Protecting Yourself on Florida Roads-Safety Tips for Motorcyclists

Rash of Recent Motorcycle Deaths in Florida Reminder to Be Safe

Rash of Recent Motorcycle Deaths in Florida Reminder to Be Safe

For many, there’s nothing like getting on a motorcycle and hitting the open road. Luckily, here in Florida, we have the kind of weather where you can do that regardless of the time of year.


As exhilarating as a motorcycle is, though, it’s important to remember that that they can also be dangerous. Let’s look at three recent motorcycle deaths from the news as a reminder:


Jordan Ward, a 25-year old man from Cross City, was killed in a motorcycle accident near Gainesville. His 2005 Suzuki GSXR overturned after Ward lost control of the bike and ended up in a roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


Alfredo Castillo, a 22-year old University of South Florida student in Tampa, was killed in a motorcycle accident when a car turned into his path. Even though Castillo braked and turned his motorcycle on its side, he still hit the car and was pronounced dead at the scene.


A similar accident also killed 54-year old Hee Soong Lee in Odessa when a van turned into his path. Lee, who was driving his Kawasaki motorcycle, hit the van and later died at the hospital from his injuries.


These three deaths, along with the many others not mentioned, should serve as reminders for how important it is to practice motorcycle safety, so let’s go over a few tips for preventing motorcycle accidents.


4 Motorcycle Safety Tips


  1. Always wear a helmet. If you are properly insured in Florida, you aren’t required to wear a helmet when operating a motorcycle, but you should still do it. Government studies have found that riders not wearing a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries than riders who wear helmets. Don’t ride without one.


  1. Wear the proper gear. You’re exposed to a number of hazards when driving a motorcycle, but the proper gear can keep you from getting seriously injured in the event of a crash. Leather clothing, gloves, long pants, high boots, and protective eyewear can offer you maximum protection from wind, bugs, debris, and road rash.


  1. Take a motorcycle safety course. In order to lawfully operate a motorcycle in Florida, you have to have a motorcycle endorsement on your license or a “motorcycle only” license. The courses offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) are for both beginning and experienced riders and have been shown to reduce injury and fatality rates.


  1. Be a defensive driver. One of the most common complaints about a crash involving a car and a motorcycle is that the driver of the car didn’t see the motorcycle. For this reason, it’s especially important to be on constant alert for potential road hazards while on your motorcycle. Pay attention to other cars pulling out in front of you or quickly changing lanes. Also, make sure you maintain a safe following distance so if something does happen, you have enough time and distance to react appropriately.


4 Motorcycle Safety Tips

While it’s important for motorcycle drivers to be safe, it’s also important for other drivers to be aware that they’re sharing the road with motorcyclists. If you’re driving a car on the road, focus on driving, watch out for motorcycles, and don’t forget to check your blind spots.


Be safe when you’re on the road, and if you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Florida motorcycle attorney to see if you’re entitled to compensation for your injuries.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Florida Is the Most Dangerous State for Motorcyclists

Florida Is the Most Dangerous State for Motorcyclists

If you ride a motorcycle, you know all too well how much danger you’re in when you’re out on the road. After all, you’re completely exposed. There are no doors protecting you from an impact. No windshield or seatbelt preventing you from flying off the bike. The only things between you and an accident are your skill as a rider and the awareness of drivers.


This isn’t just opinion, either. All over the country, motorcycles are known to be far more dangerous than automobiles. Case in point: Your chances of dying in a car accident are 1 in 18,585… but your chances of dying on a motorcycle are 1 in 802.


In fact, motorcycle accidents ranked as the 12th highest cause of death in 2009. Car accidents was 8th. Considering how few cyclists there are out on the road in comparison, those rankings are way too close.


Unfortunately, Florida riders have it even worse – our state has been ranked as the most dangerous state for motorcyclists.


