Why Riders Should Consider Track Day Motorcycle Insurance

If you have lived in or around Clearwater, Florida for even a little while and you ride a motorcycle, then you have probably heard the name Attorney Fran Haasch of The Fran Haasch Law Group. Fran is not only a motorcycle accident attorney with a history of case results, but she is also an avid motorcyclist. She cares about her clients and her community dearly, which is why she has an important message to tell all motorcyclists around her hometown: get track day motorcycle insurance.

What is Track Day Motorcycle Insurance?

Most motorcyclists purchase a basic insurance policy, not really knowing what it covers. An inspection of an insurance policy will usually reveal that the coverage only applies to accidents on public streets, parking lots, and highways. What might surprise you is that your insurance policy probably does not cover any motorcycle accidents that happen on a racetrack or enclosed course.

If you ever go to the track to take your ride for a few laps, you need to talk to your insurance provider about getting track day insurance. This insurance add-on or upgrade will provide insurance coverage in case you crash while on a racetrack, excluding crashes that occur during a time trial or competition with other riders.

Most track day insurance policies will provide coverage for:

  • Motorcycle repairs
  • Riding accessory replacement
  • Safety gear replacement

The amount of coverage you are provided depends on the cap of your insurance policy. But, once again, you will not have this coverage unless you have a policy that includes track day insurance benefits. Without this specific coverage type, you could be left with no financial support at all from your insurance provider. 

Review Your Policy Often for Upgrades

Please keep in mind that many insurance companies do not even offer track day coverage for motorcyclists. We recommend that you speak with an insurance broken who can discuss multiple companies and options with you to find a policy that meets your specific insurance needs.

If you have not reviewed your insurance policy in a while, please take some time to do it again. You might need to make policy upgrades that will keep you covered in worst-case scenarios. If you ever need any help filing a claim or pursuing compensation after a motorcycle accident in Clearwater, please come to our law firm first for legal help.

Inquiring clients can dial (727) 784-8191 to schedule a free case evaluation. We answer the phone 24/7.

How Cargo Problems Can Cause Trucking Accidents

Most people would assume that all trucking accidents are caused by the mistakes of the truckers driving the commercial big rig. However, this is not always the case. The load crews who add and remove cargo from a tractor trailer need to be careful while at work, or else they could make a serious mistake that results in an accident once the truck is on the highway.

Four dangerous consequences of cargo issues are:

  • Tip-over accidents: When cargo is stacked in a trailer, the load crew needs to pay attention to the weight of the freight. Making top-heavy pallets of products or other shipped materials will also result in a top-heavy trailer. When rounding corners, suddenly changing lanes, or struck by a strong wind, a top-heavy trailer is more likely to tip-over, putting any smaller vehicles in adjacent lanes in immediate danger.
  • Jackknife accidents: An overloaded tractor trailer increases the risk of a jackknife accident when the truck needs to come to an abrupt stop. A truck “jackknifes” when its trailer swings forward during a stop and ends up in front of or next to the trailer itself due to it folding at the point where the tractor and trailer connect. The unpredictability of a jackknife accident makes them extremely dangerous.
  • Worse brake effectiveness: Commercial trucks must also adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) weight regulations. Overloading a trailer will make the entire vehicle too heavy, which puts more strain on the braking system whenever the truck comes to a stop. In some cases, the added weight may make the brakes fail entirely, resulting in a devastating rear-end collision at intersections and stoplights.
  • Spilled cargo: Loosely secured freight can fall off the back and sides of a commercial truck while it is in motion. Drivers behind the truck could be struck by stray product and debris unless they make equally dangerous defensive maneuvers.

Holding Load Crews Accountable for Mistakes

Filing a successful truck accident claim starts with knowing who is liable for your crash. Bringing a claim only against the truck driver or their parent company might limit how much compensation you can receive for your damages if it is determined that a load crew contributed to the negligence as well.

For example, truckers who make stops at retail stores are often instructed to not assist with the loading and unloading of their trailer. Employees at that store have that responsibility. If they incorrectly load the cargo and it contributes to a trucking accident later, then that retail store or load crew could be partially liable for the damages. Although, the trucker would likely still hold some accountability for not double-checking their freight before leaving the loading bay.

Rather than trying to figure out the correct liability in your trucking accident on your own, let The Fran Haasch Law Group in Clearwater do it. We accept trucking accident claims from people throughout the state who need help seeking compensation and justice. To speak with a member of our law firm today, just dial (727) 784-8191Free case evaluations are available for inquiring callers.

Florida PIP Insurance Limits Making a Claim to Only 14 Days

Florida is one of only a few states in the country that require motorists to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This unique type of auto insurance will pay damages to a claimant based on the limits of their own policy, even if they are found liable for their own car accident. While this policy seems like it should be a great benefit to the average driver, it does not come without its drawbacks.

You Have 14 Days to Act After a Crash

Florida drivers who want access to their PIP benefits only have 14 days after their accident to treat. Once that very-brief 14-day time limit is over, you will be ineligible for PIP, if you did not treat.

How to Overcome Your Claim Difficulties

After being in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call a car accident attorney. With their guidance, you will have a better understanding of your rights and remedies. In case two weeks have already passed since your accident, your lawyer will be able to help you figure out the best next step.

The Fran Haasch Law Group and our personal injury attorneys are standing by to help car accident victims in Clearwater, Florida and the Greater Tampa Bay region. Our case results speak for themselves, but if you would like to know more about our legal services, please feel free to give us a call at (727) 784-8191. We offer free case evaluations to inquiring clients.

Teens are Less Likely to Get Driver’s Licenses in Recent Years

The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation has recently released driver age data that seems to indicate a steep decline in teenage drivers throughout the years. In about 35 years, the number of minor motorists with driver’s licenses plummeted by nearly 50%.

Percentage of drivers sorted by age group and year according to FHA data:

  • Age group: 16
    • 1983: 46.2%
    • 2008: 31.1%
    • 2018: 25.6%
  • Age group: 18
    • 1983: 80.4%
    • 2008: 65.4%
    • 2018: 60.9%
  • Age group: 20 to 24
    • 1983: 91.8%
    • 2008: 82.0%
    • 2018: 80.1%
  • Age group: 35 to 39
    • 1983: 94.9%
    • 2008: 91.7%
    • 2018: 90.9%

According to this data, about one-in-two of all 16-year-old teens in America had a driver’s license in 1983. Jump forward to 2018 and only one-in-four have a driver’s license.

What is Causing the Drop in Teenage Drivers?

America is certainly a car culture – or a motorcycle culture in some places. It can be difficult to find a job, attend higher education, and just get around town in most corners of the country without a motor vehicle and driver’s license. If being legally allowed to drive a car is so important, then why are so many fewer teens going through the DMV process to get a license?

There are a few theories as to why teens are less likely to drive today:

  • Economic hardship: When wondering why a popular trend fades away, a good statistical starting point is to examine the economy as a whole. Families today need to be careful where they spend their income, more so than in the early 80s. Spending money to get a car for a 16-year-old teen is simply not possible for many families, so the drop in young drivers is not entirely surprising. The data regarding the other age groups also support this theory. Adult drivers between the ages of 35 and 39 dropped 4%, which is a significant number when considering how many adult drivers there are and how many of them really need an automobile in their day-to-day lives.
  • Ridesharing: Teenagers might also be putting “get a driver’s license” on the backburner because of the advent of ridesharing apps. For only a few dollars, groups of teens can get rides to and from popular hangouts, like the mall or a concert. The cost split among them all makes using ridesharing even more affordable. Rather than going through the trouble to get a car and license without much necessity for either, teens have the choice to wait a bit longer without sacrificing mobility.
  • Stricter regulations: The laws regulating drivers have increased in strictness across the decades, especially when considering younger drivers. For example, teens today need to worry about getting ticketed or losing their driver’s license just for looking at their cellphone while behind the wheel, a problem that wasn’t even fathomable in 1983. A teen who could get a car and driver’s license might decide against it simply to avoid the stresses driving laws until they absolutely need a vehicle.

(You can learn more about the FHA research and data by clicking here and viewing an article from Statista.)

Hit by a Teen Driver? Call an Attorney

While 25.6% of teenagers don’t seem like a lot of teenage drivers on the surface, it is actually several million motorists. Teens have less knowledge about the rules of the road, understand less about how to control a vehicle in an emergency situation, and tend to be more distracted by smartphones when compared to older drivers. In other words, teenage drivers can inadvertently be a hazard on the road due to their young age and lack of experience.

If you get hit by a teenage driver, you should treat the car accident or motorcycle accident as you would any other crash. Collect contact information and evidence of liability before calling an attorney and seeing the doctor. You should not “go easy” on a teen driver because they did not know any better, as they may plead with you to do. A big part of being a driver on shared roadways is learning how to drive safely and responsibly. By bringing a claim against the teen drive that caused your accident, you could be teaching them an important lesson that encourages them to become a better, safer driver.

Need a car accident or motorcycle accident lawyer for your case in Clearwater, Florida? Call (727) 784-8191 to connect with The Fran Haasch Law Group. We offer free case evaluations to inquiring clients.

