Tort Injuries in Florida, Personal Injury

Tort Injuries

Tort Personal Injury in Florida General Overview

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


In bringing a legal action in Florida for Personal Injury, four factors must be proven. The first factor is that the defendant owed a legal duty to conform to a certain standard to not harm the plaintiff. The second factor is that the defendant breached that legal duty. The third factor is that the plaintiff was injured due to this breach of duty. The fourth and final factor is that the breach of the duty caused injury to the plaintiff.

Not all persons who cause injury will be liable under a personal injury action. For instance, there are exemptions under the Florida Statutes for persons such as Good Samaritans acting to aid another – See Florida Statute Section 768.13. Further, just because one is injured by the actions of another does not mean that the one causing injury should be liable in tort for the injury. For example, a doctor may make the reasonable decision to perform an operation, after explaining the risks to the patient (informed consent), which in the end could cause injury to the patient, though the operation was deemed to have the potential for the greater good.

In Florida, an injured person can also be partially liable for their own injuries. This is referred to as comparative negligence. The injured person’s monetary recovery against a defendant will be reduced by that percentage that the injured person was responsible for the injury. Further, an injured person may have assumed the risk to themselves in an activity and cannot successfully sue another for the injury. This would be the case in, for example, a sport where the injured was deemed to know the risk of being hit with a baseball but participated anyway. Thus it is deemed reasonably foreseeable that this type of injury would occur and the injured individual assumed this risk.

Employers are often responsible for the injuries caused by their employees under a theory of respondeat superior, or vicarious liability. This is referred to as joint and several liability. Further, businesses can be liable for the injuries caused by their independent contractors when the business was negligent in the hiring of the contractor, negligent in the supervision of the contractor, or negligent in the training of the contractor. The business can also be liable for its contractors on certain types of dangerous jobs that it is deemed to dangerous to allow the contractor to pass off legal responsibility to a third party. This is similar to strict liability which holds that regardless of how much care one takes, the undertaking of the activity will impose liability no matter who is at fault for the injury.

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Medical Malpractice in Florida

Florida Medical Malpractice

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


In Florida, Doctors and other medical staff are held to a standard of care as to the services they provide. Failure to meet that standard of care can lead to injury, which can lead the patient to have a medical malpractice lawsuit, or in the case of death, can leave the surviving family with a wrongful death lawsuit for monetary damages and other remedial measures against the doctor or other health care provider.

The standard of care for doctors in Florida is the care that would be used by a reasonably prudent doctor in the same circumstances. Failure to meet this standard can lead to liability for medical malpractice.

In Florida, to prove a medical malpractice case it must be shown that 1) a doctor patient relationship existed, 2) the doctor was negligent (failed to meet the appropriate standard of care), 3) and that this negligence led to injury to the patient.

Proving that a doctor patient relationship existed is not always straightforward. When one is in a hospital it is possible that there are many treating and non-treating doctors, one or all of whom could be potentially liable for injury. Further, there could also be other personal who are more liable for injury, such as an anesthesiologist or nurse. Further, what if a doctor was merely an acquaintance and gave advice outside of the hospital or office context that led to injury. Would a doctor patient relationship have been created?

The next step is proving that the doctor was negligent. In Florida, an expert will be needed to testify as to the standard of care that was reasonably prudent and how this doctor deviated from the standard of care. The expert will most likely be another doctor in the same profession as the potentially negligent doctor. The factors in negligence are that the doctor had a duty to the patient to provide reasonable care, the doctor failed to provide such care, this failure led to injury to the patient, and the patient was thereby damaged.

It then needs to be proven that the negligence of the doctor was actually the cause (proximate cause) of the injury or death. For instance, in a situation where a patient dies of lung cancer, a failure to properly treat the cancer could be considered negligence, but if the patient was going to die that day anyway, it could not be said that the doctor’s negligence actually caused the wrongful death. The negligence must cause the injury.

Damages in a medical malpractice case must then be proved. Damages can include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, and in the case of wrongful death, the family could have their own claims against the doctor, hospital and other medical workers.

Common claims for medical malpractice are failure to diagnose, failure to adequately treat, failure to warn the patient of known risks, or what is also referred to as informed consent.