Florida and Motorcycle Accidents


Florida has more motorcycle fatalities than any other state in the country. Motorcyclists make up only 7% of the population on the road, but motorcycle accidents account for 19% of motor vehicle fatalities.


Why Florida? Many blame the lack of helmet laws. Helmet laws are a controversial topic throughout the nation, and the indecisiveness and confusion is reflected nowhere better than in Florida’s laws.


Helmets used to be required in Florida, but the laws were appealed. Now, you are not required to wear a helmet. But if you choose not to, you must carry insurance that will cover $10,000 worth of damages in case you get into an accident.


How much do helmets matter? Since the laws were appealed, motorcyclist deaths have doubled.


How to Stay Safe on a Hog


Motorcycle Injury Attorney

Whether you’ve ridden your bike up and down the country more times than you remember or your first bike is still shiny and new, all riders can benefit from a few motorcycle safety tips.


The first one should be pretty obvious considering the above information:


  • Wear a Helmet – Face shields, glasses, proper boots, gloves, or protective jackets are also recommended.
  • Put Distractions Down – Distracted riding is just as dangerous as distracted driving – if not moreso.
  • Maintain Distance – Try to stay a car length’s distance from any cars that are in front or behind you. One of the most common motorcycle accidents is being hit from behind. Maintaining a safe distance will give drivers more time to break and reduce the risk of hitting you.
  • Stay Alert – Don’t hop on your bike if you’re too tired or drowsy.
  • Avoid Blind Spots and Make Yourself Seen – Reflective strips and bright clothing will help drivers notice you no matter what time you’re riding.
  • Educate Friends and Family on Motorcycle Safety – Motorcycle safety isn’t really covered in driver’s ed. Talk to drivers about how they can make motorcyclists feel safe while out on the road. Tell them about the importance of keeping a safe distance, using turn signals when merging, and so on.
  • Refresh Your Knowledge – Motorcycle safety courses are usually required when you apply for your license, but even seasoned vets can get something out of retaking the course every few years, or before a big trip.


Of course, there is only so much that you can do. If a driver behaves in a negligent manner or simply doesn’t see you, it can spell disaster. Hold people accountable for their actions and get the compensation you deserve by working with a knowledgeable Florida motorcycle accident attorney.


About the Author:


Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

How to Determine Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

How to Determine Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

How to Determine Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents share a lot of legal similarities to car accidents when it comes to injury law. But there are some notable characteristics unique to motorcycling that you should know when determining liability in a motorcycle accident.


Bias against Motorcyclists


One of the major challenges of a motorcycle accident injury claim is a persistent and widespread bias against motorcycles and their riders. Due to this long standing prejudice against motorcyclists, juries have a history of ruling less favorably when the plaintiff is a motorcycle rider.


It can be difficult—though certainly not impossible—to overcome this bias in the courtroom, and insurance companies are often aware of this. Injured motorcyclists often receive lower settlement offers, since insurance adjusters base their offers on what the plaintiff might win if they go to court.

Because of this, the burden of proof lies on the motorcyclist, which can make many motorcycle injury claims more difficult than their car-related counterparts.


Inherent Danger in Motorcycles


Furthermore, riding a motorcycle does have an inherent danger that is greater than driving a car. Since they are smaller, lighter, and offer much less protection than a car, injuries from accidents are often severe and more extensive.


For this reason, juries may be reluctant to award full compensation for a motorcyclist’s injuries, because they may perceive that the victim bears some of the liability by getting on a motorcycle in the first place. Again, the prejudice against motorcyclists can be difficult to overcome.


Still, there are a number of ways that an injured motorcyclist can build a successful case against the driver responsible for his or her accident. To understand how case can be made and won, we’ll first have to look at the anatomy of a motorcycle accident claim.


Liability in Motorcycle Accidents Comes Down to Negligence


The majority of motorcycle injury cases are a based on the concept of negligence. A claim of negligence in an injury case asserts that the defendant behaved in a way that was irresponsible or thoughtless, and this behavior caused the plaintiff’s injuries.


