Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycles are inherently dangerous: they offer little in the way of protection to the rider(s) and are capable of traveling at extremely fast speeds. In the event of a collision, a motorcyclist can easily be seriously injured or even killed.
Anyone who has suffered such an accident or has lost a family member to one should seek out legal counsel immediately to explore his or her legal options. These victims may be entitled to compensation for their suffering. Florida residents can call 786.766.8701 to reach the law offices of Brandon Stein for a free review of their case.
Injuries From Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists can suffer an array of injuries if they have an accident while riding. The type, location, and severity of the damages depend on many factors: the form of the accident, speed at which the motorcyclist was traveling, speed of other vehicles involved in the accident, etc.
Common injuries from motorcycle accidents include:
- Spinal damage, possibly resulting in full or partial paralysis
- Injuries to the head and skull
- Brain damage—possibly as simple as a concussion, but can be much more serious (some types of brain injuries are not obvious until well after the accident occurs)
- Loss of limbs
- Torn muscles and/or dislocated joints
- Friction burns (also known as road rash)
Because brain injuries are sometimes extremely hard to notice in their early stages, it is essential that a person who has been in even a minor motorcycle accident goes to the hospital immediately. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Witnesses and evidence can disappear rapidly from the scene of a motorcycle accident. The police report will contain some, but a legal case may require additional resources to be successful. When a person is in a motorcycle accident or a family loses someone in one, they should contact legal counsel as soon as possible to begin building a case.
Fault in Motorcycle Accidents
In many cases involving motorcyclists and drivers of other vehicles, the other driver will say that he or she never saw the motorcycle. Motorcycles are small enough to disappear entirely in the blind spots of other vehicles’ mirrors, so this may be the absolute truth. However, it does sometimes make it difficult to prove who was at fault for the accident. Was the motorcyclist obeying all traffic laws, or was he or she doing something that at least partly contributed to the accident?
It can be difficult to answer this question to a judge’s satisfaction, but a personal injury or wrongful death case cannot be won without proving negligence on the defendant’s part. This makes it essential for the claimant to have legal counsel on his or her case that is experienced in proving negligence in motorcycle accident cases.
The our Miami Personal Injury Lawyer, Brandon Stein, employs various professionals when gathering evidence to demonstrate negligence in these cases. Accident reconstruction engineers, private investigators and others may be called on to find the evidence needed to win a case.
Damages Compensated for Motorcycle Accidents
Persons injured in motorcycle accidents can expect to receive compensation for various damages if their case is won. Most of the compensation they will receive is compensatory: damages to help the injured party recoup lost income and pay for medical expenses. In rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded in rare personal injury cases.
If a family loses a loved one to a motorcycle accident, they will also receive compensation if they win their lawsuit. Damages in wrongful death cases come in three types. Economic damages compensate the survivors for the loss of the financial assistance provided by the victim. Non-economic damages attempt to compensate for the loss of companionship, guidance, and other intangibles the family suffered.
The third type is punitive damages. Not all cases will include these. However, if the court decides that the defendant needs extra punishment for his or her negligence, a judge may choose to make them pay these damages as well.
5 Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Every day, hundreds of Florida motorcyclists put their lives on the line. They are more vulnerable to injuries and deaths than other motorists due to greater exposure to dangers in a collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclist deaths occur 27 times as often as fatalities of passengers in other vehicles. It only takes one crash to permanently disable or kill an unsuspecting motorcyclist. Knowing the five most common causes of motorcycle accidents can help you avoid contributing to this tragedy.
- Driving Under the Influence
In some circumstances, just one alcoholic drink can be enough to impair a driver. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol endangers the lives of the driver, passengers, and other roadway users. A drunk driver might weave in and out of lanes, make unsafe lane changes, roll through stop signs, or run red lights. All of these dangerous practices can kill a motorcyclist in the wrong place at the wrong time. Likewise, a motorcyclist under the influence cannot operate the vehicle safely or hope to arrive alive. Operating a motorcycle while intoxicated can lead to deadly single-vehicle accidents with stationary objects.
In 2015, more than one-third (33%) of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were speeding. This is a greater percentage than drivers of passenger cars and truck drivers the same year. Motorcyclists can be more prone to speeding due to lighter-weight vehicles, high-performance bikes, and the illegal practice of lane splitting in congested traffic. Speeding can lead to a motorcyclist losing control of the vehicle or being unable to stop in time to prevent a rear-end collision. These accidents can be fatal for bikers. Speeding is especially a risk around sharp corners or in areas where loose gravel in the road makes excessive speed highly unsafe. All types of roadway users should refrain from speeding.
- Distracted Drivers
Every motorcyclist should practice defensive driving techniques. They should never assume other motorists are paying attention to the road. Too many drivers on today’s roadways are looking at their phones, chatting with passengers, eating and drinking, and doing other things to take their attention off the driving task. Driver distraction kills thousands of people every year. Data from the NHTSA shows 3,477 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in 2015 alone. Motorcyclists are especially at risk since they are already more difficult to spot than typical vehicles. A distracted driver could pull out in front of a motorcyclist, turn left into one, or switch lanes on top of a motorcycle.
- Inexperienced Drivers
It takes time for the average driver to learn adequate safe-driving practices to avoid causing harm to motorcyclists. Checking twice before pulling out, leaving enough following distance, and making gradual stops are all habits that an inexperienced driver may not perform. Inexperienced drivers can risk the lives of motorcyclists by forgetting to check for motorcyclists before emerging lanes, speeding and flinging debris up at a motorcyclist, and making sudden stops. Similarly, inexperienced motorcyclists may not have the vehicle control to safely operate bikes on major roadways. All motorcyclists should have the proper training, experience, and licensure before hitting the road.
- Dangerous Roadway Conditions
Motorcyclists must pay more attention to the conditions of roadways than typical motor vehicle operators. While a passenger vehicle can ride smoothly over bumps, debris, and potholes, these hazards can prove deadly to motorcyclists. Riders should always scan the road ahead for potential hazards and use the appropriate braking or swerving maneuvers to prevent an accident. If a roadway hazard causes a motorcycle accident, the victim could file a claim against the city or property owner for lack of proper maintenance. After any type of motorcycle accident, contact an attorney to explore your options.