Whether they come for Thunder Beach, visit at another time of the year, or are year-round residents of Northwest Florida, motorcycle riders are an important part of our community. We have met and worked with countless riders over the years, and we know most are truly committed to safety. Still, rider safety depends upon responsible automobile drivers who are attentive and committed to making the road safe for all travelers. Motorcycle fatalities are far too common, and our firm is committed to preventing deadly accidents and serving as a wrongful death law firm for Panama City motorcycle riders and their families.
Safety concerns brought nearly 100 motorcycle riders to Tallahassee on Monday, an event covered by WJHG. As a bell tolled, a motorcycle organization read aloud the names of group members who were killed in the past year. One attendee struggled as his brother's name was read, remembering the day a driver made a turn right into his brother's path, causing a crash that killed the motorcycle rider on impact.
The rally was not only a chance to remember the lives lost – it was also an opportunity for lobbyists to ask the legislature to increase the penalties that follow a fatality. For several years, ABATE, a motorcycle riders organization focused on a safe and positive riding experience, has worked to increase the penalties for drivers who hit and kill riders. The group's President, noted that fines are between $89 and $166 for hitting and injuring a motorcyclist.
Previous efforts by ABATE lobbyists have resulted in funds for road safety, a group license plate, and the elimination of the helmet requirement. The article notes that in 2 out of 3 accidents involving bikers, the accident was not the rider's fault. Although the authors suggest that tougher penalties for those who injure bikers are a longshot, there may soon be a law creating a prison sentence for those who leave the scene of a deadly accident.
As a Panama City motorcycle accident law firm, we use the civil court system to fight for the rights of riders and their families. Regardless of whether a criminal case is filed, the family of a rider who is killed as a result of a driver's carelessness may have a wrongful death claim in civil court.
Florida's Wrongful Death Act appears in Florida Statutes Sections 768.16 through 768.26, with Section 768.19 specifically creating a cause of action when a person's death is the result of someone else's wrongful act or negligence and where the person would have been entitled to file a personal injury claim had they survived. Claims are typically filed by the victim's closest relatives, such as a spouse or child. Damages under the Act can be quite substantial, with the specific damages available depending upon who is filing the claim.
Justice comes in many forms. Sometimes the civil system can provide justice where the criminal system is inadequate. A civil case can provide money damages and also allows the victim's story to be heard. We are committed to advocating for riders who are injured or killed by negligent drivers. Call to schedule a free consultation with our experienced injury and wrongful death attorney.