Liability in Motorcycle Accidents Comes Down to Negligence

In many motorcycle accidents, this claim is leveled against the driver of a car or truck. The defendant can be negligent in what they did (for example, running a stop sign) or what they failed to do (such as not using a turn signal before changing lanes).


The Elements of a Negligence Claim


To successfully bring a negligence claim against another motorist for your injuries, you will have to be able to prove a few key things:

  • The law required the defendant to be careful. In any case involving a vehicle accident, this is already a given, since all motorists are required to exercise caution.
  • The defendant was not careful. When evaluating whether a defendant was careful or not, the law compares their behavior to how a “reasonable person” would have behaved in that situation.
  • The defendant’s carelessness caused the plaintiff’s injuries. It’s not enough to prove that the defendant behaved in a careless manner. To win an award for your injuries, you must prove that the defendant’s carelessness was the reason you were injured.
  • The plaintiff was injured or suffered losses. In the case of a vehicle accident, you will need to furnish proof of the damages you are trying to recover. Among other things, this might include hospital bills (to prove medical costs) or receipt from a repair shop (to prove the cost of fixing damage to your motorcycle).


What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident


Of course, medical examination and treatment will be the primary concern after an accident. But the information you record and collect following the incident can mean the difference between winning and losing your case. Here’s how to collect relevant info after an accident.

  • Take notes. As soon as you are able, write down everything you recall from the accident, like the place and time, what happened, the people who witnessed it, the weather, and so on.
  • Keep a record of your injuries and damages. Make sure to keep a detailed record of all costs related to your injuries. Report your injuries to a medical provider, and keep a log of your injuries and their treatment. Write down any pain, loss of sleep, or other complications resulting from the accident.
  • Take photographs. If you can, take photographs of the scene of the accident immediately after it occurs. It may also be wise to return to the scene and look for any evidence you might have missed. Again, remember to take photographs to record what you find.
  • Contact witnesses. You should also attempt to track down witnesses as soon as you can, and record their account of the incident while it is still fresh in their minds.


South Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Motorcycle injury claims can be difficult to win, but they are not impossible. The best way to ensure a favorable ruling is to talk to an experienced injury law firm with a successful track record in these kinds of cases.


5 Tragic Florida Motorcycle Fatalities that Occurred Last Month

5 Tragic Florida Motorcycle Fatalities that Occurred Last Month

5 Tragic Florida Motorcycle Fatalities that Occurred Last Month


For a disturbing look at the severity of Florida’s problem with motorcycle safety, you don’t need to look back very far.


In the last month alone, far too many individuals lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in Florida. To honor their memory and raise awareness of this growing problem in our state, we’ve chronicled 5 of their stories below.


Robert Lee Haas. Florida motorcyclist Robert Lee Haas was killed in a two-vehicle accident while traveling on Interstate 4. The 51-year-old Madeira Beach man had been attempting to change lanes when he collided with a car. Robert was forced from the road and thrown from his vehicle. He died shortly after at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center.


Wilmer and Linda Barnes. Wilmer and his wife Linda were riding a motorcycle near Century when the motorcycle struck a culvert and overturned. The Alabama couple was thrown from the vehicle, and Linda was pronounced dead at the scene. Wilmer died in the hospital several days later.


Anthony Lee Coleman II. Anthony Lee Coleman II was a 25-year-old soldier from Fort Walton Beach. The Army Specialist was driving on an entrance ramp from State Road 85 to State Road 123 when his motorcycle veered onto the shoulder, turned over, and hit a guardrail. Although Anthony was wearing a helmet, he did not survive the crash.


Unidentified motorcyclist. An unidentified motorcyclist on a black Honda motorcycle was hit by a truck driver who had not seen him as they were crossing the intersection. Although the driver of the truck was unharmed, the motorcyclist died immediately.


