It is fun to own a motorcycle. The speed, the thrill, and the ability to beat traffic would be something that everyone would adore. However, all this fun comes with a significant risk of an accident. Motorcycle accidents have been common for quite some time and have claimed a lot of lives and injuries as well. Whenever anyone is involved in a motorcycle crash, they should get a personal injury attorney to help with the compensation process. Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney can offer the services that you need and meet your expectations as well.
Motorcycle Laws in Florida
The state of Florida has established a couple of motorcycle laws. These laws cover various aspects related to motorcycling. Let’s have a closer look at these laws.
Florida Law 316.208
Under this law, anyone riding a motorcycle in Florida is expected to follow the same law as the other people using the road. Therefore, a motorcyclist is not expected to weave in and out of traffic and must obey all traffic signals. Also, motorcyclists are required to use the right-hand curb if traveling on traffic that is moving below the regular flow.
Florida Law 316.209
Under subsection 1 of this statute, motorcycles have the entitlement to use the lane, and vehicles should not be driven in a manner that deprives the motorcyclist the full use of a lane. The subsection only applies to motorcyclists riding along with other cars in a single lane.
Under subsection 2 of this statute, a motorcyclist should not overtake or pass in a lane occupied by the vehicle that he or she is overtaking.
Under subsection 3, motorcyclists are prohibited from operating a motorcycle between adjacent lines, rows of vehicles, or lanes of traffic.
Finally, under subsection 4, a motorcyclist should not operate a motorcycle if there are two vehicles riding side by side in a single lane. In this case, the motorcyclist is expected to follow behind the vehicles rather than drive in three abreast.
Florida Law 316.211
Under subsection 1, anyone operating a motorcycle is required to wear protective gear that can be fastened on the head. The protective gear should comply with the standards provided by relevant authorities.
Under subsection 2, a motorcyclist is not allowed to ride a bike unless he or she is wearing the right eye protection gadget that has acquired approval from the department.
Under subsection 3a, Florida law 316.211 exempts any rider aged 16 years or anyone operating an enclosed cab. The subsection also exempts a motorcycle with a displacement capacity of 50cc or less and does not have more than two brake horsepower that cannot propel the bike to more than 30mph on a level ground.
Under subsection 3b, Motorcyclists above the age of 21 can operate a motorcycle without a protective headgear that is fastened upon on the head. However, the motorcyclist is expected to have a policy that can provide at least $ 10,000 in medical expenses for any injuries incurred after an accident.
Under subsection 4, a motorcyclist below the age of 16 cannot ride a scooter unless he or she is wearing a headgear that can be securely fastened on the head and complies with the required standards.
Under subsection 5, the state department should provide an inventory of all approved protective headgear for this section upon request by the motorcyclist.
Under subsection 6, motorcycles registered to anyone under the age of 21 must show a unique number plate with a different color and design.
Finally, under subsection 7, violating any of the regulations provided in Florida law 316.211 is considered as a non-criminal traffic infringement that is punishable as a non-moving violation according to chapter 318 of Florida laws.
Florida Law 316.2095
Under subsection 1, a motorcycle that can carry passengers apart from an enclosed cab or a sidecar must be equipped with a footrest for the passenger’s use.
Under subsection 2, it is prohibited to operate a motorcycle with hand grips or handlebars that are higher than the top of the shoulders of the motorcyclist. At the same time, the rider should be properly seated on the motorcycle.
Florida Law 316.405
Under subsection 1, anyone operating a motorcycle on highways or public streets is expected to have the motorcycle’s headlight turned on. If one is riding between the hours of sunrise or sunset, the headlights should be modulated to the upper or lower beam from its maximum to minimum intensity.
Under subsection 2, failing to comply with the requirements of this section shall not deem the motorcyclist to be negligent per se in case of a civil action.
Florida Law 316.304
Under section 1, it is prohibited to operate a vehicle while wearing headphones or a listening device, unless it is a hearing aid. Please note, in Florida, motorcycles and bicycles are referred to as vehicles and face the same regulations as actual vehicles.
Under subsection 2a, anyone wearing a headset that is installed in the helmet and does not make direct contacts with the ears of the user is exempted from subsection 1.
Under subsection 2b, motorcyclists can use a headset that is connected to a cellular telephone as long as it provides sounds from one year and allows one to hear from the other.
Florida Law Section 316.450
Under this section, the department should inspect all the braking systems on any motor-driven cycle and disapprove of any that do not comply with the safety standards provided under section 316.445. The department has the authority to reject, suspend, or revoke any registration of a vehicle that does not comply with the braking system standards.
