Many people presume that a motorcycle crash claim is similar to other personal injury cases, such as slip and falls and rear-end collisions. Despite this assumption, motorcycle accident lawsuits present unique issues that require an understanding of the dynamics and handling of bikes as well as the societal prejudice against riding enthusiasts. Although the “outlaw biker” stereotype is an extremely outdated notion given the popularity of motorcycles with celebrities, yuppies, and professionals, there is still a large segment of society that views riding enthusiasts as crazy risk takers or criminals.
These prejudices often are manifested by the complete indifference of passenger vehicle motorists to the presence of riders. Drivers of cars, trucks, and SUVs who make left turns immediately in front of motorcyclists present one of the most common and deadly examples of indifference to the safety of riding enthusiasts. This blog post discusses a number of unique issues relevant to left-turn motorcycle accidents in Orlando and the surrounding areas of Florida.
Severity of Injury: If you are involved in a collision because the driver of a passenger car turns left immediately into your path as you are proceeding straight, there is a high likelihood of sustaining serious injury. The lack of safety equipment and limited stability of motorcycles increases the risk of catastrophic injury and wrongful death in a crash. While no one wants to suffer serious injury, lawyers are inclined to take such cases in a left turn accident scenario because the magnitude of damages justify the cost of litigation. Although car accident claims that involve low impact collisions and no vehicle damage often are rejected by a law firm, this type of issue is almost non-existent in motorcycle crash cases. However, the issue of insurance coverage is still important in evaluation of your claim.
Tendency Not to Notice Motorcyclists: The frequency of left turn motorcycle crashes relates at least in part to the high incidence of drivers failing to notice bikes. Motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles, and they frequently are present in areas that motorists do not expect to find vehicles, such as straddling a lane or next to the shoulder. However, a general lack of courtesy also contributes to the tendency of passenger car drivers not to notice motorcycles.
Racing to Beat a Motorcycle: A common claim asserted by drivers of passenger vehicles in left-turn motorcycle accidents is that the “bike suddenly came out of nowhere.” The suggestion is that the motorcyclist was speeding. According to this version of the facts, the driver reasonably assumes that he has sufficient time to make the turn based on estimates of the bike’s distance. Any miscalculation is alleged to be the result of the motorcycle exceeding the speed limit.
Passenger car drivers often misjudge the speed of a motorcycle because the noise they produce can lead to the assumption they are always speeding. Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney Mark Cressman carefully reviews police reports, witness statements, traffic cam footage, vehicle damage, and other evidence to establish a riding enthusiast was driving in a safe and prudent manner. Stereotypes held by many people can creates a predisposition to believe a rider was speeding. Sometimes a witness reports that a rider was speeding several blocks before the intersection where the crash occurred. However, this information should not be relevant, the evidence that matters is the motorcycle’s speed immediately prior to the collision
Unbalanced Police Reports: Severe injuries frequently experienced by motorcyclists can distort the evidence against a rider. The investigating police officer will interview witnesses at the scene, which includes drivers and passengers of all vehicles. Physical evidence like vehicle damage, skid marks, and other evidence will be interpreted in the context of witness statements. Since the motorcyclist often is rushed to the hospital, the initial crash investigation might proceed without the motorcyclist’s side of the story. Further, motorcyclists are less likely to transport a passenger, so all other witnesses at the scene that were involved in the collision might be passengers in the other vehicle.
These are just some of the special issues that face seriously injured motorcycle accident victims. Mr. Cressman understands the unique challenges of pursuing a motorcycle accident claim. He has successfully represented hundreds upon hundreds of clients during the last two decades. If you or someone you love has been the victim of an unsafe driver making a left turn, Mark invites you to call to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal rights and to obtain a case evaluation at (407) 877-7317.