In Florida, the yearlong warm climate has made it a popular location for both local and out-of-state motorcyclists. Unfortunately, a 2015 motorcycle crash report conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that Florida leads the country in annual motorcycle fatalities.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may have a right to recover significant damages under Florida law. Speak with an experienced Fort Myers motorcycle accident attorney for further guidance on your claims.
Motorcycle accident claims often have a number of unique issues that can influence the outcome of litigation. If you are a motorcycle accident victim, consider the following:
1. Your Injuries May Be Severe and Life-Altering
Motorcyclists are exposed to a heightened risk of severe and life-altering injury due to the nature of the vehicle — motorcycles lack seatbelts and most models do not have airbag protection. Further, there are no thick barriers (like those on automobiles) to absorb the force of impact, so when injuries occur, they tend to be rather significant.
As the injured plaintiff, it’s important to remember that you can secure compensation for your injuries, no matter how unexpected or extraordinary those injuries might be.
Depending on the severity of your injury, you may be entitled to substantial damages that include, but are not necessarily limited to:
Loss of earning capacity
Loss of enjoyment of life
Pain and suffering
2. Road Hazards Present a Heightened Risk of Injury
Road hazards (such as uneven roads, rough road textures, potholes, objects left in the middle of the road, etc.) that might not present an issue for larger vehicles, such as cars and trucks, can lead to catastrophic injuries for motorcyclists.
What does this mean for your motorcycle accident claim?
If you have been injured due to a road hazard, you can sue and recover damages from the parties responsible for the creation (and continued existence) of the road hazard. Defendants must account for the presence of motorcyclists on their roads. For example, if the City fails to repair a pothole, they might be held liable for injuries caused to motorcyclists using the roadway, even if a car or truck could have passed over the pothole with minimal damage.
3. Drivers Act Without Consideration of Motorcyclists
If a motor vehicle driver is not giving proper consideration to the presence of motorcyclists on the road, it can lead to a collision. For example, a driver may make a turn across lanes with opposing traffic but may not be paying enough attention to the roadway to notice that a motorcycle is headed towards them. Drivers must be vigilant of smaller vehicles on the roads at all times. This last-second turning maneuver could lead to a collision that dismounts the motorcyclist and causes serious injuries.
4. Helmet Use
Florida repealed its helmet use requirements for motorcyclists in 2002. As a motorcyclist, you no longer are required by law to wear a helmet if you’re riding in the Sunshine State. Since you are well within your rights not to wear a helmet if you’re 21 years of age or older, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, you may still be entitled to sue the defendant and recover damages for your injuries.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle collision, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your right and options under the law.