Definition of Motorcycle Rear End Accident
A motorcycle rear-ends accident typically occurs when a vehicle makes a sudden stop, and the motorcyclist hits it from behind. It also happens when the bike makes a sudden stop, and a car rams it from the back. In short, it involves an incident where a vehicle or a motorcycle hits the other from the rear end. This kind of accident results from sudden braking while the bike or car is following closely from behind. In this case, there is not enough time for the rear vehicle to make a stop, especially if it was speeding.
Causes of Motorcycle Rear End Accidents
There are quite a lot of factors that lead to a motorcycle rear-end accident. These factors apply in both vehicles and bikes. Here is a brief description of the common cause of motorcycle rear-end collisions.
This factor contributes the highest when it comes to motorcycle accidents in general. If a bike is riding at high speed, it is hard to stop it in case of a sudden stoppage. At an average speed of 40mph, a bike is expected to have at least 36 meters to brake. This provides 12 meters to think about the traffic in front of you and 24 meters to stop the bike.
Speeding can also be a common cause of accidents in vehicles. The driver might hit a motorcycle from behind in case of a sudden stoppage.
There is a typical procedure that a motorcyclist should follow when braking a motorcycle. One might have enough time and distance to brake, but with the wrong application, one can end up hitting a vehicle from behind. A typical motorcycle braking procedure should consider the following:
- Brake while the motorcycle is upright and in a straight line
- Brake in good time
- Adjust the pressure on the brakes based on weather conditions and road surface
It is also essential to use the right signals while braking. It is dangerous to give arm signals since the driver at the back might fail to acknowledge your intentions, and you will need both hands on the handlebars. Therefore, you should use the stop lamp, which is more efficient. Remember, you have to put up the signals within the recommended distance to allow enough stoppage time for the vehicle behind you.
If a motorcyclist or a driver is impaired, it is hard for him or her to make the right decision. Therefore, the driver might misjudge the distance between the motorcycle and the vehicle, ending up in a rear-end collision. Impaired driving might also cause the motorcyclist or driver to speed without realizing that the vehicle is without their knowledge, making them crash on the vehicle or motorcycle in front of them. Another possibility would be drowsing off while behind the wheel when drunkenness starts to kick in.
Drivers or motorcyclists who drive or ride for an extended period are at risk of getting fatigued. Operating a vehicle or motorcycle in such a condition might affect your judgment or make you sleep. As a result, you cannot make any reasonable decisions based on the traffic flow, which results in a collision. Drivers are recommended to take a rest after driving for about six hours. For a motorcycle, the motorcyclist should ride for at least six hours on a typical day. This depends on factors such as temperature changes and the power of the engine.
Following too Closely or Tailgating
As indicated earlier, drivers and motorcyclists are expected to keep a distance from the vehicle in front of them. Ideally, a biker should maintain two seconds while following a car from behind. An average bike would be able to stop within these two seconds. However, the timeline might be different if the motorcycle is larger or heavier than usual. A longer timeline is also expected while riding on a graveled road or when the weather conditions are quite adverse.
Texting while Driving
Texting while driving is one of the most common causes of distracted driving. It might take five seconds to reply to a text, but the same timeline is enough to cause an accident with a motorcycle in front of you. Unfortunately, such drivers realize that there is a motorcycle in front of them when it is too late, ending up crashing them from behind.
Apart from texting, other factors can distract a driver while driving. These factors include conversing with passengers, eating, drinking, dealing with kids, music, and car components. These factors usually lose the driver’s concentration from the road and can lead to an accident with a motorcycle.
When a motorcyclist is suddenly provoked while on the road, one might end up in a violent range to protest against such actions. If a driver or biker is provoked, one might easily speed up, resulting in an accident with the vehicle at the front.
Sometimes a motorcycle or vehicle might experience some mechanical problems without the knowledge of the operators. For instance, the brakes of a car might seem to be working perfectly well but on the brink of failure. In such cases, you can easily end up colliding with the vehicle or motorcycle in front of you if the brakes fail to stop as expected.
Poor weather conditions can be a significant setback to bike riders. Conditions such as heavy rain, fog, and ice can make the motorcycle slide while in traffic. These situations are inevitable, but it is always essential to remain safe while in such a case. If the situation is quite worse, one should avoid riding the bike entirely since it is quite hard to control it under such a situation.
Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Rear End Accident
There are high chances of sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident. This is due to the lack of enough cover, exposing most of his or her body to the point of impact. The common types of injuries that one can incur in this sort of accident include:
- Head Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Road Rash
- Muscle Damage
- Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
Damages in a Motorcycle Rear End Accident in Florida
Accident victims usually incur some costs in treatment or any other thing associated with the accident. Such costs are referred to as damages. There are two types of damages, which include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages represent those kinds of damages that have a cost and are easy to calculate. They are further divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Lost earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Estimated future medical expenses
- Out of pocket costs
- Property damage
On the other hand, non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
The court might also award you punitive damages as a way to punish the at-fault party. For the case to qualify for this kind of award, it must be malicious, wanton, and reckless. Please note, Florida laws have put a limit on punitive damages to a maximum of $ 500,000 or three times the amount that one can get in compensatory damage.
Under Florida law, the victim has four years to bring the case to court after the accident. If the case is brought to the court beyond this timeline, the court might decide to do away with it.
Wrongful Death in a Motorcycle Accident
If a motorcyclist dies out of an accident, close relatives to the victim can file for a wrongful death claim. The kind of people who are eligible for a wrongful death claim include:
- The deceased spouse
- The deceased children
- Anyone representing the deceased estate
- Blood relative
- Adoptive relatives who were dependent on the deceased for support services
Under Florida Statutes Section 768.21, damages in a wrongful death claim can be split into two. This includes what the survivor can claim and what the deceased estate can recover. The survivors are eligible to recover:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical and funeral costs
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection
- Lost support and service
On the other hand, the estate can recover the following.
- Lost earning
- Medical and funeral costs
- Lost net accumulation
Under Florida laws, wrongful death claimants have two years to claim the demise of the deceased. Any case brought beyond this timeline might be disregarded by the court unless otherwise.
Liability in a Motorcycle Rear End Accident in Florida
Once you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you need to prove who's at-fault in the accident if you are seeking compensation for your injuries. It can be hard to determine liability in a rear-end motorcycle accident due to the complexity of such a crash. However, your attorney has the responsibility of determining liability in such a case based on a couple of factors.
The Relationship Between No-fault Insurance and Motorcycle Injury Lawsuits
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that it allows compensation for the injuries without pursuing a legal procedure. The state of Florida has established the no-fault insurance rule as a way of avoiding small cases in which adjusters are capable of handling.
Therefore, your insurance coverage will cater for your losses without determining whether you were at fault or not. The most significant drawback of this kind of consideration would be the low amount of reimbursement that you will end up getting.
If the costs of the damages are too expensive compared with what you are receiving from the insurance company, it would be a great idea to file a lawsuit and get the compensation that you get.
Determining Fault in a Court Case
Court procedure usually takes quite some time as your attorney tries to push your case through a legal argument. Your attorney has the burden of proving that the at-fault party deserves to compensate you depending on his or her negligence. Please note, motorcycle accidents are different from a criminal case where you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the other person is liable for your injuries. In this kind of a case, all you need to show is enough evidence to show that the claim is valid.
Once you have presented your evidence, the court will look at the totality of the circumstances to decide who's at fault. This means that they are not interested in who violated the traffic laws but will check what both parties were doing during the accident. Once they have decided on this, they will determine the total amount to be paid, depending on the percentage of fault according to the comparative negligence rule. For instance, if you contributed 10% to the accident, the court will ask the other party to pay 90% of the damages that you have incurred.
Proving Fault in Motorcycle Rear End Accident
Since the court is expected to prove negligence to determine who's at fault in the accident, there are a couple of factors that it might consider. These factors are as follows.
- Prove that the perpetrator owed you the duty of care
- Show that the defendant breached the duty
- Prove that the breach caused your injuries
- Show that the injuries resulted in damages
In this case, the negligent driver is expected to have done something that led to your injuries. You need to show that his action was a breach of his or her duty of care towards you to make the case valid. Some of the aspects that you can use to provide this evidence include:
- Police report
- Witness statement
- Traffic footage
- Photos and videos that you took after the accident
- Testimony from your family members and expert witnesses
For a victim to establish that the injuries resulted in damages, one should present the following to the court.
- Bank statement
- hospital bills
- An explanation of how the accident affected your life
- An account of how the collision led to pain and suffering
Find a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
It is not easy to follow through a lawsuit while nursing your injuries at the same time. That’s why it is vital to seek a professional injury attorney who can help you with the case. You should find an attorney with experience and an excellent working reputation. Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney can match your expectations and guarantee excellent services altogether. If you are in Jacksonville, FL, contact us today at 904-800-7557 and let us handle your case.