How to Prove You Weren’t At-Fault for Your Motorcycle Accident

Your top priority after being in a motorcycle accident will be to follow your doctor’s orders so you can heal and recuperate as best as possible. Your second priority will be to prove you did not cause your own crash so you can collect as much compensation as possible from the party that did.

Step 1: Be Aware of Motorcycle Bias

If you’ve been a motorcyclist for a while, then you probably already know about the motorcycle bias rooted in both societal and insurance company expectations. People wrongly assume that motorcyclists are reckless by nature, and that’s why they choose to ride a motorcycle in the first place. This subconscious bias creeps into how liability is evaluated by insurance adjusters, judges, police officers, and so forth.

To get a fuller idea of motorcycle bias and how it could affect your motorcycle accident claim, click here to view a previous blog post from The Fran Haasch Law Group in Clearwater, Florida.

Step 2: Proof is in the Evidence

After being in any sort of accident, including motorcycle accidents, you need to know where you can find proof of liability and how to use it. The more evidence you have that shows you were riding responsibly when you were hit by another driver, the better.

Common types of evidence used in motorcycle accident claims are:

  • Helmet cam footage: Every motorcyclist should invest in a helmet cam or headlight cam that constantly records while the motorcycle is in motion. The footage record on such cameras can be definitive, showing exactly what happened and who is to blame for the crash. Any dashboard cams owned by the other motorists in your crash can also be useful. It might be possible for your attorney to subpoena the footage to use to your benefit.
  • Surveillance footage: Cameras on surrounding buildings and businesses should also be checked to see if they have captured the event of the accident or the vehicles and events leading up to the crash. Surveillance footage can also give a different angle or perspective to better understand the crash.
  • Eyewitness testimony: Cameras are perfect to record exactly what happened, but peoples’ memories are the next best thing. Talk to eyewitnesses who stop to help after your crash. Ask any who have good information to provide a written statement, writing it then and there. If possible, they should create it on their smartphone and email or text it to you to create a timestamp that shows when they wrote it down.
  • Police statements: Any violent motor vehicle accident should be investigated by first responders, including the police. In a police statement, the officer will usually write one party down as “Party One,” which is typically who they think caused the accident. Ask for a copy of the statement to be sent to you and check it for accuracy. If it is inaccurate or does not list the other driver as Party One, then, with an attorney’s help, you may be able to request the statement be corrected.
  • Photographs: Don’t forget the importance of snapping photographs of the crash scene using your smartphone. Pictures really do say a thousand words. Get pictures using multiple angles to best recreate the entire scene.

Step 3: Find an Attorney Who Rides

To get reliable legal representation for your motorcycle accident case, you need to find a motorcycle accident attorney who genuinely understands what it means to be a motorcyclist on the road with negligent motorists in larger vehicles. You need to find a lawyer who is an avid motorcyclist just like you. With their insight and firsthand experience, they will not only be better prepared to handle the details of your case, but they will also be naturally more motivated to secure a victory on your behalf because they and their friends have also been in similar situations.

For the people in Clearwater, Florida, Attorney Fran M. Haasch of The Fran Haasch Law Group is exactly such a lawyer. She loves to ride her motorcycle whenever possible, interacts with her local community of riders, and focuses much of her practice specifically on motorcycle accident claims.

Need Fran’s representation for a motorcycle accident case of your own? Call (727) 784-8191 right now!

Can Party Hosts be Held Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents Under Florida Dram Shop Laws?

In a drunk driving accident case, liability for damages often falls primarily on the person who was driving under the influence. Under dram shop laws, people who have been injured by a drunk driver can hold other parties at fault.

About Liability in Drunk Driving Accident Claims

In most car accident and motorcycle accident cases, one of the drivers is found liable for resulting damages. But it is not uncommon for third parties to be partially at fault for a collision. Car companies that manufacture defective vehicles, cities that do not maintain their roads, and employers who fail to properly train their employees are all third parties that could be liable for a car accident or motorcycle accident.

In cases of drunk driving accidents, it is possible to attribute fault to the establishment where the drunk driver was served alcohol. The laws that allow this, known as dram shop laws, have varying terms in different states.

What are Dram Shop Laws?

Dram shop laws establish potential liability for third parties who may be responsible for a drunk driving accident. Mostly, these laws relate to the role of businesses that negligently supply alcohol to a person who eventually drives drunk.

Who is Liable for Drunk Driving Accidents Under Florida’s Dram Shop Laws?

The terms of dram shop laws vary between states. Florida has its own specific conditions for holding a business liable in a drunk driving accident case.

