Written on Jan 10, 2018 11:18:53 AM
Who is Liable for a Sudden Stop Motorcycle Accident in Florida?
Topics: motorcycle accident
Riding a motorcycle on the open road may give you an incomparable sense of freedom, but sometimes that freedom comes at a high cost. Motorcycle accidents often can result in very serious, life-threatening injuries or death. In a "comparative negligence" state like Florida, it may be difficult to know who is responsible for an accident and how much recovery or compensation someone may be entitled to based on their potential partial responsibility.
The Orlando Sentinel reports Florida as having the highest rate of motorcycle fatalities in the United States. According to the article, which cites a recent AAA study, "the number of motorcycles account for 3 percent of registered vehicles, yet they are involved in 20 percent of vehicle fatalities in the state."
Sudden Stop Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle accident can be caused by a number of factors, including poor roadway conditions, road debris, and driver inattention. However, one of the most common causes of a motorcycle crash is sudden stops. If a car traveling in front of a motorcycle makes a sudden stop, the motorcycle rider has little time to respond and may end up colliding with the vehicle in front of them.
A rider may be thrown from his or her bike and hit another vehicle, road sign, the road itself, or other objects near the road. Because of the lack of protection offered by a motorcycle, injuries are likely to be severe and can even be fatal.
Common motorcycle injuries from sudden stop motorcycle accidents can include:
- Head injuries, such as a fractured skull, concussion, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is especially common when the driver is not wearing a helmet;
- Spinal injuries and paralysis;
- Broken bones and joints;
- Road rash, and serious lacerations or puncture of the skin and other soft tissues;
- Serious internal organ injuries; and
- Facial disfigurement.
Staying Safe on the Road
No matter how cautious you may be, sudden stop accidents happen. Obeying the rules of the road and wearing proper protective gear can help to mitigate your injuries. The following motorcycle riding safety tips may help you stay safer on the road
- Always obey posted speed limits.
- Keep a safe riding distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles on the road, especially in heavy, stop-and-go traffic.
- Slow down in construction zones.
- Take extra weight into consideration if you are carrying a passenger or cargo, as it increases the time it takes to bring your motorcycle to a complete stop.
- Make yourself visible: Wear adequate reflective gear such as pants, jackets, and boots. Ride with your headlights on and make sure to tap your brake lights when slowing or coming to a stop to alert drivers behind you.
- Wear a full-face helmet. The importance of wearing a helmet cannot be overstated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,630 motorcyclists in 2013. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 715 lives could have been saved.
- Don’t drink and drive. Even a small amount of alcohol can slow reaction time and impair your ability to safely operate your motorcycle.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) Motorcycle Handbook offers more valuable information on Florida traffic law, licensing and motorcycle safety and collision avoidance.
Motorcycle Accidents and PIP Insurance
Under Florida law, only vehicles that are defined as motor vehicles are entitled to personal injury protection (PIP) benefits on auto insurance policies. Because motorcycles are not classified as motor vehicles, motorcyclists or their passengers are not entitled to PIP benefits for their injuries. However, they can purchase optional medical payment coverage, which covers accident-related medical expenses up to policy limits.
If You Have Been Injured, Contact an Attorney
If someone else’s negligence caused your sudden stop motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. After an accident, it is vital to seek the counsel of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida.
If you have been injured or have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a motorcycle accident, our knowledgeable and compassionate personal injury and motorcycle accident attorneys will fight for your rights and provide the personal attention you need to help you receive the compensation you deserve. To schedule a consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney, contact Lowman Law Firm at 352-888-4484 or toll-free at 866-9-LOWMAN.