Articles Posted in Motorcycle Crash

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Many motorists injured in motor vehicle crashes presume that they cannot prevail in a personal injury lawsuit because the investigating police officer has determined that the injury victim was at-fault.  While police officers are trained in analyzing crashes, law enforcement officers do make mistakes and draw improper inferences, especially when they possess inaccurate or incomplete information.  If you are injured in a traffic collisions, you should seek legal advice despite the conclusions of the investigating officer because an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer might have a different perspective.  Further, the evidentiary impact of such conclusions are limited under Florida law as evidenced by the Florida 5th DCA case, Diaz v. FedEx Freight East, Inc.

In Diaz, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate brought a wrongful death action against FedEx after a motorcyclist was killed in a collision with a tractor-trailer driven by the defendant.  The plaintiff alleged that the truck driver crossed the motorcyclist lane while executing a left-hand turn.  The maneuver involved moving across two lanes of traffic traveling in the opposite direction including the motorcyclist’s lane.  The truck had crossed one of the lanes and come to a complete stop in the median because of an interruption in the flow of traffic.  The decedent slammed his motorcycle into the side of the big-rig.  Evidence revealed that the decedent’s speed was approximately 59 to 79 miles per hour when the crash occurred though the speed limit was only 45 miles per hour.  The evidence also revealed the motorcyclists could have avoided the accident had he been obeying the speed limit. Continue reading →

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When injured accident victims come to us, they will be welcomed by strong advocates for their legal rights. Our motorcycle accident lawyers fight diligently for our injured clients, seeking full compensation for their serious injuries sustained in any sort of accident.  Many of our clients are injured in motorcycle accidents.  These crashes can lead to devastating injuries, leaving accident victims struggling under massive medical bills, forced time off work, and longer medical expenses.

Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable to Injury

Motorcyclists are more at risk of injury that other road users.  Motorcycles do not afford their drivers with the same level of protection as cars and trucks.  Motorcyclists are exposed to the elements around them and when they are involved in an accident, whether it is a single vehicle or multi-vehicle crash, they have a high probability of sustaining lasting injuries.  Continue reading →

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A motorcyclist was transported to the hospital with critical injuries following a serious crash on Biscayne Boulevard on Monday, August 3. The accident involved a motorcycle and a Volkswagen sedan.  Police report that at about 7 p.m. on Biscayne Boulevard and 39th Street, the motorcycle and the sedan collided for reasons currently unknown.  The motorcyclist was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center.

Motorcycle Accidents Frequently Result in Serious Injuries

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.  This can be explained by the size and build of the motorcycle.  Motorcycles themselves offer no protection against head injuries to the ride or passenger.  Ejection from the motorcycle is the most common cause of serious injuries.  If the motorcycle comes to a sudden stop due to hitting another vehicle, the rider and/or passenger is often ejected from the motorcycle and may collided with another object and the ground.  Continue reading →

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The debate over mandatory helmet laws continues to wage in many states.  However, enough time has passed since Florida and a number of other states repealed their universal helmet laws to assess the impact of these reforms.  Florida exempted adult motorcycle riders with a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance coverage from mandatory helmet use in 2000.  In the immediate aftermath of modification of the Florida helmet law, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities increased substantially.  While a higher number of registered motorcycles explains some of the increased deaths, the majority of the additional fatalities involved riders without helmets.

Our surge in fatal motorcycle accidents has made Florida a case study for why universal helmet laws should not be eased in other states.  During the three years prior to modification of Florida’s universal helmet law, our state was the site of approximately 160 motorcycle deaths annually.  Helmet use plummeted the year after the helmet law was revised, and the number of motorcycle fatalities soared to 246, amounting to a 65 percent increase in a single year.  By 2006, the number of motorcycle accident deaths in Florida had risen to an all-time high of 550.  During the initial five year period after Florida’s helmet law was changed, the state experienced nearly a 3.5 fold increase in motorcycle accident deaths.  Although the number of fatalities dropped as the economy soured, this trend has since reversed.

