There are many reasons a driver may have to make a sudden stop from debris in the road or darting animals or pedestrians in front of them. Sudden stops are much riskier for motorcyclists because the momentum and only having two wheels making contact with the ground gives them less stopping power compared to a car. Injuries and damages from a motorcycle accident due to a sudden stop can lead to a personal injury claim against any at-fault party.
Situations That Often Lead to Sudden Stop Motorcycle Crashes
St. Petersburg motorcycle accidents involving sudden stops occur under all sorts of circumstances. Some are unavoidable, like a vehicle ahead slamming on the brakes to avoid a child that suddenly ran out into the road. Unfortunately, there are many occasions these types of traumatic crashes occur because of avoidable circumstances, like:
- Distracted driving;
- Road rage;
- Improper lane changes; or
- Ignoring traffic laws and signals.
Many of these scenarios could involve chain reaction crashes, which will compound injuries received by the motorcycle rider and passengers. The type of bodily harm and emotional trauma these accidents inflict is often devastating and life-altering for the victims.
Determining Fault in a St. Petersburg Sudden Stop Motorcycle Accident
When a driver stops without warning and an accident occurs, proving liability may be challenging if the motorcyclist was following too closely in the first place. For sudden stop motorcycle crashes, there are four points of fact needed to demonstrate negligence by the halted vehicle.
The injured motorbike rider and any passengers must prove:
- The defendant had a lawful responsibility for showing reasonable care when stopping suddenly;
- This responsibility did not occur;
- The defendant’s failure to be responsible resulted in the plaintiff being hurt; and
- There are damages the plaintiff sustained.
Practicing reasonable safety while on the road to protect yourself and others around you is a duty we all hold when driving. When we do not show care in avoiding unnecessary sudden stops or fail to leave appropriate distance between our vehicles, we breach this duty.
What Types of Injuries Do Sudden Stop Motorcycle Crashes Cause?
When a breach of care causes a motorcycle accident, the resulting injuries and damages may be catastrophic to the motorcycle rider and passenger. Many times the momentum and change in velocity of the vehicles hurl the rider and passengers from the bike, causing severe trauma and lifelong injuries.
There are several types of trauma a motorcycle rider could potentially suffer, which include:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Head injuries;
- Scarring and bodily disfigurement;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Broken bones;
- Partial or full paralysis; and
- Emotional trauma.
No matter how the motorcyclist gets involved in an accident, injuries are almost always unavoidable when they strike the stopped vehicle or get rear-ended by another vehicle.
Tips for Avoiding Sudden Stop Accidents
While it is impossible to prevent every sudden stop accident, there are steps motorcyclists can take to help reduce their risk of being in one:
- Obey posted traffic laws and speed limits;
- Be vigilant in maintaining a safe distance between your motorcycle and other vehicles at all times;
- Alert drivers of your intent to stop whenever possible by tapping the brake to illuminate your stopping lights;
- Even in bumper-to-bumper traffic, always keep a safe amount of space between you and other vehicles around you; and
- If riding with passengers or extra cargo, consider the added weight and its impact on your ability to stop safely.
It is important to remember that Florida is a pure comparative fault state when it comes to accidents. Therefore, injured victims can pursue damages to property and health despite sharing part of the crash liability. An example would be if an injured party had responsibility for 30 percent of a sudden stop collision. State law allows this person to potentially recover the other 70 percent of damages from the other involved parties who are also at fault.
Don’t Assume You Are Completely At-Fault in a Sudden Stop Motorcycle Crash
From the early years of driver training, we learn that it is always a driver’s fault if they rear-end someone, but this is not at all accurate. If you or a loved one is the victim of a sudden stop crash because of a careless driver, you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney right away. Despite what the police or your insurance company might claim, you may have a case against the negligent motorist and others who may have been involved.
Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi proudly represents motorcyclists throughout St. Petersburg, Florida, and the Tampa Bay area. He does everything in his power to provide the best support possible to his clients enduring such challenging times. Frank P. Marsalisi is a proud member of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and has successfully litigated numerous claims involving motorbike injuries for more than a decade. Mr. Marsalisi speaks both English and Spanish, so you can communicate your needs or questions and get the answers you need.
Contact our office online today or call (727) 800-5052 for a free case evaluation to learn what your rights are and how to proceed with your case.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal!