Florida enjoys a year-round temperate climate and is filled with a vast array of highways, making the state a haven for motorcyclists. Motorcycles serve as a primary or secondary form of transportation for many people in Florida. However, Florida records the highest number of motorcycle-related fatalities in the country. Most motorcycle accidents occur due to intoxication with drugs or alcohol. If you are involved in a regular or drug-related motorcycle accident, you can contact the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney to help you claim compensation for the damages sustained.
A General Overview of Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Florida
There are many causes of motorcycle accidents. The main contributing factors include lane splitting and operating motorcycles or vehicles under the influence of drugs. Drug-related motorcycle accidents mainly occur due to the negligence of intoxicated drivers or motorcyclists. Upon intoxication, the drivers indulge in careless behavior; studies indicate that 9% of motorcycle accidents involve speeding and reckless driving.
In Florida, motorcyclists only account for 7% of motorists; however, 19% of all fatal accidents that occur involve a motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents usually have detrimental effects than vehicle-to-vehicle accidents. Florida counts as the deadliest state in terms of motorcycle accidents. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration) outlines that of all the motorcycle accidents that happen in the United States every year, more than 10% of the accidents occur in Florida. Based on statistics conducted over the years, Florida records a rising trend of motorcycle accidents.
In motorcycle accidents, most fatalities involve young people between the ages of 25 and 34 years. Most accidents are mainly caused by male motorcyclists, with only around 8% of motorcycle accidents involving females. Most fatal motorcycle accidents take place in two-lane highways (69%) while about 31% of motorcycle accidents occur on four-lane highways. In the case of an accident, the person/people on the motorcycle are 27 times more likely to die than passengers in a vehicle. People on the motorcycle are also five times more likely to suffer serious injuries than people in vehicles.
The law that repels helmets in Florida has contributed to the increased fatalities involving motorcycle accidents, as the law does not require cyclists to wear a helmet. At some point, it was mandatory for all motorcyclists to wear a helmet in Florida. However, in the year 2000, activists repelled the helmet law. Currently, Florida law requires all motorcyclists under the age of 21 years to wear. If you are above the age of 21, it is not mandatory to wear a helmet. Therefore, when motorcycle accidents occur, they are often severe, and in most cases, fatalities occur.
Intoxication with Drugs or Alcohol
While most drug-related crashes involve motor vehicles, motorcyclists also get caught up in accidents resulting from intoxication. In most cases, accidents are caused by intoxicated vehicle drivers who often hit motorcycles. In some other instances, a motorcyclist may also be impaired, leading to reckless cycling.
Other than alcohol, drivers, or motorcyclists, maybe under the influence of other drugs, including Hallucinogens, Opiates, Stimulants, Cannabinoids, or Prescription drugs. Although prescription drugs are legal, you may still face DUID charges in case the prescription drugs impair your ability to operate a vehicle or a motorcycle.
Common testing methods are employed to prove intoxication with drugs. Upon suspecting intoxication, the police may require you to undergo a blood test or a urine test. Unlike alcohol tests that are easy to conduct using Breathalyzers, drug tests may require some advanced testing methods.
Usually, people assume that motorcyclists are careless. In case of an accident, the blame is likely to fall on the motorcyclist even though the motorcyclist and his passenger may suffer the most or even die. A motorcycle lacks the framework of an enclosed vehicle and does not have safety features like airbags and safety belts. Therefore, in DUID accidents, motorcyclists are the most vulnerable. If you or a loved one is involved in a drug-related motor vehicle accident, you can seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In case death results from the accident, you may also make a wrongful death lawsuit.
Common Injuries in Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
If a motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet, he/she may sustain detrimental injuries in case of an accident involving another motorcycle or vehicle. Even in cases where a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet, injuries sustained may still be severe. Most people who survive motorcycle accidents often have to deal with extensive and life-threatening injuries.
Following a motorcycle accident, a victim may sustain head trauma or traumatic head injury. In Florida, most motorcyclists suffer traumatic head injuries in case of an accident as they do not use protective helmets. A traumatic head injury may alter your life forever, as well as the life of your family members. Both your professional and personal relationships may suffer as a result of your head injuries. You may not even be able to perform simple day-to-day tasks after accident injuries.
Victims may also suffer less serious traumatic brain injuries, and these may be manifested through concussions. How can you tell you have suffered a traumatic brain injury? The main symptoms of traumatic brain injury include double or blurred vision, numbness in the extreme parts of your body such as the limbs, lack of balance and body coordination, and inability to walk among other injuries.
Victims of drug-related motorcycle accidents may also suffer back, neck, spinal, and sacroiliac joint injuries. These injuries may have far-reaching effects, including nerve damage. Nerve damage may have other effects include partial or complete paralysis.
You may also suffer broken or fractured bones due to the impact of the accident. To correct bone fractures, you may have to undergo corrective surgery using plates and screws, and you may also require intensive physiotherapy.
