Serious Crash In Port St. Lucie
A motorcycle rider was seriously injured in a wreck with a motorist who was apparently making an illegal U-turn.
Firefighters state that the motorcyclist was northbound on Southwest Bayshore Drive near its intersection with Southwest Lakehurst Drive, when a southbound motorist attempted to make a U-turn onto the northbound side. The driver pulled directly in front of the motorcycle rider, who was rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries he sustained in the collision.
The motorcyclist was identified only as a man in his 40s; first responders said he was not wearing a helmet.
Left-turn crashes, in which a motorist turns against traffic directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, are so common in some overseas countries that officials call them “SMIDSY” (sorry, mate, I didn’t see you) crashes. Another sometimes-used acronym – “TBFTL” for “turned but failed to look” – describes the same phenomenon.
Many riders have experienced a SMIDSY crash at one time or another. In many instances, the drivers make statements like “I never even saw the rider” or “The motorcycle came out of nowhere.” In court, lack of awareness is never an excuse for negligence. Some of the serious injuries in motorcycle crashes include:
- Broken Bones: Leg, hip, foot, and other bones in the lower extremities are particularly at risk for severe fractures that often require metal plates, screws, or pins to heal properly. Afterwards, the victims must often undergo months of expensive and painful physical therapy to regain function.
- Internal Injuries: Riders are completely unprotected in crashes, and almost any jostling inside a victim’s body can cause nearly uncontrollable bleeding.
- Biker’s Arm: This is the common name for paralysis in the brachial plexus area that occurs after bikers use their arms to try and brace their falls.
Because of the serious nature of the injuries, motorcycle crashes are generally exempt from the no-fault law. So, in most cases, victims are automatically entitled to compensation for their economic damages, like medical bills, and noneconomic damages, like emotional distress.
The Helmet Defense
Florida repealed its mandatory helmet law in 2001, but this action did not fully resolve the issue. If the victim was not wearing a helmet, is that omission relevant in a negligence action as a way to reduce the victim’s damages? Although insurance companies would say “yes,” the greater weight of legal authorities would suggest “no.”
First and foremost, there is the eggshell skull rule. This principle states that tortfeasors (negligent drivers) are responsible for the injuries they actually cause, and not the ones they should have caused had the victims not been susceptible to certain injuries. For example, even though some senior citizens are more physically vulnerable than some younger adults, the senior citizens’ damages are not reduced accordingly. The same thing should apply in motorcycle crashes.
There are some other considerations as well:
- Helmet use should not be admissible under the comparative fault law, because wearing a helmet has nothing to do with fault in the collision.
- Helmet use should not be admissible as evidence of failure to mitigate (reduce) damages, because such an obligation arises only after the injury.
An aggressive attorney will fight the insurance company’s efforts to deny fair compensation to victims.
Rely on Experienced Attorneys
Motorcycle crashes cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Lucie County and all throughout the Treasure Coast area.