In Florida, a lawsuit for medical malpractice needs to be commenced relatively quickly and there is a strict statute of limitations on malpractice lawsuits. The statute of limitations in Florida for a medical malpractice claim is two years from when the patient knew of the doctors negligence or when the patient should have know something was wrong. So, for example, in cases where a sponge was left inside a surgery patient, the patient might not learn about the doctor’s negligence until some time after the occurrence. The statute would begin to run once the patient learned that the sponge was inside them. However, in Florida, there is a generally hard rule that a medical malpractice claim cannot in most circumstances be brought after four years from the negligence. However, if the doctor or other health care provider concealed the negligence and prevented the patient from learning of it within the four year period, the statute is increased an additional two years. With children, however, there is a statue of repose whereby the child’s right to bring a medical malpractice claim cannot be cut off before the child’s eighth birthday.

Further, Florida requires that prior to bringing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, that a pre-suit investigation be conducted concerning the alleged malpractice:

766.106 Notice before filing action for medical negligence; presuit screening period; offers for admission of liability and for arbitration; informal discovery; review.—

(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Claim for medical negligence” or “claim for medical malpractice” means a claim, arising out of the rendering of, or the failure to render, medical care or services.

(b) “Self-insurer” means any self-insurer authorized under s. 627.357 or any uninsured prospective defendant.

(c) “Insurer” includes the Joint Underwriting Association.


(a) After completion of presuit investigation pursuant to s. 766.203(2) and prior to filing a complaint for medical negligence, a claimant shall notify each prospective defendant by certified mail, return receipt requested, of intent to initiate litigation for medical negligence. Notice to each prospective defendant must include, if available, a list of all known health care providers seen by the claimant for the injuries complained of subsequent to the alleged act of negligence, all known health care providers during the 2-year period prior to the alleged act of negligence who treated or evaluated the claimant, copies of all of the medical records relied upon by the expert in signing the affidavit, and the executed authorization form provided in s. 766.1065.

(b) Following the initiation of a suit alleging medical negligence with a court of competent jurisdiction, and service of the complaint upon a defendant, the claimant shall provide a copy of the complaint to the Department of Health and, if the complaint involves a facility licensed under chapter 395, the Agency for Health Care Administration. The requirement of providing the complaint to the Department of Health or the Agency for Health Care Administration does not impair the claimant’s legal rights or ability to seek relief for his or her claim. The Department of Health or the Agency for Health Care Administration shall review each incident that is the subject of the complaint and determine whether it involved conduct by a licensee which is potentially subject to disciplinary action, in which case, for a licensed health care practitioner, the provisions of s. 456.073 apply and, for a licensed facility, the provisions of part I of chapter 395 apply.


(a) No suit may be filed for a period of 90 days after notice is mailed to any prospective defendant. During the 90-day period, the prospective defendant or the defendant’s insurer or self-insurer shall conduct a review as provided in s. 766.203(3) to determine the liability of the defendant. Each insurer or self-insurer shall have a procedure for the prompt investigation, review, and evaluation of claims during the 90-day period. This procedure shall include one or more of the following:

1. Internal review by a duly qualified claims adjuster;

2. Creation of a panel comprised of an attorney knowledgeable in the prosecution or defense of medical negligence actions, a health care provider trained in the same or similar medical specialty as the prospective defendant, and a duly qualified claims adjuster;

3. A contractual agreement with a state or local professional society of health care providers, which maintains a medical review committee;

4. Any other similar procedure which fairly and promptly evaluates the pending claim.

Each insurer or self-insurer shall investigate the claim in good faith, and both the claimant and prospective defendant shall cooperate with the insurer in good faith. If the insurer requires, a claimant shall appear before a pretrial screening panel or before a medical review committee and shall submit to a physical examination, if required. Unreasonable failure of any party to comply with this section justifies dismissal of claims or defenses. There shall be no civil liability for participation in a pretrial screening procedure if done without intentional fraud.

(b) At or before the end of the 90 days, the prospective defendant or the prospective defendant’s insurer or self-insurer shall provide the claimant with a response:

1. Rejecting the claim;

2. Making a settlement offer; or

3. Making an offer to arbitrate in which liability is deemed admitted and arbitration will be held only on the issue of damages. This offer may be made contingent upon a limit of general damages.

(c) The response shall be delivered to the claimant if not represented by counsel or to the claimant’s attorney, by certified mail, return receipt requested. Failure of the prospective defendant or insurer or self-insurer to reply to the notice within 90 days after receipt shall be deemed a final rejection of the claim for purposes of this section.

