Fort Myers is known for its historic landmarks, beautiful beaches, and thriving city life. It has a population of at least 92,000 and is the seat of Lee County in Southwestern Florida. The city lies southeast of Tampa and is part of a larger metropolitan area that includes Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Naples.
Like any flourishing city, Fort Myers is not immune to accidents. It is especially true for vulnerable road users, like motorcyclists and pedestrians. Motor vehicle accidents can cause catastrophic injuries, long-term disabilities, and wrongful death.
In 2021, the state of Florida recorded 8,649 motorcycle crashes with 621 fatalities. Meanwhile, Lee County logged at least 14,336 motor vehicle accidents, with 115 deaths in the same year.
If you figured in an auto accident, there are various legal options that you may pursue. A motorcycle accident attorney can help you file an accident claim or lawsuit to recover damages for your losses.
Law firms usually offer free consultations to potential clients. During this preliminary meeting, you may discuss the best legal approach for your case with your injury lawyer.
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Common Causes of Fort Myers Motorcycle Accidents
With its warm weather, scenic roads, and tourist attractions, Fort Myers is a popular destination for motorcyclists. However, these factors increase the risk of motorcycle crashes in the area. They are a leading cause of severe injuries and fatalities.
The following section explores the common cause of motorcycle crashes in Fort Myers, including negligent driving, road hazards, and weather conditions.
Failure to yield the right of way
Yielding the right of way means prioritizing other motorists or vehicles to proceed safely in certain situations. Failure to yield is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, particularly motorcycle crashes.
In some situations, motorcycle riders have the right of way, and other motorists must yield to them. For example, bikers have the right to occupy a whole traffic lane. Regardless of traffic flow or congestion, cars cannot move into a lane a motorcycle rider already occupies.
Suppose a driver intends to take a left turn, and a motorcycle already occupies that lane. In that case, the latter possesses the right of way. Similarly, suppose a driver attempts to pull out before a motorcycle approaches them. It might be more challenging to assess the motorcycle’s speed, leading to a potential crash.
A driver or a motorcycle rider failing to yield the right of way can be dangerous. It is especially true for vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, who are more prone to severe injuries due to their exposure.
Failure to keep in the proper lane
Traffic violations such as failing to keep in the proper lane can also contribute to motor vehicle accidents. It occurs when a motorist fails to stay within their designated lane while driving.
It is likely for a motorcycle crash to occur if a biker drifts out of their lane without signaling. Similarly, weaving in and out of lanes or crossing over into another lane unnecessarily can also be dangerous for motorists.
In addition, some bikers operate their motorcycles between traffic lanes or rows of vehicles, also known as lane-splitting. Riding in between adjacent lanes is illegal in Florida. However, riders are more inclined to split lanes during traffic congestion or slow-moving traffic.
Speeding is another leading cause of road accidents involving motorcycles. Suppose a driver or a bike exceeds the speed limit or rides too fast for road conditions. It reduces their ability to react to road hazards and increases stopping distances.
In addition, speeding also exacerbates the effects of a motorcycle crash, as a higher velocity increases the force of impact.
Florida laws apply the same speed limits to its drivers and motorcycle riders. Unless posted otherwise, they can travel up to 55 MPH on streets and highways.
However, adjusting their speed to match road conditions is advisable. Bikers are more prone to falling on gravel or wet roads. All motorists must anticipate changes in driving speed by providing extra steering or stopping distance to avoid collisions.
What To Do Immediately After a Motorcycle Crash
After a motor vehicle accident, motorcyclists must stay cautious to avoid compromising their personal injury case. Here are some things that riders can do immediately after an auto accident:
- Report to law enforcement: Report the incident to Fort Myers police or the Florida Highway Patrol.
- Seek medical attention immediately: Although the injury appears minor, obtaining a medical evaluation right away is crucial. Some injuries may appear days or weeks after the incident.
- Document the accident scene: Collect information from all involved parties, including their name, contact details, license plate number, and insurance information. Likewise, collect the names and contact information of witnesses to the accident. Remember to take photos or videos of your injuries and any property damage.
- Reach out to a personal injury lawyer: Seek legal advice from a motorcycle accident lawyer. An initial case review will allow you to discuss with your attorney the next step for your case.
- Contact your insurance company: Once you have consulted your lawyer, you can report the incident to your insurance provider and pursue a claim.
Tips for Motorcyclists
Drivers and motorcyclists play a vital role in preventing car accidents. While various external factors can lead to an accident, road users can take steps to mitigate the risks.
One of the most essential things a motorcyclist can do is obey traffic laws, including speed limits, road signs, and traffic signals.
For example, motorcyclists are prohibited from riding alongside one another and sharing a single lane. Similarly, speed competitions and drag racing on parking lots and roadways should be avoided since they are unlawful in the state of Florida.
Following simple traffic safety rules can drastically lessen the risk of getting into dangerous auto accidents.
Properly maintain motorcycles
Proper maintenance of motorcycles is crucial to prevent accidents. Bikers must perform regular maintenance checks on brakes, tires, lights, and other essential bike components.
