People riding motorcycles have far less protection than occupants in a standard vehicle, therefore, they are obviously at a greater risk for injury. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, between the years 2001 to 2008, more than 34,000 motorcycle drivers in the United States were killed and well over 1 million people visited the emergency room due to motorcycle accidents.
For the most part, motorcycle accidents occur because vehicles or trucks do not see them. Many innocent motorcycle drivers are injured or killed by drivers that never saw the motorcycle. Motor vehicle drivers may be distracted by their phones, music, and people in the car. Car or truck drivers may also be driving recklessly, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an individual is involved in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of a vehicle or truck, the motorcyclist and/or passenger in a motorcycle may be entitled to file a claim.
In other cases, motorcyclists are negligent, weaving in and out of lanes and speeding past cars. Aggressive driving by motorcyclists can often result in an accident. In some situations, after the accident takes place, the motorcyclist is found with alcohol in his/her system. We actually just settled a case where a motorcycle driver drove into a car here in Weston, Broward County, Florida, causing injuries to the people in the car.
In the latest report from 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation indicates 37% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved alcohol. A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined the following facts pertaining to motorcyclists driving impaired:
- Having any alcohol in one’s body increases the chance of crashing by five times.
- Having a BAC greater than 0.05 percent increases the risk of crashing about 40-fold.
- One-fourth of all fatal alcohol-related motorcycle crashes involve motorcyclists running off the road, overturning, or falling from the motorcycle rather than striking another object.
The majority of injuries endured in motorcycle accidents involve the legs and feet. Other injuries reported are head and neck injuries, upper and lower trunk injuries, and injuries to the arms and hands. Bikers can take preventive measures to reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents. The Florida Department of Transportation suggests bikers become more visible to motor vehicles by wearing brighter colors, placing reflective stickers on their helmets, or wearing a bright colored helmet. Motorcyclists should also drive cautiously, making sure to stay out of vehicle or truck blind spots and follow all traffic laws.
In an effort to reduce motorcycle accidents, Florida law requires motorcyclists to successfully complete the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Basic Rider Course before individuals attain their Florida motorcycle license. The course provides bikers with the necessary training to be a safe motorcycle driver. Florida law also requires motorcyclists to wear protective eye gear at all times.
Also, motorcyclists are strongly encouraged to wear helmets. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, ever since the helmet law was repealed, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes increased by 21%. As of now, Florida only has a partial helmet law, requiring individuals 16 years or younger to wear helmets. Individuals that are 21 years or older may ride without a helmet as long as they carry proof of insurance that covers $10,000 for injuries from an accident. However, that doesn’t definitively prevent a jury from finding that the failure to wear the helmet may be considered negligence, and may reduce the verdict. Of course, we highly recommend that all motorcycle drivers (and moped and other similar vehicle drivers) wear their helmets to potentially reduce the risk of serious and permanent injuries such as brain damage and paralysis.
Our attorneys have first-hand experience handling motorcycle accident cases, and know precisely what issues to consider in each case. For example, Mr. Cytryn represented a motorcyclist who was involved in a collision with a taxicab in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The motorcyclist suffered severe injuries including a fractured femur that required metal plates and screws and head injuries requiring two and half weeks’ hospitalization, ultimately resulting in three surgeries. The defendants’ best offer was $170,000; however, following a trial Mr. Cytryn was able to obtain a jury verdict of $510,000, which was reduced by 25% because of his client, the motorcycle driver’s, negligence.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced South Florida motorcycle attorneys now toll-free. The Law Offices of Cytryn & Velazquez, P.A. have more than 36 years of experience in motorcycle accidents and are prepared to help you deal with this sensitive matter. Call our office today 1-877-853-7466 for your free consultation. Also, make sure to visit our verdicts and settlements page to view examples of our results.