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Fatal SMIDSY Crash In North St. Lucie County

A Martin County motorcycle rider was killed after another vehicle slammed into him while it was making an illegal turn.

Sixty-nine-year-old James Lunney Jr., of Jensen Beach, was riding northbound on State Road A1A near the Regal Road intersection, when 17-year-old Sadhana Chalasani, of Port St. Lucie, made a U-turn directly into Mr. Lunney’s path. He was thrown off the motorcycle and pinned underneath Mr. Chalasani’s vehicle. Although initially responsive, Mr. Lunney later succumbed to his injuries and died.

The Florida Highway Patrol is currently investigating the crash.

Motorcycle Crashes

Left turn, right turn, and U-turn motorcycle crashes are so prevalent in the United Kingdom and Australia, and drivers are sometimes so cavalier about the problem, that officials there use an acronym for “sorry, mate, I didn’t see you” (SMIDSY) to describe them. Another sometimes-used acronym, TBFTL for “turned but failed to look,” does not have quite the same panache. An estimated seven in ten motorcycle crashes fall into this category.

To explain the rising phenomenon, observers point out that, 30 or 40 years ago, cars and station wagons accounted for 95 percent of the vehicles on the road. Now, the presence of large SUVs and pickup trucks make it more difficult for drivers to see through traffic; this development is especially important in terms of motorcycle visibility, because many drivers simply do not look for riders.

To make yourself more visible to other drivers during your daily rides, try incorporating a few of these tips, if you have not already done so:

  • Ride with your headlight on, even in daytime;
  • Honk your horn every few blocks;
  • If such an action does not violate local noise ordinances, consider making your mufflers louder;
  • Linger a few moments in a driver’s rearview mirror before passing; and
  • Weave slightly inside your lane.

There is no clear science that indicates that these things increase visibility and therefore reduce the risk of crashes, but incorporating these practices into your riding routine almost certainly cannot hurt.

Damages

Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, victims are always entitled to compensation for their economic damages. These losses include:

  • Property damage;
  • Missed work; and
  • Other out-of-pocket costs.

The victim’s own insurance company must pay these damages up to the policy limit.

In the event of a serious injury, like any temporary or permanent disability, broken bone, or other such injury, victims are entitled to noneconomic damages, to compensate for:

  • Loss of consortium (companionship);
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of enjoyment in life; and
  • Emotional distress.

Punitive damages are also available in some cases, to punish the tortfeasor (negligent actor) and deter future misconduct.

Contact Aggressive Personal Injury Lawyers

Motorcycle riders are highly vulnerable to serious injury in vehicle-motorcycle collisions. For a free consultation with experienced car crash attorneys in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Free initial consultation and no fees or costs in personal injury cases unless we recover money for your case.

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