Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Whether you live in Jacksonville or are visiting, it is an amazing city for motorcyclists. It covers 875 square miles of land and is the most populous city in the state. Whether you prefer the Coastal Run, the St. John’s River Ride, or the natural beauty of Ocala National Forest, the weather is perfect, and the scenery is spectacular.
If you suffered injuries from a motorcycle accident in Jacksonville caused by the negligent or reckless actions of someone else, contact the Jacksonville motorcycle accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn today to discuss your legal options moving forward.
Florida’s Law Regarding Motorcycles
Motorcyclists love the exhilaration and freedom of the open road; but unfortunately, Florida is the most dangerous state to ride a motorcycle. Florida crash statistics from 2019 show that there were 8,895 motorcycle crashes. These included 550 motorcycle fatalities, 2,072 motorcycle incapacitating injuries, and 5,647 other motorcycle injuries. In Duval County, 422 motorcycle crashes resulted in 25 fatalities and 368 injuries.
Unlike much of the rest of the world, in the United States, motorcycles and similar vehicles are generally considered recreational vehicles rather than as a primary mode of personal transportation. However, interest in two-wheeled vehicles grew, especially in 2020. The demand for motorcycles in the U.S. is projected to grow 5.4 percent per year to over 1 million units in the next few years.
With more motorcyclists on the road, experts expect the number of accidents to rise. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those traveling by motorcycle are about 29 times more likely than those in other motor vehicles to suffer a fatal crash.
The rules of the road apply to motorcyclists in Florida. Motorcyclists have the right to the full use of the road, but can share a lane with another motorcyclist if they choose. Like all drivers, motorcyclists must obey all traffic signs and regulations. Maneuvers such as weaving in and out of traffic, driving between lanes of traffic, or between rows of vehicles are not permitted.
To lawfully operate a motorcycle in Florida, you must have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, which requires specialized training for motorcycle drivers. It is possible to get a motorcycle endorsement without having a regular driver’s license. The requirements for obtaining a “motorcycle only” license vary depending on the applicant’s age. In 2018, 28 percent of riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a motorcycle license. Those aged 16 to 24 tend to be inexperienced, and they get in the most accidents.
Florida law defines a motorcycle as a vehicle with no more than three wheels with a seat and saddle for the rider. In addition to rules concerning the operation of the motorcycle, there are rules regarding what your motorcycle needs to have to be safe and lawful on the road. Florida law 316.2095 and Florida law 316.222 list requirements for infrastructure for motorcycles. Your bike must have footrests, handlebars, stop lamps, and signals. Motorcycle drivers must use a headlight, even during the day.
Florida motorcycle helmet law states that you must wear a helmet if you are under the age of 21. Even if you are over 21, you must still wear a helmet if you do not carry at least $10,000 in medical coverage in case of an accident.
Insurance Requirements for Jacksonville Motorcyclists
Florida’s law requires motorcyclists to carry a minimum of $20,000 in total bodily injury insurance, $10,000 in coverage for property damage and bodily injury per person, and at least $30,000 as your single incident liability limit. These insurance limits are mandatory, regardless of whether the person is wearing a helmet.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Jacksonville
Driver error causes most motorcycle accidents. The great majority of motorcycle accidents occur as the result of collisions with cars and trucks, many of which are caused by driver negligence on the part of the truck or automobile driver.
In many cases, the driver is inattentive and does not see a motorcycle in time to avoid an accident. There are several reasons for this. First, motorcycles are relatively small vehicles. Another driver’s view may be blocked, or they failed to check their blind spots, and they simply do not see them. Drivers in passenger vehicles may not anticipate motorcycles’ movements.
Frequent accidents include:
- Head-on collisions. More than half of all motorcycle accidents that result in death are head-on collisions, often with stationary objects like a tree or telephone pole. When a motorcycle crashes into a fixed object, the motorcyclist is more likely to be thrown from the vehicle or suffer serious injuries.
- Rear-end collisions. A vehicle suddenly braking in front often leads to a rear-end collision.
- Intersection collisions.
- Car doors opening. This is sometimes called dooring. It often happens when someone in a parked car opens a door into the path of a motorcyclist.
- Driveway accidents.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding. A driver who is speeding may fail to see a motorcyclist and react in time. Typically, the faster a driver is going at the time of the crash, the more severe the injuries. Around 33 percent of motorcycle crash fatalities involved speeding.
- Distracted Driving. With all of the advanced technology available to drivers, they have become increasingly distracted when behind the wheel.
- Driving Under the Influence. Drug and alcohol use is a factor in many motor vehicle accidents. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable, so their injuries may be more severe or fatal. According to the NHTSA, intoxicated motorcyclists accounted for 39 percent of single-vehicle crashes in 2018. Nighttime motorcycle fatalities are three times more likely than daytime fatalities to involve high blood alcohol content levels.
- Left-Turn Accidents. Approximately 42 percent of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car happen when cars are making left-hand turns. The motorcycle may be passing the car, trying to overtake the car, or traveling through an intersection when the crash occurs. This is one of the most dangerous situations for a motorcyclist.
- Unsafe Lane Changes. These can happen when either the driver fails to check their blind spot or fails to signal before changing lanes.
