Incidents involving motorcycles can be particularly damaging and have devastating, even life-threatening effects.
Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney can help ensure you receive the compensation you need to deal with the aftermath of a serious incident.
Our team at Chanfrau & Chanfrau is here for you...
Motorcyclists Are Disproportionately Affected by Accidents
Despite making up only three percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
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Florida's Motorcycle Scene
With plenty of sunshine and retirees, Florida is a state that attracts motorcycle riders year-round. In fact, Florida has the second highest number of registered motorcycles in the nation. Daytona Bike Week is an annual national event that adds more than 500,000 bikes to the normal springtime traffic in the area. Each year, many accidents are reported, including collisions between motorcycles.
Daytona Bike Week
Despite the increased number of accidents during this event, credit should be given to the Daytona Beach/Volusia County law enforcement agencies for planning ahead to slow down traffic and make pedestrian crosswalks in congested areas such as the Iron Horse Saloon and Destination Daytona to reduce the risk to bikers and pedestrians alike. In 2006, Twenty-six deaths were reported and 2009 we only had seven deaths reported. Bike Week in Florida has become a national event, and with the large number of motorcycles in the area at one time, accident rates go up. Many accidents during Daytona Bike Week occur because of inexperienced or impaired drivers, and many others occur because of negligent drivers. With many motorcyclists in one place at one time, there have also been incidents of collisions with each other.
For motorcyclists planning to attend Bike Week in Florida, extra precautions should be taken since many other bikers will be on the road. Motorcyclists should always wear protective helmets, obey traffic laws, keep a sharp eye to their surroundings, and be wary of other drivers who may not see them. Drivers of motorbikes should also make sure to take out uninsured motorist insurance in order to protect their finances in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Sigfried's Auto Accident Story
Sigfried was involved in an auto accident where he was severely injured. His injuries left him out of work as a police officer. The attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau were able to recover maximum compensation so Sigfried could recover in peace.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists face a significant risk of injury or death in the event of a vehicle collision, as the bike and its rider will typically sustain the brunt of the damage. As a result, it is important that motorcyclists remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Being familiar with the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can help you avoid them. These common causes include:
Motorcycles have a much smaller profile than cars and trucks. Furthermore, most drivers simply do not take extra care to look for riders. Consequently, motorcyclists are commonly involved in vehicle collisions because an inattentive driver failed to notice them.
Drivers Failing to Yield
Motorcyclists face significant danger when a driver fails to yield, as there are other hazards all around them. When a motorist fails to yield to a motorcyclist, it can result in severe injury or even death.
Drivers Failing to Signal
Many motorists find it difficult to properly judge the speed of motorcycles, or pay motorcyclists little attention because they feel safe within the confines of their automobile. A failure to signal can result in a car turning into your path from the other direction or transitioning into your lane without warning.
Drivers Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Accidents related to alcohol or drugs result in thousands of deaths each year. If a motorist collided with you, ran you off the road, or caused you to crash in some other manner because he or she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we can help you pursue financial compensation.
Drivers Who Follow Too Closely
A motorist who follows too closely can easily cause a rear-end collision. When two cars are involved, rear-end collisions often result in little more than a scratch or two. When the person being struck is a motorcyclist, a rear-end collision can be incredibly dangerous.
Unfortunately, many motorists seem to have an irrational dislike of motorcyclists and bicyclists. If you were involved in a vehicle collision or auto accident because a fellow motorist acted with a gross disregard to your personal safety, we will do everything possible to see that you are justly compensated.
