From State Route 13 to the Coastal Run, the Jacksonville region offers plenty of amazing routes for motorcyclists to enjoy the open air and the ample year-round sunshine Florida is known for. Motorcycles are also a common source of transportation for commuters wishing to move through traffic congestion easier. Unfortunately, motorcyclists often have to deal with negligent drivers and other hazards that can seriously harm them.
If a motorcycle accident injured you, the Jacksonville motorcycle accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help. You have the same right to use the roadway as any other motorist does, and if someone else's careless or reckless actions injured you, you deserve compensation for the expenses and losses related to your injury.
Motorcycle riders hold a special place with the team at Dolman Law Group. The riders we represent are pleased with the case results we have obtained for them, including:
- A $1.4 million settlement for a client who suffered serious injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident.
- A $1 million settlement for a client who sustained a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
- A $320,000 verdict for a client who had to undergo cervical spine fusion surgery after a motorcycle accident.
While we can't guarantee any specific results, when you contact Dolman Law Group today, you can learn about your legal rights and what we can do specifically for you.
Our Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Understand The Dangers Motorcyclists Face
Jacksonville hosts around 120 million visitors a year. Drawing such a large crowd of tourists to the area is helpful for the economy, but it generally results in severely congested streets and risks presented by people who are driving on unfamiliar roads. Traffic congestion is both difficult and dangerous for motorcycles, as they lack the stability or protection of four-wheeled vehicles.
Other hazards that motorcyclists face on Jacksonville roadways include:
- A lack of visibility. Motorcycles have a much slimmer frame and fewer headlights than other types of vehicles. This makes them harder to see, particularly at night. Additionally, motorcyclists may be more likely to have accidents caused by inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness refers to how the brain prioritizes information, focusing on the largest objects or those that are more likely to pose the biggest hazards. This means that a car driver who says that they didn't even see the motorcycle before the crash was likely telling the truth—to some extent. Inattentional blindness, however, is not a defense that will allow a driver to avoid liability in a motorcycle accident.
- Speeding drivers. Speeding is a cause of about one-quarter of all fatal accidents on U.S. roadways, including those that involve motorcycles. Speeding drivers are dangerous to motorcyclists because they make it difficult to judge a gap in traffic when it is safe to pull out into a travel lane. Speeding also gives the driver less time to perceive a hazard, such as a motorcyclist, and to respond by braking. A speeding vehicle requires a greater distance to stop safely, and speed increases crash severity.
- Distracted drivers. Jacksonville contains many distractions. From bright and enticing storefronts and billboards to pedestrians crossing roadways both in and out of crosswalks, plenty of things can draw a driver's eyes from the road, keep their hands off the wheel, or distract them from safe driving. Many motorcyclists have incurred serious injuries in Jacksonville as a result of distracted drivers.
- Left turns. Left-turn accidents are among the biggest dangers that motorcyclists face. They usually occur when the left-turning driver attempts to turn in an intersection that does not feature a green arrow or outside of an intersection. In this situation, the driver must judge the gap in traffic to determine if there is enough space to complete the turn. However, because of distraction, inattentional blindness, or even an obstructed view, the driver fails to notice the oncoming motorcycle and turns into its path.
- Dooring. Dooring occurs when an occupant of a parked vehicle opens their door in the path of an approaching motorcyclist.
Common Injuries Our Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Encounter
When you think about motorcycle accident injuries, you probably picture traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or road rash. In actuality, there is a reason why those two injuries are so frequently mentioned. TBI is the main cause of death in motorcycle accidents, while road rash is among the most common injuries suffered.
A TBI refers to brain damage caused by a blow to the head or body, such as what an unhelmeted rider would experience if they struck their head against the pavement, another vehicle, or an object at the accident scene.
The brain controls all of the body's functions along with involuntary responses, yet it cannot heal after injury. This means that TBIs commonly result in permanent deficits, such as an inability to control emotions or behaviors, loss of memory, difficulty speaking or understanding spoken language, and difficulty with balanced, coordinated movement.
Road rash, also known as friction burns, is an abrasion that occurs when the motorcyclist's skin makes contact with a rough surface such as the roadway. While this injury may heal well, it carries a risk of dangerous infections. There is also a risk that the skin will heal tightly in the injured area, resulting in a loss of mobility in an impacted joint.
Other injuries commonly suffered in motorcycle accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries often cause a loss of sensation or function below the injury site, known as paralysis. Damage to the cervical (neck) region of the body will often paralyze the shoulders, arms, chest, torso, hips, pelvis, legs, and feet. This is known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia. For those who suffer damage to a lower portion of the spinal cord, paralysis often occurs only in the lower extremities. This is known as paraplegia.
- Broken bones, which are particularly common in the lower extremities from getting trapped between the motorcycle and the roadway or the motorcycle and another vehicle.
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Injuries to the internal soft tissues of the knee are among the most common, as the knee can bend or twist wrong during an accident.
- Internal injuries resulting from the motorcyclist's body striking the vehicle, roadway, or other obstacles. A common internal injury suffered in motorcycle accidents is a pneumothorax, a collapsed lung from a broken rib puncturing the lung.
- Amputated limbs. Traumatic limb amputations may occur in an accident when a sharp or rough object tears or shears the limb from the body. For some individuals, even if their limb remains intact, surgeons must later remove it because the damage is too extensive to repair.
