Florida’s amazing temperatures combined with permissive helmet laws invite thousands of people to take to the roads on their motorcycles. In fact, Florida has the second-highest number of registered motorcycles out of all 50 states. Unfortunately, the sunshine state also has the highest number of fatality accidents involving motorcycles each year.
In 2016, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that there were 10,331 motorcycle involved accidents that caused 8,256 injuries and 515 fatalities. Motorcycles in Florida account for only 3% of all registered vehicles, but are involved in 20% of the fatality accidents in the state.
Although Florida has plenty to offer motorcycle riders, if you ride a motorcycle, you should stay aware of the risk of injuries, know what actions you should take if an accident were to occur, and know what situations lead to the most accidents.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
While some motorcyclists crash due to their own errors, many cases are not the fault of the motorcycle rider. Other types of accidents may occur at the hands of other drivers and may include the following:
- Distracted Drivers: Motorcycles can already be more difficult to see than a larger vehicle. Couple that with a driver who does not pay adequate attention to the road, and the driver may not notice the motorcyclists at all. This can lead to running a motorcycle off the road, rear-ending a motorcyclist, or sudden lane changes that can put the rider at risk.
- Drunk Drivers: While these drivers are a risk to everyone on the road, they may be a particular danger to motorcyclists. These impaired drivers may not focus on the road well enough to see a motorcycle driver in their path.
- Aggressive Drivers: If a driver becomes overly frustrated with traffic, he or she may choose to take it out on other vehicles. If an aggressive driver bumps into a motorcyclist, serious injuries are likely to occur.
- Traffic Violations: All drivers must follow certain traffic laws like lane changing procedures, speed limits, and more. When a driver violates one of those laws, he or she can put a motorcyclist at risk.
- Defective Motorcycle Parts: Some motorcycle related accidents are not the fault of other drivers but can be due to the company that manufactured the motorcycle or motorcycle parts. If an important part of the motorcycle is defective, it may cause the driver to lose control and crash.
- Road Hazards: Hazardous road conditions are a danger for any vehicle but can pose a particular risk to motorcyclists. Motorcycles are not as easily navigated through large cracks, gravel, uneven pavement, and potholes. Hitting an unexpected road hazard could cause the motorcycle driver to lose control.
While the list above is not a complete list of all the things that can cause a motorcycle accident, it shows how some negligent parties can quickly change the life of a motorcyclist. If you are riding a motorcycle, pay special attention and be aware of situations like those.
Motorcycle Crashes can Cause Severe Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can be serious because there is little protection to the riders from injuries. Because Florida law does not require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, some people choose not to wear one. Even with a helmet, motorcycle riders can still suffer from life altering injuries including the following:
- Skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
- Fractured ribs and collar bones.
- Broken jaws, cheekbones, and noses.
- Eye injuries.
- Broken arms and legs.
- Neck and back injuries.
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding.
The injuries listed above require attention from emergency medical personnel and may require an ambulance ride to the hospital. Some accident victims may require immediate surgery or other treatment to stabilize their injuries and may need to be admitted to the hospital for an extended amount of time.
Other common medical treatments include rehabilitation and physical therapy, medication, medical equipment, and home health care. Not only is a motorcyclist involved in an accident likely to incur significant medical expenses, but he or she typically suffers financial loss from missing work.
What to do if You are in a Motorcycle Accident
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, there are certain procedures that you should try to follow if you are able to do so.
- Stop immediately and remain calm. Do not leave the scene of the accident.
- Check for injuries, but do not assume that the lack of a visible injury means that there are no injuries. Some injuries rear their ugly heads days or even weeks after an accident.
- Call the police to report the accident and call 911 if someone has injuries that need to be treated.
- Exchange information by getting the other party’s name, phone number, and insurance information.
- If there were witnesses, try to get a written statement from them as well as their names and phone numbers.
- Take pictures of your motorcycle and if possible the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the other vehicles involved in the accident, as well. These pictures will help provide information about the severity of the accident.
- Take notes about the accident and your observations. Some personal injury cases that involve motorcycle accidents take months to finalize, and you may not remember in a year how you felt and how the accident occurred.
- Do not make any statements admitting fault and do not volunteer more information than you are specifically asked. There may be an insurance adjuster on the scene, and you are not obligated to give him or her information other than your name, phone number, and insurance information.
- Call your insurance company and report the accident. Make sure that you ask the company to begin paying your bills.
- Even if you think you are okay, see a doctor as soon as possible. Be sure to tell them that you were in an accident and have them examine you thoroughly.
- Keep a record of all your expenses including household services that you had to hire help for, vehicle rentals, prescriptions, etc. Keep all receipts so you have proof of every expense.
Most Importantly, Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
The Insurance Research Council has found that people injured in a motorcycle accident who use a personal injury attorney receive three and a half times more settlement money than those who do not. That is why it is important to contact an experienced, knowledgeable attorney like those at Brill & Rinaldi. They will make sure you get the treatment and compensation you deserve to put your life back together.