Orlando Motorcycle Accidents: Who’s To Blame?
As an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney, sometimes I get phone calls from people wondering about potential accident liability. When that happens, my job is to explain when the law holds other drivers accountable, and when it doesn’t. That always depends, plain and simple, on who caused the accident, regardless of whether the offending vehicle was a motorcycle, car, truck, bus, or even bicycle.
Also, Orlando motorcycle accident cases vary tremendously in their value. That being said, many of your actions, after the accident, can dramatically increase the value of your Orlando motorcycle accident case.
Tragic Motorcycle Accident Fatality
Before I discuss how we determine fault in motorcycle accident cases, there was a tragic case of a motorcyclist who died this past Saturday in a motorcycle accident. The Fort Meyers man was only 29 years old, and was wearing his helmet. He was headed south on SR-93 in Lee County, near the Southwest Florida International Airport, on an exit ramp. There was a caution sign at the beginning of the ramp recommending a 40 mile per hour speed. Then there was another curve and additional slow down to 25 miles per hour recommended. Florida Highway Patrol reported that the man lost control of his bike on these curves because he was driving too fast. Very sadly, his bike tipped to the left, slid uphill, then ran into a guardrail. He was found dead at the scene.
Sometimes There Was Just A Terrible Accident
In that type of situation, there appears to be no one to blame. If this man had had a passenger (which he didn’t), then his passenger could have recovered for his negligent driving during this motorcycle accident. Alternately, had he collided with another vehicle, the other vehicle’s occupants may have recovered. But this man’s family probably will not be able to recover any money for this young man’s tragic death.
Unsafe Products Or Vehicles Might Be To Blame
The only exceptions are possibilities like some defect in the motorcycle, or some other freak cause, like another vehicle forcing him into the guardrail. For example, if there were records proving that his motorcycle brakes had been recently repaired, but did not function during the crash, then maybe. Or there could be other product safety issues to blame. However, those are usually long-shot possibilities. More typically, when a driver basically runs off the road and hits something, there is no way for an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney to recover anything for the victim, if he survives, or the family, if he doesn’t.
Sometimes Another Driver Caused The Orlando Motorcycle Accident
Although the family of the victim in this motorcycle accident might have difficulty proving that anyone other than the driver was too blame, far too often motorcyclists are injured or killed, and some other driver clearly caused the accident. Yet the general prejudice against riders causes the victim to get less compensation than he or she fully deserves. Most jurors drive cars. So they may think of bikers as daredevils. Of course, innocent Orlando motorcycle accident victims fully deserve maximum compensation, just like any other collision where another driver was at fault. The only trick is fighting any prejudice the jury might have against bikers.
Blame May Go Both Ways
Another possibility is that all drivers involved in an Orlando motorcycle accident share some blame. For example, let’s say that you were driving a few miles over the speed limit. But then another driver didn’t stop at a stop sign, and hit you. You might be seeking $100,000 for back and neck injuries. The jury can decide that you were 30% responsible, but the other driver was 70% responsible. Then you would be entitled to receive 70% of any jury verdict. In other words, jurors are asked to divide responsibility on a percentage basis.
Motorcycle Accident Analysis
Proving fault in an Orlando motorcycle accident requires analysis of many factors, including:
- Is there helpful witness testimony?
- Were any of the drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident?
- Were any drivers texting while driving, or distracted for some other reason?
- What were the road conditions at the scene of the accident (including wet roads and construction)?
- What happened during accident?
- Were all drivers obeying the rules of the road?
- Were all vehicles properly maintained?
- Were there any skid marks, or other road marks, proving fault?
- Does the location of damage on each vehicle provide evidence of fault?
- Do the types or location of injuries suggest fault?
Bottom Line: The Rules Of The Road Are The Same For All Types Of Orlando Vehicles
Most general rules that apply to all auto accidents apply just the same in Orlando motorcycle cases. That means that the driver who violated the rules of the road, or was driving in an unsafe way, will be financially responsible for any injuries, or property damage. The fact that one vehicle was a motorcycle really makes no difference whatsoever in assessing blame.
Part II of this article (to be published tomorrow) explains, legally and practically, how motorcycle accidents can be slightly different, as well as how to combat prejudice against riders. As a sneak preview, I would just caution against thinking you need to hire an attorney who also rides a motorcycle. You do not. That’s crazy.
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