Posted in Motorcycle Accident on January 24, 2020
Generally, motorcycle crashes are not “accidents.” People accidentally misplace their car keys. They do not accidentally turn in front of motorcyclists and cause collisions. In fact, such driver error causes roughly 95 percent of all motorcycle wrecks. If this driver error involved negligence, which is usually the case, substantial compensation might be available.
In vehicle-on-vehicle collisions, steel cages and multiple restraint layers protect victims. But motorcycle riders have no such protection. So, they often sustain serious injuries.
The combination of driver negligence and serious injury means a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer can usually recover compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in extreme cases. Call Law Offices of David I. Fuchs today at (954) 568-3636 or use our online contact form.
Since riders are almost completely exposed to danger in these cases, motorcycle riders are twenty-eight times more likely to die in collisions than victims in enclosed four-wheel vehicles. Some of the most common injuries after a motorcycle accident include:
Full compensation is usually available for these and other common motorcycle crash injuries, even if the victim had a pre-existing condition. A Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney must simply prove that the crash aggravated the pre-existing condition, and not the other way around. This doctrine is called the eggshell skull rule.
The typical motorcycle crash claim involves a failure to maintain a proper lookout. The aforementioned left turn motorcycle crash is a good example. Drivers think they see a gap in traffic as they wait to make unprotected left turns, but they do not see an approaching motorcycle. As a result, they turn directly into the rider’s path.
These types of crashes sometimes involve the last clear chance defense, which is discussed in detail below.
Failure to maintain a proper lookout is a violation of the motor vehicle law. So, in some cases, the negligence per se doctrine might apply. That’s assuming first responders gave the driver a ticket, which does not always happen. Furthermore, in Florida, non-penal safety law violations are only a presumption of negligence.
Frequently, therefore, motorcycle crash claims involve ordinary negligence, which is a lack of care. Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must avoid accidents when possible, obey the rules of the road, and drive defensively. If they fail to meet any of these standards, and that failure causes injury, the tortfeasor could be liable for damages.
Commercial drivers, including Uber drivers, usually have a higher standard of care. So, it is easier to establish negligence in these cases.
Furthermore, if a commercial driver caused a crash, the employer might be financially responsible for damages, under the respondeat superior (let the master answer) rule. Third party liability could also apply in alcohol-involved crashes. Restaurants, bars, and other commercial providers are often liable for wrecks in these situations.
The last clear chance defense, which is an offshoot of contributory negligence, often comes up in lack-of-visibility collisions. Let’s stay with the left turn crash and look at an example.
Assume George is waiting to turn left from northbound Main onto westbound Elm. George does not see Bill, who is riding southbound on Main. George turns directly into Bill’s path. He then strikes the passenger side of George’s car.
The insurance company could argue that Bill had the last clear chance to avoid the crash. But this complex doctrine usually does not apply in motorcycle crash cases. These wrecks usually happen so fast that the Bills of the world could not possibly avoid them.
Contributory negligence shifts part of the blame for the crash from the tortfeasor to the victim. But in almost all cases, contributory negligence only reduces the victim’s damages, at best. That’s because Florida is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim was 99 percent responsible for the collision, the tortfeasor is responsible for a proportionate share of damages.
Motorcycle crash victims deserve substantial compensation for their serious injuries. Perhaps more importantly, they also deserve justice. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Fort Lauderdale, contact the Law Offices of David I. Fuchs. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money. Call us today at (954) 568-3636 or use our online contact form.