Motorcycle accident victims also suffer blunt force trauma, and this may affect different body parts such as the chest. Internal bleeding and damage to the internal body organs is also a common effect of motorcycle accidents.
Victims also tend to suffer large gashes and torn muscles alongside other soft tissue injuries. In most cases, after a motorcycle accident, injuries suffered call for mandatory hospitalization, intensive treatment procedures including surgery, and continuous medical care after the accident, which may include therapy.
Most of the motorcycle injuries have secondary symptoms or injuries. For instance, a head injury may result in other consequences, including depression, mood swings, difficulty in focusing/ concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.
Given the adverse injuries that often result after a Florida motorcycle accident, you should not underestimate the importance of seeking legal representation upon being involved in an accident. An attorney will help you make the necessary personal injury claims.
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After your involvement in a motorcycle accident, the other party may attempt to prove that you are at fault. It is always advisable to avoid making statements that may implicate you. For instance, avoid apologizing and using phrases such as, “it was all my fault." Even if it is clear that the accident was not your fault, apologizing may give the plaintiff a leeway to defend him/herself and shift liability to you. Avoid situations of discussion about whom to blame for the accident and instead focus on the injuries that you or others may have suffered.
Do not admit that you are not hurt. It is advisable to avoid admitting that you did not suffer injuries after a motorcycle accident. The plaintiff or the insurance company may quote your affirmation and use it to deny you compensation. Some injuries may not be evident immediately after an accident, and symptoms may show up many days later.
Seek medical examination even if you do not have immediate symptoms. This will help rule out any hidden injuries you may have suffered in an accident. You may walk away from a motorcycle accident scene after hitting your head, claiming that you are fine, only to start experiencing concussions several days later. Undergoing medical examination is important as you will acquire a medical report that will later assist in proving medical expenses during your injury claim process.
Ensure that you disclose to the medical experts any form of discomfort you may be experiencing. This will enable the medical practitioner to come up with a comprehensive medical report that will earn you the deserved compensation. Follow all the counsel given by your doctor and do not miss a single doctor's appointment. Keep all your medical receipts and do not lose any of them, even receipts for small expenses.
Document your injuries in writing and capture all the facts of the accident without leaving out any detail. It is common for accident victims to keep a journal as it helps them capture all the facts of an accident. If there are any witnesses present, you may consider getting their details, including contact information.
It is also important to collect the information of the other party involved in the accident. For instance, if the accident involves a motorcycle and a motor vehicle, record the registration number of the motor vehicle. You may also note down the other driver's license number. The law requires parties in
Take pictures. If you are in a position to, you can capture the details of the accident scene by taking photos. These will form good evidence for your personal injury claim. Other than taking photos of the accident scene, you may request another person to take photos of your injuries. However, ensure that it is safe for you to take photos if the accident scene has signs of additional risks like explosions; it is advisable to move away from the scene.
It is advisable to inform your insurance company. During the claim process, the other accident party’s attorney may contact your insurance company. It would be detrimental for your insurer to learn about the accident from the opposing side. Your insurance company can also play a major part in seeking your compensation.
Personal Injury Compensations for Drug-Related Motorcycle Accident
The personal injury compensation you receive after suffering damages in a drug-related motorcycle accident will depend on the facts of your case, including the extent of your injuries. For instance, if you suffer permanent brain injury and you can no longer work, you may get higher compensation than a victim who may have suffered reversible back injuries. If you can no longer go to work due to the injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident, you may receive higher compensation than a victim who undergoes treatment and later returns to work. You may receive compensation for:
Medical Expenses- After suffering injuries in a motorcycle accident, you can claim reimbursement of the costs incurred in seeking medical treatment. The medical costs have to be related to motorcycle accidents; you cannot receive compensation for pre-existing medical conditions. In considering medical costs, you should not only focus on current medical costs but future costs as well. For instance, you may need continuous medical care like physiotherapy long after the occurrence of the accident. Medical costs are inclusive of physician fees, hospital fees, and expenses of obtaining prescription drugs.
Lost Wages- A victim of a motorcycle accident may have to spend some time out of work due to the injuries suffered during the accident. This leads to a loss of capacity to earn an income. Lost wages do not apply to employed people only but may factor any income-generating activities that you would indulge in if you had suffered injuries. You may want to include future lost wages if your injuries are so extensive that they may hinder you from ever returning to work.
Pain and Suffering –You may also seek compensation for the pain and suffering associated with the accident. Other than physical pain, you may seek compensation for the emotional distress you suffer after an accident. Emotional distress may include mental anguish and feelings of anxiety, grief, fear, depression, or self-pity that are so common after undergoing a traumatic experience.
You may also get compensation for other punitive damages, especially if you can prove the willful negligence of the plaintiff. Compensation for punitive damages will depend on the facts surrounding your case.
