A motorcyclist was hospitalized in critical condition after a hit-and-run accident with a car, the Ledger of Lakeland reported Feb. 9. The paper says the rider was struck while making a left turn from Avenue G Northwest onto Recker Highway, sending him skidding off the road. The other vehicle, described only as a blue car, left the scene. The motorcyclist was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition. Witnesses are encouraged to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 1-800-226-8477, where they are free to leave anonymous tips.
The article doesn’t provide enough information to decide who is at fault, of course. But as an experienced Hollywood, Florida motorcycle accident lawyer, I happen to know that this is one of the most common configurations for an accident between a motorcycle and a car. The Hurt Report, the definitive study on motorcycle accidents, notes that intersections are by far the most likely place for a motorcycle crash, with other vehicles violating the motorcycle’s right-of-way in half of all crashes and sometimes also violating traffic signals.
Statistics also show that drivers tend to flee the scenes of accidents they cause when they have something else to hide — intoxication, driving without a valid license or other forms of illegal behavior. Ironically, this might actually make matters worse for the drivers who get caught. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in itself, separate from any criminal charges stemming from the accident or from underlying legal problems. The penalty for vehicular homicide doubles, from 15 years in prison to 30 years, if the accused left the scene of the accident without stopping. That’s much more severe than the penalties for most of the violations that might cause someone to hit and run. For example, driving without a license carries a fine of up to $500 and potential, non-mandatory jail time of up to 60 days.
Unfortunately, law enforcement may not always be able to prosecute hit-and-run drivers, even if they catch them. But whether or not there’s a criminal case, families affected by a catastrophic motorcycle accident in Florida have the right to pursue a civil case as well — a lawsuit against the person whose irresponsibility caused their injuries. In a Florida motorcycle crash lawsuit, they can win money to pay hospital bills and all future medical costs, as well as costs like lost income from missed days of work. Just as importantly, they can also win compensation for the loss of a loved one, a permanent disability or a serious and painful injury.
The Pembroke Pines law firm of Cohn, Smith & Cohn aggressively represents people who were hurt through no fault of their own in serious motorcycle accidents in South Florida. We offer free consultations to all potential clients. To speak with us about your rights and your options, you can call us today at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online.