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Motorcycle Crashes & Fatalities

Posted by Scot D. Goldberg | Apr 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Florida Death Rate Increasing

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Southwest Florida Personal Injury Firm Provides Full-Throttle Representation for Injured Bikers

According to a report written and published by Dr. Chanyoung Lee, Ph.D, of the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research, the rate of fatalities among Florida motorcycle riders is on the increase. This is a disturbing trend, especially when you realize that from 2008 to 2010, the number of fatalities had been dropping. Since 2011, they are climbing back up – and Dr. Lee's compilation of facts reveals some interesting information.

At The Goldberg Firm, we have decades of first-hand experience representing those who have been injured in a bike crash. We have personally seen the devastation that results when a car or other vehicle collides with a motorcycle. At this time, none of our attorneys are active riders, although Managing Partner Scot D. Goldberg has owned and ridden a couple of Harleys. Some personal injury accident lawyers want you to believe that because they are bikers, they possess a unique perspective on motorcycle accidents. But, it's not biker-related advertising or leather riding gear that should be your primary focus when selecting the right bike accident attorney. Ask them how many bike accident cases they have successfully settled, and how many bikers they have represented. Study the facts to make an informed decision.

Overall motorcycle injuries have seen a 50% jump over the past 10 years, while fatalities soared nearly 90% during the same time frame. Also in the past decade, traffic fatalities not involving motorcycles have seen a decline of 20%, and traffic crash injuries were reduced by 10%.

In 2001, biker deaths made up only about 8% of all traffic fatalities in Florida. Yet by 2008, the percentage had jumped to 17.8%. The report illustrates several factors that are indicative of the reasons for the increase.

Biker Deaths by the Numbers: Gender and Age

According to stats published by the Florida Department of Transportation, the age group representing the largest percentage of motorcyclist fatalities in 2011 was 25-34, with 1,480 deaths. Of those, 1,373 were male and 99 were female. It is interesting to note that over the last decade, the number of older riders involved in bike crashes has been steadily rising. In 2004, riders 55-years-old or more involved in a crash represented just 10%, but by 2013 that number was 20%.

Florida does attract a number of bikers who are just visiting our state, but Florida residents made up the lion's share of biker fatalities in 2013, at 91%. Interestingly, as of January of this year, there were 593,321 registered motorcycles in the Sunshine State, but 1,111,813 people holding a motorcycle endorsement certification. Maybe that means there are about twice the number of riders than there are those who may just be “between bikes”.

Bikers and Booze

The report also states that in 2005, 27% of Florida biker fatalities involved alcohol, but in 2009 that number went up to 37%. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, impaired Florida motorcyclists with a blood alcohol content, (BAC), of .08%, (Florida's legal limit), accounted for 26% of all motorcyclist deaths in 2011.

Obviously, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Goldberg, Racila, D'Alessandro & Noone hope that if you ride, you refrain from alcohol use. We also strongly advocate wearing a DOT-approved helmet, as the data clearly indicates helmets significantly reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash. We understand that deciding whether to wear a helmet or not is a very personal choice. There is a very large faction of riders who feel that wearing a helmet reduces their ability to see and hear clearly, and there are reports that support that. Our firm's attorneys have represented hundreds of people, and surviving family members left devastated by the death of loved one, in motorcycle crash lawsuits. We have written extensively about wearing a helmet or not, and you can read more on that by clicking here.

Some other interesting facts revealed in the NHTSA study:

  • Any alcohol in a biker's body increases the risk of being involved in a crash by 5X.
  • A BAC of just 0.05% increases that risk by nearly 40X.
  • 25% of all fatal, alcohol-related motorcycle crashes involved bikers running off the road, overturning or falling off their bikes, as opposed to striking another object.

Bike Crashes and Types of Injuries

During 2010, information gathered from Florida death certificates show that 29% of motorcycle fatalities were related to some form of traumatic brain injury, 35% from injuries to multiple body regions, 30% to unspecified bodily injury and 9% related to injuries of the thorax. The data also indicates that the 2 most common types of primary injuries suffered in non-fatal bike crashes requiring a hospital visit were fractures at 67%, and internal organ injuries, at 23%.

The Bottom Line for Bikers: Bigger is Not Always Better

There are many personal injury law firms in Southwest Florida, both small and large. It is no secret that in our state especially, “settlement mills” are quite a prominent issue when it comes to selecting an attorney after being injured in a bike crash. A settlement mill is a term used for law firms that care more about their bottom line, churning over case after case in the quest for volume, as opposed to adequately representing their clients. Often, an injured rider will seek counsel from one of the more prominent law firms they see on television the most. Some even elect to call a “lawyer referral service”, like 1-800-ASK GARY, or others, which are nothing more than a doctor and attorney referral service. The next time you see one of their television ads, take a close look at the small print at the bottom of your TV screen. The service is owned by a doctor, and simply doles out potential clients to doctors and lawyers who have paid a fee to participate. What most people discover is that they end up having very little interaction, if any, with an actual attorney, and a paralegal or ‘case worker' will be handling the majority of work on their case.

We have clients, both currently and in the past, who have retained our services after a previous experience with one of these types of law firms. Our personal injury attorneys pride themselves on their one-on-one communication with our clients through every single process involved in the legal battle with giant, unwavering insurance companies. Our Managing Partners have their cell phone numbers on their business cards, and have broadcast those numbers on some of our radio advertising. Does your attorney do that?

Selecting the right personal injury lawyer after suffering a serious personal injury in a motorcycle crash is a major step in making you whole again. You want someone with a successful history representing injured bikers, and that has the financial resources to stand up to the tricks and tactics used by giant insurance companies. We're never afraid to go to trial, and insurance companies know that.

If you need a divorce attorney, go to Google. If you're hurt in a bike crash, go to Goldberg.

Call us at 239-461-5508 for a no-obligation, free initial consultation to determine your legal course of action after a motorcycle accident, or CLICK HERE to complete our simple contact form – one of our attorneys will call you back personally within 24 hours.

About the Author

Scot D. Goldberg

Local People. Local Practice. Local Knowledge. Scot Goldberg is a founding partner of the Goldberg Law Firm. See his attorney profile for more information.

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