Although all states that eliminated or loosened their laws requiring universal helmet use have seen a rise in motorcycle fatalities, Florida has seen the highest increase because the climate allows for a longer riding season.  A sufficient enough period of time has passed to allow federal safety authorities to reach some conclusions about the impact of repealing universal helmet laws.  States with universal helmet laws save eight times more riders lives per 100,000 registered motorcycles annually than states without helmet laws.  Universal helmet jurisdictions also save three time more lives than states with a partial helmet law according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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There are many motorcycle accidents all over the state of Florida. They also happen when Florida residents travel out of the state on their bikes in order to enjoy the open road. Many of these accidents involve cars that failed to observe the biker and moved over into the path of the bike, failed to stop in time, or turned in front of the bike. In May, there was a serious motorcycle crash up in New Hope, Alabama where a motorcycle carrying a married Florida couple pulled out of a business parking lot and onto the roadway with deadly consequences.

Motorcycle accidents frequently involve serious injuries for the biker because of the lack of protection that these riders have on their bikes. When the accident is caused by the negligence of another driver, it is possible to get the compensation that a victim needs to recover from his injuries. In the event of a fatality, the knowledgeable Miami motorcycle accident attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 120 collective years of experience in getting the victim’s loved ones money to carry on after their tragic loss.

In the case of the New Hope accident, the husband and wife of the bike were both killed. The investigation into the cause of the accident still is ongoing, but this accident shows that the riders usually face far more serious harm than the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash. When our firm investigates a crash, we look at the facts of the case to determine who was negligent in the terrible crash. Frequently, the biker is blamed completely for the accident, but many times, the other driver is partially or completely at fault.
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Many of our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys ride for pleasure or to commute, so we know that left turn motorcycle accidents are particularly common. Motorcycle crashes involving a left turn usually involve a car executing a turn across the lane in which a motorcycle is traveling, such as turning at an intersection or pulling out of a driveway or strip mall parking lot. When the driver of a passenger car violates a motorcyclist’s right of way by turning immediately in front of a bike, the rider may be left with virtually no option for avoiding the collision. Under circumstances like these, the risk of a collision is almost unavoidable for the rider, so measures to mitigate the injuries suffered in such a motorcycle crash become especially important.

Motorcycle Helmet Use Has Fallen Dramatically Since Florida’s Universal Helmet Law Repeal

Although many riders object to the notion of mandatory helmet laws, there is no question that Florida’s decision to repeal the state’s universal helmet law has resulted in more head injuries and fatalities in crashes like left turn motorcycle accidents. Chanyoung Lee, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, told the SunSentinel that 98 percent of riders in the state wore motorcycle helmets before the state repealed its universal helmet law in 1990.

Many public safety experts would contend that since Florida riders were given a choice, the number of riders deciding to ignore this valuable piece of safety equipment has increased to alarming levels. According to a recent Florida Department of Transportation study, helmet use in among those who ride in Florida has plummeted to only 51 percent. This drastic decline suggests a difference between expressed attitudes about motorcycle helmet use and actual behavior. A Florida study conducted last year revealed that almost three in four riders considered it important for motorcycle enthusiast to wear a helmet.
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While some riders might think that all personal injury attorneys are equally qualified to handle a left turn motorcycle accident, the most effective motorcycle collision claims are presented by attorneys who have experience with two-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycles present unique issues that are not present with other motor vehicle claims, including the unique vehicle dynamics of two-wheeled vehicles and the prejudices of others with whom motorcyclists share the road.

Motorcycles offer significant benefits over four wheeled vehicles, such as fuel efficiency, reduced emissions, minimal wear and tear on roadways and relief of traffic congestion. Despite these benefits, many drivers of car, trucks and SUVs still harbor traditional stereotypes of motorcyclists as reckless high-risk daredevils. These biases and lingering prejudices must be confronted when insurance companies and drivers of other vehicles attempt to shift the blame for a motorcycle accident to the rider. Our experienced Miami motorcycle accident lawyers have provided an overview of some of the key issues faced by injury victims in left turn motorcycle accident lawsuits.

