Driving a motorcycle requires skill and awareness of your surroundings to operate this exciting but dangerous two-wheeled vehicle safely. Unfortunately, even the most skillful and responsible motorcycle rider is at the mercy of those they share the road with and face the risk of severe or fatal injuries, even in low-speed collisions that would be considered “fender benders.” Combine the increased risk of serious injury with the smaller — and therefore easier to lose in blind spots — size of a motorcycle, and anyone who either operates or rides on a motorcycle faces significant risks.
Countless people each day accept these risks to ride an invigorating, economical, and exciting vehicles, whether for pure pleasure, commuting to and from work, gathering with friends, and a variety of other great uses for a motorcycle. If you are one of these people, it is essential that you know your rights if you are in a motorcycle accident in or around Fort Walton Beach.
Fort Walton Beach, like the many other towns and cities along the Florida panhandle, offers great riding year-round, but the great weather and views do not take away from the fact that Florida is the most dangerous state in the US in terms of fatal motorcycle accidents. If you are in an accident that someone else caused, one of your top priorities should be to partner with a legal professional who can build a strong case on your behalf.
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When you are in an accident that someone else causes, you are entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit, frequently in the form of an insurance claim filed through the at-fault party’s liability insurer. This process is, at its surface, relatively simple, but getting the money you deserve is much more complicated. This is where working with an attorney comes into play.
The team at Fasig | Brooks is here to help. Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation where you will be able to speak directly with a personal injury attorney about your situation. You do not need to take on the emotional stress of your legal issues on your own, and when our legal team is representing you, you will be able to focus on your recovery without having to feel the pressure of getting through your claim alone.
Fort Walton Beach Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Florida reported a total of 8,895 motorcycle crashes and 550 fatalities in 2019, as well as over 2,000 incapacitating injuries and nearly 5,500 other injuries. Okaloosa County accounted for 118 of those accidents, 9 of the fatalities, and 1,464 injuries. Each of these accidents is unique, and many different factors tell a much more straightforward story of each of these. In many instances, these accidents were caused by others, meaning that the victim (and in the event of a fatal accident, family members or dependents of the deceased) is entitled to compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
While not legally required for riders over the age of 21 in Florida, wearing a helmet is a great way to reduce your risk of being a statistic in next year’s motorcycle fatality report.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
The following are just a few of the many ways that another driver can cause a motorcycle accident. This list is not exhaustive and does not touch on accidents caused by the rider since those situations would not qualify the rider for compensation through a personal injury claim. Whether or not you see the cause of your accident below, contact us now to be connected with an attorney who can help you make more sense of your legal options.
Drunk or Drugged Driving
When a driver consumes alcohol beyond the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% (or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% for anyone under the age of 21) or consumes any mind-altering substance before operating a motor vehicle, they violate Florida law and put everyone else at an increased risk of an accident. As with other drugs, alcohol reduces a driver’s reaction time, impacts their peripheral vision, and causes a range of other effects that put everyone on the road in peril.
Looking at a smartphone, changing a radio station, talking on the phone, or even letting the mind wander are all examples of distracted driving that can cause someone to miss a motorcycle next to them or heading towards them as they turn at an intersection. A driver needs to remain focused while operating a motor vehicle to be aware of the constantly changing environment around them and respond to these changes accordingly.
Failure to Yield
When approaching an intersection on a motorcycle, riders must trust everyone else at the intersection as they signal their turns and wait their turn. When a driver makes a left turn in front of a motorcycle, it is then up to the motorcyclist to attempt a defensive maneuver before riding straight into the vehicle, likely being thrown over the car and hitting the pavement before skidding to a stop. These types of accidents are hazardous.
All vehicles have blind spots, but passenger vehicles take up more space and get lost in a blind spot for much less time than a small vehicle like a motorcycle. In addition, due to the motorcycle’s small size and lack of dominance in a driver’s visual field, they are more likely to be overlooked before a driver commits to a lane change or turn without realizing that there is a motorcycle in their new direction of travel.