Florida is ideal for motorcyclists because of its great weather and stunning landscapes. However, road conditions are increasingly unsafe for riders and are leading to more crashes and fatalities.
Here's what you need to know if you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Jacksonville, Florida.
Primary Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Jacksonville
With over 6,700 motorcycle crashes reported so far in 2023 in Florida, accidents are on the rise compared to the 9,253 motorcycle crashes recorded in 2022. Motorcycle accidents are also deadlier, with 396 fatalities so far in 2023.
Data shows that more drivers are engaging in unsafe behaviors, which is likely contributing to the increase in motorcycle crashes. Last year, there were 6,500 citations for reckless driving, over 44,000 DUIs, and more than 680,000 speeding tickets issued in Florida.
Riders are also increasingly careless. Nationwide data shows that more than 2,000 deaths are linked to not wearing a helmet each year, and over a third of crashes involve riders without a proper motorcycle license.
Jacksonville is a particularly dangerous spot for riders. Roads like I-95 and U.S. 90 are among the most dangerous roads in Florida. The city's busy nightlife scene might be another factor, and while the tourism industry brings revenues to the area, it also results in an influx of drivers who aren't familiar with Jacksonville roads.
The Consequences and Impact on Riders
A motorcycle accident in Jacksonville can have lifelong consequences for riders and the other parties involved.
- Physical injuries can range from road rash to broken bones. In more serious cases, a motorcycle accident can result in life-changing injuries, such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries.
- Accidents are often traumatic. A crash can leave you with feelings of anxiety and cause you to avoid riding. It's not unusual to see riders develop PTSD after a serious crash.
- A traffic crash can cost anywhere from $6,000 to over a million if it involves a fatality. A motorcycle accident can leave you with medical bills, bike repairs, property damages, and lost wages.
- It can change your quality of life. In the long term, an accident can negatively affect your quality of life, make it challenging or impossible to work, and result in a significant financial or emotional burden for your loved ones.
Legal Rights of Motorcycle Riders in Jacksonville
Florida aims to make riding safe by requiring riders to obtain a motorcycle endorsement after taking a riding course. Riders must also obey traffic laws to keep everyone safe on the roads.
However, Florida doesn't require riders to carry insurance, and those who have medical coverage can qualify for a helmet exemption that puts them at risk of sustaining more serious injuries.
As a rider, you should consider carrying health insurance and wearing a helmet, even if you have $10,000 or more in medical coverage, and qualify for the helmet exemption.
Essential Steps to Take Post-Accident
In the event of an accident, Florida Statute 316.065 dictates that you should get help if anyone is injured and report the accident.
Here are the steps you should take post-accident:
- Your safety comes first. Get out of traffic and make sure the other parties involved are safe if you can do so without endangering yourself.
- Check yourself and others for injuries. You have a duty to call 911 if anyone is injured.
- Contact the authorities. If the crash caused injuries or property damage, contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Your 911 dispatcher will alert the Sheriff's Office of the crash, but you can also use the office's non-emergency number, 904-630-0500.
- Self report the incident. If the crash didn't cause any injuries or damages, you can self-report it online within ten days.
- Share your contact information. Under Florida Statute 324.242, you must share your name, contact information, and insurance details with the other parties involved. You should also write down the information of passengers and witnesses, if applicable.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. These images can go a long way in supporting the accident report and establishing liability.
- Notify your health insurance company. If you have health insurance, reach out to your insurer to notify them of the accident and get the process of filing a claim started.
You should also look into finding a legal representative who has experience with motorcycle crashes. An experienced attorney can help you deal with your own insurer if your claim is denied or adjusted. Your lawyer will also advise you if you don't have coverage and represent you as you seek compensation from the other parties involved under tort law.
When to Get Legal Help
Even though Florida doesn't require riders to carry insurance, it's best to purchase enough medical coverage to cover your bills in the event of a crash. Adopting safe riding habits and knowing what to do post-accident is also important.
If you were in a motorcycle crash, a local attorney can help you navigate the post-accident process and achieve the best outcome possible. Get started by filling out a form on Accident.com to tell us more about the crash, and we'll match you with an experienced Jacksonville motorcycle accident lawyer.