New Florida Bill Seeks to Protect Motorcycle Operators

In
2008 Florida was second in the U.S. in motorcycle accident fatalities with 527 tragic
deaths. This number is not decreasing. 
In fact motorcyclist deaths have increased by 26.92% since last year. Is
it time to reform the laws that protect our motorcyclists and penalize the
drivers causing these very accidents?

A
bill is sitting in the Florida Senate that, if passed would make it a criminal
offense to seriously injure a motorcyclist. This bill is known as the Stiffer
Penalties Bill. The current action being used is “Florida’s Motor Vehicle
No-Fault Law”, this law places liability of an injured passenger, also known as
bodily injury, on the driver of the passenger car during an accident, but this
law does not apply to motorcycles. Instead, a passenger or motorcyclist injured
in a motorcycle accident who seeks to claim damages must meet one or more of
Florida’s “Verbal Threshold Requirements”. 
In order to presently receive damages for your injuries resulting from a
Florida motorcycle accident, the injuries must include serious impairment of a
body function, permanent serious disfigurement, or death.

The
Stiffer Penalties Bill states causing serious bodily injury translates to a
second degree misdemeanor, which includes paying a fine, incarceration, and a
loss of license.  If the negligence by
the automobile driver results in the death of a motorcyclist, this will
constitute a first-degree misdemeanor, a higher fine, and potentially more time
behind bars. This bill will not only provide extra protection for
motorcyclists, but also for other drivers, bicyclists, and even pedestrians.

“Failure
to yield” is the most common ticket issued to drivers who initiate an accident
with motorcyclists, which results in a $166 ticket. I personally believe this
amount is too low a penalty and is an inadequate measure to force automobile
operators use more caution to locate motorcycles on the road. “In this state
you pretty much kill someone for $166 and get away with it. Its murder,” said
SWFL ABATE Chapter President Wayne Cerra. At the very least, motorcyclists are
asking drivers to stop distracted driving, and maybe save a life.

As
a (Clearwater based) greater Tampa Bay area motorcycle injury attorney, I
cannot stress to you the importance of documenting the accident as well as your
injuries.  If you are injured as a result of a motorcycle accident it is
imperative you seek immediate medical treatment to determine the extent of your
injury as well as to document all complaints.  It is essential you call
law enforcement to properly document the circumstances surrounding the
accident.  If possible, please try to talk to drivers and/or pedestrians
who may have witnessed the accident and take down their contact
information.  Further, please retain all medical records and bills as well
as keep track of any out of pocket expenses.

Insurance
carriers often try to take advantage of bikers and label them as carless or
reckless.

As
a Tampa Bay personal injury law firm, we regularly represent the interests
of  a motorcycle accident victim who has
been treated unfairly by an insurance company.  Whether you are the
motorcycle rider or the driver, Dolman Law Group is committed to handling your
injury claim and advancing the case into litigation if the insurance carrier
refuses to evaluate the claim in a fair and prudent manner.

Dolman Law Group is a personal injury and
civil trial law firm based in Clearwater, Florida. Located in central Pinellas
County (ten minutes from St. Petersburg and fifteen minutes from Tampa), the
attorneys at Dolman Law Group represent only greater Tampa Bay area consumers
and never will or have ever represented an insurance carrier. We routinely
litigate personal injury claims relating to an auto accident or motorcycle
accident throughout the State of Florida and actively represent plaintiffs in
Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota and Polk County. Dolman Law
Group serves the following cities; Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, St.
Petersburg Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Reddington Beach, Largo,
Seminole, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Ozona, Tarpon
Springs, Carrolwood, New Tampa, Oldsmar, Trinity, New Port Richey, Port Richey,
Bradenton and Sarasota.

View Attorney Profile

Matthew A. Dolman, Esq.

Licensed since 2004

Member at firm Dolman Law Group

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