David Persaud. 23-year-old David Persaud was found dead by his friends after a fatal motorcycle claimed his life earlier this month. The Port Charlotte motorcyclist was thrown 100 feet across a driveway into a palm tree, and his motorcycle was shattered into multiple pieces.


Shane Griffin Gowens. Lawtey motorcyclist Shane Gowens was riding as a passenger on the back of her husband Christopher’s motorcycle. Shane was thrown from the motorcycle and declared dead, while her husband suffered serious injuries.


Protecting Yourself on Florida Roads: Safety Tips for Motorcyclists


5 Tragic Florida Motorcycle Fatalities that Occurred Last Month 1 Motorcycle Accidents South Florida Injury Law Firm

We’ve chronicled these stories not to frighten readers, but to convey the sheer magnitude of the problem and encourage motorcyclists to watch out for hazards and take measures to protect themselves.

You can greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a fatal motorcycle accident in Florida by following these safety tips:


Wear protective gear. Always wear a high-quality helmet that fits snugly. If your helmet doesn’t include a shield for your face, be sure to wear glasses or goggles. Always wear a leather jacket and pants, tough, non-slip gloves, and close-toed shoes that cover your ankle.


Take your bike for a checkup. You should routinely check your bike’s brakes, lights, and turn signals, as well as the levels of oil and fuel. Also make sure cables and the chain are in good condition, and position your mirrors correctly before beginning your ride.


Stay alert. Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous for all drivers, but especially those on motorcycles. It’s critical to stay alert of your surroundings and abstain from texting, talking on your phone, adjusting music, or listening to headphones.


Check the weather. Florida motorcyclists don’t have to worry much about snow or icy weather, but they should avoid riding in heavy rain. Never ride at the beginning of a storm, when rain brings up oil and other residue that can make the roads incredibly slippery.


Follow traffic rules. When you’re out on the road, be sure to follow the speed limit, use your signals, and avoid tailgating. Do not weave between lanes or drive on the shoulder of the road.


Ride defensively. As a motorcyclist, never assume that another driver has seen you. It’s a good idea to ride with your headlights on, remain out of a driver’s blind spot, and use your signal as far in advance as possible.


Never ride drunk. Riding under the influence of alcohol or other drugs dramatically increases your odds of being involved in a fatal accident. When you ride drunk, you put yourself and others around you in danger.


Stay educated. Before beginning to ride, you should be sure to take a formal motorcycle education course and earn your license. Over time, take refresher courses to brush up your skills and learn new techniques.


Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Hold negligent drivers accountable. You can help make the road a safer place for yourself and other motorcyclists by holding negligent drivers accountable when they cause an accident. If you have been a victim of a motorcyclist accident caused by another driver, talk to a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer. Your lawyer can help you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other costs related to recovery, while raising awareness of our state’s serious problem with motorcycle safety.  


Common Road Hazards to Look Out for on a Motorcycle

Common Road Hazards to Look Out for on a Motorcycle

Common Road Hazards to Look Out for on a Motorcycle

When you’re driving a car, you might not really notice an uneven patch of road or a slick surface (although it never hurts to slow down). However, when you’re riding a motorcycle, even a seemingly small road hazard can result in a serious crash. And when a motorcyclist does crash, they have a lot less protection than someone in a car.


No motorcycle rider is immune to the risks of road hazards, even if they’ve been riding for years without incident. To help minimize your chances of being in an accident, familiarize yourself with some of the most common motorcycle road hazards so that you know what to watch out for.


Slick Surfaces


Rain and ice are common culprits behind slick roads, but motorcyclists should watch out for slick surfaces even if the sky is clear and the weather’s nice, since other liquids like oil spots and fresh paint can also cause a motorcycle to lose traction. Motorcyclists need to remember that whenever they see a slick road, they need to slow down and stay alert. Use both brakes, as relying on the front brake can cause motorcyclists to lose control and flip over their handlebars. Avoid the slickest area if possible, but don’t suddenly swerve to try to avoid an oil spot or other hazard.


