If you have been involved in a South Florida motorcycle accident, you may have serious injuries—perhaps even serious enough to keep you from ever returning to work and to require a lifetime of rehabilitative therapies, surgeries and assistive devices. Should you find yourself in such an untenable position, you need the kind of legal help that Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti can offer—hard-hitting, aggressive and experienced while remaining compassionate to your plight.
We offer personalized, hands-on legal services and will bring our more than 80 years of collective legal experience to the table on your behalf. While we are highly skilled negotiators, we also understand that sometimes a knowledgeable, uncompromising litigator is necessary. We have the skill sets necessary to negotiate or litigate on your behalf for the best outcome possible and believe you deserve a strong advocate in your corner.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Those who are involved in a motorcycle accident can be left with serious injuries—or worse. Motorcyclists have virtually none of the protections afforded those in a passenger vehicle—no safety belt, no airbags and no steel and glass “cage” surrounding them. This makes the motorcyclist extremely vulnerable to injury when hit by a vehicle. Add to that the fact that motorcyclists are often more difficult for drivers to see than other vehicles, and you can understand why the roadways are simply more hazardous for those who ride motorcycles.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 5,286 people died in 2016 in motorcycle accidents—a number which is up by 5.1 percent from 2015, and is at the highest level since 2008. Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in an automobile crash per vehicle mile traveled than those in a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, the fact that many states have done away with state helmet requirements has increased the number of deaths and serious brain injuries associated with motorcycle accidents.
In addition to the number of fatalities from motorcycle accidents, there are approximately 90,000 serious injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents each year. The hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. are when the highest number of motorcycle crashes occur, perhaps due to the fact that many people are leaving work during this time period and heading home on their daily commute.
Primary Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While there are many factors involved in motorcycle accidents and while each motorcycle accident has unique circumstances, there are a number of common factors in motorcycle accidents, including:
- Excess speed can be a problem when either the passenger vehicle is exceeding the speed limit, or when the motorcyclist is exceeding the speed limit—or both. Drivers often miscalculate the speed of an oncoming motorcyclist, turning in front of the motorcycle and causing a serious accident.
- Unsafe lane changes create significant risks of collision between motorcyclists and drivers. Drivers may change lanes on a busy roadway without fully looking to see whether there is a motorcyclist in the lane they are changing to.
- Left-turn accidents are one of the primary causes of motorcycle accidents when drivers fail to see an oncoming motorcyclist. In fact, poor visual recognition of motorcyclists is a major problem and a significant cause of accidents.
- Drivers who park and open their car door without looking to see if there is an oncoming motorcycle can cause a serious accident when the motorcyclist slams into the door.
- Road hazards are also a significant cause of single-vehicle accidents, when the motorcyclist collides with an object in the road or encounters a roadway defect. Road hazards can include an animal in the road, a pothole, an oil slick, debris, ruts in the road or uneven pavement.
- Rider inexperience can be a cause of motorcycle accidents as riding a motorcycle requires considerably more skills and physical coordination than operating a vehicle. The vast majority of motorcyclists are self-taught, making lack of training, skills and experience a significant factor in motorcycle crashes.
- Impaired driving on the part of the driver or the motorcyclist could be responsible for a collision.
- Lane splitting—which is not legal in the state of Florida—is particularly dangerous for inexperienced motorcyclists.
- Rear-end accidents can occur when a driver stops abruptly, causing the motorcyclist to crash into the back of the vehicle.
- Defects in the motorcycle or a motorcycle part could be responsible for a motorcycle accident. In some instances, motorcycles can “wobble” when the front end becomes unstable, or the brakes can fail on the motorcycle. If this is the case, then the motorcyclist may have a products liability claim for the accident.
Most Common Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
As noted, most motorcycle accident injuries are extremely serious, and may include severe road rash, facial fractures and disfigurement, broken bones, burns, limb amputations, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries. While most people believe road rash is a rather minor injury, in fact, the skin can become seriously infected, leading to permanent damage and chronic pain. Paralysis can occur following a serious motorcycle accident, usually the result of thoracic spine injuries which commonly occur when the motorcyclist is forcefully ejected from the motorcycle.
A motorcyclist involved in an accident who has any level of pain and/or tenderness in the neck or back area may have neurological damage which should be identified and treated immediately. Limb amputations and facial disfigurement can alter lives forever, bringing emotional trauma as well as physical injury and pain. Traumatic brain injuries can prevent individuals from living independent lives, changing cognitive abilities and even altering a person’s basic personality. For many motorcyclists who have been involved in a motorcycle collision, the stress of the personal injuries can lead to severe depression, making everyday life even more difficult.
Although motorcyclists can minimize the potential level of injury by wearing a helmet and protective gear like leathers, there is little more the motorcycle rider can do. Being vigilant and watching out for drivers who are either distracted or simply do not see a motorcyclist can help keep riders safe on busy roadways. Damages for a motorcycle accident claim could include medical expenses, lost wages, lost future wages (if the motorcyclist is hurt so badly, he or she may not be able to return to work), pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Issues Associated with Motorcycle Accidents
Unfortunately, when a motorcycle accident claim goes to court, the motorcyclist may face certain preconceived notions on the part of jurors. Many people—including jurors—have the idea that those who ride motorcycles are risk-takers who ride fast and ride recklessly. This is simply not true for the vast majority of motorcyclists. In fact, according to a Reuters article on Harley Davidson, the average age for motorcyclists has increased steadily over the past 20 years, with the average age being over 50. This certainly gives pause to the stereotype of young motorcyclists who drive dangerously. An experienced Key West motorcycle accident attorney understands these potential stereotypes and will work aggressively to disabuse jurors of these erroneous beliefs.
Staying Safe on Your Motorcycle
Since many drivers do not look out for motorcyclists, motorcyclists must look after themselves. Geico Insurance offers the following “stay safe” tips both for those who use motorcycles as their preferred mode of travel and for the “weekend warriors” who ride recreationally:
- To prevent serious or fatal head injuries, always wear a helmet.
- Whenever possible, wear protective gear which will minimize injury in the event of an accident.
- Obey the speed limit as well as other rules of the road.
- Always ride defensively by staying alert, signaling well in advance, staying out of drivers’ blind spots, and riding with your headlights on.
- Take the time to go through a formal motorcycle riding program, taking refresher courses from time to time to sharpen your skills.
- Never ride while impaired or fatigued.
- Always check out your motorcycle to ensure it is in good working order, particularly tires and brakes.
How an Experienced South Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
If you have been in a Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key West or Islamorada motorcycle accident, the attorneys at Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti can help. We have eighty years of collective experience between our knowledgeable attorneys and have helped many victims of motorcycle accidents through the years. We understand how your physical and emotional injuries can disrupt your work, your family life and your finances. We also understand that the uncertainties you may be experiencing can seem overwhelming.
We will work hard to obtain the maximum available benefits on your behalf and will do so through experience, knowledge and skill. Our firm has been helping people just like you since 1973; we have the level of experience you need when you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another person. If you want personalized, hands-on legal assistance after your South Florida motorcycle accident contact Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti today for a comprehensive evaluation of your motorcycle accident claim.
Contact Hoffman, Larin, & Agnetti today for a free consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. All motorcycle accident cases are taken on a contingency basis. There is no fee unless we recover an award for your case.