Speeding Defense in Motorcycle Left Turn Crashes

The most common claim made by motorists that crash into a motorcycle or cut off a motorcycle while the motorist is executing a left hand turn is that the motorcycle “came out of nowhere.” The implication of this statement is that the motorcyclist was speeding. Although sometimes drivers of passenger cars fabricate such claims, there also are many cases where motorists who never ride motorcycles believe such a claim because motorcycles sound fast even when they are idling or in first gear.
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While most motorcyclists recognize the value of a helmet in preventing or minimizing head injuries, the growing popularity of novelty helmets reveals that not all helmets are created equal. Although novelty helmets might make a trendy fashion statement, they might offer no more protection than electing not to wear a helmet at all. To make matters worse, an increasing number of cheap knock-off helmets imported from China can be hard to distinguish from properly certified helmets. A study of head impact attenuation tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reached the alarming conclusion that novelty helmets showed a 100 percent likelihood of brain injuries or skull fractures.

Comparing Performance of Novelty Helmets and Certified Helmets in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle helmets that comply with minimum federal safety standards set forth by FMVSS No. 218 have been determined to be highly effective in reducing the number of traumatic brain injuries and wrongful deaths in serious motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers find that many riders are left unprotected because they do not realize that their novelty helmet offers little if any protection in the event of a collision. Although helmets that meet minimum safety standards are required to include a “DOT” symbol, imported novelty helmets often bear counterfeit DOT labels.
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With the summer weather rapidly approaching, left turn motorcycle accident season has nearly arrived. While the warm weather makes riding a motorcycle appealing, many motorists are not yet accustomed to looking out for bikes in the first few weeks of the summer. Motorcyclists must be extra vigilant when riding in the early stages of the summer while drivers of passenger cars become more accustomed to sharing the road with two-wheeled vehicles. One of the most common and dangerous types of motorcycle accident during this period is where a car or truck makes a left hand turn cutting off the path of a motorcycle.causing a crash.

A left turn accident involving a car or truck striking a motorcycle often occurs when the driver of a car, truck or SUV exits a parking lot or driveway by make left hand turns without checking adequately for approaching motorcycles. The motorcyclist often has no viable evasive maneuver to avoid a collision with the larger passenger vehicle. Predictably, the motorcyclist typically bears the brunt of the impact when cars and motorcycles collide. It is important to remember that any driver must first see a potential danger and then send a message to their brain and have the brain react. The time it takes to react is called “Reaction time.” It is critical to remember that during the period of reaction time (often 1.5-2.5 seconds,) the car, truck or SUV is moving forward without slowing or taking evasive action.

Our Miami personal injury law firm has often used “Time Sequence Analysis” to show where a vehicle was when it should have perceived a danger, how far it traveled during the “Reaction Time” (which is dependant upon speed – the faster a vehicle is going te more feet it covers in a second) and then what action was taken to avoid the collision. With this approach we have bee very successful in showing how our client’s could not have avoided impact and injury.
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Just this August, a Florida motorcyclist was airlifted to a hospital, in critical condition after being hit from behind by an automobile. The 39-year old motorcyclist was stopped at a red light when he was rear ended by an auto driver who was driving at a high rate of speed. The motorcyclist was dragged by the car for over twenty feet, and while the driver of the automobile was also taken to the hospital, his injuries were considered much less serious than those of the motorcyclist. While only 6% of Florida’s motorists are motorcyclists, our motorcycle accident lawyers in Miami understand that over 18% of all Florida traffic-related deaths involve a motorcycle rider.

Who Is Most Often at Fault in Miami Motorcycle Accidents?

In nearly three-quarters of Miami motorcycle accidents in which a motorcycle and an automobile collide, the motorcyclist was not at fault. This is contrary to the commonly-held perceptions that motorcyclists are risk-takers and fail to drive safely. The primary cause of automobiles rear-ending motorcyclists lies in the fact that drivers tend to follow the motorcycles much too closely. An impatient, aggressive, reckless or distracted auto driver may simply fail to notice the much less visible motorcyclist. Driver distraction is also a major issue when automobiles rear-end a motorcyclist.
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