Uneven Roads


Worn out roads or roads that are partially torn up while they’re under construction can be a huge hazard for motorcyclists. The publication Women Riders Now recommends staying in one lane as much as possible and watching out for divets (depressions in the road), which can cause a rider to lose control. If you commute on your motorcycle and regularly encounter rough roads, look for alternate routes when possible.


Loose Gravel


Common Road Hazards to Look Out for on a Motorcycle - Losse Gravel

Gravel is particularly dangerous when it becomes unexpectedly deep or when a motorcycle rider hits gravel on pavement while going around a corner. If you can’t avoid a gravel road, it’s best to try to find the area of the road with the least dense gravel. Just like with slick roads, you should slow down and avoid relying solely on your front brake. However, you should also maintain some speed, as this will keep the bike more stable.




Common Road Hazards to Look Out for on a Motorcycle - Animals

An animal running into the road is the worst nightmare of many motorcycle riders, especially those who live somewhere with a lot of deer. Sadly, collisions with deer or other large animals are often fatal for motorcyclists. If you notice a deer or other wild animal on the side of the road while you’re riding, be sure to cover your brakes, as there may be more ahead. Also keep an eye out for animal crossing signs, and come to a full stop if you see a large animal like a moose on the road ahead of you. Invest in good headlights if you’re planning on riding at night and, of course, wear a helmet (this applies to any time you plan to ride, not just when you’re planning on riding in an area where there may be wild animals).




It’s often hard to see and anticipate obstacles such as tree branches, large pieces of trash, or shredded car tires on the road until you get close to them. If you have enough room to move around the object instead of hitting it, you should do so—make sure there are no vehicles in your blind spot, lean in the direction you want to turn, and press the inside of the hand grip in order to stabilize yourself and hopefully avoid tipping. If you are unable to move around the debris, avoid braking suddenly. Hold the hand grips tightly, stay straight, and stand up slightly on your foot pegs to absorb some of the shock.


Keeping the Roads Safe


You should obviously do everything that you can to avoid an accident on your motorcycle, but if you do get into an accident, try not to panic. Get off the road as soon as possible, call for help, and get the medical attention you need. After you’ve received medical attention, think about what caused your accident. If it was something like a pothole or a road that suddenly turned rough with no warning sign, the city or county may be liable. Work with a personal injury attorney to hold the responsible party accountable; you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and promote change so that your local roads are safer for other riders.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.


Boca Raton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

How to Prove Fault as a Motorcyclist in an Accident

Boca Raton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

It’s no secret that motorcyclists typically suffer far more serious injuries than car occupants when they’re involved in a multi-vehicle collision. Without safety features like air bags and a crumple zone, motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable and may face an expensive and lengthy recovery if they survive the accident. Because of this, any motorcyclist who was injured by a negligent driver should hold that driver responsible and seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other associated costs.


Of course, getting that much-needed compensation isn’t as easy as just pointing a finger at the car driver and saying that they were the one who caused the accident. In a civil case, the plaintiff is responsible for proving that the defendant is at fault. To make things even more challenging, jury members may be biased against motorcyclists and may be less likely to award the same kind of settlement that they would award to a car driver in a two-car accident.


This does not mean that you should give up on the idea of recovering compensation as a motorcyclist in an auto accident. It does, however, mean that you should work closely with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to gather the kind of concrete evidence necessary to prove your case. Below are a few types of evidence that can help your cause.


Police Report


If a police officer arrived at the scene of your accident, he or she most likely filled out an accident report. This report may contain valuable evidence for your case, especially if the police officer actually witnessed the accident and issued a citation to the driver. Even if they didn’t cite the driver, they may have noted that negligent behavior caused the accident and that you were injured and needed medical attention after the accident.


