Motorcycles are popular in Florida, as they are fast, lightweight, and convenient to drive around. In 2021, there were 645,012 motorcycles registered in the state.
However, motorcycle drivers are also more susceptible to accidents, especially if they don’t observe the rules of the road. In fact, in 2020, there were over 8,045 motorcycle crashes in Florida.
You might be entitled to compensation if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident because of someone else’s negligence. A Florida motorcycle accident attorney can offer legal advice and guide you through the complex process of getting damages.
Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
No motorcycle rider wants to be involved in an accident. Minor collisions might be easy to manage, but the same isn’t true for major or fatal motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycle accidents could cause serious injuries, property damage, and even death. In 2020, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) recorded 517 motorcycle fatalities.
Following road safety guidelines, such as wearing helmets, can help minimize the chances of severe injuries in an accident. However, some collisions could come out of nowhere and are out of your control.
Below are some common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida.
Left-turning drivers are a common and dangerous cause of motorcycle accidents.
These accidents often happen at intersections or turns. One driver may be making a left turn while the other is going straight ahead. They could also occur if a motorcyclist tries to overtake or pass another vehicle making a left turn.
Left-turn accidents involving motorcycles could happen because of the following reasons:
- Since motorcycles have a narrow profile, the other driver doesn’t see it
- They misjudge the speed of the motorbike or its proximity to their vehicle
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 2,741 fatal accidents in 2020 involving motorcycles colliding with other vehicles. Forty-two percent of these crashes involved the other vehicle turning left while the motorcyclist was going straight ahead or passing.
While the small size of a motorcycle has its advantages, it also comes with risks. One of these risks includes getting into blind spots of larger vehicles. Many motorcyclists get into accidents simply because other cars can’t see them.
A blind spot is an area where a driver can’t see through their windshield, rearview mirror, or side mirrors. Depending on the vehicle, these blind spots could be large enough to obscure pedestrians, motorcycles, and other vehicles from view.
Some of the most common factors that cause blind spots in vehicles are the following:
- Car seat headrests
- The shape of the vehicle
- Window pillars
- Mirror limitations
Motorcyclists must employ defensive driving techniques to avoid getting into an accident because they are in another vehicle’s blind spot.
You should be mindful of your position on the road and be decisive when passing other vehicles. This practice will help you avoid staying in blind spots for too long. Moreover, you should also wear high-visibility gear, which will allow other drivers to see you better.
High-speed driving often causes drivers to lose control of their vehicles, which can cause accidents. Speeding is a hazardous activity that can affect the lives of everyone on the road.
According to the NHTSA, 34% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding. In Florida, 415 people were killed in motorcycle accidents because they were either speeding or engaged in aggressive driving.
Speed can profoundly hinder a person’s driving performance regardless of their vehicle. The following are some of the ways speeding can impact a person’s driving:
- Loss of control over the vehicle
- Difficult lane changes
- Reduced reaction times
Even if you don’t cause an accident, speeding is dangerous and against the law. Florida outlines specific driving speeds for different areas, such as highways, residence districts, and other locations.
It’s best to be mindful of your speed and those of the vehicles around you. Follow speed limits, if any, and ensure you drive within the limit.
Driving hazards and obstacles
Poor and hazardous road conditions affect all motor vehicles. However, they affect motorcycles more than they do other passenger vehicles.
With only two wheels, motorcycles have less stability and offer less protection to the driver than other vehicles. Motorcyclists are entirely exposed to the elements, which leaves them vulnerable to various roadway hazards.
For example, car and truck drivers could turn on their lights and windshield wipers during heavy rainfall.
However, motorcyclists must endure exposure to these weather conditions if they want to keep driving. Bad weather also affects road conditions and visibility, significantly impacting motorcyclists’ driving ability.
Aside from inclement weather, the following are some other driving hazards that motorcyclists may encounter:
- Poor road design and maintenance
- Road debris
- Slick road materials
- Fluid spills
- Metal road components
As outlined in the previous sections, motorcyclists experience several disadvantages on the road. It may already be difficult for other drivers to notice motorcyclists. This risk only increases when a driver is distracted.
Distracted driving has been a constant traffic problem, and the numbers have increased in Florida.
