There are many causes of accidents on the roads. One of the common reasons is reckless behavior on the road. If a motorcycle is driven carelessly or recklessly, it may result in an accident causing traumatic injuries to the victim. In Florida, it is a crime to drive recklessly, and if convicted of the offense, the penalties will include fines, jail sentences, and suspension of your driving license. If you are facing allegations of driving your motorcycle recklessly in Florida and causing an accident, the consequences are even more severe.
Aside from the penalties, one may receive for reckless driving, the victims of the disaster can institute a civil liability case to seek compensation for the damages incurred. If you have been injured by a motorcycle that was being driven recklessly, you need to get a lawyer to help you get your costs paid. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we are experienced in seeking damages on behalf of our clients involved in such accidents.
Reckless Behaviors that Result in Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
As earlier stated, recklessly driving a motorcycle can result in various accidents. In Florida, there are certain behaviors that when a motorcycle rider engages in, he or she is driving carelessly. These include:
Impaired driving is typically caused by alcohol or drug intoxication. Florida experiences a lot of accidents that are related to impairment. The state of Florida prohibits intoxicated driving, and if arrested, charges will be brought against you that carry severe penalties. There are various causes of impaired driving, yet many people focus on alcohol.
A motorcyclist can be impaired from the use of both narcotics and prescription drugs. A lot of allergy medications bought over the counter can cause the user to feel sleepy, have blurred vision, have a delayed response time, among others.
Driving your motorcycle while intoxicated is considered reckless behavior in Florida. If you are injured in an accident involving an impaired motorcycle driver, you can seek compensation for the damages. However, because of the legal requirement to prove these charges, getting a lawyer that engages the insurance provider on your behalf is necessary.
Speeding is one of the most dangerous reckless behavior motorcycle drivers engage in, and it is the most popular form of recklessness. Motorcycle drivers tend to drive at excessive speeds, making it difficult to control their bikes when faced with an emergency on the road. Some roads are busy, yet a motorcyclist will navigate through them at high speeds disregarding the safety of others.
Speed often leads to accidents. When this happens, the rider, as well as any other person, can sustain severe injuries and damage to property.
Failure to Yield, Slow Down or Stop
When you are driving a motorcycle or any vehicle, you are required to follow traffic rules. When a driver disregards traffic rules by failing to yield way, stop at a red light, or slow down when needed, an accident can happen. Motorcycle drivers are known to enjoy moving at high speeds and often fail to follow the rules, especially at intersections. This reckless behavior often results in serious accidents that cause significant damages.
Motorcycle drivers can also get distracted while on the road. Using the phone is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Eating or taking a drink while riding your motorbike is a cause of distraction. When a driver gets distracted on the road, he or she will often make a mistake that can result in serious accidents.
Driving too close behind another motorist in Florida is termed as reckless driving. Being very close to a car in front of you is one of the leading causes of rear-end crashes. Motorcycle drivers often drive close to other vehicles believing they can easily navigate through or move in and out of lanes carelessly. This behavior often leads to accidents, especially when the motorist ahead decides to stop abruptly.
The injuries sustained from a rear-end crash can be severe, ranging from spinal cord injuries to concussions, among many others.
Failure to Use Signals or Pass Properly
When a driver fails to use signals when turning or to change lanes to overtake a vehicle or another motorist is said to be recklessly driving. This is a common habit with motorcycle drivers that feel because of their size; they can easily navigate through the traffic without signaling. This habit can result in other drivers crashing into you because they received no warning of your intended turning.
Recklessness on the roads for both vehicles and motorcycles is a significant cause of many accidents. The state of Florida encourages all road users to exercise care while using the roads to protect themselves and other road users from accidents.
Types of Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accidents
Reckless driving of motorcycles can result in various kinds of accidents that lead to multiple injuries and damages. Some of the accidents that occur due to reckless driving of motorcycles are:
- Head-on Collisions
Collisions with vehicles on the road result in many fatalities for motorcycle drivers. Reckless driving of motorcycles can result in a car crashing into them on head-on collisions. These are violent kinds of accidents that often result in death. A motorcyclist can be reckless by over speeding or ignoring traffic lights, among many other ways, as discussed above. This irresponsible kind of behavior can result in head-on crashes where not only the motorcycle driver gets injured, but the other occupants of the colliding car.
- Left Turn Accidents
A lot of motorcycle accidents happen when the motorcyclist is hit by a vehicle that is turning on the left. Motorcycle drivers can be reckless to drive on the wrong side and try to overtake a car that is taking a left turn. Left-turn accidents involving other vehicles happen when:
- The motorcycle driver is overtaking a vehicle
- When the motorcycle driver decides to drive through a junction or an intersection
- When the motorcycle rider is passing a car on the wrong side.