Witness Testimony


Witness testimony can be problematic because human memory is fallible, and there’s no way to know that an accident played out exactly the way an eyewitness described it. However, if your motorcycle accident occurred in a crowded area and multiple people saw it happen, it may be worth having credible witnesses testify that the car driver was at fault. The most reliable witnesses are people who saw the entire accident (rather than people who heard the impact and saw the aftermath) and were not distracted by other factors (such as a young child that they were holding or the need to maneuver their own vehicle away from the accident).


Damage to Motorcycle


West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney

In certain cases, the type of damage that your motorcycle incurs may clearly show how the driver hit you and prove that they are at fault. For example, if a car rear-ended you, the back of your motorcycle and the front of the car would experience the most damage. This would paint a pretty clear picture of what happened and show that the driver was liable, since rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the second vehicle.


Your personal injury lawyer may be able to uncover additional types of evidence that could prove fault, such as footage from a traffic camera or a doctor’s testimony showing that your injury was caused by a certain type of impact. Every case is unique, and it’s important not to leave any stone unturned when the compensation that you need in order to get back on your feet is at stake.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.




Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Boca Raton

Staying Safe While Riding Your Motorcycle in the Rain

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Boca Raton

You’re on the road when the blue skies suddenly become overcast and rain starts to fall. First it’s a few drops at a time, but eventually it becomes a torrential downpour. This can be daunting enough when you’re in a car, with a roof over your head and your windshield wipers working at maximum speed, but it’s even worse when you’re on a motorcycle.


Inclement weather is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. Regardless of your level of experience, it’s best to avoid riding your motorcycle in the rain, because rain creates all kinds of hazardous conditions for motorcyclists. You may trust your skills and ability to handle the vehicle when the skies are clear, but you may not be prepared for riding in bad weather. However, there may be some situations (especially in Florida) where you get caught in the rain, or you need to ride in the rain to get from Point A to Point B. In those particular cases, follow these safety tips to avoid injury.


6 Tips for Riding in the Rain


1. Be smooth. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation says that one of the most important things to remember when riding in the rain is to have smooth control. Be easy on your throttle and brakes, but balance your grip at the same time. Don’t accelerate on turns; wait until you’ve completed the turn to speed up.


Motorcycle Accident Attorney West Palm Beach

2. Slow down. You should slow down in any kind of vehicle when the weather’s bad. On a motorcycle, slowing down will make it easier to stop suddenly if there’s a hazard in your path, and lower speed will decrease your lean angle on turns, making it less likely that your motorcycle will slip out from under you.


3. Leave several car lengths between you and the vehicle in front of you. It’s always a good idea to leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you so that you’ll have time to react if they suddenly swerve or slam on their brakes. This rule becomes even more important when the slick road will make it harder for you to come to a quick stop without sliding. Pay attention to the traffic in front and to the sides of you, so that you can quickly find an escape route if there’s an accident ahead of you.


4. Use engine brakes on corners. When taking tight turns, use your engine brakes by letting go of the clutch and letting your engine’s RPMs drop so that you naturally decelerate. This will reduce your likelihood of skidding.


5. Watch out for common rainy weather hazards. Keep an eye out for things such as deep puddles, potholes, manholes, railroad tracks, and oil spills, all of which can create extra slick surfaces in the rain and cause you to lose control of your motorcycle. Also, be careful at stop signs, toll booths, and parking lots, where oil leaking from stopped vehicles can create an especially slippery surface.


6. Get off the road if you feel unsafe. If it suddenly starts pouring and your traction and visibility are compromised to the point that you feel unsafe, find somewhere safe to pull over (ideally somewhere with a roof or overhang for you to stand under) and wait for the rain to die down. Trust your judgment; it’s never worth putting yourself in a risky situation just because you’ll be able to reach your destination a little faster.


About the Author:

Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Helmets a Must, but Motorcycle Culture Still Discourages Them

Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

It’s pretty hard to ignore the statistics surrounding helmet use and motorcycle accidents.


