Sean Lopez | November 14, 2023 | Motorcycle Accidents
How Safe Are Motor Scooters in St. Petersburg, FL?
Motor scooters offer many benefits for riders in St. Petersburg, FL. Motor scooters are more fuel-efficient than cars. They are also less costly to insure and require less maintenance.
However, are motor scooters safe to ride in St. Petersburg, FL? Before discussing safety issues, let’s review Florida’s requirements for operating motor scooters.
Are Motor Scooters Defined by Florida Law?
A motorized scooter is defined by Florida Statute §316.003(48) as a vehicle that does not have a seat or saddle for the rider and is not capable of going more than 30 miles per hour on level ground. Unlike motorcycles, motor scooters do not require the rider to have a driver’s license and do not need to be titled or registered.
Are Motor Scooters Safe for Riders?
Motor scooters are similar to motorcycles. They do not offer the rider protection in a collision with another vehicle or object. The rider can be thrown from the motor scooter and/or crushed. Also, motor scooters can be difficult to see in traffic, which could increase the risk of an accident.
However, motor scooters are no more dangerous than most other motor vehicles. If the rider wears a motorcycle helmet, follows traffic laws, and practices defensive driving, they should be relatively safe to operate. Unfortunately, it is the nature of the vehicle that makes motor scooter riders more likely to sustain catastrophic injuries in an accident compared to occupants in a passenger vehicle.
Occupants in a passenger vehicle have the vehicle’s frame to protect them in a crash. They also have seat belts, airbags, and other safety devices to protect them from injury. Motor scooter riders do not have these same protections.
Common Causes of Motor Scooter Accidents in St. Petersburg, FL?
As with other types of traffic accidents, negligence is a common cause of motor scooter accidents. Examples of factors that could lead to a motor scooter accident include:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Drunk driving
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Distracted driving
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Fatigued and drowsy driving
- Following too closely
Weather and road conditions could also be factors in the cause of a motor scooter accident. Defective motor scooters and parts could also play a role in the cause of an accident.
Injuries Riders Sustain in Florida Motor Scooter Accidents
A motor scooter rider can sustain severe injuries in a crash. Riders can sustain injuries including, but not limited to:
- Road rash (abrasions and lacerations)
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Crushing injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Loss of limbs and amputations
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Soft tissue injuries
It is crucial to see a doctor immediately after a motor scooter accident. Prompt medical treatment increases your chance of making a full recovery. It also improves your chance of receiving a fair settlement for damages in a personal injury case.
What Damages Could I Receive for a St. Petersburg Motor Scooter Accident Case?
Examples of damages in a motor scooter accident case include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages and benefits
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Decreased earning capacity
- Impairments and disabilities
- Mental anguish
How much your motor scooter accident case is worth depends on numerous facts. Your injuries, the severity of an impairment, insurance coverage, your fault, and other factors impact the value of damages.
Florida’s new contributory fault law could also impact the value of your case. The state now applies a modified comparative fault standard. If you are 51% or more at fault for causing the motor scooter accident, you are barred from receiving compensation from the at-fault party.
The court can reduce your compensation by your level of fault if you are 50% or less to blame, so you would still receive less than the total value of your claim.
Working with an experienced St. Petersburg motor scooter accident lawyer improves your chances of receiving a fair settlement. Your attorney defends you against allegations of contributory fault. An attorney also knows what evidence is required to prove your claim and how to value your damages correctly. Your initial consultation is free, so it’s likely worth your time to reach out for some legal advice.