According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just under 4,500 motorcyclists are killed every year in accidents, and an additional 90,000 are injured. By miles driven, motorcycles are far more dangerous than cars. A motorcyclist is 40 times more likely than a driver to be killed in a collision, and nine times more likely to be injured.
To be sure, some motorcyclists behave carelessly or ride faster than road and weather conditions allow, but most motorcyclists are responsible riders. In fact, a car’s driver is more likely than a motorcyclist to be at fault in a collision between a motorcycle and a car.
There are two main reasons for this. First, most drivers do not have a lot of experience with motorcycles and know nothing about how they stop, turn, etc. Drivers are used to sharing the road with other cars, but they are less familiar with how to safely share the road with motorcycles. Drivers may get the impression that motorcyclists are riding unpredictably, but it may be the mere presence of a motorcycle that the driver failed to predict.
The second reason for collisions between cars and motorcycles is that motorcycles are comparatively small. It’s easy for a motorcyclist to hide in a driver’s blind spot where a car could not fit. Because drivers are primarily used to scanning the road for other cars, they may fail to see motorcycles altogether.
There are steps you can take to decrease your chances of being hit by an inattentive driver. For one, you can make yourself more visible by wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and using your headlight day and night. While helmets do not make crashes less likely, they make them a lot less dangerous. Studies show that wearing a motorcycle helmet lowers the risk of fatal injuries by almost 30 percent and lowers the chance of brain injury by almost 70 percent. Florida law does not require you to wear a helmet if you are over 21 and have at least $10,000 in medical insurance, but it is still a good idea for safety reasons.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please call First Coast motorcycle injury lawyer John Fagan for a free evaluation of your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
While I was on a motorcycle a car made a left turn right in front of me, who’s at fault?
You might be eligible to file a claim. The person making a left turn is almost always responsible for a collision when any vehicle is coming from the other direction. There are exceptions, such as if you were speeding, running a red light or acting in a careless manner. In that instance, you might be held partially responsible as per Florida law.
What insurance should I have to protect my family if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?
No-Fault (PIP) law does not apply to motorcycles. Proof of insurance is not required to register your motorcycle. However, the Financial Responsibility Law still applies in the even of an accident.
If you are in a motorcycle accident and cannot prove that you have $10,000 of medical coverage you could face penalties and even loose your license. It is also recommended to purchase uninsured motorist insurance just to be sure your family is take care of as well. Purchase BI at least in the same amount. Most people would say $100,000 is the least amount of BI or UM anyone should carry.
Does Florida have a helmet law?
Up until July of 2000, all motorcycle riders were required to wear a helmet. The law now is that riders over the age of 21 who have at least $10,000 in medical coverage can ride without a helmet. However, we recommend anyone operating a motorcycle wear a helmet. It lowers the risk of a fatal injury by almost 30% and lowers the chance of brain injury by almost 70%. Ride smart.
How is negligence proven in a motorcycle accident case?
We will need to prove that the person who caused the accident failed in this duty to hold they responsible for your damages.
Most motorcycle accidents are a combination of neglect, carelessness or a failure to act. The law requires that a people owe each other a duty to act how any responsible person would act under similar circumstances.
How do medical bills and lost wages affect a motorcycle accident claim?
Another factor is the amount of wages lost due to time off from work. You must be able to document this, through a written report from your doctor establishing your disability and for how long you were unable to work, and a note from your employer verifying your wages and time taken off (which must match the doctor’s report). Without these, the claims adjuster will likely refuse to include wage loss in your damages, especially if your claimed lost time is greater than expected for comparable injuries.
Similarly, the likelihood of future wage loss due to your injuries will be a factor. You might have future lost wages due to a permanent disability, expected future hospitalizations or surgeries, and time off for other treatments such as physical therapy.
Have your First Coast motorcycle accident attorney obtain a written medical opinion establishing these expected costs to use in settlement negotiations. If you have more questions about how to proceed with your case, contact John Fagan for a free evaluation of your claim.