Riding a motorcycle is one of the most liberating, freedom-filled experiences you can imagine – and also one of the scariest. Just by looking at the numbers and statistics about motorcycle crashes, it's a wonder bikers still make the choice to ride. And in Florida, bikers have the choice of wearing a helmet, or not. We always advocate strongly in favor of wearing a DOT-authorized helmet, but we fully realize there are those who chose to go without one – that's a choice we get to make as free Americans.
At Goldberg Noone, LLC, we practice personal injury law, and have helped hundreds of riders in Southwest Florida who have been seriously hurt through no fault of their own. What we've learned over our 16 years running a personal injury law firm is that when it comes to motorcycle crashes, there are never two scenarios that are exactly the same. While we have worked for multiple clients who have been rear-ended while on their bike, there are always a variety of circumstances that all came together to cause the collision – no two crashes are ever the same.
As we mentioned, the statistics on motorcycle crashes are pretty scary. 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, while the number is only 20% for passenger car crashes. And the number of bikes on the road is rising dramatically. Between 1998 and 2007, registrations of motorcycles soared from just under 4 million to just over 7 million – about an 84% increase. The more shocking news is that during the same period, motorcycle fatalities jumped by 90%.
Does This Warrant a Lawsuit? The Challenges of Investigating a Motorcycle Crash
Let's take a look at a few of the scenarios that can result in a serious bike accident:
- Rear-ender: These are some of the most devastating types of bike / car crashes. You can imagine the seriousness of injuries involved when a stationery object is violently struck by a two-ton missile that may not even be in the process of braking. Usually, a distracted driver is at fault in rear-end collisions, although that isn't always the case.
- Left turn: Many of our clients come to us for help because someone violated their right of way by making a left turn directly into their path of travel. People often don't see the oncoming biker, and make a turn directly in front of them. An astonishing 40% of bike vs. car crashes are the result of a left turn infraction.
- Failure to Account for Motorcycles: Even when drivers of passenger vehicles do see a bike around them, they don't allow adequate distance or time to safely share the road. Drivers often fail to see a biker approaching from the rear of their vehicle, either in the lane to the right or left of their car, and change lanes into their path of travel.
While most motorcycle crashes are caused by the violation of the biker's right of way, there are other circumstances and causes that can result in a serious bike crash, and one of them is road conditions.
If you've ever driven on a road that made you feel unsafe in your car, imagine what that feels like while you're riding a bike. The design of the road, the condition of the pavement, the markings on the road, whether or not there are raised reflective markers mounted into the roadway – all of these can be the cause of a motorcycle crash. If the entity responsible for maintaining a specific road does not adequately repair pot holes, raised or sunken sections of pavement, uneven ridges or bumps, manhole covers or the surfaces at railroad crossings, a biker can become seriously hurt or even killed.
At the Goldberg Firm, it doesn't matter to us whether our clients have been hurt through the fault of another driver, or through the negligence of a city, county or state highway maintenance department – we'll fight tirelessly to get them to compensate you financially for your injuries, continued medical care, lost wages from being unable to work and pain and suffering.
After the Crash: Goldberg Noone Attorneys Get To Work
When you retain our law firm to represent you in a personal injury motorcycle accident in Southwest Florida, our team goes to work immediately. There are many challenges that come up during the course of what is called discovery, the phase of determining whether filing a lawsuit is required. As we've written about here previously, there are instances in which a lawsuit is never filed, because the insurance company representing the at-fault party has agreed to pay a reasonable financial settlement as compensation for your injuries. But that doesn't happen very often, so we prepare every individual case not only as if a lawsuit will be filed, but also that we will be going to trial before a judge and jury.
Depending on the severity of your injuries, or if you leave behind surviving family members in the tragic event of a fatality, preparing your personal injury case requires a multitude of different skills and technological research. In order to most thoroughly determine and analyze exactly what you will need in order to at least attempt to make your life whole again, the Goldberg Law Firm considers and coordinates many potential aspects of your future:
- Accident Reconstructionist: In almost all cases, the insurance company of the at-fault person in the crash will aggressively dispute the facts of the crash, and deny that their driver was at fault. In those instances, our personal injury attorneys retain the services of the industry's top accident reconstructionists and accident forensic experts to piece together exactly what happened to cause the crash. Based on any possible eyewitness accounts, the accident report filed by the responding law enforcement agency and other factors, we work with reconstructionist engineers who use complex mathematical and scientific data to most accurately determine what caused the collision.
- To best illustrate to the opposing insurance company's army of attorneys, or a judge and jury if the case proceeds to a court trial, we'll produce an accurate animated video depicting the most precise set of circumstances leading up to the moment of impact. This type of innovative technology does not come cheap – you need to retain a personal injury law firm that is fully capable of enlisting this type of technology to best represent you and the specifics involved in your crash.
- Neurologists / Neuropsychologists: If your bike accident has left you with traumatic brain injury, (TBI), or other severe injuries to the head, our firm enlists the expert testimony of respected medical experts and specialists in the field of neurology and neuropsychology to explain the severity of your future care. This enables us to best calculate the necessary financial compensation in order to provide for your future medical expenses.
- Vocational Training / Rehabilitation: You may require extensive rehabilitative therapy in order to resume work, or even re-learn things as elementary as moving your arms or legs. We bring in experts in these fields so as to best devise a plan for getting you as close as physically possible to being the person you were prior to your accident.
- Life Care Planners: Sadly, in so many of our client's cases, we see devastating injuries that will remain with the victims for the rest of their lives. If a client is left in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives and unable to work, who will provide for them and their family? Even more serious are cases in which the victim has been killed through absolutely no fault of their own. Who is going to pay the normal, day-to-day expenses of the remaining family members?
These are just some of the many aspects that must be considered when preparing to make a demand for a financial settlement, or go to trial. The personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Noone have been doing this for a long time, and we understand exactly what is involved to reach a successful outcome of your case.
Motorcycle Crashes are VERY Different than Car, Truck Crashes
There are a huge number of factors that come into play when representing the victim of a motorcycle crash as opposed to a car or other passenger vehicle crash.
Visibility: Obviously it is more difficult to see a smaller object than a larger one on the road. Motorcycles, even though they have a large, bright front headlight, are not noticed by some drivers. Further, a bike and rider can often be obscured by another car, truck, road sign or other visual obstruction much more easily than can a passenger vehicle. The most common thing we hear from a car driver after they have been found to have violated the right of way of a motorcyclist is, ‘I just never saw them'.
Road Conditions: If you're in a passenger vehicle and someone abruptly pulls out in front of you on a wet roadway, hitting the brakes and jerking the steering wheel to avoid a collision will be most people's initial reaction. Because the roads are wet, you may still slide into the car that pulled out. But a biker has other problems in this situation, and the same results can be catastrophic. Many experienced bikers will opt to ‘lay the bike down', meaning they intentionally choose to take the bike off its two wheels and physically slide on the pavement in order to try to avoid a direct impact with the car.
Maneuverability: Braking and steering while riding a motorcycle is completely different than while driving a car. On a bike, there is a chance of crashing if the front or rear brakes, or both, are applied too aggressively, causing the brakes to lock. (Almost all newer motorcycles are equipped with ‘anti-lock brakes', yet this does not fully reduce the possibility of causing a crash through the application of the brake system). Steering is another major difference between a bike's and a car's maneuverability. If someone in a passenger car approaching you in the oncoming direction attempts to make a left turn directly into your path while you're in another car, you'll likely slam on the brakes and attempt to steer in one direction or another to avoid an impact. But for a biker, the options are more limited, and the potential outcome is far more serious. An experienced rider will know that veering into the lane adjacent to them may result in a more severe crash than hitting the car directly in their path. If you're riding alongside an 18-wheeler and try to move to that side to avoid a head-on crash, the consequences could be far more catastrophic. Also, turning a motorcycle requires ‘leaning' into the direction you intend to turn. This maneuver requires much more distance then does turning a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, that added distance often results in a serious bodily injury, or worse, for a biker.
Since 2000, We've Helped Hundreds of Motorcycle Crash Victims
After a serious motorcycle crash, you're going to need help, and that's why we're here. You're going to have hundreds of questions about what happens next, who will pay for all of your medical care, and how to try to get your life back on track. Goldberg Noone's personal injury attorneys have been representing motorcycle riders who have been victimized by the careless or negligent actions of someone else for over 16 years, and we're prepared to help you, too.
Contact our office at 239-461-5508, or simply complete this simple form to have one of our attorneys contact you immediately. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot travel, we'll come to you. And, you never have to pay us a penny up front, or pay for an initial consultation – we only get paid when we are successful on your behalf.
Motorcycle and passenger car crashes are very different, and you need an experienced, aggressive law firm that knows the differences.