(d) Within 30 days of receipt of a response by a prospective defendant, insurer, or self-insurer to a claimant represented by an attorney, the attorney shall advise the claimant in writing of the response, including:

1. The exact nature of the response under paragraph (b).

2. The exact terms of any settlement offer, or admission of liability and offer of arbitration on damages.

3. The legal and financial consequences of acceptance or rejection of any settlement offer, or admission of liability, including the provisions of this section.

4. An evaluation of the time and likelihood of ultimate success at trial on the merits of the claimant’s action.

5. An estimation of the costs and attorney’s fees of proceeding through trial.

(4) SERVICE OF PRESUIT NOTICE AND TOLLING.—The notice of intent to initiate litigation shall be served within the time limits set forth in s. 95.11. However, during the 90-day period, the statute of limitations is tolled as to all potential defendants. Upon stipulation by the parties, the 90-day period may be extended and the statute of limitations is tolled during any such extension. Upon receiving notice of termination of negotiations in an extended period, the claimant shall have 60 days or the remainder of the period of the statute of limitations, whichever is greater, within which to file suit.

1(5) DISCOVERY AND ADMISSIBILITY.—A statement, discussion, written document, report, or other work product generated by the presuit screening process is not discoverable or admissible in any civil action for any purpose by the opposing party. All participants, including, but not limited to, physicians, investigators, witnesses, and employees or associates of the defendant, are immune from civil liability arising from participation in the presuit screening process. This subsection does not prevent a physician licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a dentist licensed under chapter 466 who submits a verified written expert medical opinion from being subject to denial of a license or disciplinary action under s. 458.331(1)(oo), s. 459.015(1)(qq), or s. 466.028(1)(ll).


(a) Upon receipt by a prospective defendant of a notice of claim, the parties shall make discoverable information available without formal discovery. Failure to do so is grounds for dismissal of claims or defenses ultimately asserted.

1(b) Informal discovery may be used by a party to obtain unsworn statements, the production of documents or things, and physical and mental examinations, as follows:

1. Unsworn statements.—Any party may require other parties to appear for the taking of an unsworn statement. Such statements may be used only for the purpose of presuit screening and are not discoverable or admissible in any civil action for any purpose by any party. A party desiring to take the unsworn statement of any party must give reasonable notice in writing to all parties. The notice must state the time and place for taking the statement and the name and address of the party to be examined. Unless otherwise impractical, the examination of any party must be done at the same time by all other parties. Any party may be represented by counsel at the taking of an unsworn statement. An unsworn statement may be recorded electronically, stenographically, or on videotape. The taking of unsworn statements is subject to the provisions of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and may be terminated for abuses.

2. Documents or things.—Any party may request discovery of documents or things. The documents or things must be produced, at the expense of the requesting party, within 20 days after the date of receipt of the request. A party is required to produce discoverable documents or things within that party’s possession or control. Medical records shall be produced as provided in s. 766.204.

3. Physical and mental examinations.—A prospective defendant may require an injured claimant to appear for examination by an appropriate health care provider. The prospective defendant shall give reasonable notice in writing to all parties as to the time and place for examination. Unless otherwise impractical, a claimant is required to submit to only one examination on behalf of all potential defendants. The practicality of a single examination must be determined by the nature of the claimant’s condition, as it relates to the liability of each prospective defendant. Such examination report is available to the parties and their attorneys upon payment of the reasonable cost of reproduction and may be used only for the purpose of presuit screening. Otherwise, such examination report is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

4. Written questions.—Any party may request answers to written questions, the number of which may not exceed 30, including subparts. A response must be made within 20 days after receipt of the questions.

5. Unsworn statements of treating health care providers.—A prospective defendant or his or her legal representative may also take unsworn statements of the claimant’s treating health care providers. The statements must be limited to those areas that are potentially relevant to the claim of personal injury or wrongful death. Subject to the procedural requirements of subparagraph 1., a prospective defendant may take unsworn statements from a claimant’s treating physicians. Reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard must be given to the claimant or the claimant’s legal representative before taking unsworn statements. The claimant or claimant’s legal representative has the right to attend the taking of such unsworn statements.

(c) Each request for and notice concerning informal presuit discovery pursuant to this section must be in writing, and a copy thereof must be sent to all parties. Such a request or notice must bear a certificate of service identifying the name and address of the person to whom the request or notice is served, the date of the request or notice, and the manner of service thereof.

