Driving Motor Vehicles Under the Influence - Risks to Motorcyclists
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs continues to be a problem that affects communities across the United States. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 people die every year due to automobile accidents involving an impaired driver. Approximately one-third of accidents that result in a death involve a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs. Clearly, many of these crashes, accidents, and deaths could have been avoided if the driver either refrained from using drugs or alcohol on that particular day or night OR alternatively acted responsibly by having another person drive, staying put for the day or night, or catching a ride through a friend, cab, bus, Uber, Lyft, or other some other form of transportation.
Driving under the influence is especially dangerous to motorcyclists occupying the same roads, highways, and streets as the impaired driver. Motorcyclists are "vulnerable road users" as defined by Section 316.027, Florida Statutes. This is clear both by statute and common sense. A motorcyclist is certainly at risk for injury anytime that an impaired driver on the road. Driving under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs dulls the senses and slows motor skills. It is important to be alert, awake, and sharp any time that a driver gets behind the wheel.
It should be noted that a case or claim can be brought by a motorcyclist for injuries caused by a driver under the influence. While there may be a strong legal case against the at-fault driver, there are still the practical considerations to the pursuit of a personal injury case seeking compensation for damages. The amount and type of insurance in place are important factors.
For instance, let's assume that the at-fault impaired driver did not have any insurance on his vehicle. Furthermore, let's assume that the injured motorcyclist had very limited coverage but did not have Uninsured Motorist coverage. Under these unfortunate facts, it would be difficult from a practical standpoint to pursue a civil case or claim on behalf of the injured motorcyclists. Plainly speaking, the insurance coverage is terrible and many personal injury attorneys would ultimately turn down a case without any practical means of obtaining a recovery. While a lawsuit could be filed against the at-fault driver, it may ultimately be difficult to collect from the at-fault driver if he lacks any assets to collect upon. As you can see, there certainly is more to the case than the fact that the at-fault driver was impaired at the time of the crash.
When a motorcyclist is injured as a result of the negligence of others, actions should be taken to protect and enforce the rights of the injured biker. Hopefully, the right kind of insurance was in place for all parties so that the injured motorcyclist has a source of compensation and a way to deal with the real challenges in the aftermath of the crash.
David A. Wolf is an attorney with over 30 years of experience. He is the author of 12 books that focus on personal injury and child injury matters. He is available days, nights, weekends, and holidays for his clients and prospective clients. Contact David A. Wolf for a free consultation. Get D. Wolf On Your Side At Your Side.