Motorcycle Accident Injury in North Palm Beach
People who become victims of injuries due to motorcycle accidents in North Palm Beach, Florida, are more numerous than you might think. That is because the motorcycle accident and subsequent fatality rates are relatively high in the state of Florida. As a matter of fact, in 2014 and 2015, Florida led the U.S. when it came to motorcycle accident deaths. In addition, motorcycle crashes account for about 19% of vehicle fatalities in Florida. Some of this may be the fact that you won’t find severe winters with large snowfalls in the “Sunshine State”. As such, motorcycle riders can be found on just about every major roadway all throughout the year.
Motorcyclists are governed by Florida Statutes Chapter 316.2085 and 316.211, these include:
A situation in which the motorcycle driver forces the wheels to lose contact with the ground (as in performing “wheelies”) is considered a moving violation (Florida Statute 316.2085 (2)). However, this does not apply if the motorcycle wheels briefly lose contact with the ground due to a road condition.
If a person wishes to be eligible for a motorcycle endorsement, it is required by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles that; you must be at least 16 years old, if you are under 18 years old you must have had no traffic violations for one year prior to the application, you must have a regular class E driver’s license and you must complete a Basic Rider Course (no matter your age).
In Florida, a motorcycle operator needs to have a motorcycle-only license or a motorcycle driver’s license endorsement in order to operate a motorcycle with a larger than 50 cc engine.
Florida requires that operators or riders who are under the age of 21, wear a helmet while they are on a motorcycle.
Florida requires that a person operating a motorcycle must wear protective eye gear.
Motorcycle operators and riders who are 21 or older who ride without a helmet must have at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage. This is designed to anticipate any medical costs associated with subsequent injuries that could be sustained from a motorcycle accident in which the driver wasn’t wearing a helmet.
These statutes are designed to protect those who are engaged in motorcycle driving. Even so, it’s estimated that one in seven motorcyclists don’t have $10,000 in medical insurance coverage.
There may be some misconceptions regarding the causes of the majority of motorcycle accidents in North Palm Beach or anywhere in Florida. However, as it is with car accidents, the most common cause of these accidents has to do with negligence. Negligence is the result of when one party breaches a responsible duty to another person that has led to damages suffered by the non-breaching party.
In this case, the responsible duty that is owed consists of safe driving to others on the roadway. This is true for all vehicle operators on the road. This breach of responsibility may occur when a driver is driving too slowly or above the speed limit, not obeying the directions of traffic signals, not making the required turn and stop signals and, of course, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If it can be proven that such a breach has occurred and caused injuries, then there may be a claim for recovering compensation. This may include economic damages, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and depending on the circumstances, punitive damages.
There is a common vision that is held in people’s minds that a motorcyclist is a person who drives too fast, quickly darts in and out of traffic lanes and will seem to appear “out of nowhere”. However, this is a false perception. Statistics show that car and truck drivers are the most common cause of accidents that involve motorcycle deaths and injuries. It was shown in a University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research study. In that study, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that about 60% of accidents involving motorcycles were caused by the other vehicle and not the motorcycle.
These crashes typically occur when the other vehicle fails to yield the right of way to the motorcycle. An example of this can be found in a situation in which a car driver attempts to pull out from the side of the road and they drive straight into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Other examples include the fact that a driver of a larger vehicle may feel that a small vehicle will immediately yield to more “intimidating” larger one. This phenomenon can also be seen when a car driver will yield to a large semi-truck, even if the truck is moving slower than they are. Another situation that might occur is that car and truck drivers, who are driving on mental “automatic” just don’t have their “mental radar” set for smaller and thinner vehicles like motorcycles and therefore, don’t register them as an obstacle at all.
As is the case with other types of motor vehicle accidents, cell phones can also play an important role when it comes to driver distraction. This is the main reason why Florida recently put a new statute into place that will now treat cell phone use as a primary motor vehicle offense. Statute 316.305. Nevertheless, it still may be difficult to prove that cell phone use was a means to distract a driver; thereby causing a crash. For example:
Even if a record of the cell phone call is obtained, the information regarding the use of that cell phone must align perfectly with the time of the crash. Unfortunately, it’s a rare occurrence when the exact time of the crash is definitively known. In addition, the cell phone record would not indicate the presence of a incomplete text message that was being worked on, but was being sent at the exact time of the crash.
A witness, who was traveling in the car with cell phone user, may not be all that reliable (or truthful) when it comes to indicating cell phone use at the time of the crash.
In many cases involving a motorcycle accident with another vehicle, the police need to rely on the auto’s cell phone user to admit to their cell phone use. As you might imagine, this is a rare occurrence.
However, if the motorcycle operator is certain cell phone use and distracted driving played a role in the crash, they should contact a knowledgeable motorcycle accident injury attorney who can assist in trying to secure the proper records and interview pertinent witnesses.
There are a number of current Florida motorcycle statutes that relate to safety issues. These are meant to deter motorcycle accident injury scenarios in North Palm Beach and in other Florida locations. These include:
No individual shall operate a motorcycle with a helmet that is equipped with a headphone, headset or other form of listening device other than a hearing aid. section 316.304(1).
According to section 316.304(2), this does not apply to:
- Any person operating a motorcycle who is using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds.
- Any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear.
- Any person using a headset in conjunction with communicating with the central base operation that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear.
- Every vehicle shall be equipped with a mirror so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway for a distance of at least 200 feet to the rear of the motor vehicle. section 316.294.
- Every motorcycle shall be equipped with at least one stop lamp. section 316.420. Every motorcycle shall be equipped with multiple-beam road lighting equipment. section 316.430(1).
Such equipment shall:
- All motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane and no motor vehicle shall be driven in such manner as to deprive any motorcycle of the full use of a lane. This subsection shall not apply to motorcycles operated two abreast in a single lane. section 316.209(1).
- A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. section 316.211(1).
As in any motor vehicle accident in North Palm Beach, Florida, if you are involved in a motorcycle accident you will want to check to see if you or your rider has been injured in any way. Then, make sure any accident victims and vehicles are out of the way of oncoming traffic.
You will also want to contact law enforcement authorities immediately and cooperate fully with them. If you are able, take photos of the accident scene.
Make sure that you (any passenger) proceed directly to the emergency room or doctor’s office and get an evaluation and treatment. Remember that in many cases, injuries may not manifest themselves until later on. Keep a record of all injuries and obtain copies of all medical treatment records.
Motorcycle accident claims can be complicated. You should seek out the advice of an experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyer to discuss your options. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident in North Palm Beach, it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney, in order to try to receive the best care and compensation that you rightfully deserve.
Discuss Your Case with a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Attorney Serving North Palm Beach Today! If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident in North Palm Beach, or anywhere in Florida, turn to Frankl & Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.