There are few activities more freeing than taking to the open road on a motorcycle. Once you’ve felt the power and exhilaration of riding, it’s hard to go back to being stuck behind the wheel of a car.
Of course, motorcyclists also know that riding comes with risks. Some of those risks are just part of what makes riding so worthwhile. Bikes have next to nothing in the way of crash protection, and riders know if they have to lay their bikes down, their bodies will take some abuse. But, those features aren’t what really makes riding a motorcycle dangerous. The biggest danger motorcyclists face on Florida roads (and roads all across the country) is careless, inattentive, or distracted car and truck drivers.
At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, we stand up for motorcycle riders and passengers who were injured or killed in accidents caused by negligent motorists or anyone else who made the road unsafe for motorcycles. If a motorcycle accident has injured you or taken the life of your loved one, then we want to help. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can reach our team of skilled, experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyers online or at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH).
About Our Motorcycle Accident Injury Practice
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman are affiliated personal injury law firms that fight for the rights of injured Florida residents and visitors. Our attorneys have spent years representing motorcyclists injured on Florida roads. Our aim in every case is to recover the maximum compensation our clients deserve for their injuries and losses.
And we get results. Some of our recent recoveries for motorcycle accident victims include a $750,000 settlement for a motorcycle rider who sustained severe orthopedic and brain injuries in an accident, and a $415,000 settlement on the eve of trial for a biker who suffered damage to a disc in his back in a collision. Of course, these are just examples of the results we’ve achieved, and we cannot guarantee a similar recovery in your case. But you can trust that when you select Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman to represent you after a motorcycle accident, you are hiring a team that has experience getting results for injured riders.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the motorcycle advocacy group Ride Safe Florida, “[t]he most common type of crash involving a car and a motorcycle is at an intersection when a motorist makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle.”
Drivers often turn left across the path of an oncoming motorcyclist and swear afterward that they did not see the motorcyclist coming. And, unfortunately, that might actually be the case. As Ride Safe Florida explains, a trick of the eye called “motion induced blindness” can cause a driver to, quite literally, not see an oncoming motorcycle in their peripheral vision. But that doesn’t excuse a driver who causes an accident. All drivers have a legal obligation to take care not to harm others on the road. When a driver is turning left at an intersection, that means keeping their “heads on a swivel” to make sure they see oncoming motorcyclists and any other hazards.
Left hand turns aren’t the only cause of bike wrecks. Other frequent causes of preventable motorcycle accidents we’ve dealt with at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman include:
- Crowding/failing to yield. These accidents are close cousins of left hand turn accidents, only they occur when the motorcycle and the car or truck are traveling in the same direction on a two-lane road, and the car or truck driver fails to check their blind spot before changing lanes, crowing a motorcyclist off of the road or cutting off the motorcyclist.
- Following too closely. “Tailgating” is dangerous no matter what type of vehicles are involved. A car or truck that follows a motorcycle too closely runs the risk of not being able to stop in time to avoid a rear end collision. Unfortunately for the motorcyclist, getting rear ended even at relatively low speeds can cause serious injuries.
- Driver distraction. The devices drivers bring into the car with them increasingly carry the potential to cause deadly distraction. Just a moment of inattention behind the wheel can cause a driver to drive out of their lane and collide with or cut off a motorcyclist.
- Poor road conditions. Not all motorcycle accidents result from the other motorists’ negligence. Sometimes blame lies with a road condition that the government entity responsible for maintaining the road should have fixed or prevented. For example, gravel, sand, and grooved pavement that a car or truck could pass over without noticing can cause a motorcycle to lose control.
- Defective motorcycle products. Some motorcycles have defects that make them unsafe to operate. Unfortunately for riders, it can be difficult to spot these defects until they lead to a serious accident.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Every motorcycle accident causes its own constellation of injuries for the motorcycle rider. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, there are no “ordinary” motorcycle accident injuries, just as there are no “ordinary” clients. There’s nothing routine about injuries that threaten a person’s life, no matter how many other people have gone through similar circumstances.
Still, when it comes to motorcycle accidents, there are some injuries that are more common than others. The most severe, of course, is any kind of injury that results in a rider’s death. Under Florida law, the spouses, partners, and families of anyone tragically killed in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t the rider’s fault have the right to seek compensation in a “wrongful death” lawsuit.
