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Motorcycle Crash Season

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In many parts of the country, the weather is so cold in the late fall, winter, and early spring months that outdoor activities, including motorcycle riding, almost grind to a halt. But that’s not the case on the Treasure Coast, as the days during this time of year may be shorter, but they are normally warm and sunny. So, there is little or no reason to stay inside.

Unfortunately, the increased activity does not necessarily mean that motorists are looking out for motorcycle riders. In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, visibility is a serious issue that causes many motorcycle crashes. Visibility is usually worse in cooler months, because drivers who aren’t really looking for motorcycles in the spring and summer certainly aren’t looking for them in the fall and winter.

Motorcycle Crash Injuries

Interestingly, riders are twenty-seven times more likely to die in crashes than vehicle occupants but only five times more likely to be injured. That statistic underscores the serious nature of the injuries, including:

  • Broken Bones: In falls and some other types of trauma injuries, bones usually break. But in some motorcycle crashes, because of the extremely violent force, bones are often ground, so doctors must use metal plates or pins during corrective surgery and victims face much longer physical rehabilitation to recover lost function.
  • Blood Loss: Victims lose blood from both external trauma injuries and leaking internal organs; moreover, doctors do not always detect internal bleeding right away.
  • Neck and Spine Injuries: Even if the victims wear helmets, protective headgear does nothing to protect these vital areas.

Because of the serious nature of the injuries, motorcycle-vehicle crashes are exempt from the no-fault law, so victims are eligible for both economic damages, like lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of consortium (companionship). Punitive damages are available as well, in some cases.

Legal Issues

Although Florida does not have a mandatory helmet law for riders over 21, failure to wear a helmet is still evidence of contributory negligence in the Sunshine State. In other words, the insurance company can legally shift blame to the victims for the extent of their injuries if they weren’t wearing helmets. To maximize compensation in these cases, attorneys can:

  • Point out that a helmet could not have prevented the types of injuries the victim sustained, or
  • Argue that the other driver was even more negligent and thereby convince the jury to award maximum compensation.

The Fourth Court of Appeal recently added more force to this second approach, when it held that even an admission of fault could not prevent the victim’s lawyer from introducing evidence of negligence.

In addition to contributory negligence, attorneys must also be ready to deal with the motorcycle prejudice. Many motorists simply refuse to share the road with motorcycle riders, because they consider them to be reckless and dangerous, and they carry these attitudes into the jury room. The best way to take on the motorcycle prejudice is to point out that the rider was obeying traffic laws and overall riding defensively.

Rely on Experienced Attorneys

Motorcycle-vehicle crashes cause serious injuries to riders. For a free consultation with an aggressive personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, PA. We do not charge upfront legal fees in personal injury cases.

Resources:

gao.gov/products/GAO-13-42

4dca.org/opinions/Oct%202012/10-17-12/4D10-2835.op.pdf

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