Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Based on the statistics from the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration, the state of Florida ranks first in the U.S. in motorcycle crash deaths. About 20% of deadly accidents in the state involve motorcycle riders. All motorists—motorcycle riders and automobile drivers—should look closely at their insurance policies to determine the scope of their coverage.
Nationwide, the number of deaths from motorcycle accidents is 30% higher than the number of deaths from car accidents. Many factors, including motorcycle riding habits such as lane splitting, can contribute to deadly crashes.
Why Are Motorcycles Dangerous?
Unlike enclosed vehicles—such as cars, SUVs, and vans—motorcycles offer riders and passengers little to no safety from accidents. Motorcycles do not have harnesses or seat belts. This means a rider or passenger could fall from a motorcycle in an accident and be tossed onto the street or into other hazards.
Motorcycles can accelerate quickly, which may lead riders to engage in dangerous behavior like weaving in and out of the sight of drivers on the road. Though Florida adheres to a no-fault system for automotive crash claims, a hurt motorcycle rider who’s partly to blame for a serious accident might have trouble getting compensated by insurance companies or moving forward with a lawsuit.
Frequent Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents occur for the same reasons car accidents happen. Reckless driving, bad weather, low visibility, car defects, and other factors could cause motorcycle wrecks. The probability of a street hazard causing a serious accident is much higher for motorcycles than cars due to weight and size. A bump in the road or debris on a street may not bother a driver, but it could be dangerous for a motorcycle rider.
A main hazard for motorcycle riders is visibility when it comes to climate, daylight, and other vehicles’ blind spots. If a motorcycle rider lingers in an area that’s not picked up by the driver’s rear-view mirrors, the car could change lanes without realizing the motorcycle is there. Another top cause of motorcycle accidents is left-hand turns. Riders have to watch for oncoming traffic, as well as keep an eye out for vehicles behind them trying to turn left.
Riding a motorcycle while impaired is just as dangerous as driving a car while impaired. A motorcycle rider who causes a drunk driving accident will face penalties such as license suspension, fines, alcohol and drug programs—and probably time in jail depending on the seriousness of the crash and prior arrests for DUI.
Possible Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A motorcycle rider may sustain serious injuries from an accident. Because there is no seat belt securing the motorcycle rider in place, any object that hits the rider could force them off their seat. If the victim slides across the asphalt, they could get road rash. That’s a significant friction burn or skin abrasion that’s prone to infection. When a rider gets road rash, debris from the street could embed within their skin, inflicting pain and other problems.
Cuts and bruises, damaged bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries are quite common in serious motorcycle accidents. Some crashes can result in disabilities, comas, and even deaths. Because of these dangers, motorcycle riders should consider wearing helmets approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Florida Helmet Laws
Based on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets approved by the DOT are around 37% effective at preventing fatalities and approximately 67% effective at preventing traumatic brain injuries. Many states require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but Florida does not. A rider who is 21 and older and carries a minimum of $10,000 in insurance coverage for accidents can ride without a helmet.
Legal Responsibility of Motorcycle Riders St. Petersburg, FL
A motorcycle rider might face legal responsibility if they cause an accident. For instance, a motorcycle rider who tries to weave in and out of traffic may get into a car’s blind spot, cause the driver to swerve, and create an accident. Though the driver is obligated to drive safely, they aren’t responsible for the motorcycle rider’s actions that caused the crash. In this case, the rider would be partially to blame for the accident.
Florida law’s pure comparative negligence legislation allows for plaintiffs to get reimbursed for crashes they played a role in causing. The court will evaluate the case and assign percentages of fault to the parties involved. The plaintiff will lose part of their settlement according to their fault percentage. Let’s say a motorcycle rider asked for $50,000, but they were 10% at fault. They would lose 10% of the settlement and take home $45,000 instead.
Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
For auto accidents, Florida adheres to a no-fault system. This means drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 in protection for Private Damage Safety, plus $10,000 in Property Harm Legal responsibility. While this usually results in lower premium prices, it also restricts a driver’s options for compensation after a serious accident.
If a motorcycle rider gets hurt in a crash where they were not to blame, the rider should file a claim with their insurance company first. Unless the rider has comprehensive coverage, their policy will probably not take care of all of the damages. In this situation, the rider should file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
Other Options to Recover Damages from Motorcycle Crashes
If the motorcycle rider’s insurance coverage and the policy of the driver at fault don’t cover all of the damages, a motorcycle accident attorney in St. Petersburg should be consulted to see if a lawsuit is feasible.
If a car defect caused the accident, the motorcycle accident attorney may be able to help the rider file a claim against the manufacturer. If the wreck happened because of negligence, a motorcycle accident attorney may suggest a lawsuit against the driver who was at fault.
If a public street is to blame for a crash because of poor upkeep or preventable hazards, the motorcycle accident attorney may recommend filing a claim against the state or entity responsible for the street.
If you are a motorcycle rider who’s been hurt in an accident, you need a lawyer. At Bulluck Law Group, we know how to deal with difficult insurance claims adjusters to help clients maximize their insurance recoveries, but we also know how to handle intense litigation and complex civil actions. Contact the Bulluck Law Group office in St. Petersburg, Florida today to schedule a consultation with one of our St. Petersburg motorcycle accident Attorneys. After we review the details of your situation we can provide you with an idea of your options for legal recourse and additional compensation.
Were you injured on a motorcycle in St. Petersburg? Call to speak with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers at Bulluck Law Group at (813) 988-7800 and schedule your FREE consultation.