Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The state of Florida is second in the nation among states with the greatest number of motorcycle registrations, with more than half a million bikers enjoying the freedom of the open road. Whether you are heading out on the Daytona Thunder Run or the annual Boots on the Ground Poker Run in Jacksonville, or simply threading your way through Jacksonville rush hour on your way to work, you know the thrill and excitement of being on a bike… and the dangers of a motorcycle accident. In fact, motorcycle riders are nine times more likely to be injured and 36 times more likely to be killed in a motorcycle accident than the occupant of a motor vehicle in a Lake City or Jacksonville car accident. The Jacksonville accident attorneys at Douglas & Carter understand the unique aspects of motorcycle accident cases and the serious compensation accident victims may need when faced with catastrophic injuries or worse. Read more below about how we help motorcycle accident victims recover compensation from negligent drivers, and contact our office for a free consultation if you have been hurt in a crash.
Injury Characteristics of a Motorcycle Crash
When motorcyclists are struck by other vehicles, forced off the road, or forced to take evasive action that results in a crash, the motorcyclist is usually the only part injured. Motorcyclists of course do not have the protection that an enclosed vehicle has, which is why the vulnerability of motorcyclists generally make them safer road users than drivers. This makes it all the more unfair when a collision occurs. According to a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 52 percent of motorcycle crashes that involve an injury are mild in severity, 28 percent are moderate, and 20 percent are severe. Even a moderate injury likely entails heavy road rash and whiplash. A moderate injury may be multiple broken bones, whiplash, a traumatic brain injury, and heavy road rash. A severe injury is life threatening, and may involve a serious traumatic brain injury, spinal damage, amputation, and disability. Other common injuries that motorcyclists often face include:
- Fractured ribs;
- Thoracic spine injuries;
- Internal organ injuries;
- Lacerations from glass, metal, and road infrastructure;
- Deep contusions;
- Facial damage, particularly to the teeth, mouth, and cheek bones;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement; and
- Compound fractures.
What makes motorcycle collisions so dangerous for the rider is the fact that they are making forceful contact with multiple objects all in one crash. A rider may make contact with the car that hit them, the pavement while sliding or tumbling at high speed, and another vehicle or fixed object before finally coming to rest. Fixed objects in particular are extremely dangerous, such as roadside ditches, curbs, signs, trees, buildings, and other metal and cement objects on the side of the road or sidewalk. As such, even if the initial contact with the vehicle was minor, such as a “brush” with the side of a pickup truck, the resulting damage can be severe nonetheless.
Florida Motorcycle Facts and Statistics
Motorcycle riders are categorized as “vulnerable road users” along with pedestrians and bicyclists in the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 2016 Traffic Crash Facts. This report shows 10,331 motorcycle accidents in Florida in 2016, resulting in 8,256 injuries and 515 fatalities. That means that a motorcycle accident ended in injury or death to a rider in 85% of the crashes. Compare this figure to total motor vehicle accidents, which resulted in injury or death only 43% of the time.
Motorcycle riders are simply much more vulnerable and prone to serious injury or death than occupants of a passenger vehicle. Passenger cars are made safer every year, yet motorcyclists still remain nearly fully exposed to serious injury in a collision. Although cars are continually made safer for their occupants, the rate of car accidents has actually increased in recent years, which many traffic safety experts attribute to increased cell phone use and distracted driving. Distracted driving takes the highest toll on bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, as they are less visible and more easily missed by a distracted driver.
In addition to distracted driving, motorcyclists face other dangers from drivers who misjudge an oncoming motorcyclist’s speed and turn left into the bike’s path, or drivers who intentionally drive aggressively around motorcycles and crowd them out of their lane. Simple negligence such as failing to signal or check blind spots before turning or changing lanes can be equally disastrous.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Victims Face an Uphill Climb
From the very start, motorcycle accident victims are at a disadvantage compared to car accident victims. Florida’s no-fault PIP coverage does not cover motorcyclists as it does vehicle drivers, passengers and even pedestrians. Also, insurance companies and juries often have a built-in bias against motorcycle riders as dangerous or reckless drivers that must be overcome to achieve a fair settlement or significant jury verdict. With decades of litigation experience, the attorneys at Douglas & Carter know how to successfully prepare and present a motorcycle accident case that proves the other driver’s negligence and justifies a full and fair amount of compensation for the injured victim.
Why Motorcyclists Get Blamed for Crashes They Did Not Cause
Motorcyclists face a negative stereotype that harms their chances of receiving a fair settlement offer or personal injury lawsuit verdict. Why is this? Motorcyclists often wear black leather, which presents a “bad” or intimidating appearance to many of those who do not ride. While this is for the motorcyclist’s own protection, the look is just part of the judgement that motorcyclists get from others. Motorcycles are inherently loud, and motorcyclists ride in packs (often for safety as well as enjoyment), which some associate with gang behavior. In order to win your case and to maximize your compensation, we have to fight these stereotypes that insurance adjusters, jurors, judges, and society in general have towards motorcyclists. Most of all, motorcyclists are given a bad rap because they are unfamiliar to most people. Only three percent of motor vehicles registered in the U.S. are motorcycles, according to Hedges and Company. People often fear or hate what they do not understand, and this is certainly true, in general, about motorcyclists. Motorcyclists not only face unjust discrimination by insurance companies and in courtrooms, but also face life-threatening discrimination out on the roads, where they are often the victims of driver’s road rage.
Knowledgeable and Dedicated Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
After a serious motorcycle accident in Lake City or Jacksonville, call Douglas & Carter for a free consultation with an experienced and successful Jacksonville motorcycle accident lawyer. We are your local law firm, here when you need us.