75 percent at 50mph. Some other common causes include:
- Distraction: Many auto manufacturers tout their built-in hands-free cell phones as safer alternatives to hand-held devices, but there is almost no evidence in support of this contention.
- Impairment: Drugged driving, usually caused by prescription medication abuse, may be more of a problem than drunk driving.
- Fatigue: Most drivers admit that they get behind the wheel while they are very drowsy, and driving a vehicle after 18 hours without sleep is like driving a vehicle with a .08 BAC.
Even if the vehicle operators are clearly negligent, many jurors are stingy when it comes to awarding compensation, because of bikelash and other prejudice against motorcycle riders. Typically, victims can introduce evidence of their good driving habits, and perhaps even their good character, to refute the motorcycle prejudice and obtain maximum compensation for their injuries.
Reach Out to Experienced Attorneys
Motorcycle crash cases often require a special touch. For a free consultation with an experienced attorney, contact Reed & Reed. From their office in Brandon, Reed & Reed helps clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.