Left Turn Crash Seriously Injures Motorcycle Rider in Stuart
After a woman turning into a drugstore struck an oncoming motorcycle, the rider had to be airlifted to a local hospital.
According to police and witnesses, the crash occurred near the intersection of Monterey Road and Ocean Boulevard. A woman attempted a left turn against traffic. But she did not see an oncoming motorcycle, and the two vehicles collided. The rider was seriously injured, and the driver was apparently uninjured.
No charges against the woman are pending at this time.
Left Turn Motorcycle Crashes
Safety advocates and other such professionals still cite to the Hurt Report, which came out in the 1980s. According to this study, about a third of the fatal motorcycle crashes in Florida are left-turn collisions, like the one described above.
Typically, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is at a stop, waiting to make a left turn against traffic. When there is a break, the tortfeasor quickly accelerates to shoot through the gap. If there is an unseen motorcycle rider in that gap, that rider is in serious trouble.
Left turn crashes may be even more common today. Back then, most people drove small cars or station wagons. Other motorists could easily see around these vehicles. But today, many drivers operate large SUVs and pickup trucks. These vehicles reduce visibility.
Technology has changed a lot since the 1980s, but people are still people. They often maintain an active lookout for other four-wheel vehicles, but they overlook motorcycles. Most riders who have gone down heard the tortfeasor say something like “I never even saw you” or “You came out of nowhere.” These explanations do not mean that the rider was operating recklessly. They mean that the tortfeasor was not looking.
When a vehicle turns against traffic and strikes another vehicle, the negligence per se doctrine usually applies. In Florida, there is a presumption of negligence if the tortfeasor:
- Violates a non-penal safety law, like the right-of-way law, and
- That violation substantially causes injury.
The additional facts in a left turn motorcycle crash, such as the tortfeasor’s sudden acceleration and failure to look, generally turn the presumption of negligence into a conclusion of negligence.
Damages in motorcycle crash cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.
Insurance Company Defenses
Contributory negligence is one of the most common defenses in motorcycle crash and all other vehicle collision claims. The theory, which is that both parties were jointly responsible for the crash, often applies. For example, in a left turn motorcycle crash, the tortfeasor might have failed to look and the victim might have been speeding.
But in a legal sense, this defense is often inapplicable, especially in left turn motorcycle crashes. The tortfeasor’s failure to look is the main cause of the collision. It really does not matter if the victim was speeding or not.
As a result, insurance company lawyers often cannot get over the first contributory negligence hurdle. These lawyers must convince the judge that the victim’s negligence played a substantial part in the crash.
If the matter makes it to the jury, Florida is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the collision, the victim is still entitled to a proportional share of damages.
Additionally, left turn crashes often involved the last clear chance defense. This doctrine excuses liability altogether if the victim had a chance to avoid the crash but did not do so. For example, to avoid a head-on crash, the victim could have changed lanes.
This defense usually does not apply in this context. Motorcycles are almost impossible to quickly maneuver in an emergency, especially if there is other traffic on the road. And, this doctrine only applies if the victim had the last clear chance. Any possible chance is not good enough.
Work With a Tenacious Lawyer
Left turn motorcycle crashes collisions usually cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie car accident attorney, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.