Florida is one of the most desirable places to ride a motorcycle. It’s also one of the most dangerous.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that of the 4,399 motorcyclists killed nationally in one recent year, 467 riders – or 10.6 percent – died on Florida roads. That’s despite the fact that Florida makes up just 6 percent of the nation’s population.
Far more people lose their lives on motorcycles in Florida than in any other state – including Texas and California -- which both have much higher populations and year-round riding weather. Many thousands more are seriously injured, sometimes never attaining full recovery.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys know that when other vehicles are involved, the majority of collisions are the fault of the other driver. And when motorcycle passengers are killed or seriously injured due to the negligence of the operator, they and surviving loved ones too have the right to legal recourse.
Frequent causes of Fort Lauderdale motorcycle collisions include:
Many others involve Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
While anyone injured in a traffic accident in Florida should seek legal counsel right away in order to protect their rights, motorcycle operators and riders are strongly encouraged to take this important step for two reasons:
- Motorcycle accident victims tend to suffer more serious injuries than those in larger vehicles.
- Florida law does not require motorcyclists to obtain insurance to register the motorcycle, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage – part of the state’s “no-fault” accident system – is only available for vehicles with four wheels or more. Lenders may require some level of coverage if the bike is financed, but health insurance benefits may be limited.
State officials report nearly 600,000 registered motorcycles in Florida as of 2015, and about 1.1 million endorsed motorcyclists.
The majority of motorcycle operators are responsible in their riding habits. Yet as the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida reports, motorcycle injuries and fatalities have been climbing for years. Between 2001 and 2013, the number of motorcycle injuries in Florida shot up 50 percent and the number of motorcycle deaths spiked by almost 90 percent.
During this same time, overall traffic deaths fell by 20 percent while injuries dropped by 10 percent.
There are a couple of things happening. One is that the average age of motorcycle riders is going up. In the past decade, analysts have discovered the percentage of 55-and-older riders almost doubled, and account for 20 percent of all riders on two wheels. The median age of Florida riders is 41. Although older riders do tend to use a greater degree of caution, they are also more likely to have trouble recovering from a serious crash.
Florida is a popular tourist destination, and we have many motorcycle enthusiasts roaring into town for various bike-themed events year-round. But researchers learned the vast majority of motorcyclists killed in Florida crashes were also Florida residents.
The median hospital charge for a motorcyclist admitted to a Florida hospital for treatment of crash injuries: $57,000.Types of Motorcycle Accident Claims
Persons injured or survivors of those killed in Florida motorcycle accidents should know they do have rights. Depending on the circumstances and the insurance policies that exist, one may be able to receive compensation for:
- Past and Future Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Consortium
We may look to recover damages based on the following theories:
- Negligence. This will be the majority of cases, and the allegation is that the other driver or the motorcycle operator (if plaintiff is the passenger) failed to use reasonable care in their operation of a motor vehicle. We will conduct an analysis to determine adherence to state and local laws and ordinances and the level of reasonable care required under the circumstances (i.e., road conditions, traffic congestion, etc.). If there was a breach of that duty of care which resulted in plaintiff’s injuries, it’s a matter of general negligence.
- Insurance negotiations. As previously mentioned, PIP insurance may not be available for motorcycle operators. But many motorcyclists do carry insurance, and we will look closely at those policies to analyze what kind of coverage exists. We will look to see if other drivers involved had applicable liability insurance or, if not, whether there is uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage available.
- Product liability. This would be initiated in cases where there is a defect in the motorcycle itself or one of the components or with some aspect of the safety gear. These could be defects in the tires, brakes, fuel systems, accelerators, helmets or other protective gear.
In some situations, recovery could occur through a few months of negotiation with insurance companies. It may happen through a settlement after filing a lawsuit. Or it could be obtained in a jury verdict at trial. Our knowledgeable team is well-versed on Florida motorcycle law and injury law, and we have a proven track record of success in these cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident, contact The Ansara Law Firm, by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.