Wrong-Way Collision Kills Motorcycle Rider
Even though 38-year-old Daniel Morgan was operating on the wrong side of the road without a helmet, his survivors may still have legal options, thanks to the unique makeup of Florida laws.
This wreck occurred in Pasco County. According to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, Morgan was riding northbound on the southbound side of Moon Lake Road near Knotty Pine Drive. Morgan collided with a 2007 Mercury Montego almost head-on. The force of the crash propelled Morgan’s bike onto the shoulder. He was declared dead at the scene.
The other driver’s name was not released.
Wrongful Death Procedure
From both an emotional and legal standpoint, wrongful death claims are much different from personal injury claims. Nevertheless, a good Tampa personal injury attorney can handle both matters, especially since they often overlap.
Given time and treatment, most physical wounds heal, at least to a considerable extent. But that may or may not be true with regard to wrongful death. Obviously, no power on earth can heal the decedent. As for the survivors, sometimes their emotional wounds almost fully heal, and sometimes they never come close to healing at all.
Procedurally, some states separate survivor claims and estate claims, on the theory that they seek different kinds of compensation. But in Florida, only the decedent’s personal representative may file a claim. If the will does not name an administrator, the court will appoint someone.
The personal representative’s legal claim may seek compensation for a variety of losses, such as:
- Lost future financial support,
- Medical bills related to the decedent’s final injury or illness,
- Lost future emotional support, and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Legal Issues in Motorcycle Wreck Claims
Florida helmet laws have changed several times in the last few decades. After repealing most of the provisions in the mandatory helmet law in 2000, Florida updated the law in 2010 due to statistics that showed the number of deadly crashes had increased by 21 percent.
Florida’s motorcycle helmet law is codified in Florida Statutes section 316.211. Under this law, an individual may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the individual is properly wearing protective headgear that is securely fastened upon his or her head, which complies with federal safety guidelines. The following provisions are perhaps the most important:
- Every motorcycle rider under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet;
- Riders over the age of 21 can ride a motorcycle without a helmet if they can prove they are covered by a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover any injuries that may arise as a result of a crash; and
- Individuals who are 16 or older who are operating a motorcycle that is incapable of going faster than 30 mph on level ground must be powered by a motor that has a maximum displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or else is not in excess of two brake horsepower.
Remember that complying with helmet laws will not prevent potential legal problems if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and you are not wearing a helmet. Defendants can still allege that you are responsible for your own injuries in full or in part if you are not wearing a helmet.
For example, assume you are on a motorcycle without a helmet and are hit by a car, and you are not at fault at all for the accident. The driver of the car that hit you can claim that your injuries are not caused by the accident itself, but by the failure to wear a helmet. In other words, it is a viable legal defense to say that had you been wearing a helmet, you may not have been injured (or that your injuries would have been lessened).
Contact Aggressive Lawyers
Motorcycle crashes often involve intricate legal issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.