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Experienced Attorneys Representing Florida Motorcycle Accident Victims
When a motorcycle rider is struck by a negligent driver, the results are usually devastating: life-changing injuries or the death of a family member. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP in Miami, we help the victims seek justice and financial compensation.
Mindful of the long-term physical and financial challenges you face, our experienced lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure you obtain the full compensation you deserve. Our Miami motorcycle accident attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars of compensation for our clients throughout South and Central Florida. To discuss your case with a lawyer at our firm, call (305) 371-2692 or for a free initial consultation.
Obtaining Results For Those Involved In A Motorcycle Crash
A Motorcycle accident victim often faces hospitalization, followed by an extended period of recovery due to their severe injuries. During that time you may be unable to work. As a result, bills can pile up and you can find yourself in a difficult financial situation. That is where a good Miami motorcycle accident attorney comes in to help get you the compensation that you deserve through a motorcycle accident claim.
Insurance companies often lead motorcycle crash victims to believe that they will take care of their expenses. Unfortunately, the longer your case drags on, the more likely you will accept less than your case is worth. Delays may also enable insurance companies to avoid responsibility for your damages and serious injuries. If months have gone by since the accident, the evidence you need to prove liability may have gone missing.
Our personal injury law firm knows the tricks insurance companies use to deny or minimize settlement payments in motorcycle accident cases. Our motorcycle accident attorneys will collect and preserve the evidence we need to prove your case. We will meticulously determine all current and ongoing health care expenses and disability concerns, including lost income, reduced earning potential and the diminished quality of life. We work with nationally known specialists to help clearly illustrate the profound impact a driver’s negligence has had on your life. Then we will pursue all avenues of compensation you and your family need today and tomorrow. That is the benefit of having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who has done this before!
The 5 Most Common Injuries from Miami Motorcycle Accidents
Injuries sustained in accidents involving motorcycles are often catastrophic for the rider. This is true even when a collision doesn’t happen at high speeds, as riders don’t have the benefit of airbags, seat belts, or any type of barrier between themselves and the road. Because their repercussions are so severe, obtaining compensation after a motorcycle accident case is of the utmost importance for injured parties, especially for those who didn’t contribute to their crashes. Understandably, pursuing a legal claim is often not the first thing on an accident victim’s mind, making it particularly important for these individuals to work with a team of experienced Miami motorcycle accident lawyers can help protect their legal interests while they recover.
Here are the top 5 personal injuries that can happen due to a motorcycle crash:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a type of injury that occurs when the brain sustains some sort of trauma. Often, these injuries happen after someone hits his or her head on an object with a degree of force, when the skull is punctured, or when the head is shaken abruptly backward and forwards. While any motorcyclist involved in a collision is at risk of sustaining a TBI, this risk increases exponentially when a rider doesn’t wear a helmet. TBIs often have lifelong effects, although some symptoms can be relieved with surgery and therapy.
- Road Rash: Road rash is a type of injury to which motorcyclists are particularly prone, as it occurs when a person skids across the roadway. While road rash can affect the skin on any part of the body, it is most often seen on the limbs and back. Some road rash is so severe that it requires skin grafts and can result in permanent scarring.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: Motorcyclists who are involved in collisions are often thrown from their vehicles entirely. Upon striking the ground or another vehicle, the rider could find him or herself suffering from a broken or crushed bone. Although they can occur anywhere, the lower limbs and chest areas are particularly vulnerable to fracture in motorcycle accidents.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can occur after a motorcycle accident if the rider lands on his or her neck or back, is pierced by an object, or is pinned or crushed between the ground and a vehicle. When the spinal cord is injured, the victim may suffer from paralysis or chronic pain, often for the rest of his or her life.
- Internal Injuries: Many motorcycle accident victims also suffer from organ damage and internal bleeding, which can occur when the organs themselves are punctured or crushed, either by a broken bone or an external object. If left untreated, these kinds of injuries can be fatal and are especially dangerous because there is often no outward sign of injury.
Motorcycle Accident Shoulder Injuries
While a shoulder injury may not sound like a serious injury, especially following something as dangerous as a motorcycle accident, these kinds of injuries can actually cause significant pain and have a major impact on a person’s overall quality of life. If you or a loved one sustained a shoulder injury in a motorcycle crash, you should think about consulting an experienced Miami motorcycle accident lawyer about seeking compensation for your medical bills.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Shoulder Injuries
Shoulder injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained by motorcyclists who are involved in collisions, as the riders are often thrown from the motorcycles themselves and onto their sides. Of the many kinds of shoulder injuries that a person can sustain, a few tend to crop up amongst motorcyclists more often than others, including:
- Torn rotator cuffs, which occur when the large tendon (made up of four muscles that wrap over the head of the shoulder) tears, making it difficult or impossible to lift the arm;
- Fractured clavicles, which affects the bone that extends from the top of the chest to the top of the shoulder, resulting in pain, swelling, and limited range of motion;
- Humerus fractures, which involve fractures to the large bone that makes up the upper portion of the arm and cause severely decreased range of motion;
- Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior tears, in which the cartilage that surrounds the shoulder joint socket is torn;
- Dislocated shoulders, which can occur when a tremendous amount of force is placed on the acromioclavicular joint and the soft tissues holding the arm and shoulder together stretches, popping the ball out of its socket; and
- Nerve damage, which can occur if bone fragments or swollen tissue impinge on delicate nerves, resulting in numbness, weakness, and even paralysis.
The type of treatment that a person requires will depend on a number of factors, including the type and severity of the injury. Many of the shoulder injuries, however, that are sustained in motorcycle accidents require surgery, immobilization for a period of time, and intensive physical therapy.
Shoulder Injury-Related Medical Expenses
While they may not be life-threatening, shoulder injuries can have significant limiting effects on a person’s day-to-day activities, or even the ability to work at all. Dislocated shoulders, for instance, cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. Fortunately, recovery is often swift after obtaining treatment, which rarely requires surgery. A broken humerus, on the other hand, often requires the extensive rebuilding of the joint through a number of surgeries. It’s also important to note that this treatment only comes after many x-rays, MRI scans, and CT scans, as well as physical examinations, have been conducted by medical professionals, all of which can be extremely expensive in and of itself. Once treated, motorcycle accident victims usually require some sort of physical therapy and time off from work.
Other Motorcycle Accident-Related Injuries
Suffering Road Rash Injury in a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents tend to have serious injury-related repercussions for motorcyclists, who are largely unprotected in the event of a collision. Many of these injuries, such as broken bones and head trauma are similar to those (albeit more severe) than injuries sustained in a car crash. Some, however, such as road rash, which occurs when a person’s skin makes direct contact with the road, often at high speeds, resulting in severe injury to the skin, are unique to motorcyclists and cyclists.
If you were diagnosed with road rash or suffered another injury in a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else’s carelessness, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. Contact our dedicated Miami motorcycle accident attorneys to learn more about the legal options available to you.
What is Road Rash?
Road rash occurs when a motorcyclist is thrown from his or her vehicle and strikes the road, gravel, pavement, or asphalt. When there is contact between the skin and a road surface at high speeds, layers of the skin can be torn away, even down to the bone. Unfortunately, even wearing jackets, long pants, and gloves is no guarantee that a motorcyclist won’t suffer from road rash if involved in a collision. This kind of injury is difficult to treat and can result in infection, nerve damage, and significant scarring.
Degree of Severity
Like burn injuries, road rash is divided by degree into three different groups:
- First-degree road rash, which only affects the top level of the skin, leaving it reddened and sore;
- Second-degree road rash, which breaks the first level of skin, leaving underlying skin layers undamaged; and
- Third-degree road rash, which is the most serious form and involves the removal of most of a person’s skin, exposing the tissue and fat and even the muscles and bones.
The kinds of treatment required for those who have suffered road rash depend on the injury’s severity. First-degree road rash, for instance, may only require cleaning and light bandaging, while third-degree injuries require skin grafts and multiple surgeries. Unfortunately, even those who do obtain treatment often suffer from scarring and pain and are also at risk of infection.
There is no way for a biker to protect their legs when they are on a motorcycle and they are greatly exposed during an accident. When a biker braces for an accident, they may also put their legs out, which causes them to sustain breaks, strains, and sprains. When a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike, the legs sometimes drag along the ground, resulting in other serious injuries. The tibia and fibula are the most common to become injured during a motorcycle crash.
Under Florida law, all motorcyclists under the age of 21 are required to wear a helmet. Individuals who are 21 years old or older can choose not to wear a helmet, but they must carry the appropriate type of insurance to do so. It is recommended that all bikers wear a helmet at all times, as this can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Even when wearing a helmet, a biker can sustain serious head injuries. According to a published study in Archives of Bone and Joint Surgery, nearly 60 percent of bikers involved in a motorcycle crash sustained a serious head injury.
The type of treatment that a motorcycle accident victim requires will largely depend on the type of break in question. A simple fracture, for instance, may only need rest and a brace, while a compound fracture will usually require surgical intervention and the placement of pins and rods in the broken bone to provide stability and promote healing.
Breaking a bone can be dangerous, with accident victims at risk of potential complications, like infections, arthritis, compartment syndrome, nerve damage, and loss of mobility among others. Obtaining a speedy diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference in limiting the long-term repercussions of a broken bone.
Treating road rash can be expensive. Fortunately, injured motorcyclists can recover reimbursement of their accident-related medical costs, including compensation for ER visits, hospitalization, testing and imaging, medications, medical supplies and devices, and even surgery. In addition to coverage of these losses, injured parties may also be entitled to compensation for the earnings they lost while they were recovering, as well as damages for pain and suffering, and permanent scarring.
What to do if a Loved One Was Killed in a Motorcycle Accident
In the terrible event that someone you love was killed in a motorcycle accident, there are steps that need to be taken. Unfortunately, motorcycle fatalities in Florida aren’t that uncommon. According to the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2016 saw 10,331 motorcycle crashes, resulting in 8,256 injuries and 515 fatalities.
Florida law lets certain family members sue for compensation if a loved one was killed because of the carelessness of another person. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you hold the motorist responsible for who struck your loved one on his or her motorcycle. The key will be having sufficient evidence to show who was responsible for the collision. Conversely, if your loved one caused the crash, then you cannot receive compensation.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated, and you will need a qualified attorney to help you bring the lawsuit in an effective way. For one thing, you will need evidence, such as:
- A copy of the police report
- Witness information, such as what witnesses saw
- Any surveillance or other video that might have captured the deadly collision
- Your loved one’s medical records, which can show the severity of trauma as well as where they were struck
If your loved one survived for a period of time after the crash, they might have told you what happened. You should write down your memories of these conversations, which might include important information for assigning responsibility for the crash.
All this information can help us reconstruct what happened and whether someone else is responsible for your loved one’s death. If they are, then you can sue them for compensation to cover many economic and non-economic losses.
Failure-to-Yield Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcyclists are vulnerable out on our roads. They are often harder to see because of their small size as well as the color of the motorcycle. Many motorists report being completely unaware that they were moving into a space that contained a motorcycle because they couldn’t see it.
Who Needs to Yield?
The rules in Florida about who must yield are somewhat confusing. Technically, every one must yield to avoid a crash. You can’t plow into someone and then claim you had the right of way. There are also more specific rules:
- If you are at a four-way stop, then the vehicle that was first to arrive should have the right of way. All other traffic must yield to that person.
- If two vehicles arrive at an intersection at the same time, then the driver on the left yields to the person on the right.
- If a pedestrian is in a crosswalk, then a motorist must yield to that person.
- If you are in an intersection and want to make a left-hand turn, then you should yield to all oncoming traffic. You can’t just pull out in front of them.
- If you are entering a state highway from a secondary road, then you should yield to all traffic already on the highway and enter only when safe to do so.
Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
Left turn accidents occur when someone driving a vehicle doesn’t see an oncoming motorcycle and turns left in front of the rider, who then collides with the side of the vehicle. Often, these accidents occur in intersections, where motorcycle riders are struck as they travel straight through the intersection, although unseen by another driver. Unfortunately, these kinds of collisions tend to occur at high speeds, with the rider unaware of the danger until it is too late to avoid it.
How Common are Left Turn Accidents?
Like any kind of vehicle-related accident, there are a variety of different types of motorcycle accidents in which a person can be involved. Left turn accidents, however, are some of the most common and also some of the most dangerous. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 42 percent of all fatal vehicle-motorcycle collisions occur when drivers turn into the oncoming path of an unsuspecting motorcyclist. These kinds of accidents are often attributed to distraction or intoxication on the part of the driver.
Who is Liable for Left Turn Accidents?
Motorcyclists who are injured in accidents when they have the right-of-way, but are struck by a turning vehicle, are entitled to damages compensating them for their accident-related losses. Unfortunately, even an at-fault driver who was distracted or merely careless, could try to blame a rider for an accident, claiming that he or she should have done more to avoid the crash. The reality, however, is that in these cases, drivers typically turn far too suddenly for motorcyclists to take evasive action.
Fortunately, motorcyclists can overcome these attempts by defendants by submitting photographs of the accident scene, providing eyewitness testimony, or obtaining traffic camera footage of the crash. Often, this must be attempted in court, as motorcyclists are not allowed to carry PIP insurance in Florida, but usually satisfy the serious injury threshold required to file a personal injury suit in court.
At our firm, we can pull together a case that the driver was too hasty trying to make a left-hand turn without assuring himself that the way was clear. We can use your own testimony and that of other witnesses on the road. We can also look for surveillance or dash cam footage that might have captured the crash.
Motorcycle safety tips
Most cyclists know that their sport doesn’t come without risks. Motorcycle accidents are a real threat to anyone who rides. But that doesn’t have to stop riders from enjoying their sport.
Here are some motorcycle safety tips to help you enjoy a safe cycling season:
- Make yourself visible: Many motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle doesn’t see a motorcycle. Although motorists should always be aware of their surroundings, motorcyclists should make every effort to make themselves visible. Staying out of blind spots, staying out of clusters of traffic, using headlights, and varying speed are all ways a motorcyclist can maintain visibility.
- Scan your surroundings: Motorcyclists should always be aware of their surroundings. Riders should constantly scan their environment so they are aware of other vehicles and possible roadway obstructions.
- Be ready to accelerate: Motorcycles are able to accelerate instantly. This can be a very effective way to get out of a dangerous situation fast – and may be more effective than braking in many situations.
- Be extra cautious in intersections: Intersections can be especially dangerous for motorcycles. Riders should avoid speeding through intersections. When a light turns green, riders should avoid rapid acceleration, rather waiting to make sure there are no cars running red lights, etc. Defensive riding can go a long way in staying safe in intersections.
Keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy a safe riding season – and beyond.
Contact an Experienced Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
By focusing our law practice on the most serious accident cases and fatal collisions, our attorneys are able to provide personal, responsive service. Contact Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP today to see what our dedicated Miami motorcycle accident lawyers can do for you at this difficult time. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling (305) 371-2692 today or complete our contact form for that free consultation.
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Grateful to Dr Dobrinsky and his great team for successfully handling my medical malpractice case. A very professional team, with great experience. I always felt confident that I was in good hands. Grateful and 100% recommended.