A recent survey of accident reports prepared by police departments throughout Florida indicates that the number of fatalities in motorcycle crashes has risen nearly 25 percent in roughly a year’s time. During 2014, the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents increased from 449 to 554. Even though they only represent three percent of the total number of registered vehicles in Florida, motorcycles are involved in roughly 19 percent of the fatal collisions that occur in the state.
Another survey showed that one out of every six motorcyclists does not carry an insurance policy for their bike. This creates many problems for injured motorcyclists, especially if they are involved in a collision with one of the numerous Florida motorists who do not maintain drivers insurance. If an uninsured motorcyclist is involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, the injured motorcyclist’s options for recovery will be severely limited.
To recover compensation from a negligent driver, the injured motorcyclist must demonstrate that the defendant failed to exercise appropriate care when operating his or vehicle and that this failure was the direct cause of his or her injuries. In the devastating event that the motorcyclist loses his or her life as a result of the collision, Florida allows the decedent’s surviving heirs to bring a claim against the defendant, seeking compensation for expenses incurred as a result of the accident as well as for their pain and suffering.
In most accidents involving a motorcyclist and a car, truck, or other large vehicle, the motorcyclist suffers severe injuries. Unlike a car or truck, which provides external infrastructure protecting the occupants, a motorcycle leaves the rider exposed to the elements and dangerous conditions. The severity of the injuries that motorcyclists involved in collisions suffer is reflected in the estimated average cost of each motorcycle accident-related fatality. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), each fatality resulting from a motorcycle crash costs roughly $1.5 million. This figure takes into account medical expenses, work-related losses, diminished productivity, legal fees and court expenses, insurance costs, and property damage.
The NHTSA also emphasizes the importance of wearing a helmet in motorcycle safety. Under Florida law, motorcycle operators and passengers who are 18 or older are not legally required to wear helmets. State law also provides that a motorcyclist’s decision to not wear a helmet cannot be asserted against the plaintiff in a civil claim as a defense to liability. Despite these provisions, helmets can save lives. According to its studies, a helmet is 37 percent effective in preventing a motorcyclist from losing his or her life in the event of an otherwise fatal collision. This means that roughly 37 motorcyclists out of every 100 would have likely survived the collision had they been wearing a helmet.
If you have lost a loved one as the result of another driver’s negligence, the dedicated and compassionate fatal motorcycle accident lawyers at Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano are here to help. We have counseled accident victims and families throughout Southwest Florida, including in Naples, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral. To schedule your free consultation, contact us now at 1-800-283-7442 or contact us online.