Motorcycles are popular in Bonita Springs, FL, where year-round fantastic weather and long stretches of picturesque terrain make this a prime destination for riders. Florida has roughly more than 545,000 registered motorcycles, mostly private, some commercial and about 2,000 government-owned. That’s the second-highest number of registered bikers in the country (and it excludes the tourists who rumble into town annually) but Florida is No. 1 when it comes to motorcycle accidents.
Bonita Springs motorcycle accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, are passionate about representing victims of these crashes. Staunch defenders of riders’ rights, we also know that most of these deadly collisions are the result of other drivers who aren’t using the reasonable care they ought to. By definition – specifically Chapter 768 of Florida Statute – this is called negligence.
You may have heard of the fact that Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance. This is true. However, that doesn’t mean the person at-fault is never held responsible, especially where motorcyclists are concerned. Firstly, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance (F.S. 627.736) only covers up to $10,000 – and that’s if your injuries are considered “emergent.” Even then, it only covers up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages. Secondly – and more importantly for motorcycle riders – PIP isn’t available to them. State law specifically excludes motorcycle riders. For them, Florida might as well be a “tort” state, meaning you pursue damages from the person or entity that was to blame for the crash.Understanding Bonita Springs Motorcycle Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports nearly 5,300 motorcyclists were killed in collisions in a recent year. Of those, 555 died on the streets of Florida. Only California and Texas came close – and their populations dwarf that of the Sunshine State.
Although motorcycles are an increasingly common site on roads in Bonita Springs, the unfortunate reality is there still aren’t many drivers watching for them. We’ve lost count of the time we’ve heard defendants in motorcycle crash cases say the motorcyclist, “came out of nowhere.” While riding a motorcycle can indeed be a magical experience, none materialize out of thin air. The truth is many drivers suffer from something called “inattentive blindness,” meaning they could be staring straight at the motorcycle, but their brain doesn’t “register” it and thus they do not “see” it.
This natural phenomenon can help us understand why South Florida motorcycle accidents are so common, but it doesn’t excuse it. This is precisely why drivers have a duty to slow down or stop and “look twice, save a life.”How Florida Motorcyclists Recover Damages for Crash Injuries
Most motorcyclists will have to rely on some form of MedPay and/or health insurance, but that doesn’t mean the search for compensation should halt there, especially if serious injuries or wrongful death is involved.
Defendants in Bonita Springs motorcycle accident cases may include:
- The operator of the other car/truck/motorcycle;
- Motorcycle or parts manufacturer, if something was defective;
- Motorcycle maintenance company, if there is evidence it was defective;
- One’s own uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier (F.S. 627.727), if the other driver fled the scene, was not insured or didn’t have enough insurance to fully cover your damages.
You may have additional options if there was a commercial vehicle involved (suing the employer, carrier, etc.) or if there is evidence of a road defect that local government knew of and should have fixed. Further, if your motorcycle was struck by an underage drunk driver, you may have a dram shop claim (F.S. 768.125) against the vendor or party host who supplied them alcohol.
If you are an injured motorcycle passenger, you may have grounds to pursue action against any of the aforementioned PLUS the motorcycle operator. Some victims are reluctant to do so, given that they were probably riding with a spouse, romantic partner or someone they knew well. What you must bear in mind though is such claims are not truly against your significant other or friend. The goal is to have their insurance company pay fair compensation for your injuries – which is precisely why your loved one purchased and paid for the policy.
If you or someone you care about has been hurt, contact the Bonita Springs motorcycle accident lawyers at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured. You pay us no fees unless we win.