With over 35 years of experience, The Pittman Firm provides knowledgeable and experienced representation to individuals injured in Panama City motorcycle accidents. We know that every accident impacts a very real rider. This understanding makes it even more upsetting to read about two separate motorcycle accidents that occurred in our region in a short two-day period.
On Friday October 12, a crash at the intersection of Hutchinson Boulevard and Clara Avenue left 2 motorcycle riders injured. As reported in The News Herald, Donna Kaye Johnson of Alexandria, Alabama was driving southbound on Clara Avenue in a 2002 Honda Accord. According to Panama City Beach Police, Johnson failed to stop at an intersection and drove into the path of a 2010 Harley-Davidson. Both riders, Michael and Tommy Hayes of Gardendale, Alabama, suffered injury, and a local hospital admitted both in critical condition. Johnson was uninjured. The accident remains under investigation.
A second accident hit the headlines of The News Herald the following day. Per Florida Highway Patrol, the crash occurred just after noon on Saturday October 13. The motorcycle operated by 56-year-old Alvin Chapman ran off the road and hit a tree in Walton County at State 20 and South Jackson Street. Chapman suffered significant injuries, and authorities transported him the Bay Medical Center Sacred Heart Health System in serious condition.
Our Panama City motorcycle injury law firm is saddened by these reports, but we want to take this moment to comment on two issues pertaining to motorcycle accidents in Florida.
As a law firm with experience advocating for injured motorcycle riders, The Pittman Firm understands that motorcycle accidents can have a wide range of causes. Experience and studies suggest most motorcycle-automobile accidents are the result of a negligent or inattentive automobile driver. This can include an intoxicated driver, a driver who does not properly share the road with a motorcycle rider, or a driver who fails to see a cyclist. In such cases, the cyclist may have a civil claim against the driver.
Drivers are not the only danger to motorcycle riders. Accidents can stem from a defective bike or defective safety equipment. In other cases, hazardous road conditions are to blame for a rider's injuries. These factors may be particularly important in a single vehicle crash. The law operates according to a core underlying truth: the fact that no other vehicles were involved does not mean the rider is to blame.
When a rider calls our firm, we investigate all factors that may have contributed to the accident using a range of tools, including accident reconstruction. We seek every source of liability to help an injured rider recover after an accident that was not the rider's fault.
Florida's law on motorcycle insurance can be confusing. As a general matter, the law does not require motorcycle insurance in Florida for riders over 21, but the DMV highly recommends it, and warns that riders may have personal liability for an accident if they fail to carry insurance. Some riders with poor records may be required to carry insurance.
Even if insurance isn't required, it is smart. Most sources recommend carrying coverage of at least $10,000 for a single person in bodily injury coverage, $20,000 for two or more injured people, and $10,000 in property damage liability. Please keep in mind that if you are involved in an accident, your insurance carrier is not on your side. It is vital that you contact a skilled Panama City motorcycle coverage lawyer to ensure you receive the benefits due under your policy.