Aside from both being a motorized method of transportation, there is little that is shared between a motorcycle and an automobile. Where operation and safety are concerned the differences are quite obvious.
The motorcycle, unlike other vehicles, offers no external protection for the rider and passenger. The motorcycle operator is always exposed to the elements and his only protection is his clothing and his helmet. In Florida the helmet, for riders over 21, is optional. The potential for an accident causing serious injury or death to a biker is high. In fact, between 70 and 60 percent of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death compared to 20 percent for passenger vehicles. A low speed hit to a motorcycle may send the motorcycle into a slide or tumble where that same impact to a car would have been merely a dented door or fender. Recent statistics revealed that 776 accidents occur to motorcycles for every 100 million miles traveled as opposed to 423 accidents per 100 million miles per car. That equates to approximately a 45 percent increase in the chance of an accident occurring to a motorcycle rider.
Motorcycles are much smaller than other vehicles on the road which makes them harder to see. The driver of a larger vehicle failing to see a motorcycle is the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. A drivers failure to recognize a motorcycle and turning in front of it is a common scenario at intersections where 70 percent of motorcycle accident occur. With more driver distractions such as cell phones and GPS, this number has increased recently.
In the state of Florida drivers of all passenger vehicles are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Motorcycles not only are not required to carry PIP, it is not available. Even if the motorcycle owner has the coverage for their passenger vehicle, it may not be applied to the motorcycle. If a motorcyclist is injured in a crash they must pay all of their medical expenses out of pocket. Their only recourse to receive compensation for their injuries, including medical expenses and lost wages is to file a claim against the other drivers insurance, the party responsible for road maintenance, or any other party they feel was negligent. Even if the biker was partly to blame that may still collect on the percentage that was the others party’s fault. Unlike PIP there is no threshold of medical expenses that must be passed and no cap on the amount that may be awarded. Compensation may be paid for:
- Medical bills, both past and future – This may include but is not limited to, emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation and assistive devices.
- Lost wages, over the victims expected lifetime – The cost of an accident in lost income can be astronomical. A person 25 years of age who loses the ability to perform a 100K per year job may lose 5 million or more in potential earning over their working life. Many attorneys do not equate this properly when seeking a quick settlement and the client is left to struggle in years to come.
- Pain and suffering – Motorcyclists are not bound by the rules attached to PIP for other motorists. They may seek pain and suffering awards without proving that the injury was permanent.
- Mental anguish – This may include emotional distress such as embarrassment, grief, paranoia, worry, nervous disorders and depression.
- Loss of consortium – An award on behalf of the spouse may be sought for loss of marital benefits such as companionship, affection, comfort and sexual relations.
Anyone who has been injured in a Florida motorcycle accident should seek the assistance or a motorcycle accident attorney. Even if you feel that you were partially at fault you may still have a claim against another party for negligence for failure to use reasonable caution. A motorcycle accident attorney will help in your case by reconstructing the accident, examining police reports, providing medical experts and other expert witnesses and interviewing eye witnesses. The attorney will have the resources to take your case though the court system, if necessary, to win the compensation that you truly deserve.
For a skilled and experienced motorcycle accident attorney contact the law offices of Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation. You will pay nothing until we win you money. Call our New Port Richey office at (727) 853-6275 now or click here to fill out our online consultation form.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652