Motorcycle accident fatalities increased 9% from 2020 to 2021, underscoring the dangers of this popular mode of transportation. Every year, scores of motorcycle riders are seriously injured on Florida’s roads, and many of these accidents are caused by driver negligence. In Vero Beach, motorcycles continue to be involved in a disproportionate number of serious and deadly accidents. The year 2022 witnessed an alarming number of motorcycle and vehicle crashes in Indian River County – particularly along U.S. 1 and State Road 60.
If you were on a motorcycle and hit by a careless driver in Vero Beach, don’t hesitate to contact the law office of Kogan & DiSalvo. We have been helping injured motorcyclists seek the compensation they deserve for decades, and are here to protect your rights.
Motorcyclists are often unjustly accused of being reckless when the data shows that the majority of collisions with vehicles are caused by distracted and careless drivers. Many accident victims are left with painful and debilitating injuries that can linger for years. Having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Vero Beach can prove instrumental in the outcome of your injury case. While nothing can erase the pain and suffering incurred in a motorcycle crash, the law affords financial remedies.
Not sure if you have a valid claim? Get in touch with our attorneys for a free legal evaluation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting a premier personal injury law firm trusted by residents throughout South Florida.
Causes of motorcycle accidents in Vero Beach
While uneven road surfaces, debris, and defective parts lead to some crashes, these factors are responsible for a small percentage of motorcycle accidents in Indian River County. The majority of serious motorcycle accidents almost always involve passenger vehicles or trucks.
Retrospective analysis indicates that vehicle drivers are less likely to “see” motorcyclists, since they are smaller than passenger cars. As a result, drivers will often turn into the path of a motorcycle, or hit them while switching lanes or crossing an intersection.
Other leading causes of motorcycle accidents in the region include:
- Excess speed – speeding is a contributing factor in nearly a third of all fatal motorcycle crashes, particularly those involving riders under the age of 25.
- Distracted driving – texting, using a cell phone, and other distractions behind the wheel remain a leading cause of all vehicle-motorcycle accidents.
- Unsafe lane changes – motorists who fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes.
- Left-hand turns – a large percentage of motorcycle accidents happen when a motor vehicle turns left into the motorcyclist’s path.
- Lane-splitting – while still practiced, lane-splitting is illegal in the state of Florida.
- Driving while under the influence – drunk or drugged driving contributes to more than a quarter of all fatal motorcycle accidents.
- Open door accidents – vehicle drivers open their doors into traffic without looking first, causing motorcyclists to strike the door.
- Road defects – improperly maintained roads are a constant danger to motorcyclists, who can lose balance and control with unmarked changes in elevation, loose gravel, and deep potholes.
Common types of motorcycle accident injuries
Motorcycles have little to protect their passengers and operators in the event of a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than those in passenger cars to die in a traffic accident.
The reality of suffering a serious injury, especially one that affects your mobility and quality of life, can be difficult to manage without legal support from a Vero Beach personal injury lawyer.
We handle accident claims resulting from all types of injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – DOT-approved helmets can help prevent serious brain injuries that can result in cognitive impairment and lifelong disability.
- Loss of limb/ emergency amputation – more serious injuries to extremities may necessitate amputation.
- Spinal cord injury – trauma to the spinal cord can prove devastating. Depending on the location and the severity of the injury, victims can be left paralyzed from the neck or waist down.
- Neck injuries and back injuries – herniated and ruptured discs in the cervical and lumbar spine are common injuries in motorcycle accidents.
- Broken bones – statistics show that motorcyclists are more likely to suffer broken bones in the lower extremities.
- Internal bleeding/organ damage – with no steel cage to protect motorcyclists, the impact of a collision or ejection can damage organs and cause hemorrhaging. Broken ribs can puncture a spleen, liver, or kidney.
- Facial trauma – broken noses, teeth, and jawbones are common in victims who wear open or half-face helmets.
- Nerve damage – along with road rash and deep lacerations, accident victims can suffer permanent nerve damage.
A motorcycle accident can completely change your life in the blink of an eye. Many of the mentioned injuries will take months, if not years, to heal. Some injuries will leave victims permanently disfigured or disabled. Whether you suffered catastrophic injuries, or lost a loved one in a fatal motorcycle accident, we encourage you to explore your legal options with a member of our team.
Steps to take after a motorcycle accident
After any type of motorcycle collision, the steps you take afterward can impact future claims for compensation. Follow these tips to protect your rights.
- Call 911.
- Provide a detailed report to the police officer or law enforcement.
- Seek medical care – Adrenaline and shock can mask pain and serious injuries after the accident. Always seek medical attention as soon as possible. A failure to do so can diminish your credibility and hurt your chances of securing fair compensation.
- Exchange information with all parties involved.
- If possible, take photos and videos of the damage and accident scene.
- Do not apologize or admit fault, even if you are unsure.
- Get names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Keep track of medical costs and out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident.
- Do not provide statements or accept insurance company offers before speaking with a Vero Beach motorcycle accident lawyer.
Deadlines for filing a motorcycle accident case in Florida
Under Florida statute §95.11, plaintiffs who are suing for personal injuries based on negligence have two years from the date of the accident to initiate a lawsuit against the liable party. Once this statute of limitations has passed, the defendant can have the claim dismissed. Working with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer will ensure that filing deadlines are met, and investigations are carried out promptly.
Potential compensation for claimants
Injured motorcyclists may be entitled to seek a variety of damages from at-fault parties. Even if it is determined that you were partially responsible for the motorcycle crash, you can still collect compensation as long as you were 50% or less at fault for the accident. That is because Florida adheres to modified comparative fault laws. Under this system, claimants can collect damages that are relative to their percentage of fault. For instance, a $200,000 settlement would be reduced to $180,000 if you were 10 percent at fault for the accident.
If, however, you are found to be 51% or more at fault for your injuries, you will be barred from recovery entirely.
Compensation may be awarded to cover the following types of losses:
- Medical bills
- Estimated future medical and hospital expenses
- Lost income
- Motorcycle repair or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future earnings
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The Motorcycle accident lawyers Vero Beach residents trust
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a capable legal team in your corner. Kogan & DiSalvo knows how to level the playing field, and provides free case evaluations to residents throughout Vero Beach and the surrounding communities. Contact our law offices today to explore your options for legal recourse.