Head injuries are the most common cause of motorcycle fatalities, and even when motorcyclists survive a crash, injuries are generally more serious and long-lasting for riders and passengers who weren’t wearing helmets. According to estimates from the US Department of Transportation, wearing a helmet reduces a rider’s chance of dying in a crash by about 37%. A study by the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration also found that 44% of all people fatally injured in a motorcycle accident were not wearing helmets. Additionally, the GHSA found that wearing a helmet saved the lives of 1,829 riders in the course of a year.


With everything we know about helmet safety, it seems like a no-brainer that bikers should be using them. Unfortunately, many bikers are still unwilling to give up the feel of the wind in their hair when they ride. Riders who go helmetless argue that they’re exercising their freedom to choose, and that if they want to increase their odds of being in a fatal accident, it’s their right.


But it’s not just the individual rider who is being affected. If a motorcycle rider offers a ride to a friendand doesn’t have a helmet to offer him or her, then he or she is also at a greater risk for suffering a fatal head injury. Refusing to wear a helmet also sends a message to other riders that helmets are not a part of “true” motorcycle culture,perpetuating the idea that protective equipmentis ultimately optional.


The True Cost of Not Wearing a Helmet


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It’s not just motorcycle riders and passengers who are affected by a rider’s failure to wear a helmet. Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr, a physician at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Nebraska, told The Economist  that she can always tell which motorcycle accident victims weren’t wearing a helmet because they suffer internal bleeding and cell death across large areas of their bodies. Those helmetless riders who actually survive typically rack up about $1.3 million in direct medical expenses. As you might imagine, this far exceeds the insurance coverage that most motorcyclists have. Because of this, taxpayers end up footing about 63% of the bill.


If the loss of human life is not enough of an incentive, more states should be motivated to enact universal helmet laws based on the cost to their taxpayers. However, surprisingly few states have laws that require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.


States Shun Universal Helmet Laws


Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. Three states – Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire – have no helmet laws whatsoever, meaning that even child passengers can ride along without a helmet. Every other state only requires helmets for riders under a certain age, usually 17 or 18. In Florida, riders can shun helmets as long as they’re 21 or older and carry at least $10,000 in insurance.


Some opponents of helmet laws say that they support the idea of wearing helmets, but that riders should come to the decision to wear a helmet on their own, without being forced into it by the government. They say that wearing a helmet is the smart thing to do, and responsible riders will realize that.


Unfortunately, not nearly enough riders are willing to wear helmets if they’re not legally required to. This week’s Daytona Beach Bike Week, one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the country, emphasized that fact. If you look through images of the gathering, it appears that the overwhelming majority of riders in attendance chose not to wear helmets. The event saw a total of four motorcycle accident fatalities, at least two of which involved head injuries to riders who were not wearing helmets.


States Need to Reassess Helmet Laws


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The 33 states that do not currently have universal helmet laws should look to the 19 states that do andacknowledge the positive benefits this type of enforcement can have. The CDC has found that states with universal helmet laws have four times the cost savings of states that don’t. While a whopping 64% of riders in states without universal helmet laws choose to ride without helmets, only 12% of riders in states with universal laws go helmetless. As a result, the states with universal laws see fewer serious and fatal motorcycle injuries, which results in lower medical costs and loss of productivity costs.


It’s time that Florida, and all the other states with partial or no helmet laws, push to adopt universal laws. Of course, this change won’t happen overnight, and in the meantime it’s important that riders choose to wear helmets regardless of what state they live in. There may still be situations where riders get into accidents through no fault of their own, but by wearing a helmet, they can give themselves the best possible chance of surviving and recovering.



Motorcycle Accident

Why You Shouldn’t Ride Drunk

Motorcycle Accident
Everyone knows not to drive drunk, and it’s no different for motorcyclists– except that the nature of their vehicle puts them at even higher risk of injury or death because it requires more coordination to operate,and there’s far less protecting riders than those driving cars. Unfortunately, these facts don’t seem to have sunk in with many motorcyclists because the percentage of accidents and especially fatalities involving alcohol are extremely high.