Accidents with Cars Making Left Hand Turns
Left hand turns account for 42 percent of motorcycle accidents involving a car. In such instances, drivers of larger vehicles do not see the motorcyclist approaching and strike the rider on the side. This frequently happens at intersections when the motorcyclists is going straight and the car driver is turning. It can also happen while a motorcyclist is passing a car that suddenly turns. While the driver is more often found at fault, the court may find that a motorcyclist is partially or fully to blame if they were speeding or in the wrong lane.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting
When a motorcyclist rides between lanes of stopped or slowed vehicles, it is known as lane splitting. While legal in some states, it is illegal in Florida. Lane splitting is illegal largely because it is so dangerous. Motorcyclists are easily struck by cars changing lanes, or even when cars move within the same lane. In most cases, motorcyclists splitting lanes in Florida will be found at-fault for related accidents, unless they can show that the driver contributed to the accident in some way, such as using a cell phone while driving.
Motorcycle Crashes with Fixed Objects
Crashes with trees, medians, parked cars, and other fixed objects account for about a quarter of all motorcycle accident deaths. In comparison, other vehicular deaths due to striking a fixed object is about 18 percent. The obvious reason for the higher mortality rate among motorcycle riders is that their vehicle is less protective and makes them more vulnerable to bodily harm.
Crashes with trees, medians, parked cars, and other fixed objects account for about a quarter of all motorcycle accident deaths.
Dangerous Road Conditions
Motorcyclists are more often affected by hazardous road conditions, such as debris in the road or inclement weather, compared to other vehicle types. The smaller wheels and greater instability of a motorcycle mean that hazards like roadkill or wet asphalt are more dangerous than they are for cars or trucks. Some conditions and obstacles that are hazardous to motorcycles, but not other vehicles, include:
- Bumpy or uneven roads
- Railway tracks
- Painted surfaces (especially when wet)
- Oil on the road
- Expansion joints
While a motorcyclist can do their best to avoid these obstacles, there may not always be enough time or space to do so.
High Performance Motorcycles
Sport motorcycles represent a relatively small proportion of motorcycles on the road, but these bikes make up a disproportionately high number of accidents. This is because these fast vehicles are much lighter and much less stable than conventional motorcycles. While this makes them faster, it also makes them much more dangerous. Additionally, the drivers of sport bikes tend to be younger than riders of cruisers and other larger and heavier motorcycles. The combination of a fast, light bike driven at high speeds by a younger driver is the reason for the high incidence of serious and deadly sport motorcycle accidents.
Bad weather is much more dangerous for a motorcyclist than a driver. Not only do sleet, ice, snow, and rain make it difficult to steer a bike on the road, the motorcyclist is unprotected and is literally hit by falling precipitation. Wind can also have a huge negative effect on a bike, causing it to go faster, slower, or push it to the side.
Motorcycle drivers should avoid riding in inclement weather if at all possible. If you must ride in harsh elements, take extra care and wear the proper equipment.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Collisions between motorcycles and larger vehicles are all too frequent, along with other types of motorcycle accidents.
According to statistics, the majority of motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other vehicles, and most often, the motorcycle is struck by the car or truck. Many drivers do not adequately look for motorcycles and fail to detect their presence. Collisions occur most often at intersections, where a driver may make a left-hand turn in front of a motorcycle or otherwise fail to yield to the right of way. A car or truck driver might also change lanes and accidentally sideswipe a motorcycle, or a near miss can cause a bike to run off the road or crash into another vehicle. Head-on collisions or strikes from the rear can be devastating when a cyclist is ejected from his or her vehicle.
Some accidents occur when a driver loses control and runs into a stationary object such as a tree or wall. Inexperienced motorcyclists may use excessive speed around a sharp turn or have trouble maintaining control in severe weather or rough road conditions. A tire blowout is a concern for any motorcyclist, as is other equipment failure. Sometimes accidents result from a faulty component on the bike, and product liability may be involved.
Large vehicles such as semi-trucks and 18-wheelers are a concern for anyone on the road, but a motorcyclist is especially vulnerable. A truck's blind spot is sizable, and the driver is likely to be unaware that a motorcycle is near. The commercial trucking industry is strictly regulated, and if a driver violates laws and causes an accident, he or she is likely negligent.
