Motorcycle Accidents Are No Joke
Florida is a fantastic state to ride a motorcycle in. There are hundreds of routes across the state that can give riders a glimpse of everything this place has to offer, including coastal cruises and otherwise unreachable pockets in the heart of Florida. Riding a motorcycle is an enjoyable way to traverse the open road and create experiences unlike any other. Unfortunately, finding joy on the road in this manner isn’t without risks.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the roughly 10,000 motorcycle accidents reported per year in the state of Florida, over 8,000 of them include injuries ranging from mild to severe.
In 2016, the most recent year with complete data to look at, there were 600 motorcycle deaths in Florida alone. Of those, 191 were single-vehicle crashes, meaning that 409 of them involved another vehicle besides the motorcycle.
When just looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see just how troublesome motorcycle accidents really are. But if you’re a rider who was involved in a serious crash caused by another vehicle, the situation is much more than troublesome — it can be life altering. And you may have the ability to file a claim in order to receive compensation for your injuries.
In 2000, Florida reinstated a helmet policy when it comes to motorcycles, only requiring underage riders — those under 21 — to wear helmets. Strangely, since the reinstatement of this law, our state has seen an increase in the number of underage riders involved in accidents not wearing helmets.
No matter your age, it’s highly recommended you wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle, as one study done by the NHTSA shows it can lower your chance of death by 37%. But helmet or not, if you’re in a crash caused by another vehicle, the law is still on your side. That’s because in Florida, it doesn’t matter if the victim in a crash wears a helmet or not. The person who is responsible for causing the accident through their negligence can be held responsible for paying the victim for their damages.
Common Crash Scenarios
While motorcyclists often have an unimpeded view of the road around them because their vehicle doesn’t create many blind spots, most cars, trucks, and other vehicles aren’t afforded the same luxury. They suffer many blind spots while inside their vehicle, and car drivers also tend to suffer from something called inattentional blindness.
This is the phenomenon that stems from car drivers not seeing motorcycles on the road as readily as they do other cars simply because they’re not looking out for motorcycles as much as they’re looking out for cars. There’s a reason they tell you to “ride as though you’re invisible” when you first learn to ride a motorcycle. So thanks in part to this phenomenon, one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is when drivers merge from their own lane of travel and strike an unseen motorcycle.
Another very common cause of motorcycle accidents is when cars disobey right-of-way laws. More fatal motorcycle accidents occur because of head-on collisions than any other way, which can include a crash on a two-way road or in a situation where one vehicle turns in front of the other without having the right of way. Vehicles disobeying the rules of the road are the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, but this doesn’t mean the car driver’s actions are excusable in any way. Motorcycles have just as much right to be on the road as cars do, which means they have just as much right to be protected.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
According to research conducted by the NHTSA, most fatal or incapacitating motorcycle accident injuries are sustained when the point of impact is the front of the motorcycle. These types of impacts can result in:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Another study done by the NHTSA revealed that about 15% of helmeted and 21% of unhelmeted riders suffer TBIs in an accident. And TBIs accounted for 54% of the riders within this study group who did not survive. TBIs can lead to concussions or brain bleeding and swelling, which can ultimately cause a variety of disfunction in different parts of the brain that affect many parts of the body. They can also result in coma and death.
- Spinal cord injuries: When the spinal cord is injured in the impact of a collision, it can often result in paralysis. Paraplegia is when either the upper or lower limbs are paralyzed, and quadriplegia is when all four limbs are paralyzed. These types of catastrophic injury are often irreversible or take years of physical therapy to address, meaning long-standing disability for the victim.
- Lower-extremity injuries: These injuries are sustained by riders more frequently than any other type of injury. Leg injuries are the most common lower-extremity injury, and bone fractures are actually more common than soft-tissue injuries, thanks to the impact the body takes when it’s thrown from a motorcycle.
- Internal injuries: Damage to internal organs and internal bleeding can be caused by blunt-force trauma, or a hard blow from something that doesn’t break the skin. They can also be caused by penetration trauma, or when something sharp like broken glass or other debris penetrates the skin and/or muscle.
- Fractures: Motorcycles often fall over in an accident, and it happens quickly. That means a rider’s leg could be under their bike when it falls, leading to fractures. Wrists and arms are also commonly fractured when riders try to break their fall.
- Road rash: When a rider makes contact with the surface of the road at a high speed, serious skin abrasions called road rash occur. These types of injuries have varying levels of severity, but at their worst they can expose large, excruciatingly painful patches of raw skin tissue, which are highly susceptible to infections and permanent scarring.
When it comes to automobile accidents that involve both a car and a motorcycle, the motorcyclist will almost always come out worse for wear. They don’t have the same protections afforded by a car, but they’re still deserving of the same protections afforded to everyone by the laws of the road.
Seek Legal Help for Your Injuries
You often hear of the dangers of riding a motorcycle on public roads, but that doesn’t mean motorcyclists have any less right to seek compensation when an accident does happen. It’s up to everyone on the road to practice safe driving, motorcycles and cars included. So if you’ve suffered a serious injury while riding your motorcycle due to the negligence of another driver, you have a right to pursue the compensation you may be entitled to receive from them. The Whisler Law Firm offers free, no obligation consultations, so give us a call at 833-529-5677, or contact us here and tell us about your accident.