Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Serving Okeechobee
Motorcycle accidents are becoming an increasingly growing issue in Florida. A motorcycle crash in Okeechobee not just wrecks a motorcycle, it can be life-threatening, and in many cases cause severe injuries.
Although the Florida population is just over 21 million and represents only 7 percent of the United States overall population, almost 12 percent of motorcycle accidents occur in the state of Florida, particularly South Florida.
In 2018, Florida experienced 9,431 motorcycle crashes which resulted in 531 fatalities and 7,849 injuries. In the county of Okeechobee alone, there were 17 motorbike accidents that resulted in 15 injuries and 3 deaths, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Although these numbers may not seem very daunting, they do indicate that almost all motorcycle crashes result in injuries and about 18 percent lead to a death. This is not a low fatality percentage by any means.
If you have been seriously injured or your loved one has died in a motorcycle accident in Okeechobee, our experienced attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers offer a free consultation. We will evaluate your claim and offer guidance as to your legal options.Motorcycle Accidents and Injury Claims
Neglectful and careless drivers who are reluctant to give right of ways to vulnerable traffic like motorbikes are a major cause of motorcycle crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents between motorcycles and other vehicles account for 75 percent of all motorcycle-related crashes.
The rest of the 25 percent of motorcycle crashes involve crashing into roadside objects like traffic signal poles or safety railings, indicating that not motorcycle accidents are the fault of other vehicles.
Some types of motorcycle accidents are more dangerous than others. These include:Motorcycle Crashes Involving a Distracted Driver
According to the FLHSMV crash report of 2018, distracted drivers caused 236 fatalities, 3,100 incapacitating injuries, and 12,598 non-incapacitating injuries in Florida.
Even though texting while driving has been banned in Florida, there are other ways a driver can be distracted, including fiddling with the stereo system, taking his eyes off the road to look at a passenger, picking up something from the floor of the car, checking navigation, or even listening to loud music.
All of these things can result in a crash that can cause serious or fatal injuries..Motorcycle Accidents Involving Drivers Who Fail to Obey Traffic Laws
Failing to obey traffic laws can mean a wide range of things including not heeding traffic signs or other road markings. Not yielding for vulnerable passengers, following too closely or failing to keep in their proper lanes.Hit & Run Motorcycle Crashes
A hit and run accident involves the at-fault party leaving the scene of the accident without making sure the victims are safe or without waiting for the emergency respondents and police officers.
Hit and run is not just highly unethical but also illegal behavior. Most drivers who make a run for it after hitting a motorcycle are often also guilty of other criminal behavior like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or operating with a revoked or suspended license.
Hit and run accidents can be very complicated since it can be difficult to locate the at-fault party. This is why it is particularly important to consult a motorcycle accident lawyer when pursuing injury claims..Motorcycle Accidents Involving Company Vehicles and Commercial Trucks
Motorcyclists also get involved in accidents with larger vehicles like trucks and semi-trucks. When these heavier vehicles hit a motorcycle, they can side-sweep the vehicle and its rider. Additionally, if larger vehicles experience any operating issues that lead to rollovers, brake failure or tire blowouts, it can be devastating for motorcyclists.
Large commercial trucks also have big blind spots which can cause them to hit or crush motorcycles behind them or on the side of them.Motorcycle Accidents Caused By a Defective Product or Design
A defective motorcycle product design can cause serious accidents on the road. Some issues include faulty brakes and tires, and issues with the fuel engine. If this is the case with you, you may have a right to pursue a claim against the bike manufacturer because of a defective component.Most Common Causes for Motorcycle Accidents in Okeechobee
Since motorcycles are small vehicles, they can hide behind larger vehicles and become difficult to spot. Additionally, other vehicles are often neglectful when it comes to giving motorcycles the right of way. Motorcycles also do not fare well in inclement weather.
Some of the most common causes for motorcycle accidents in Okeechobee are:Failing to Yield When Appropriate
In about 67 percent of accidents involving a motorcycle and another car, the car violates the smaller vehicle's right of way, resulting in potentially deadly accidents.Failing to Follow the Posted Speed Limits
The most common cause of accidents is speeding or reckless driving. Motorcyclists may speed up and then suddenly have to brake or take a sharp curve to avoid an obstacle on the road, resulting in a wipe out. Overall, speeding has resulted in 403 fatalities, 1,255 incapacitating injuries, and 3,973 non-incapacitating injuries in Florida in 2018.Failing to See the Motorcyclist Changing or Entering Lanes
This kind of accident is most common with large commercial vehicles whose blind spots extend to their sides. Motorcyclists also have a responsibility to be vigilant of the larger vehicle's blind spot and not to change lanes when they know the driver cannot spot them.Failing to See a Motorcyclist
Almost 50 percent of accidents involving motorcyclists and cars are due to poor visibility. This can be due to poor lighting conditions, the harsh glare of other vehicles, or the motorcycle's view being blocked by other vehicles. When they do see the motorcycle, it may be too late to avoid the crash.Driving under the Influence
Driving while drunk has contributed towards 50 percent of motorcycle accidents which resulted in a death. Drunk driving is illegal in the entire country, including the state of Florida. Unfortunately, it is still a frequent occurrence.