Even when a rider survives a motorcycle accident, however, their injuries can cause them enormous long-term difficulties. Here are some of the health challenges we’ve helped our clients recover damages for after a motorcycle accident:
- Brain injuries. Florida law only requires motorcycle riders under age 21 to wear a helmet. But, as Ride Safe Florida points out, it’s a good idea to wear a helmet at any age. Helmets significantly reduce the risk of dying in a motorcycle accident. But, of course, they cannot eliminate the risk of head injuries entirely. At certain speeds, no matter how good your helmet is, an impact between your head and the road or a fixed object can cause swelling, bleeding, and bruising in your brain, leading to potentially significant long-term physical and cognitive effects.
- Spinal cord injuries. When motorcyclists go tumbling from their bikes in an accident, they risk landing in a manner that injures their spinal cord—the bundle of nerves that communicates messages from the brain to the body. Spinal cord injuries, at their most severe, cause permanent paralysis and leave victims confined to a mobility device for the rest of their lives. The cost of treating these injuries and adapting to paralysis can run into the millions of dollars over a person’s lifetime.
- Severe abrasions and lacerations. Bikers joke about “road rash,” but the worst cases of this type of injury, which you get by sliding along the road in a crash, are no laughing matter. They easily get infected and may require multiple surgeries to treat. Not to mention they’re extremely painful and, at their most severe, life-threatening.
- Orthopedic and soft tissue injuries. Finally, there’s no end to the ways bones can break, tendons, ligaments, and muscles can tear, or vertebral discs can get crushed when a biker tumbles along the road, against a vehicle, or onto the shoulder of the road. Even when these injuries do not take a motorcyclist’s life, they can still cause a lifetime of pain or disability.
This is just a sampling of the types of injuries motorcycle accidents can cause. No matter what kind of injury you sustained in your crash, speaking with an experienced motorcycle accident injury attorney from Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman can help you figure out your legal options for getting the compensation you need to make the best recovery possible from your accident.
Dos and Don’ts After a Motorcycle Accident From Lawyers Who’ve Seen It All
You’ve been in a motorcycle accident. Now what? Here are some tips that might help you out when it comes to protecting your life, livelihood, and legal rights.
See a Doctor
Motorcycle wrecks rarely leave bikers able to “walk away” without some kind of injury. Chances are if you do anything other than tip your bike over, an ambulance is going to come along and offer you a ride to the emergency room. Take it. There is no downside to seeking medical care. And the sooner you have a doctor check you over, the stronger the evidence will be that any injury you suffered was caused by the motorcycle accident (which can be an important part of getting you the money you deserve). Even if you are one of the lucky few who do “walk away” from a motorcycle accident, schedule a follow up appointment with your regular doctor right away.
Don’t Trash or Fix Your Bike (Yet)
This is going to sound strange, but you should not touch your wrecked bike after the accident. Don’t take it to a junkyard. Don’t take it to a mechanic. Leave it somewhere out of the sun and rain (a garage is best) where no one will touch it. Your lawyer might want an accident reconstruction expert to take a look at your ride for clues about how the accident happened, and to make sure the bike itself wasn’t somehow defective.
Watch for Insurance Companies
As a motorcyclist in Florida, you might not carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. But if you have car insurance, PIP insurance is included in your coverage, and you’ll need to report the accident to your carrier. That’s fine. But be careful when it comes to dealing with anyone else’s insurance company. As you may know, in Florida the “other driver” and their insurance will only have liability in cases involving death and serious injury. So, if someone else’s insurance company reaches out to you, it’s probably because they think their insured has legal liability in the accident and the insurance company wants to either (a) try to get you to admit the accident was your fault; (b) try to get you to take a lowball settlement offer for your injuries; or (c) both. It’s best to talk to a lawyer before having a conversation with someone else’s insurance company (or, for that matter, someone else’s lawyer).
Consult a Lawyer As Soon As You Can
It may not surprise you to hear that we personal injury lawyers want you to come see us as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. But it might surprise you to hear why. How soon after your accident you choose to meet with a lawyer affects how well that lawyer can stand up for your rights. The earlier a lawyer gets involved, the greater the lawyer’s opportunity to investigate and strategize to put you in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation. Plus, if you wait too long to meet with a lawyer, you could lose your right to compensation altogether. As a rule of thumb, we tell people to plan a meeting with a lawyer as soon after an accident as they feel like they’re in the right mindset to hear what a lawyer has to say. We want you able to listen to our advice and make good decisions.
The Best Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys for You
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman want to help anyone dealing with the injuries and tragic losses resulting from a motorcycle accident. Our knowledgeable lawyers have years of experience helping people just like you recover damages for a motorcycle accident that wasn’t their fault. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can reach our team of skilled, experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyers online or at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). Contact us to schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765