- Sudden Stops. An abrupt stop may cause a serious accident. This is especially likely if a driver is tailgating.
- Hazardous Road Conditions. Because motorcycles are more unstable than four-wheeled vehicles, potholes, debris, uneven pavement, and irregularities or unexpected objects in the road can cause accidents.
- Inexperienced Drivers. Generally, new drivers are extremely cautious, but as they become more confident, they may also become careless.
- Motorcycle Defects. Malfunctions in the motorcycle or a motorcycle part, such as problems with the tires or an engine defect, can have serious consequences.
What Other Factors Contribute to Motorcycle Risk?
A person on a motorcycle is relatively unprotected compared to a person in a car. A combination of skill and protective gear can reduce the chances of a serious injury. It helps to wear durable, highly visible clothing and boots. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) are an important safety feature. Motorcycles with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash.
Older riders are also at higher risk. Motorcyclists ages 40 or older account for 54 percent of motorcyclists killed in crashes. Older riders also sustain more serious injuries from crashes. Accidents often happen on group rides. Riders may push themselves beyond their skill level, or they may simply do whatever the person in front is doing.
There are several types of motorcycles, such as street (including two- and three-wheeled motorcycles), off-road, and dual purpose. Each type is a little different in terms of stability, performance, rider visibility, and handling. Despite taking precautions, motorcyclists encounter hazards such as potholes, manhole covers, oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks, and gravel. Driving a motorcycle is more physically and mentally draining than driving anything with four wheels.
Who May Be Liable for Jacksonville Motorcycle Accidents?
If you have been injured in a Jacksonville motorcycle accident, you may face overwhelming personal and financial problems due to someone else’s negligence. Therefore, you may wish to file a civil claim for restitution from the party that caused your accident and injuries.
The basis of most motorcycle accident lawsuits is negligence, which is “A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Drivers must use reasonable care. If a driver is negligent, and as a result, someone suffers an injury, the driver can be held liable for the injuries.
There may be other parties who are liable, including:
- The government entity in charge of road maintenance, if a road hazard caused the accident.
- The designer of a motorcycle may be responsible for a defective design.
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle or a component may be liable for a defect or malfunction.
- The manufacturer of safety equipment.
- A repair shop or party responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining the motorcycle.
- The motorcycle rental company.
Contact The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn today to discuss who may be liable in your case.
The Five Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Keeping a two-wheeled vehicle under control is more difficult than operating a car safely. Injuries are common in motorcycle accidents, even at low speeds. Motorcyclists do not have the protection of an enclosed vehicle or other safety equipment. Therefore, when a crash occurs, motorcyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death. Injuries may range from things like minor sprains to catastrophic, permanent injuries.
The five most common motorcycle injuries include:
1: Head Injuries. Next to fatalities, head injuries are the most frequent serious injury for motorcyclists. Traumatic brain injuries often have long-lasting side effects, such as seizures, cognitive problems, and a wide range of other issues depending on the location and extent of the injury.
2: Road Rash. This injury often happens when a motorcyclist slides sideways or flies over the handlebars, scraping their skin across the pavement. The rough pavement may scrape right through the rider’s clothing to the skin. This injury is far more serious than you might think. It can lead to edema, infections, and surface nerve damage.
3: Fractures. Broken bones are very common during motorcycle crashes. When an accident happens, the rider may put their feet down to try and stabilize the vehicle. Sometimes the heavy motorcycle falls and breaks bones in the legs, feet, or hips. The rider may also reach out to try and break a fall, causing broken arm, hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder bones.
4: Spinal Cord Injuries. Injuries to the neck, back, or spinal cord are also likely, especially if the rider hits a stationary object, such as a guardrail or tree. Spinal cord injuries can result in a ruptured disk or temporary or permanent paralysis.
5: Muscle Damage. Severe cases of road rash may scrape away layers of muscle. A hard impact may break bones and also rupture surrounding muscular tissue.
What Compensation Can I Pursue For a Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident?
Compensation following a motorcycle accident will depend on the losses you sustain. Damages claims can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include quantifiable losses such as:
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Loss of earning capacity (the loss of future income and benefits as a result of being unable to work).
- Out-of-pocket expenses connected to the accident.
Non-economic damages that may be recoverable after a motorcycle accident include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional anguish.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium.
At The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn, our attorneys can go through the details of your case and help determine which damages you should pursue.
Statute of Limitations
In general, under Florida law, injured parties who wish to take legal action must file a lawsuit within four years from the date of the motorcycle accident. Deadlines may vary depending on the party named in the lawsuit and whether the accident caused a fatality.
Call Our Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
If you or someone you love was injured in a Jacksonville motorcycle accident, the dedicated legal team at The Law Offices of Jared Spingarn can discuss your legal options and help protect your rights. For more information or to arrange a free consultation, call (866) HIRE-JARED or contact our Jacksonville motorcycle accident lawyers online.
“What a great team. Took care of my accident case and got me a very great settlement. Thank you so much to the team for their great efforts and always being transparent with all the information they provided. Highly recommend they will take care of you like family.”
5011 Gate Parkway, Building 100, Suite 100
Jacksonville, FL 32256