Getting The Message Out
An area teen is leading a silent protest to raise awareness about the dangers that motorcycle riders face on the streets of Port St. Lucie.
In the last several months, one 17-year-old girl has lost her brother, a friend, and her boyfriend in separate fatal vehicle-motorcycle collisions. Two of these crashes involved motorists who failed to yield the right-of-way to the motorcycle riders, and the third involved a hit-and-run driver who may have been under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. She is quick to point out that all three riders were wearing helmets and obeying the speed limit.
There are more fatal motorcycle wrecks in Florida than any other state.
Statistically, the three motorcycle crashes in the above story are consistent with fault patterns in this area. Overall, most traffic fatalities are related to one form or another of driver impairment (alcohol/substance, fatigue, and distraction). Specifically with regard to motorcycle crashes, according to the Hurt Report, most vehicle-motorcycle wrecks occur when the vehicle driver fails to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle rider. In many instances, the driver pulls out into traffic directly into the motorcyclist’s path, and the rider has essentially no chance to avoid a collision that is often fatal.
Because motorcycle riders have no seatbelts or airbags for protection, they often sustain serious injuries in even relatively low-speed vehicle crashes, including:
- Broken Bones: The serious fractures – especially in arms and legs – often require multiple surgeries to set; thereafter, the victims face months of expensive and painful physical therapy.
- Biker’s Arm: When riders extend their arms to brace themselves as they fall, and it is a natural reaction to do so, the impact with the ground often causes permanent nerve injury.
- Trauma Injuries: Helmets reduce the risk of head injury, but do almost nothing to prevent overall trauma injuries and the massive blood loss that accompanies these wounds.
- Wrongful Death: Because of the inherently serious nature of the injuries, vehicle-motorcycle collisions have very high fatality rates.
In Florida, motorcycle crashes are exempt from the no-fault law, so victims are always entitled to compensation for their economic damages, such as lost wages, and noneconomic damages, such as loss of consortium (companionship and comfort). Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.
Like most other states, Florida has a wrongful death law that imposes certain restrictions and limitations on these actions. Only a “personal representative” may sue, either on behalf of the estate or on behalf of certain surviving relatives. Furthermore, largely because the insurance lobby is so strong, additional restrictions apply if medical negligence caused the wrongful death.
Typically, the plaintiff may recover economic damages, including compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost inheritance, as well as the decedent’s noneconomic damages. An attorney often partners with a financial professional to determine things like a future career arc and earning potential. But, there are limits on how much the personal representative may recover for the survivors’ pain and suffering.
Contact Aggressive Attorneys
Motorcycle crashes often cause permanent physical and financial injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, PA. After-hours visits are available.