Some other common causes that result in motorcycle accidents include making a sharp swerve in front of a motorcyclist, not leaving enough room between vehicles, underestimating the distance from the motorcycle, stopping abruptly in the path of a motorcycle, and not paying attention to other drivers.
However, not all motorcycle accidents are always caused by other drivers. A motorcyclist may also be partly at fault for the accident. Even if some of the blame for the accident rests with the motorcyclist, according to the doctrine of Comparative Negligence, the victim will still be able to pursue compensation, it will just be reduced according to their percentage of liability.Types of Injuries Sustained in a Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycles are not “crashworthy” vehicles. During an accident, a motorcycle can face total ruin, while its rider may be hurled far away on impact, resulting in significant injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries as a consequence of motorcycle accidents.Severe Head Trauma
Since motorcycles are open rides, its drivers are very vulnerable. In case of even a minor collision, the motorcyclist can be thrown hard on the concrete , which can result in traumatic brain injuries.
Brain injuries are also the most expensive injuries to treat because the organ is so sensitive. According to the FLHSMV, 235 motorcycle drivers who did not wear a helmet died in motorcycle crashes in 2018. A further 858 more sustained incapacitating injuries while 1,283 sustained non-incapacitating injuries.Spinal Cord Injuries
Neck injuries are quite common among victims of motorcycle accidents. These may range from a mild whiplash or cracked vertebrae. Some of these can heal over time, but in severe cases, it can lead to paralysis and even death.Bone Fractures
The impact of falling hard on the concrete ground can naturally break bones. A simple break like a fractured collar bone or wrist bone can heal over time. Fractures that require surgery can take several months to heal and can cost thousands of dollars.Loss of Limbs / Amputation
A motorcyclist lying on the road may also run the risk of being trampled by other vehicles. They could also be thrown against a pole or other solid object that can tear off their limb. In both of these cases, loss of limbs is a truly terrifying possibility.Internal Bleeding
Even if a motorcyclist does not suffer a head injury or broken bone, the impact may cause internal bleeding. That is why it is very important to visit a doctor even if you don't see any outward symptoms of an injury after a motorcycle accident.Be Proactive: Top Tips To Protect Yourself Before A Motorcycle Crash
If you regularly ride a motorcycle, it is prudent to practice defensive driving so that you remain at minimal risk of an accident. According to the NHTSA, here are some safety tips you should follow:
- You can minimize your risk of a motorcycle accident if you use your headlights, even during the daytime. Additionally, motorcyclists should wear brightly colored jackets like orange, yellow or neon green that can make them easier to spot.
- Wearing a thick padded jacket, gloves, and heavy boots can reduce and even prevent cuts, scrapes, and bruises during a motorcycle accident
- No matter what age you are and whether you are riding alone or with a passenger, make a habit of wearing your helmet. This can reduce the impact, or even prevent traumatic brain and neck injuries. A full glass shield can also save your face from cuts and abrasions, preventing disfigurement.
- You may suffer more serious injuries if you are speeding or are driving under the influence, depending on the size of your motorbike.
- Not wearing protective goggles or sunglasses can make you squint your eyes to protect them from the sun's harsh glare or from the wind. This results in poor visibility and greater risk of accidents.
- Having a good motorcycle insurance policy can help you get access to the best medical care and replace your motorbike.
The federal government recommends that all motorcycle riders should wear a helmet, stating that helmets are 67 percent effective in protecting your head from injuries and reducing fatalities by 37 percent.
However, in Florida, wearing a helmet is not required by law. In the year 2000, Florida gave riders over the age of 21 permission to opt out of wearing helmets if they have medical insurance of at least $10,000.
This law proved disastrous since by 2008, motorcycle-related accidents almost doubled and fatal crashes increased by 21 percent. Hospitals also reported an 82 percent increase among crash victims with head injuries.
Since motorcycles are so unprotected, their riders are more vulnerable to head injuries than any other vehicle drivers. In fact, in 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that if all motorcyclists had worn safety helmets in 2016, it could have saved as many as 802 lives.
Under Florida law, a person who has suffered a motorcycle accident which resulted in injury, damage to property, or death must file their lawsuit within a certain time period. This is called the Statute of Limitations.
- For a motorcycle accident injury claim, the injured person has up to four years from the date of the accident to file a legal action against the at-fault party. Once this time limit passes, the court will likely dismiss the lawsuit and the injured person will not be able to pursue their claim. Some extenuating circumstances demand an extension of the deadline, but these cases are very rare.
- For a death due to a motorcycle accident, the surviving family members of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of death.
- If your motorcycle accident results from defective components, then the victim can bring product liability charges against the manufacturer within four years from the date of the accident in the case of an injury, and two years from the date of death in the case of a fatality.
- If your motorcycle accident happened due to poorly maintained roads or other infrastructure maintained by the government, you can file a claim against the government within three years. There are specific requirements that must be followed. Be sure to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney with any questions.
- If you suffered no injury but your bike was totaled in the accident, you can bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party within four years from the date of the accident.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you fight for fair and just compensation of your damages, including:Past, Current, and Future Medical Bills
These bills consist of all medical-related coverage, including emergency room, physical therapy, medical treatment, diagnostic testing, surgeries, transportation cost to doctor's appointment, and long-term rehabilitation and therapy cost. All of these will be taken into account to calculate your medical bills.Lost Wages and Future Lost Earnings
If you missed time from work because of your injuries and medical treatment, you may be able to pursue compensation for your lost wages and future income.Home Healthcare Expense
These include the cost of hiring healthcare assistance to help you in your ordinary tasks.Loss of Enjoyment of Life
A motorcycle accident can result in permanent disability of limbs or even paralysis. Aside from long-lasting physical impacts, it can also be emotionally traumatic and the victim may never be able to ride a motorcycle again. All of these losses will need to be calculated in monetary terms.Mental Anguish / Pain and Suffering
Being unable to perform ordinary chores can cause mental trauma. Many injuries also come with long-lasting pain which can further reduce the quality of life. The victim may also be unable to socialize with friends and family members because of their disability or condition nor take part in recreational activities like sports.Repair / Replacement of Your Motorbike
In many cases, the cost of the repairs may exceed the cost of the motorcycle. In these cases, most insurance companies will pay you the market price of the vehicle to replace your broken bike.Loss of Consortium and Support
If the victim dies in a motorcycle accident, the at-fault party is liable for the support and finances to the deceased's spouse, parents, or minor children. These parties can sue the at-fault party for wrongful death.Determining Fault in an Okeechobee County Motorcycle Crash
Most motorcycle accident lawsuits are filed under the theory of negligence which means that the at-fault party failed to exercise reasonable care on the road, which resulted in the accident, injury, and property damage for the victim.
In this case, the at-fault party will be held liable for damages.
Therefore, in order to recover compensation, proof of negligence must be established. This include the following:
- The defendant had a duty for reasonable care towards the victim
- The defendant violated his duty of care
- This disregard resulted in injury or damages
- The damages are measurable and quantifiable
If you are in a motorcycle accident, here are some things you may choose to follow:.Scene of the Crash
- You should never leave the scene of the accident before the police or paramedics arrive.
- If you are able to, call 911 immediately or ask a witness to do so. The police can make a crash report of your incident. You can also do the same by going to the Okeechobee Police Department website and filing their online crash report
City of Okeechobee Police Department
+1 863-763-5521 | 50 SE 2nd Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972, United States
- In case of injury, have the emergency medical service give you the appropriate treatment. If necessary, do not hesitate to go to the hospital. Some injuries, like internal bleeding, do not show any outward signs but can result in serious health concerns in the future. Be sure to have a complete medical exam by a qualified medical pro You can go to your own personal physician or the emergency room.
+1 863-763-2151 | 796 US-441, Okeechobee, FL 34972, United States
- Take photos and videos of your injury and the damage to your motorcycle as well as other vehicles involved in the scene. Make a record of all the traffic signs posted near the site.
- If there were witnesses who saw the accident, you should ask them their contact number as well as request them to give an account of what they saw. The testimonies and witness statements may prove to be invaluable for your claim.
- Make sure you take your medical bills as well as medical records, including the discharge paper after you have been treated.
- Get a copy of the driver's crash report as well.
- Consult with an injury lawyer who has experience in motorcycle accident claims.
- After the accident, the insurance company of the at-fault party may contact you. Avoid giving a recorded statement or signing any documents without first speaking to a motorcycle injury lawyer.
A motorcycle accident can result in serious injuries, the destruction of your mode of transport as well as other major effects on your life. You may be unable to work or even do your routine chores without assistance, never mind taking part in recreational activities.
However, making a claim for a motorcycle accident is not an easy task. Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers are ready to assist you with your motorcycle accident claim.
Our attorneys have over 40 years of combined legal experience. We have successfully recovered over $100 million in compensation for our valued clients in both verdicts and out-of-court settlements. Our motorcycle injury attorneys are ready to fight for the just compensation you deserve.
If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, we offer you a free, no-strings consultation where we will review all your legal options.
Call Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers at 863-800-8000 to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer who is available to serve Okeechobee. To find out more about motorcycle accidents, feel free to check us out on YouTube