- Damage to the discs or vertebrae of the spine in the back or neck, which often results in loss of mobility and chronic pain. Surgical repairs to the discs and vertebrae can often provide more stability for the injury but often fail to address chronic pain.
How a Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
Motorcycle crashes have accounted for between 2.1 and 4 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in Florida for the past 20 years. However, recent years have produced some instability in those numbers. For example, in one recent year, motorcyclists accounted for more than 15 percent of the fatalities on Florida's roadways. Beyond the fatalities, however, many individuals suffer serious injuries in motorcycle accidents in Jacksonville each year.
If you have suffered injuries because of a motorcycle accident that another motorist's negligence caused, you could seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury. In Florida, you generally must file a motorcycle accident lawsuit within two years of the accident and establish the legal elements for a personal injury claim.
Your Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Must Prove the Other Party's Liability
To prove that someone else was liable for your motorcycle accident, your attorney must prove:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The term “duty of care” refers to the actions a reasonable person takes in a given set of circumstances to protect the safety and property of others. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to operate their motor vehicle safely and legally.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. This refers to what the at-fault party did that violated the duty of care. If a speeding driver, for example, caused your accident, speeding would breach the duty of care, as it is not safe or legal.
- The breach of duty of care resulted in an accident that injured you. Also, you must show how the injury caused you to suffer expenses and financial losses.
Which Damages Can A Skilled Motorcycle Crash Lawyer Recover for You?
In legal matters, “recovering damages” refers to financial payment intended to compensate someone for the harm caused by another person.
Motorcycle accident claimants in Florida can request legal damages from an at-fault party that may include:
- Medical expenses, such as the cost of emergency treatment, ambulance transport, hospitalization, diagnostic testing, surgical and physician services, prescription medication, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and the provision of prosthetic limbs, a wheelchair, or crutches.
- Lost income if your injury prevented you from working or you had to miss work to attend an injury-related medical appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity if your injury results in permanent disabilities and you are no longer able to earn in the same capacity as you were before the accident.
- Property damage you sustained in the accident, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle or gear.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life if your injury prevents you from enjoying activities that are important to you.
- Loss of consortium, which is collected on behalf of an injured person's spouse or partner for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that accompanies serious injuries.
What is the Florida Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations?
If you want to do everything possible to maximize your motorcycle accident injury settlement, you need to take action before the statute of limitations expires. Under Florida Statute § 95.11, motorcycle accident victims will generally have up to two years following the accident to file their claims before the statute of limitations runs out.
However, the exact date on which the statute of limitations expires can vary depending on the date the accident occurred, when you were diagnosed with injuries relating to the accident, and other factors. If your motorcycle accident lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations runs out, you will no longer be able to recover compensation through the Florida civil court system.
For this reason, you need to retain an experienced Jacksonville motorcycle accident attorney who will ensure you meet all filing deadlines, including the statute of limitations, to avoid facing an adverse impact on the outcome of your case.
What If You Share Some Responsibility for Your Motorcycle Accident?
Some motorcycle accident victims in Florida are hesitant about contacting an attorney. This is because they believe sharing fault for their injuries will prohibit them from recovering compensation for their damages.
However, Florida is one of the most victim-friendly states regarding motorcycle accidents and personal injury claims. Under Florida Statute § 768.81, the state follows a pure comparative negligence system. This means even if you can share some liability for causing the accident, you can still recover compensation for your damages. The amount of compensation you can collect will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. Here's an example:
Bob was not wearing his motorcycle helmet when he was struck by a drunk driver. In court, the defense argued that Bob shared fault for his injuries since he failed to wear a motorcycle helmet. The judge agreed and found Bob 15% at fault for his injuries. The jury awarded Bob $100,000. But because Bob was 15% at fault for his injuries, his injury settlement was subsequently reduced by 15%, leaving him with an $85,000 motorcycle accident settlement.
Although the state does not bar you from recovering compensation when you share fault, being partially liable for your injuries will have an impact on the amount of compensation you can be awarded. To protect your injury settlement and ensure you are maximizing your award, make sure to have a powerful legal advocate from Dolman Law Group fighting for your rights.
How to Know When You Can Bring a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you are still unsure whether you should reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer in Jacksonville for help, consider how your life has been affected by your injuries. When someone else is responsible for the injuries you sustained, why should you be stuck covering the costs? The answer is you shouldn't be.
Discussing the details of your case with a motorcycle accident attorney at Dolman Law Group is free. You can find out more about what legal options may be available to you when you reach out to one of our motorcycle accident lawyers in Jacksonville for help.
Injured in a Motorcycle Crash? A Dolman Law Group Jacksonville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
We understand the way you may feel when others do not understand or appreciate the beauty and adventure that comes from taking in the sites around Jacksonville on the back of a motorcycle. When you are injured in a motorcycle wreck, you may face judgment from non-riders and a negative response from the insurance companies.
We know most motorcycle crashes are caused by other drivers who fail to respect motorcyclists' rights. We will fight alongside you to recover the most compensation possible for your injuries. Let us begin exploring your legal options through a free case evaluation. Contact the Jacksonville personal injury lawyers from Dolman Law Group online or by calling (904) 441-6903.
12574 Flagler Center Blvd.;
Jacksonville, FL 32258
Phone: (904) 441-6903