(d) Copies of any documents produced in response to the request of any party must be served upon all other parties. The party serving the documents or his or her attorney shall identify, in a notice accompanying the documents, the name and address of the parties to whom the documents were served, the date of service, the manner of service, and the identity of the document served.

(7) SANCTIONS.—Failure to cooperate on the part of any party during the presuit investigation may be grounds to strike any claim made, or defense raised, by such party in suit.

History.—s. 14, ch. 85-175; s. 9, ch. 86-287; s. 3, ch. 88-173; s. 48, ch. 88-277; s. 245, ch. 94-218; s. 1, ch. 94-258; s. 424, ch. 96-406; s. 1800, ch. 97-102; s. 164, ch. 98-166; s. 225, ch. 2000-160; s. 166, ch. 2000-318; s. 1, ch. 2000-341; s. 49, ch. 2003-416; s. 11, ch. 2011-233.

1Note.—Section 16, ch. 2011-233, provides that “[t]his act shall take effect October 1, 2011, and applies to causes of action accruing on or after that date.”

Note.—Former s. 768.57.

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Florida

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


A personal injury lawsuit seeks to compensate one who is injured for damages such as lost job earnings, loss of future earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering and damages for disfigurement.

In a wrongful death action, the family of the deceased can bring an action against the one who caused the death for funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support to the family, loss of affection and/or consortium, and loss of financial support.

In both cases, the injured needs to prove that the tortfeasor, or the one who caused injury, had a duty to the injured, and that they breached that duty by causing the injury. Resulting damages must also be proved.

Often their can be a number of significant intervening factors which can affect who is ultimately liable for an injury. Therefore, it is necessary to show that the alleged wrongdoer was the proximate or direct cause of the injury. Further, the injured can also be partially at fault for their own injuries and depending on the jurisdiction this can bar the injured from recovering damages, or can seek to reduce the damages in comparison to the percentage of fault.

After an injury or death, it is important to retain a lawyer as soon as possible who can reconstruct the accident scene to determine who was at fault. Police reports are often inaccurate, and experts need to be retained to interview witnesses, conduct tests on vehicles and of the location of the accident, and determine what happened in the accident. Without swift action, important evidence can dissipate.

Once the lawyer has a case and can prove that the alleged wrongdoer was negligent and caused injury or death to his or her client, he can then negotiate a settlement with the insurance companies.

If, however, the insurance companies challenge their clients’ liability, a lawsuit will need to be filed on behalf of the client alleging Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation, and Damages. Mediation between the parties will often be a useful step in attempting to resolve the matter prior to intensive litigation leading to trial. Proving damages will require intensive compilation of earnings and potential future earnings, lost wages, medical bills, both past and future, and the like. Actuarial information may also need to be obtained to determine how long the injured client will potentially live, or how long a deceased client was likely to have lived barring the accident.

Experts, like doctors, will often need to be called to testify in court as to extent of injuries, lifespan, earning capacity, pain and suffering and the like. Insurance companies will hire their own experts who will provide differing opinions on the issues of the case. Depositions and direct testimony of witnesses, including statements elicited by the police, will also need to be compiled and brought out in trial.

Once a trial is concluded the jury will return their verdict as to liability and monetary damages. Either party has the right to appeal the decision of the jury to a higher court if the decision was arrived at due to some procedural or evidentiary defect during the trial, which was preserved for appeal.

The lawyer will assist the client in determining what is in the best interests of the client when deciding on whether to accept settlements or whether to try the case to a jury and through possible appeal to the appellate courts.

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Types of Damages in Florida Personal Injury Legal Matters

Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Case in Florida

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart


When you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence or fault of another, you are entitled to a number of types of monetary recovery. After your lawyer has negotiated with the insurance company or filed a lawsuit and proved that the defendant breached a duty to you by injuring you, the types of damages recoverable and their amount needs to be determined.

When a settlement is reached with the insurance company or companies, the amount recoverable is often dependent on the insurance policy limits. In court the amount recoverable can be proved to a jury.

The types of damages generally recoverable are:

1) Compensatory Damages. This is monetary recovery for things such as money for medical bills, lost wages from the time you were unable to work due to the injury, damages to property, and future medical bills, such as from ongoing physical or emotional therapy. Compensatory damages include past and future effects of the injury on the victims physical and psychological health, disfigurement, past and future physical pain, mental distress, lost future earning capacity, loss of domestic or household services or consortium (see below). Compensatory damages include economic damages and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).