DUI Accidents: Catastrophic Consequences for Motorcyclists
Motorcycle accidents involving DUI (driving under the influence) can be especially detrimental to riders and cause serious, long-lasting, and even fatal injuries. For this reason, motorists should pay extra attention and look out for motorcyclists on the road. If you or a loved one were involved in a motorcycle accident and it was determined that alcohol played a role, let a motorcycle DUI accident lawyer from our law firm help.
Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Mr. Chanfrau tells us about motorcycle accidents and how his law firm can help you recover compensation for damages. He explains that motorcycle laws are different than regular car accident laws. The personal attention and compassion provided by Mr. Chanfrau and his associates have earned them a reputation of excellence.
Conducting an Investigation in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Bikers are especially vulnerable on the road. They have no metal shell surrounding and shielding them from external hazards, or seat belts and airbags to protect them in the event of a collision. Motorcyclists are totally exposed and incredibly vulnerable to injury and death in any motor vehicle accident – even low-speed collisions. This vulnerability is what motivates us to protect the rights of motorcyclists. We recognize that as a biker, you have the same rights and privileges on the road as anyone else. Rest assured, we will protect those rights and fight on your behalf.
In order to file a claim, we will first conduct a thorough investigation of your accident. Though investigations will likely be conducted by law enforcement officials and the respective parties' insurance companies, we believe it is important to have an unbiased and objective investigation from a third-party. As legal professionals, we can provide this service. Should there be any conflict or disagreement between the involved parties, our investigation can help establish the true cause of the accident.
Working with accident reconstruction experts, forensics experts, law enforcement officials, and witnesses, we can paint an accurate picture of the circumstances surrounding your accident and establish a definitive cause. If it is established through police records or other means that a motorist was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, then negligence can be shown and a personal injury claim can be filed for damages.
Filing a Claim for Damages
We stress to our clients that damages can be awarded for both quantitative and qualitative loss, as many people fail to realize the scope of damages that they may be entitled to. As legal professionals, it is our duty to educate our clients so that they are able to make informed decisions regarding their rights.
In the event of a motorcycle accident, you or a loved may be entitled to damages for:
Pain and Suffering
A motorcycle accident can easily lead to severe injury or wrongful death. This alone can be incredibly trying for a family. However, knowing that the accident was caused by someone's gross negligence, and thus, was completely preventable, can compound the emotional distress that a family feels. We believe strongly that you deserve compensation for such pain and suffering, and will work diligently to maximize your recovery.
Many victims in motorcycle accidents believe that their only recourse for compensation are those related to property damage and immediate medical expenses. Though victims are entitled to compensation for these losses, the medical expenses that can be reimbursed aren't limited to those strictly related to the post-accident surgery. Future related medical expenses can be covered too.
In addition to related medical expenses, victims may be able to receive damages for rehabilitation and recovery expenses. This may include physical therapy, speech therapy, emotional therapy, and other rehabilitative services. Being involved in a motorcycle accident can have a significant impact on your quality of life, and often results in an extensive and long-term recovery. Unfortunately, most motorcyclists do not typically recover quickly following a collision with another vehicle.
Loss of Wages
If you are out of work for an extended period of time, suffer a loss of earning capacity as a result of your accident, or are left unable to work due to a permanent disability, our team will commit ourselves to obtaining the maximum amount of damages possible in order to provide you and your family with the financial security you deserve. Rest assured, at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we have your best interests in mind.
Chanfrau & Chanfrau
Left to right: William M. Chanfrau Jr., Kelly Chanfrau, and W.M. Chanfrau, Sr.
Chanfrau & Chanfrau has been serving Floridians in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas since 1976. With three attorneys and two locations, we can help you after an accident or injury. We are proud of our many achievements, including inclusion in:
- America's Top 100 Attorneys
- The National Trial Attorneys Top 100 List
- Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite
For more information about our legal services, contact our firm online or call (386) 258-7313 today.