In what we find to be unsurprising news, deaths from motorcycle accidents increased dramatically when tracked over a 10-year period – in fact, the statistics show that from 1994 to 2014, nationwide fatalities increased EVERY YEAR.
Sadly, Florida’s statistics follow the same trend. The most recent data show that total motorcycle crashes increased from 8,706 to 9,143, with fatalities increasing from 497 to 531 (source: Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles).
To put this death toll into context, here’s a jarring view – motorcycles account for less than 1% of the national miles driven but account for 15% of traffic deaths. So, with close to 5,000 people dying every year while riding a motorcycle, it makes this form of transportation 26 times more deadly than driving a car.
There are many reasons for this high rate of fatalities and injury accidents involving motorcycles; the most commonly reported being that the motorist didn’t see the motorcycle until it was too late.
If you are a motorcycle rider, what can you do to stay safer on Florida’s congested and dangerous roadways?
- WEAR A HELMET, even though you are no longer required to by Florida Statutes Section 316.211. It reduces your probability of head injury by as much as 70%.
- BE CONSPICUOUS; wear bright colors and always be sure your headlamp is on even in daylight.
- AT NIGHT, wear reflective gear and in addition to your headlamp, use your running lights (if your bike is equipped with them).
- EXCESSIVE SPEED is involved in a significant number of accidents, so obey posted speed limits.
- ALCOHOL INTAKE impairs reaction time. You do not have to meet legal standards of intoxication to be a few seconds too slow – and on a motorcycle, that is the difference between life and death.
Motorcycle riders are at an overall higher risk on the road – the stats bear it out – and are at a much higher risk of serious injury or death. Motorcycles have the same rights as cars to be on the roadways, regardless of some people’s opinions to the contrary. If a motorcycle rider is injured or killed through no fault of their own, they or their family are entitled to the same compensation as those injured or killed in an auto accident.
If you or a loved one need a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer with the experience to negotiate adequate compensation, or take your case to trial, contact Hicks & Motto at 561.683.2300.
With the warm sun, sandy beaches, and ocean just steps away, Floridians have always enjoyed an active outdoor lifestyle. Boating is a favorite activity for many South Florida outdoor enthusiasts; however, it is extremely important to know how to stay safe when out on the water.
Florida’s boating facts are astounding. According to 2018 United States Coast Guard statistics, Florida had the highest number of fatal injury, non-fatal injury, and property damage accidents compared to any other state.
Here are some other key findings from the report:
- In known causes of boating deaths, 77% were from drowning
- In known drowning victims, 84% were not wearing life jackets
- In fatal boating accidents, alcohol is the leading contributing factor
- In fatal boating accidents, lack of operator boating safety education is a major factor
- In boating accidents, operator inexperience or inattention are among the top five contributing causes, along with improper lookout, speed, and machinery failure.
These statistics indicate that responsible boating can prevent injury and save lives. To prevent accidents and injury:
- Always wear a life jacket
- Never boat under the influence
- Take a boating safety course
- Know navigational rules
Both federal and state laws can apply to boating accidents on Florida’s waterways. Depending on the circumstances, the operator of a boat may be liable. If you or someone you know has been injured in a boating accident, you may be able to recover from the responsible party.
Please stay safe and boat responsibly.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, our thoughts are with you, your families, and friends. And with more severe weather on the horizon, there are things you need to know.
After a natural disaster, it can be stressful and completely overwhelming to try assessing your property damage. While you are doing so, we urge you to please be careful – that damage may have made things unstable and even dangerous.
Here are some helpful guidelines:
DOCUMENT THE DAMAGE
Create a thorough list of every damaged item. Include its description, manufacturer name, brand name, model number (if applicable), as well as the location of purchase, date of purchase, and purchase price. Include photographs and videos.
PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE
Do what you can to prevent further damage. Cover exposed areas like broken windows and damaged roofs to keep the rain out. Avoid hiring anyone to make permanent repairs until your insurance adjuster reviews the damage in person. And be very wary of anyone who comes to your door telling you they’re “working in the neighborhood.” It may be true, but take no chances. There’s a reason the State of Florida has a scam hotline — 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
FILE YOUR CLAIM QUICKLY
Insurance companies typically handle claims in the order in which they are received. Therefore, it’s important to file your claim as quickly as possible. Contact your insurance company, let them know the extent of your damages, and that you have an inventory. An insurance adjuster will assess the damage and determine the damage amount.
If your property was impacted, here is a list of helpful agencies:
If your home was damaged by Hurricane Dorian and you have any questions about what to do next, please call us 561.683.2300. We’re here to help.
With school back in session, the number of bicycles sharing the road with automobiles dramatically increases, and we’re reminded to be extra careful. Soon, South Florida’s weather may actually grow cooler, and even more cyclists will be hitting the road.
The United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there were 783 bicyclists killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2017 (its most recent data). No surprise – a car vs. bicycle crash almost always leaves the cyclist injured.
The most troubling part of that statistic is that Florida leads the country in the number of fatal bicycle crashes, accounting for 125 of those 783.
There are two main types of crashes: the most common — falls, and the most serious – those involving cars.
There are things you can do to decrease the risk of a crash.
- Regardless of the season, bicyclist deaths occurred most often between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Bicyclist deaths were 8 times higher for males than females in 2017.
- Alcohol was involved in 37% of all fatal bicyclist crashes in 2017.
- Bicyclist deaths occur most often in urban areas (75%) compared to rural areas (25%) in 2017.
- Ride responsibly and remember: All states require bicyclists on the roadway to follow the same rules and responsibilities as motorists.
Here’s a quick list of what to do in case of a bicycle accident:
- Check yourself – do a cursory and visual search of your person to determine if you have sustained any injuries that need immediate attention. If necessary, call an ambulance. Do not be a hero!
- Assist the injured – check with each person involved in the accident to see if they have been hurt. If necessary, call an ambulance.
- Call the police!
- Gather as much information as you can – take pictures of the scene; document the make, model, and license plate of the offending vehicle; gather the vehicle’s driver information including name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance information.
- Do not admit fault – your comments made in the tension and excitement of the moment may not be accurate! Wait for all the facts, and consult an attorney before admitting to responsibility, especially if you received a traffic ticket.
- Obtain witness information – write down the names and addresses of all the witnesses or involved parties to your accident. Don’t forget any passengers from the vehicles. Ask the witnesses what they observed.
- See a doctor – serious injuries do not always show immediate symptoms. It is smart to have your doctor, or an emergency room doctor, examine you as soon as possible. PIP laws require you to see a Medical Doctor within the first 14 days after your accident.
- Bicycle Repair – take your bicycle to a reputable shop with skilled mechanics to evaluate the damage.
- Tickets – don’t admit fault even if you are given a citation. The police officer is only giving his or her opinion of what happened. The ticket itself may not affect your case.
- CALL HICKS & MOTTO at (561) 683-2300 – Be sure after your accident you contact your law firm right away. A lawyer can give you advice and help you through the process whether you are at fault or not.