According to the FLHSMV, 333 fatalities resulted from distracted driving crashes in 2021.
One prominent cause of distracted driving is phone usage. Using your phone takes your attention away from the road. This lapse of concentration could lead to accidents, especially when something sudden happens.
A phone is only one form of distraction. Anything that takes your concentration away from driving is a distraction. For example, eating or engaging in conversation while driving could be considered distractions.
A troubled state of mind could also be distracting. Intense anger or other emotions could cloud one’s judgment and perceptions, affecting their driving.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can vary in severity. Some people could leave with superficial scratches, while others could suffer catastrophic injuries or death.
Dealing with these injuries can be difficult for victims and their family members. Aside from physical recovery, motorcycle accident victims also need to consider medical bills and lost income or earning capacity.
Here are some of the injuries people could suffer in a motorcycle accident:
- Road rash
- Lower extremity injuries
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal injuries
Dealing With a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
Nobody wants to get into a motorcycle accident. However, no matter how careful you or your loved ones are, it can happen at any time.
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating and severely injure everyone involved. However, motorcyclists are at a higher risk of injuries because of a motorcycle’s structure and the complete lack of protection.
Here are some steps you could follow if you are involved in a motorcycle crash.
Get to safety
If you’re able, get to safety immediately after the accident. Analyze your surroundings. Are you on a busy street, with vehicles speeding around you?
If you’re at risk in your current position, remove yourself from harm’s way. Look around to see if anyone else needs help, and try to get them to safety.
Call emergency services and seek medical attention
Once you’re in a safer area, assess each person’s condition. Has anyone been injured?
Try not to move around too much, as some injuries might not be visible immediately. Moreover, moving a severely injured person may exacerbate their injuries.
Administer first aid or medical treatment if you or anyone around you can do so. However, you should still call emergency services. They are best equipped to handle more severe injuries and administer appropriate medical care.
Even if you feel like nothing is wrong, calling emergency services can help to make sure that everyone is safe. Depending on the accident’s severity, paramedics and police may come to the scene.
Regardless of the accident’s nature, gathering information immediately after the accident is critical.
This information helps create an accurate account of events, especially if you choose to file a motorcycle accident claim. Law enforcement can also use this information to craft a police report.
It’s best to collect the following information:
- Date, time, and location of the accident
- Names of the drivers and passengers of all vehicles involved in the accident
- License plate numbers of all vehicles
- Contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, etc.)
- Insurance information
- Injuries sustained
- Positions of the vehicles
- Property damage, especially damage to your motorcycle
If you have a camera, take pictures and videos of the scene, which can paint an accurate picture of the incident.
Call a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer
If you believe another party has caused the accident, it’s best to call a lawyer immediately. Even if you decide against filing an injury case, a lawyer can help you negotiate your insurance settlement.
You should only speak to the other party’s insurance company after you’ve consulted a lawyer. Since insurance companies don’t really want to pay you anything, they’ll offer you the lowest settlement possible. However, a lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can also help you build your personal injury claim should you press charges. They can tell you your legal options and advocate for your rights.
Have an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney on Your Side
Motorcycle accident cases can be challenging to handle. Depending on the accident’s severity, you could be looking at severe injuries, medical expenses, property damage, and even death.
In these cases, you could recover economic and non-economic damages for what you lost and may lose. These damages can help you deal with high medical costs and other expenses for you and your loved ones.
A personal injury lawyer can protect your legal rights and assist in getting fair compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
The Personal Injury Center offers relevant educational resources on personal injury law. We can also connect you to experienced motorcycle accident attorneys upon your request.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Florida
When can you file a wrongful death case in Florida?
When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, the Florida statute of limitations is two years, starting from the date of the person's death.
Are motorists required to carry insurance?
The state of Florida doesn't require motorcyclists to carry insurance. However, purchasing insurance is still recommended, especially if you plan to travel outside the state.
Are motorcyclists required to wear helmets in Florida?
Any rider younger than 21 years old must wear protective headgear under Florida law. Helmets are optional for those above 21. However, if one chooses to forgo a helmet, they must have insurance with at least $10,000 in medical benefits.