You may also seek compensation for loss of consortium and enjoyment of life. You may no longer experience life the way you did before the accident. For instance, the injuries suffered may hinder you from participating in social activities.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
If you are involved in a drug-related motorcycle accident in Florida, you have to make a personal injury claim within a set timeframe failure to which may lead to loss of your right to personal injury compensation. Florida offers a longer timeframe to file personal injury lawsuits than most states in the United States. Under Florida law, 95.11, Fla. Stat., after suffering injuries in an accident, motorcycle accidents included, you have to file a personal injury lawsuit within four years after the accident.
In instances where an injury is not immediately identifiable, the statute of limitations is four years from the discovery of the injury. It is possible for symptoms of an injury suffered during an accident to show up many days, weeks, or even months from the occurrence of the accident. For personal injury compensation, it must be evident that the injury in question is directly related to the motorcycle accident.
If another person other than you suffers fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit: the victim, maybe your spouse, your child, or any other close relative. The statute of limitations is stricter in such a case as you would have to file a lawsuit within two years from the death of your loved one in a motorcycle accident. Once the two-year period passes, it may be impossible to seek compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit.
It can be confusing to know how long you have to make a personal injury lawsuit. It is wise to contact an attorney before you initiate the lawsuit. The attorney can guide you on the applicable statute of limitations and also help you to prepare a convincing lawsuit.
Liability in a Florida Drug-Related Motorcycle Accidents
Florida is a comparative fault state; liability is apportioned depending on the level of fault. It can be difficult to determine liability in motorcycle accidents as people firmly hold on to conventional bias and stereotypes regarding motorcyclists. In most motorcycle accidents, lawmakers and society tend to believe that the accident occurred due to the fault of the motorcyclist. Most people view motorcyclists as fast-driving and hard-living road users.
In the comparative apportionment of fault, the court may consider various factors including intoxication of both parties involved in an accident, weather conditions, and traffic violations by both parties, and road conditions among other factors.
In some cases, a motor vehicle may be guilty of intoxicated driving and as a result, violating the motorcyclist's right of way. In some other instances, the motorcyclist may be guilty of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated making him over-speed or commit other traffic violations like lane splitting. Each party will be liable up to the degree of fault. A victim may receive compensation less his comparative liability. For instance, if you are involved in a motorcycle accident and the court establishes that you were 30% at fault, you may be entitled to a personal injury compensation of up to 70%.
Drug-Related Motorcycle Accident Case Process
Compensation for drug-related motorcycle accidents may vary depending on the extent of injuries suffered and other facts surrounding the case. The process of seeking compensation involves many crucial steps. After filing a personal injury case after a motorcycle accident, you may not be sure about the claim process. The various steps of making a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident include:
Consultation and Reviewing of Tasks- Consultation is the initial step of making a personal injury claim. It involves consulting/seeking the legal counsel of an attorney after an accident. It is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Upon consulting an attorney, he/she reviews the facts surrounding your case to help him/her represent you in court.
Deciding if a Claim Exists- After reviewing the facts of your case, the attorney will advise you whether to file a personal injury claim or not. In determining if you should file a claim or not, the attorney may determine several factors, including the evidence available and your degree of fault in the accident. For instance, in a drug-related case, your attorney will consider if the other party was indeed under the influence of drugs.
Gathering Facts – This step involves obtaining key preliminary information. Your attorney can gather information relating your case from an accident and police reports. Medical reports outlining the injuries suffered during the accident and the medical procedures you underwent may provide useful information to support your injury claim. Your attorney may contact witnesses who may have been present at the time of the accident. Other supporting tasks may include test results indicating the level of intoxication of the other party.
Filing a Lawsuit or Settling the Case before Filing a Lawsuit- Personal injury claim can be settled in or out of court. If the parties of the accident agree, the personal injury claim may not reach the lawsuit stage. If settlement negotiations are successful, you can settle the case using out-of-court settlement methods like mediation or arbitration.
Trial and Settlement- If you are not able to settle the personal injury case out of court, the case proceeds to the trial process. During the trial, your attorney will represent you against the other accident party and his/her insurance company. The court may rely on evidence from the prosecutor and witnesses who may have been at the scene of the accident. The court also considers documented evidence, including photos, medical records, and your personal notes outlining the accident.
Verdict- This refers to the court's decision/conclusion of a personal injury case. The court may require the guilty party to make personal injury compensation to the victim. Compensation may include reimbursement for medical expenses incurred in treating injuries sustained during an accident. It may also include compensation for lost wages for the time a victim spends away from work. The victim may also receive compensation for emotional distress caused by the accident.
Appeal- If one party is not satisfied with the final court verdict, he or she may appeal to a higher court to challenge a previous court ruling. For instance, the plaintiff may challenge the results of drug tests in an attempt to prove that he/she did not cause an accident due to intoxication with drugs. The court of appeal may offer an alternative ruling or maintain the prior court ruling.
Contact a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
You need the legal representation of an attorney to get the compensation you deserve in a drug-related motorcycle accident personal injury claim. The attorney will face the other party and the insurance company on our behalf. At the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we are committed to assisting our clients with getting the most out of their personal injury claims. Contact us at 904-800-7557 and speak to one of our attorneys; you will stand a better chance to receive the rightful compensation.