For instance, riders must ensure their tires have sufficient tread and maintain correct tire pressure to prevent loss of traction or blowouts. Properly functioning brakes are also vital for a safe ride, so motorcycle riders should regularly check brake pads and fluid levels.
Regularly checking lights, including turn signals and headlights, can help bikers stay visible on the road. Bikers must also maintain a clean windshield to help them see more clearly and prevent crashes due to impaired visibility.
They should also ensure the upkeep of motorcycles according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It includes belt and chain adjustments, regular oil changes, and other routine maintenance tasks.
Wear appropriate protective gear
Wearing appropriate gear is crucial as it helps reduce the severity of injuries in case of an unfortunate crash. The most essential piece of protective gear for bikers is a helmet.
Headgear protects the rider’s head and prevents brain injuries in case of a crash. Other protective equipment includes jackets, gloves, pants, and boots, which shield the biker’s body from abrasions and other physical injuries.
Florida law prohibits motorcyclists from riding without wearing a protective headgear. An exception applies to bikers over 21 who carry health insurance with at least $10,000 in medical benefits. They may opt not to wear protective headgear.
Legal Remedies for Motorcycle Accident Cases
Suppose a rider was involved in a motorcycle crash. They may suffer from injuries resulting in significant medical bills and pain and suffering. In these cases, several legal options are available to help injured bikers recover damages for their losses.
However, to file a claim or lawsuit successfully, the injured rider must establish negligence on the at-fault party’s part. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise a similar degree of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation.
To prove negligence, the injured victim must establish the following elements:
- Duty: The at-fault party had a legal obligation to exercise care to avoid harming the victim.
- Breach: The other motorist broke their commitment by failing to act reasonably during the incident.
- Cause: The other party’s actions directly caused the victim’s injuries.
- Damage: The victim suffered physical injuries and financial losses.
Injured riders can file an accident claim with their insurance provider to recover compensation for their losses. The process includes the following:
- notifying their insurance company
- providing evidence of their injuries
- negotiating a settlement
Various insurance policies may apply to a vehicle crash. For example, liability insurance covers property damage and motorcycle injuries a policyholder caused other parties.
Comprehensive insurance applies to vandalism, theft, and weather damage. Lastly, a motorcycle colliding with another vehicle or object will trigger a rider’s collision insurance.
Generally, motorcycle accident victims can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Similarly, suppose their insurance company unnecessarily delays or denies their claim. They may pursue civil litigation against them. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer beforehand is essential to discuss which approach is best for your case.
Factors Affecting Compensation in a Motor Vehicle Accident Case
Several factors influence a biker’s accident claim, including the severity of their injuries, property damage, and the at-fault party’s degree of liability. The evidence presented by the victim, witness statements, and the police report also play a significant role in determining the case outcome.
The state of Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system. In this type of insurance system, each party’s insurance company pays for their damages regardless of who is liable for the incident. It covers medical bills, income losses, and funeral expenses.
However, this system also prevents victims from filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other motorist unless their damages exceed a certain threshold. In Florida, the following conditions must apply to those who wish to file a lawsuit:
- Permanent loss of a significant bodily function
- Permanent injury, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement of a significant body part
Comparative negligence rules
The state of Florida recently amended its comparative negligence rules (HB 837) in March 2023.
Before the amendment, Florida implemented pure comparative negligence rules. This principle allowed plaintiffs to claim damages regardless of their degree of fault in the incident.
For instance, suppose the court determined the motorcyclist to be 60 percent liable for the crash. They may still recover 40 percent of the damages.
The state recently changed its rules to apply modified comparative negligence rules. Under this principle, an injured victim may not recover compensation if the court finds them 50 percent or more at fault.
You can slow down a motorcycle by rolling off the throttle or downshifting, which does not activate the brake light. Make sure to provide greater follow distance and anticipate changes in speed without a visual warning.
Book a Free Consultation With a Fort Myers Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Lessening the risk of motorcycle crashes requires riders and motorists to be more cautious of their surroundings and driving behavior. However, motor vehicle accidents can still happen despite these measures.
Suppose you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle crash. It’s best to seek legal representation. You may book a free consultation with The Personal Injury Center to assist you with the claims process. The Personal Injury Center has a vast network of attorneys specializing in motorcycle accidents.
They are familiar with the complex legal procedures that usually come with accident claims and are ready to guide you through the process. You may also browse the website to learn more about your case and answer any questions you may have.
Seek legal advice from a motorcycle accident attorney. Contact The Personal Injury Center to connect you to a reliable lawyer.
FAQs on Fort Myers Motorcycle Accident
A buffer zone is a space between vehicles in heavy traffic or at traffic lights. It allows drivers to come to a complete stop without tailgating the car in front of them.
The newly amended HB 837 shortened the statute of limitations for injury claims to a maximum of two years after the incident.
Florida requires bikers to carry at least $40,000 in liability insurance coverage in case they cause an accident. Despite being a no-fault state, Florida does not require motorcyclists to have personal injury protection insurance.