2) Pain and Suffering. This is the money you are entitled to for the physical pain you have and will endure, as well as mental suffering due to the injury.

3) Loss of Consortium. This is monetary recovery for the damage caused by being unable to have a loving relationship with your husband or wife, or your family due to the effects of the injury. This is also referred to as loss of companionship.

4) Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are available in those cases where the tortfeasor, or one who caused the injury, did so on purpose (intentional tort) or at least with reckless disregard of the consequences.

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Florida Trucking Accidents, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death

Trucking accidents are very serious and usually result in serious injury or death. Trucking accidents can occur for many reasons, from driver fatigue or inexperience, to excessive loads creating imbalance which can lead to rollovers. Oftentimes, large trucks such as 18 wheelers are owned by large companies who will aggressively defend themselves in the case of an accident. Obtaining an attorney early in the process is necessary to prevent the injured victim from making any improper statements to investigators, who work for the trucking company, which can damage their case for personal injury or wrongful death of a family member.

There are both state and federal laws concerning trucks. Federal law in particular provides guidelines on how long a driver can drive without taking a break for rest. Truck drivers are also required to maintain logs, which later can be used by your attorney to prove any deviations from the laws by the truck driver.

Litigating a personal injury or wrongful trucking accident death requires a showing of negligence on behalf of the truck driver and the truck driving company. Negligence of the victim will also be taken into account, but does not bar an award of personal injury damages. Your lawyer will likely sue the driver for negligence or recklessness, and the trucking company, under a theory of respondeat superior, or that the company is liable for the driver’s actions. Other causes of action could include negligent hiring, negligent supervision and lack of training.

Your lawyer will conduct an investigation of the accident scene, the conditions of the road at the time of the accident, the condition of the truck in question, include maintenance records, will interview any witnesses to the accident, as well as reviewing police reports and possibly conducting depositions of the police. Depositions will also be conducted on the driver concerning his or her condition at the time of the accident, his or her training and years of experience, and any similar accidents or disciplinary actions taken against the driver.

Your lawyer will also investigate the trucking company to determine whether the company has failed to properly train its drivers, whether it has rules in place for hiring, supervision and discipline, the conditions of its trucks, and any previous accidents involving its drivers.

The basic tort claim for personal injury or wrongful death consists of certain factors. The first is “Duty” or whether or not the trucking company had a duty to the victim and to the public in general to prevent accidents of this type. The second factor is whether the truck driver and/or trucking company “Breached” its/their duty through his or her/their negligence. The third factor is whether the driver and the company’s conduct was the “Cause” of the injury to the victim. The forth factor is “Damages” or how much the injured driver is entitled to recover in monetary damages for injuries, medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium or affections with family members), and the like.

Further, other companies can be sued by your lawyer for their negligence, such as the truck manufacturer and the parts makers, and the tire company if the tires were defective. Further, if the truck was negligently worked on by a mechanic, this could lead to a suit against the mechanic and his or her company.

The results of the case depend on the very specific factors involved in each case.

For further information call The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart at 866-438-6574 or see us on the web at

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

Florida Motorcycle Injuries – Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Law

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, call The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart at 866-438-6574

Our firm will move immediately to protect your rights.

Motorcycle accidents are unlike automobile accidents or truck accidents in that the motorcycle rider is more likely to die or be seriously injured in an accident.

According to the “Hurt Report”:

1) Approximately 75% of accidents involve another vehicle

2) Nearly 50% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol

3) 66% of accidents are caused by failure to yield right of way

4) Surprisingly, weather is not a factor in 98% of accidents

5) Rider error causes 66% of single-vehicle accidents

6) Failure to see motorcycle is the primary cause of accidents

According to the website

Motorcycle Statistics

Florida’s growing population and popularity with motorcycle enthusiasts makes motorcycle safety an important issue. The number of motorcycle crashes, fatalities, and injuries in the United States has increased in recent years, and Florida has shown the same trend.

Motorcycle Crash Trends in Florida (PowerPoint)

Presented on December 2, 2010 by:
Chanyoung Lee, Ph.D., PTP
Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR)
University of South Florida

Motorcycle Crashes, Fatalities, and Injuries in Florida
The number of motorcycle crashes and injuries nearly doubled between 2000 and 2008.

Florida Motorcycle Crashes and Injuries, 2000 to 2010

Table showing Florida motorcycle crashes and injuries from 2000 to 2010.

From 2008 to 2010, the data reflects a 22.2% reduction in crashes and a 21.5% reduction in injuries. The implementation of Florida’s Motorcycle Safety Coalition and the new rider training requirements that were put into place in July 2008 significantly contributed to this decrease.

Florida Motorcycle Fatalities, 2000 to 2010

Table showing Florida motorcycle fatalities from 2000 to 2010.

In 2000, motorcycle fatalities accounted for about eight percent of all traffic fatalities in the State, but by 2008 the percentage had increased to 17.8 percent. In 2010, motorcycle fatalities dropped, and accounted for 14.3% of all traffic fatalities.

Motorcycle Crash Factors

Below are a number of factors that uniquely contribute to motorcycle crashes in Florida.

Motorcyclists Injured in Crashes by Age and Gender*






< 21 535 58 1 594 21-24 672 51 0 723 25-34 1,235 84 0 1,319 35-44 1,056 118 0 1,174 45-54 1,267 176 0 1,443 55-64 881 70 0 1,443 65-74 307 11 0 318 75-84 51 11 0 52 85-89 3 0 0 3 90+ 1 0 0 1 Unknown 89 4 15 108 Total 6,097 573 16 6,686 *These numbers correspond to 2010 motorcycle crash injuries by age and gender. Age More motorcyclists aged 45-54 were injured in motorcycle traffic crashes in Florida than any other age group in 2010. In 2010, more riders age 45-54 were fatally injured in motorcycle traffic crashes in Florida than any other age group, followed by riders age 25-34. The median age of fatally injured riders was 42 years old in 2010. Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities in Florida by Age and Year 2007 to 2010 Note: This does not include motorcycle passenger fatality details. Table showing Florida Motorcycle Traffic Fatalities in Florida by Age and Year, 2007 to 2010. Residence Florida is a popular tourist destination and host to a number of motorcycle enthusiast events. 94 percent of motorcyclists fatally injured in Florida were also Florida residents (2010). Location Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Volusia, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Broward, Duval, Orange, Pasco, and Brevard counties accounted for the largest number of motorcycle fatalities respectively in 2010. Factors such as population and proximity to motorcycle rallies play a role in determining the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities. Registrations and Endorsements In 2008, registered motorcycles accounted for just over 4% of Florida's motoring public. In 2009, there were 590,735 registered motorcycles – I need to know the total number of registered vehicles to replicate the bullet above. In 2011, licensed motorcyclists accounted for only about 7% of Florida’s motoring public. Yet in 2010, motorcyclists and their passengers represented 14.3% of all fatalities on Florida’s roadways. Helmet Use In 2011, helmet use in Florida was observed at 49.3 percent. Since the repeal of the helmet law in 2000, the number of fatal crashes for every 10,000 registered motorcycles increased by 21 percent, suggesting motorcyclists without helmets are more likely to suffer serious and fatal injuries. 37 percent of motorcyclists were not wearing a safety helmet before a fatal crash during 2010. 29 percent of motorcyclist fatalities were related to traumatic brain injuries between 2007 and 2010. Alcohol Involvement 27 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2005 involved alcohol. 20 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2006 involved alcohol. 41 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2008 involved alcohol. 37 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2009 involved alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis: In Florida in 2009, impaired motorcyclists with a BAC of .08+ accounted for 31% of motorcycle fatalities, while impaired motorcyclists with a BAC of .01+ accounted for 37% of motorcycle fatalities. Nationally, in fatal crashes in 2008 a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver. The percentages for vehicle riders involved in fatal crashes were 28 percent for motorcycles, 23 percent for passenger cars, 23 percent for light trucks, and 2 percent for large trucks. In 2010, the percentage with BAC .08 g/dL or above was highest for fatally injured motorcycle riders among the 21-24 (34%) age group followed by 25-34 (30%) age group. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the states of Florida and Kentucky, and in Australia ("Quick tips: The Importance of Riding Unimpaired by Alcohol or Other Drugs." PDF) Motorcycle Safety Foundation, 2006.) indicate the following: Having any alcohol in one’s body increases the chance of crashing by five times. Having a BAC greater than 0.05 percent increases the risk of crashing about 40-fold. One-fourth of all fatal alcohol-related motorcycle crashes involve motorcyclists running off the road, overturning, or falling from the motorcycle rather than striking another object. Effects of Alcohol on Motorcycle Riding Skills (PDF) Methodology for Determining Motorcycle Operator Crash Risk and Alcohol Impairment Impaired Motorcycle Operation - Riders Helping Riders Time of Year and Day of Week 31 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes occurred during the months of