Because of the size of the motorcycle, sometimes a vehicle driver may fail to see them, especially when at the blind spot. When a bike is closely following a vehicle or very close next to it, as earlier discussed, it is reckless behavior that often results in motorcycle accidents.
- Lane Splitting Accidents
Many motorcycle drivers like to drive in between lanes. This often brings them very close to vehicles on their left or right. Splitting lanes is also considered reckless behavior. When a motorcycle driver is engaged in this reckless behavior, he or she will end up in an accident. Some of the factors that will result in the accident are:
- The space between the vehicles is small, and the motorcycle driver finds it hard to maneuver through
- The proximity of the motorcycle to other cars increases the risk of a collision
- A motorist did not anticipate a bike would pass there
When these factors are present, it makes it easy for a motorcycle to get involved in an accident.
- Accidents Involving a Fixed Object
Motorcyclists often hit stationary objects, primarily due to their negligent driving. They move at high speeds that when they encounter a stationary item, they are unable to stop their bike. This leads them to crash onto the object resulting in catastrophic injuries if not death.
- Side-Impact Accidents
Motorcycles also get involved in side-impact accidents, especially at intersections. They move recklessly, ignoring the red light and drive through an intersection. Unfortunately, a vehicle that had the right of way is already at the intersection. The motorcycle may try to stop, but considering the speed at which it was moving, it becomes impossible to stop and crashes into the vehicle.
- Rollover Accidents
Motorcyclists can also be involved in rollover crashes. When a motorcyclist is impaired, he may engage in reckless driving that would lead to an accident. If they were moving at high speed and met an emergency on the road, their response time is slower than normal. As they try to evade an accident, they end up driving off the road and crash. Many of these rollover accidents are violent, meaning the victims of these injuries sustained significant injuries, if not a fatality.
Safety Laws Designed for Motorcyclists in Florida
Despite the many motorcycle accidents due to recklessness, the state of Florida has various laws explicitly designed to enhance the safety of riders while on the roads. Unfortunately, despite these laws, many continue to disregard them by reckless driving that results in significant damages. The safety laws indicate that:
- Motorcyclists above the age of 21 and hold a valid medical insurance cover of $10,000 or over do not have to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycles
- Every motorcyclist is required to put on eye protection
- The state does not give a restriction of how old a passenger in a bike must be. However, there is a requirement to have a seat and a footrest for your passengers
- If you are a first-time holder of a motorcycle license, you must take a course in rider education
- Every motorcycle must be fitted with side mirrors, mufflers for limiting sound to a maximum of 86 decibels and turn signals
- The state prohibits against lane splitting
- If you fit your motorcycle with handlebars, they must never be higher than your shoulders when seated
- You must at all times during even during the day use headlights
- You must carry the minimum liability insurance cover as stipulated by the law
Liability in a Florida Motorcycle Accident
Florida adheres to the theory of comparative fault. This means that the person or entity found to be at fault following a motorcycle accident; he or she will be accountable for the damages. If following a crash, an investigation reveals that more than one party was responsible for the accident, the damages are shared according to the degree of fault.
It is, however, not easy to determine liability in a motorcycle accident. This is usually because of the many biases as well as the reckless way motorcyclists drive. Every accident has its unique features because of the causes or reasons why the accident occurred.
Sometimes, passenger vehicle drivers may violate the way of a motorcycle or fail to see the bike and end up crashing into each other. In this case, when a motorcyclist is reckless in their driving, it will result in various accidents, as earlier discussed. The fault is shared between the motorcyclist and the driver of the vehicle that was involved in an accident. However, a motorcyclist can be found to be entirely at fault and required to pay for the damages suffered.
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that when an accident happens, a motorist should look at their insurance provider to cover the damages. This works well in cases where a motorist or a motorcyclist got into an accident by themselves, such as hitting a stationary object and needs to be covered for damages.
In Florida, motorcyclists do not have to have a personal injury protection cover. However, they are required to have minimum insurance coverage that will pay for:
- Bodily injury total of $20,000
- Up to $10,000 per person injured in the accident
- Up to $30,000 in single-limit liability.
Regardless of the reason an accident happened, victims of a motorcycle accident are entitled to seek damages sustained. When the injuries and damages are small, one can turn to their insurance because of the no-fault system and get compensated.
If the damages and injuries sustained are significant or past the limit a motorist has, the other party at the accident or the party responsible for the accident can be sued according to section 627.737(2). A permanent injury, according to the statute, is one defined as:
- Either permanent or significant loss of a body function
- An injury with a substantial level of requiring medical attention but not minor disfigurement or scarring
- Injuries that result in permanent disfigurement and scarring
Under the comparative law of Florida, even when a motorcyclist was 90% responsible for his death or injuries, he or his family will get the remaining 10% for damages.
What to do When Involved in a Motorcycle Accident
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident regardless of the cause, there are various steps you should take that will help with your case. These are:
- Never leave the accident scene – Unless you need medical care urgently, it is best not to leave the accident scene. However, if you have to go, an ambulance will take you to the emergency room. Remain at the accident scene to help the police with the report of the accident.
- Collect information – Get the name of the other parties involved in the accident, their insurance details, their license plate, details of the car or motorcycle, any witness details and any additional information that will be relevant to your case. If you are able, take photos of the accident scene as well.
- Avoid small talk – Avoid talking much with the other party. Sometimes you can give information that may be interpreted to mean you are responsible for the accident. Never apologize for the accident or say anything regarding it.
- Get to see a doctor – Even when you feel like you are not injured, always seek to see the doctor and let them tell you if you sustained any internal injuries or not. At the hospital, get treated for the injuries you may have sustained.
Injuries from a Reckless Driving Motorcycle Accident
Most motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries, especially to the cyclist. Riders have almost no protection from injuries. Florida law does not require every motorist to put on a helmet. However, having a helmet does not prevent you from sustaining injuries. The body of the motorcyclist is exposed to elements that enhance the injuries making them sustain more severe injuries than those of vehicle occupants.
Some of the common injuries suffered by motorcyclists include:
- Catastrophic brain injuries
- Broken or fractured legs
- A fractured or broken collarbone
- Strains, muscle tears, and soft tissue lesions
- Fractured or broken ribs
- Injuries to the internal organs and internal bleeding
- Various broken body parts
Some traumatic or catastrophic injuries may require prolonged treatment or rehabilitation, taking years. Depending on the kind of injuries and their seriousness, treatment for them can also be very costly. This will always require one to be compensated by the insurance providers to get all the necessary medical care.
Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
After an accident and a person settles down, the next thing they worry about is compensation. The good news is that you are entitled to compensation when injured in an accident involving a motorcycle in Florida. Compensatory damages in Florida can be both economic and non-economic.
These are the damages that are supported by evidence such as receipts. With these damages, the value is evident and quantifiable in monetary terms. Some of the damages include:
- Medical Expenses – These include all the expenses that involve your treatment, such as cost of drugs, emergency room charges, cost of medical procedures carried out, consultation fees, and any other cost related to medical treatment. These expenses are supported by hospital records and reports from the attending physicians.
- Lost income – During the period of healing, one may have to miss work for several days. The income they would have earned is lost as a result. However, to get compensated for this, there must be evidence that you missed work and how much you would have made for the period. To prove this, your employer will have to give a written and signed statement indicating you are their employee and how much you earn. Also, the period you missed work, and the lost wages during the period must be included.
- Future medical costs – If you sustained injuries that would require prolonged medical treatment, the estimated cost for them is also included. Some injuries can be so damaging that they will require extended medical care or a lifetime of care. The estimated costs must be included in the claim for damages.
- Lost ability to earn – Some injuries may render you incapable of earning a living. When this happens, you can get damages for the earnings you could have made in your life if the accident had not happened.
- Property damage – When an accident involving a motorcycle happens, there are damages to the bike or a vehicle, if any. The law allows you to get compensated for the property that is damaged in the accident.
These are damages that cannot be valued, but a victim of an accident suffers them. These damages include:
- Mental anguish – The psychological and emotional pain of the injuries cannot be quantified. However, a victim of an accident involving a motorcycle can suffer these damages. Living with the knowledge that you have lost a limb or are disfigured can be emotionally damaging to a person. The damages awarded are typically decided based on the presumed anguish a victim suffers.
- Inconvenience – Injuries can be very inconvenient to a victim. Sometimes you may find you cannot ride your motorcycle anymore, or you need assistance to walk, among other things. This is all inconvenient when you are no longer able to do the things you once did effortlessly. The law allows you to be compensated for this.
- Wrongful death – No one can put a value on life. When a person dies as a result of the reckless driving of a motorcycle, damages for life lost is paid. The surviving family can seek compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.
The above damages are some of those that are recoverable when an accident involving a recklessly driven motorcycle occurs in Florida.
Finding a Lawyer Near Me
Accidents involving recklessly driven motorcycles are many in Florida. The damages suffered are equally extensive. The parties involved in such accidents suffer both property damages and physical injuries to the person. This requires seeking compensation for the damages. If you are involved in an accident caused by a recklessly driven motorcycle, you can still claim damages for your property, or the injuries suffered. Having an experienced lawyer to pursue the claims for you will ensure you get your rightful claims. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we have a team of lawyers experienced in pursuing claims for your clients. Reach us at 904-800-7557 and let us help you with your claim.