Left Turn Accidents
Left turns can be dangerous, particularly for a motorcyclist. It is not uncommon for drivers to fail to notice a motorcyclist turning left. They may drive through a light that is turning red at the last minute, forcing the motorcyclist to stay in traffic when another stream of traffic starts moving through the intersection, or slam directly into the motorcycle while it is turning. Similarly, a motorcyclist driving straight is especially at risk of being hit by a car that is trying to turn left. Since a motorcycle is smaller, many drivers of larger vehicles fail to notice it or simply ignore the motorcyclist's right of way. There is no buffer between the motorcyclist and a larger vehicle. Even if a rider is wearing leather gear and a helmet, a direct collision can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident in the Ocala area, you should consult the experienced attorneys at the Dean Law Firm.Pursuing Damages from a Careless Florida Motorist
In Florida, a presumption of negligence applies when a vehicle is executing a left turn. The burden of proof shifts to left-turning drivers, who must then prove they were not at fault for the accident. If you are a motorcyclist who was hit when making a left turn, you would need to show that you turned when the signal was showing green, that an approaching vehicle drove straight through a red light, or that you began to turn safely while it was clear to do so, but you stopped or slowed due to some unexpected event.
If you are able to overcome a presumption of negligence, or if the opposing party overcomes it, you would need to prove the duty of the other driver, a breach of that duty, causation, and actual damages. It is common for the driver of a larger vehicle to claim that a motorcyclist was partially or fully to blame for the accident. If the jury agrees, the victim’s recovery would be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if a jury assesses $100,000 in damages but finds the victim 25% responsible for the accident, he or she might be able to recover up to $75,000 from the defendant.
Left turn accidents must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In some situations, because of the force of the impact, a motorcyclist may lose consciousness and may not be available to give a statement to the police after the collision. In those cases, it may be necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to determine who and what caused the crash.
If a family member is killed in a left turn accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death action. In Florida, a decedent's personal representative brings the lawsuit and seeks damages for the benefit of the survivors and the estate. If the defendant claims that the motorcyclist is at fault, the recovery that would have been made by the decedent (the estate's recovery) will be reduced by the decedent's percentage of fault, but it does not affect the recovery of a survivor.
Survivors can potentially recover the value of lost support and services. The jury will consider a survivor's relationship to the decedent. Among other factors, it will consider the life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and whether a decedent's children are minors. A surviving spouse can possibly recover for the loss of companionship as well as mental pain and suffering. The minor children of the decedent may be able to recover for lost parental companionship, guidance, and mental pain and suffering.Protect Your Rights after an Accident by Enlisting an Ocala Attorney
At the Dean Law Firm, our injury lawyers represent motorcyclists and families in Ocala who have been the victims of careless drivers. We also serve residents of Crystal River and other locations throughout Marion, Levy, Sumter, Citrus, and Lake Counties. Contact our attorneys at 352-387-8700 or via our online form.