The Risks of Being a Vulnerable Road User in Florida
You hear a lot about the frequency of fatal and injury-causing auto collisions in Florida, but it’s important to realize that you could be involved in accidents without even being in a car. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) refers to motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians as “vulnerable” road users, and accidents are quite common. Plus, these incidents encompass some unique factors that make them extremely deadly and devastating for victims.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one under such circumstances, it’s important to discuss your legal options with a Florida personal injury lawyer. Some background information may also help you appreciate the risks and challenges of motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents.
Statistics on Accidents Involving Vulnerable Road Users: Statistics compiled by the FLHSMV in its Florida Traffic Crash Facts 2018 reveal just how serious these accidents can be. Based upon three-year average figures:
- Combining riders and passengers, there are around 8,628 victims injured and 551 killed in motorcycle collisions every year;
- Annually, 143 bicyclists lose their lives and another 6,227 suffer physical harm; and,
- Around 682 people on foot are killed and 7,952 sustain injuries in pedestrian accidents every year in Florida.
Unique Challenges in Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Motorcycle Accidents: These incidents share a common element with other motor vehicle crashes in the sense that there’s usually negligence behind them. However, vulnerable road users bear several characteristics that make their claims and losses unique:
- There’s an obvious size difference between a human walking, bicycling, or riding a motorcycle and the vehicle that hits him or her. Quite often, victims will be tossed into the air – leading to a secondary impact when they hit the ground.
- Vulnerable road users don’t enjoy the protection provided to occupants of a passenger car or truck. There’s no metal shell to act as a barrier against violent blows.
- From points #1 and #2, you can be sure that the victim’s injuries will be extremely severe or even catastrophic. Head trauma, spinal cord injuries, amputation, bone fractures, and other serious harm can result.
- With more serious injuries comes higher medical bills to treatment, including surgery, extended hospitalization, physical therapy, and long-term care. Plus, a vulnerable road user may be out of work for a long period of time – if it’s even possible to return to the workforce.
- Based on the astronomical costs of medical care, which may include in-home or specialized health care services, the responsible driver’s insurance policy may not be enough to cover the bill.
Consult with a Skilled Ocala, FL Personal Injury Attorney
Our Ocala personal injury lawyers at Piccin & Glynn have extensive experience assisting victims of all types of traffic-related accidents, including those involving vulnerable road users. We can take the lead on filing a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company, and we’re equally prepared to take the matter to court to protect your rights. To learn more about our legal services, please call (866) 225-6459 or go online to set up a free case evaluation at our office.