March, April, and May. Approximately 50 percent of fatal crashes occur on weekends. Vehicle Maneuver Roadway Characteristic 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Straight - Level 338 370 388 361 198 Straight - Upgrade/Downgrade 41 41 37 38 13 Curve - Level 67 82 89 106 61 Curve - Upgrade/Downgrade 32 48 37 43 22 Grand Total 478 541 551 548 294 % Roadway Curves 14% 15% 16% 19% 21% Approximately 10 percent of fatal crashes from 2005 to 2007 involved roadway curves. Passing or overtaking a vehicle and changing lanes or merging each accounted for three percent of fatalities. Body Region and Nature of Injury Information from death certificates issued in 2010 show that 29 percent of motorcycle traffic fatalities were associated with a traumatic brain injury, 35 percent with injuries to multiple body regions, 30 percent with injuries to unspecified body regions, and 9 percent with injuries to the thorax. Unfortunately, death certificates provide limited information about the nature of injuries; therefore, nearly 100 percent of certificates cited at least one unspecified injury as an immediate or contributing cause of death. For nonfatal injuries among motorcycle riders that required hospitalization from 2007 to 2009, injuries to the lower extremities were responsible for the highest percentage of hospitalizations at 35 percent, followed by traumatic brain injuries and torso injuries each at 20 percent. The two most common types of principal injuries sustained in nonfatal motorcycle crashes requiring hospitalization were fractures (67 percent) and injuries to internal organs (23 percent). Upper extremity and lower extremity injuries account for over half of the injuries for motorcycle riders treated in emergency departments from 2007 and 2009. Superficial wounds and fractures together account for over half of injuries to motorcycle riders treated in emergency departments from 2007 and 2009. Injury and Hospitalization Data Motorcycle Traffic Crash Injuries in Florida, 2007-2010 Table showing Motorcycle Traffic Crash Injuries in Florida by Year. Motorcycle traffic crashes often result in fatal or serious injuries requiring inpatient or outpatient hospital care and treatment. Fatal injuries, though the most severe, account for only a small portion of the overall injury burden among motorcyclists. In fact, nearly seven times more nonfatal injury hospitalizations and over 20 times more emergency department visits occurred for nonfatal injuries during the three year period from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, the median hospital charge for motorcyclists admitted to a Florida hospital for the treatment of traffic crash injuries was $55,748. In 2010, the median hospital charge for motorcyclists treated and released from a Florida emergency department for the treatment of traffic crash injuries was $3,101. The total hospital charges for the initial treatment of motorcyclists injured in traffic crashes in 2010 was $348,138,344. In 2010, 51 percent of motorcyclist hospitalizations and emergency department visits were not covered by commercial insurance. Table showing 2009 Hospitalizations in Florida for Nonfatal Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Traffic Crashes by Payer Source. Table showing 2009 Emergency Department Visits in Florida for Nonfatal Injuries Sustained in Motorcycle Traffic Crashes by Payer Source. Further, the personal injury laws concerning motorcycles can differ from automobiles, particularly with respect to insurance coverage, which can be complex. The general factors needed to prove negligence in a motorcycle accident are 1) a duty of the other driver to protect the rider from harm, 2) a breach of that duty by the other driver, and 3) the breach of the duty was the cause of the resultant injuries. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you should immediately call the police and an ambulance if you are injured and it is possible. Our lawyers at Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart will then immediately secure the scene of your motorcycle injury. Our investigators will obtain statements and reports concerning the accident, and obtain the statements of witnesses. We will view the scene to determine how that may have affected the accident. Weather conditions and the conditions of the driver and the rider will be taken into account. Our Florida office will manage your hospital visits and bills, together with negotiations with the insurance companies. We will work with your doctors to determine the extent of injuries and the proper courses of treatment. If you are contacted by any insurance adjuster, or anyone else for that matter, concerning the accident, all questions should be referred to our law firm. Giving statements to third parties can hinder your ability to recover for personal injuries, lost wages, medical bills, property damage and the like. In a case of motorcycle injury that leads to death, the family can bring a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation. Call the Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart at 866-438-6574 for further information Or see us at Or

The Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart