Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Hialeah
Florida’s warm weather attracts thousands of motorcyclists to the state. From Daytona Bike week to the casual rider, Florida is popular with all types of motorcyclists. Second only to California, Florida boasts over 500,000 registered motorcycles in the state, with an ever-increasing number of licensed riders each year.
With a large number of motorcyclists come a large number of accidents involving motorbikes. There are several reasons for such a large number of accidents, including Florida’s large population of older drivers, and the very nature of motorcycles. Motorbikes are difficult to see and are often involved in accidents where the driver of another vehicle simply failed to notice there was a motorcycle in their path.
When these types of accidents occur, it may be possible for someone involved in a motorcycle accident to seek compensation for any injuries or damaged property. Even if you were partially at fault, a motorcycle accident lawyer in Hialeah understands the issues involved with motorcycle accidents and can help to get you as much compensation as possible.
Florida Motorcycle Statistics
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report, there were over 9,000 crashes involving motorbikes in 2018. Of those crashes, there were over 531 fatalities, showing an increase of over 3% from the preceding three years. Motorcycle accident injuries also increased by 1.6%, with a total of over 7,800 injuries. Motorbike passengers also did not fair well, with over 600 passenger injuries and 25 passenger deaths.
The use of helmets plays a large role in the severity of injuries that occur in a motorcycle crash. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report found that fatal motorcycle crash injuries occurred more often when the driver was not wearing a helmet, resulting in 235 deaths, and 13 passengers deaths.
The report also indicates the types of injuries sustained in most motorcycle accidents. Over 3,379 accidents resulted in non-incapacitating injuries, and over 1,940 accidents resulted in some form of an incapacitating injury. Even with 1,224 motorcycle accidents where no physical injuries were sustained, the cost of property damage can be exorbitant. Passengers faired just as poorly, with almost 280 non-incapacitating injuries and almost 450 incapacitating injuries. Hialeah, and Miami-Dade County in general, had over 1,080 crashes, with 45 fatalities and 877 motorcycle injuries.
Common Causes of Accidents in Hialeah
There are several common causes of motorcycle accidents. Some of these causes include:
- Lane splitting
- Head-on accidents
- Road hazards
- Left-turning vehicles
- Alcohol use
- Lane changes
- Cars opening their doors
- Sudden stopping vehicles
- Defective manufacturing
One of the most common reasons motorcycle accidents occur is when a motorcycle rides between two lanes of traffic, commonly referred to as lane splitting. Lane splitting creates a hazardous condition for motorcyclists and other vehicles. While operating between two lanes of traffic, other vehicles are unable to anticipate which lane a motorcyclist intends to occupy. Additionally, when traffic slows down and a motorcyclist attempts to move ahead of traffic while advancing between lanes, accidents can occur when another vehicle tries to change lanes and isn’t able to see the motorcycle approaching. Florida Statutes, §316.209(3) forbids lane splitting and states that “motorcycles shall not be operated more than two abreast in a single lane.”
Head-on accidents and left-turning accidents are common types of accidents involving motorbikes in Hialeah. Because motorcycles are small relative to other vehicles, it is oftentimes difficult to judge the speed a motorcycle is traveling. When cars and trucks attempt left-hand turns, it is often the case that they assume incorrectly that a motorcycle is a further distance away than it actually is. The same can happen with head-on accidents, where a vehicle driver misjudges their distance from oncoming traffic and swipes the side of a motorcycle.
Speeding contributes to a large number of motorbike accidents. Being small and lightweight, motorcycles are capable of much higher speeds than most automobiles and are able to reach those high speeds in shorter periods of time. Inexperienced riders, in particular, are prone to losing control of a motorbike when it reaches high speeds quickly. Additionally, controlling motorcycles on fast-paced highways creates conditions ripe for accidents if a motorcyclist fails to operate their bike at an appropriate speed.
Road hazards play a larger role in motorcycle accidents than with other types of vehicles. When a hazard exists on the road, any type of collision oftentimes results in a fall over. When a motorcycle is operating at highway speed, any type of fall over can cause serious injuries and property damage. Additionally, when a road hazard pops a tire, it is exceptionally difficult for a motorcyclist to control their bike, and reduce their speed safely. Other hazards might include uneven surfaces or ruts in the road surface. These conditions can trap a tire in the road and cause a fall over. When other vehicles are unaware that the conditions may be hazardous to a motorcycle, all too often a fallen motorcyclist is further injured when another vehicle fails to slow down following a fall over and potentially hits a rider or their motorcycle.
Alcohol and illegal drug use play a role in motorcycle accidents as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  found that 28% of motorcycle fatalities involved alcohol consumption. A blood alcohol content of 0.08% is deemed riding under the influence in Hialeah. Even a small amount of alcohol impairment can create a seriously dangerous condition on a motorbike. A single moment of inattention can easily lead to a fatality, and alcohol all too often dulls the senses and makes a motorcyclist vulnerable to an accident.
The behavior of other drivers plays a large role in motorcycle accidents in Hialeah. When other drivers brake quickly, a vehicle with more than two wheels can easily slow down without any serious ramifications. However, motorcycles are far more prone to fall over when stopping quickly. The road surface plays a large role as well. When a car or truck stops quickly on a slick surface, a motorcyclist has little time to slow their vehicle. With more powerful brakes and very little surface area for a tire to grip, quick stops can cause motorcyclists to fall over or even run into the vehicle in front of them.
Car doors are especially dangerous to motorcyclists. Accidents occur frequently when a vehicle driver fails to ensure that no other vehicles are traveling nearby when opening a door. This is especially dangerous for motorcyclists, who are less protected, can have limbs damaged easily, and can fall over from the energy transfer an open door can deliver to a passing motorbike.
Defective manufacturing can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. When parts fail or fail to operate adequately, motorcycles can suffer far more damage than other vehicles. Additionally, defective motorcycles can contribute to far more serious injuries since riders have far fewer safety protections than other vehicles on the road. When a motorcycle part fails, riders can fall over, or hit road hazards, or even hit other vehicles, causing severe damage and injuries.
When Hialeah motorcyclists are involved in accidents, the damage and injuries sustained are amplified by the fact that motorbikes have fewer safety features, can reach fast speeds quickly, and can slow down far quicker than most other motor vehicles. When accidents happen, the damage can be serious and the injuries can be catastrophic. Following a motorcycle accident, contact a motorcycle lawyer at Schlacter Law for a consultation. We understand that motorcycles come with unique issues and unique problems. We can help make sure you are properly compensated following an accident.
What if I was partially at fault?
Florida is one of a handful of states which follows a pure comparative negligence system. This would reduce an award for a plaintiff by the percentage the plaintiff was responsible for the accident. While reducing a possible award is not ideal, it does leave open the opportunity to pursue some compensation, even in cases where the motorcyclist was partially responsible for the accident.
Some other states follow a pure contributory negligence system where a plaintiff is barred from any compensation at all if they were partially negligent in causing the accident. Under contributory negligence, no lawsuit would succeed where the motorcycle rider was 51% or more at fault for the accident and the result would leave no available avenue for compensation following an accident.
In Florida, however, comparative negligence looks at each party to determine what percent of fault is attributed to each party. If, for example, a motorcyclist was going to receive an award for $100,000, but was found to be 20% at fault for the accident, their award would be reduced by 20% leaving $80,000 for available compensation.
Understanding fault in negligence cases requires the knowledge of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Hialeah. When an accident caused an injury, even when a motorcyclist may be partially to blame, this wouldn’t necessarily bar them from receiving compensation following a successful lawsuit. If you have questions following a motorcycle accident and need help determining if compensation is available, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today. We can help.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the most common motorcycle injury claims?
Due to the lack of basic safety protections, head and spinal injuries, as well as serious bone fractures and internal organ damage are some common motorcycle accident injuries. Because of their severity, these types of injuries often require long-term and expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the costs associated with these injuries can be substantial. If you were injured in an accident, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Schlacter Law can help evaluate how much compensation would be required to ensure that you are taken care of.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
For personal injury negligence lawsuits in Hialeah, a plaintiff has four years to file a lawsuit for damages. Failure to adhere to this deadline could result in the case being dismissed. If an accident caused an injury and you are seeking compensation, any motorbike injury lawsuits must be filed within this four-year window.
How do I pay for a lawyer?
Most attorneys who work on these types of cases would get paid on a contingency fee. This would allow a plaintiff to file a claim even if they were unable to pay a lawyer any money upfront. The lawyer would be compensated only if they win a case and get compensation on your behalf. The lawyer would then receive between 33.33% and 40% of the award.