Reckless Police Officer Faulted in Fatal Crash
A motorcycle rider is dead because a Lauderhill police officer slammed on his brakes and swerved across the road, according to a Florida Highway Patrol investigation. But the matter is far from open and shut.
Investigators state that the police officer saw a stranded motorist on Interstate 95. The officer, who had been pursuing an auto theft suspect, slowed from 73mph to 29mph in only five seconds and then swerved across the highway to assist the disabled motorist. A trailing motorcycle rider was unable to avoid the police cruiser and clipped its right rear fender. The rider lost control of his bike, fell off his ride, and was declared dead at the scene.
Authorities cited the police officer for making an unsafe lane change. They also said the motorcyclist’s BAC level was more than two times the legal limit at the time of the crash, and he was traveling over 80mph.
Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Steel cages and multiple restraint layers usually protect vehicle occupants during car crashes. But motorcycle riders are essentially unprotected. Therefore, riders are almost thirty times more likely to die in collisions than people inside four-wheel vehicles. Some of their serious injuries include:
- Head Injuries: Motorcycle helmets do not offer complete head injury protection. The base of the neck is still highly vulnerable to injury. Additionally, helmets do nothing to prevent motion-related head injuries. In fact, helmets might make these wounds even worse.
- External Trauma Wounds: The force of a collision usually throws riders off their bikes. In the above story, the rider “tumbled” off his bike and slid about 200 feet before finally coming to rest. His body took quite a beating in those 200 feet.
- Internal Injuries: The same forces that cause motion-related head injuries also cause internal organs to smash repeatedly against each other. As a result, they often bleed profusely. Frequently, exsanguination (excessive blood loss) is the official cause of death in motorcycle crash fatalities.
No amount of money can possibly make up for the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one. However, a Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney can obtain funds which assuage the grief and help the family move on. That’s what the deceased person would have wanted.
Generally, this compensation is available if the other driver was negligent. Negligence is a lack of care. The N-word is worse than careless or accidental and not as bad as malicious or intentional.
Ordinary negligence is a lack of reasonable care. Examples include distracted driving and drowsy driving. If a lack of care caused the crash, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) might be liable for damages. Special rules apply if the tortfeasor was a police officer or another public employee.
Negligence per se is a lack of statutory care. If the tortfeasor violated a safety law, lake making an unsafe lane change, and that violation substantially caused injury, that driver is presumptively liable for damages. Victims might need to introduce additional evidence, such as suddenly stopping at the same time as suddenly changing lanes.
The Contributory Negligence Defense
Comparative fault is one of the most common insurance company defenses in Florida car crash claims. This doctrine shifts blame from the negligent tortfeasor to the innocent victim.
In court, an insurance company attorney would almost certainly argue that the motorcycle rider’s alcohol impairment, and his excessive speed, caused the crash. That combination made it impossible for him to react to a suddenly changing situation. In these instances, jurors must divide fault between the two parties on a percentage basis.
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. So, even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the wreck, the other driver is still responsible for a proportionate share of damages.
Contact a Hard-Hitting Lawyer
Motorcycle crash victims often sustain serious injuries, but these cases are usually complex. For a free consultation with an experienced Port St. Lucie personal injury attorney, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.