While riding a motorcycle on an open road may give riders a sense of boundless freedom and joy, these vehicles are also some of the most deadly on the road. In Florida, motorcycle accidents account for thousands of deaths each year; the state leads the country in motorcycle fatalities, with the third-most deaths in the nation. Each year, personal injury lawyers navigate hundreds of motorcycle claims, from recovering for medical expenses and lost wages to suing for wrongful death claims when another driver’s negligence caused a cyclist’s death.
Motorcycle accidents, in particular, present an increased danger to riders on the road because they lack the basic protections of typical motor vehicles. For example, cars have substantial protective barriers for drivers, including doors, airbags, and sensors that help alert drivers to impending dangers. Motorcycles, on the other hand, lack any sort of protection and leave the driver mostly up to their own devices.
If you enjoy cycling but are concerned that a serious injury could occur, here are five unique aspects of motorcycle accidents you should know.
The Risks are Substantial
Cyclists face a far greater chance of being involved in an accident with a motorist who simply wasn’t paying attention. In around 65 percent of accidents involving a car and a motorcycle, the driver of the car violated the cyclist’s right of way and caused the accident. Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than the average motorist, and five times as likely to suffer an injury.
Why Motorcycle Crashes are Unique
Motorcyclists on the road face unique issues, such as:
- Visual recognition: It’s harder for most drivers to see cyclists, and that’s especially true at intersections, where almost 70 percent of motorcycle crashes occur.
- Road hazards: Potholes, wet roads, and debris present a far greater threat to motorcyclists than drivers.
- Speed: When a motorcycle is riding too fast, a situation can occur in which the front end of the motorcycle starts to wobble or lose control, causing an accident to occur.
Legal Responsibility is Harder to Determine
As in all personal injury cases, negligence will govern whether a cyclist will be able to recover damages after an accident. However, if it is shown that a motorcycle rider was even partially to blame for the accident, their ability to recover damages will be limited. Instead, if it is found that the rider was comparatively negligent in causing the accident, damages will be calculated based on their role in the accident. For example, if they were 50 percent responsible for the crash, they would only receive 50 percent of the damages claimed.
Family Members May Stand to Recover Damages
If the motorcycle accident resulted in the rider’s death, then their family may be able to sue for wrongful death. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act allows the estate’s personal representative to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the loved one;s survivors, such as their spouse, children or parents. The purpose of a wrongful death is to alleviate the financial burden of losing the deceased in a negligent crash. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of either filing a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death claim.