In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says,“the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads.” Stats can be interpreted in many different ways, but this one seems pretty clear – either a higher percentage of motorcyclists choose to ride drunk when compared to car drivers or the numbers are similar, but the greater difficulty involved in operating a motorcycle leads to more accidents. Regardless of which scenario is more accurate, the resultis the same – if you ride drunk, you’re more likely to get hurt or even die.


This seems like something that should be obvious, but why then are so many motorcyclists still doing it? The trend isn’t a new one, either. A decade ago, Motor Cyclist Magazine reported that 45% of motorcycle fatalities in 2002 involved intoxicated riders, and when you looked at just weekends, that already high percentage skyrocketed to 62%!


You can find statistics like that all over the place, but maybe that’s not enough. Perhaps the problem is that reading numbers is an abstract exercise, and riders need a personal story to connect with and “scare them straight” as it were. Steven Dennis Parrett has just such a story.


Drunk Riding Leads to Jail, Sister in Nursing Home


Motorcycle Accident1

While this is certainly not true for all motorcyclists, some think of themselves as tough and adventurous – people who can get away with skirting the rules because they can handle it. There’s no real way of knowing if Parrett is one of those men or if he just did something stupid, but in the end it doesn’t really matter.


In July of 2011, 44-year-old Parrett was arrested by Michigan State Police after crashing his bike at around 12:30 in the morning. When they tested his blood alcohol level, it was found to be an insanely high .20, so Parrett was almost definitely in for a DUI charge. That’s bad enough, but it gets a lot worse.


You see, Parrett wasn’t riding alone that night. His older sister (46) was with him, and when he crashed, she was flung from the bike and landed in a ditch. Thankfully, the woman survived, so he doesn’t have to live with killing his sister, but that’s pretty much the only positive thing that can be said about the incident. She was still so severely injured that she now has to live in a nursing home and “remains unresponsive.”


None of this had to happen, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident. Parrett was simply so drunk that he couldn’t handle his bikeand it cost him and his sister dearly. You may not think that something like this could happen to you, but why take the risk in the first place? Motorcyclists are already putting themselves in more danger than regular car drivers by choosing a vehicle that doesn’t offer as much protection – don’t make riding harder by drinking before you get on your bike.


About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 22-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The South Florida Injury Law Firm, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.

A Motorcycle Accident Can Result in Injuries for Rider and Passenger

Because of our great weather, Boca Raton is a favorite of motorcycle riders and bicyclists alike. The weather and the scenery of our area provide a great experience for those who like to cruise the open road on a bike, whether it be motorized or pedaled. However, there are risks to such enjoyment, and the injuries that can be sustained in an accident are often serious. Because motorcyclists are often ignored by other drivers, it is important that any rider who has been injured in such an incident contact a Boca Raton motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.


Not only can a motorcycle rider be injured in an accident with another vehicle, but a passenger riding on the motorcycle can be injured, as well. Such was the case recently when a school bus driver failed to yield the right of way to an oncoming motorcycle. When the motorcycle rider attempted to swerve around the bus in an attempt to avoid a collision, he lost control of the bike, and both he and his female passenger ended up being flung into a nearby ditch. Both were taken to an area hospital with serious injuries.


If you have been injured in Boca Raton in a motorcycle accident, an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer with the firm of The South Florida Injury Law Firm can provide you assistance in trying to purse the benefits to which you may be entitled. Your Boca Raton motorcycle accidentlawyer has the expertise to aggressively advocate on your behalf so that you do not have to suffer financial hardship for an accident that was not your fault. Contact The South Florida Injury Law Firm as soon as possible to get your case underway.


When you need a Boca Raton motorcycle accident lawyer who can get results, the Law Offices of The South Florida Injury Law Firm are located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and handle cases throughout the state including Broward County, Indian River, Okeechobee, Martin County, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and all other cities and counties. We have years of experience and success in handling cases like yours. Contact us for a free case evaluation at 954.764.7377 or via the web at