In Florida, a business could be at fault for a drunk driving accident if the driver they served was:

  • Under the age of 21
  • Addicted to alcohol, to the knowledge of the business

It is not a condition of Florida’s dram shop laws that a patron must have been visibly intoxicated in order for the serving business to be liable for a drunk driving accident. As long as the patron was either under 21 or had a known alcohol problem, and eventually injured another person in a collision, their level of intoxication upon purchase does not matter.

Some states’ dram shop laws include a clause that allows people to sure party hosts for negligence in a drunk driving case. The state of Florida, unfortunately, does not. If the drunk driver who was responsible for your injuries was coming from a private social event, the person who hosted the party or supplied them with alcohol cannot be liable for damages under Florida’s dram shop laws.

The Fran Haasch Law Group can represent you if you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.

To schedule a consultation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (727) 784-8191. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ways You Can Minimize Your Own Liability in a Motorcycle Accident

motorcycle accident is assessed by insurance companies in terms of liability. The more a person did to cause the accident, the more liability they are assigned. Ideally, your own liability after a motorcycle accident will be as small as possible, hopefully down to 0%, meaning the other party is 100% liable for your damages.

The truth is that after an accident, any other motorist involved in the crash is more than likely going to try to blame you for what happened, even if you are certain they were the sole cause of your crash. If the picture of what happened isn’t clear, insurance companies may try to pin a percentage of the liability on you. You can help minimize your liability by planning ahead, respecting the law, and respecting common safety measures, though.

How to Reduce Your Liability as a Motorcyclist

When there is no clear evidence in a crash to pinpoint liability, insurance adjusters often try to determine which motorist or rider has a history of unsafe driving or irresponsibility. Using what they can learn about you, or about what you were doing immediately before the accident, they may estimate how much liability is fair to assign to you. To help prevent unfair liability being pinned to you, there are things you can do to show insurance companies and other parties that you are a responsible motorcyclist, potentially shrinking your liability in the event of a crash.

Five things you should always do to reduce your liability are:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) researches motorcycle helmets available to consumers. Helmets that effectively protect a rider’s head during violent crashes can earn a DOT seal of approval. You should wear a DOT-compliant helmet if you want to not only best protect yourself, but also minimize your liability.
  • Dress brightly and protectively: You should also be mindful of what you wear whenever you ride your motorcycle. Protective clothing like boots and gloves can save you from injury in a crash. Bright colors or reflectors also increase the chances of a motorist noticing you. If you are hit by a driver despite being extremely visible on the road, then that driver’s own liability will likely spike.
  • Stay sober: The fastest way to significantly increase your liability in an accident is to be intoxicated while riding your motorcycle. Even when it is known that the other motorist struck you, liability can be pinned on you for being drunk because it is suggested that you might have been able to avoid the crash if you were sober as legally required.
  • Invest in a helmet-cam: More and more riders are investing in helmet-cams, which affix to the top of their helmets and constantly record during each trip. A properly positioned helmet-cam can capture the moment an accident happens, which may definitively prove that you did not cause it.
  • Perform Pre-Ride Inspections: Before going for a ride, you should always do a quick inspection to ensure that your motorcycle is in good and working condition. Make sure to follow the T-CLOCS inspection checklist from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The condition of the bike including your tires, cables, lights, oil, chassis, and stand can have an impact on liability.

Need more help proving you weren’t liable for your motorcycle accident? Call our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys from The Fran Haasch Law Group at (727) 784-8191 for more information or to start a claim.

A Look at Recent Motorcycle Crash Data

As a motorcycle rider, you already understand that riding can be statistically more dangerous than driving, especially when negligent motorists are on the road. What are the odds of getting into a motorcycle accident, though? Are they as high as people seem to assume? Taking a look at some recent motorcycle crash data statistics can shed some light on the situation.

Recent Data from the NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a federal entity tasked with tracking and reporting yearly motor vehicle accident statistics. They are a reliable source for information regarding motorcycle accident trends and interpreting what they mean. Since it takes some time to collect data and analyze it accurately, 2018 is the most recent year available for motorcycle crash data from the NHTSA.

According to the NHTSA’s recent findings:

  • 4,985 motorcyclists lost their lives in motorcycle accidents in 2018.
  • Motorcyclist deaths declined almost 5% from 2017, which was 3% lower than in 2016. This is an encouraging trend.
  • Approximately 25% of motorcyclists who lost their lives in crashes were drunk while riding.
  • 29% of motorcycle riders who lost their lives in 2018 did not use a Department of Transportation compliant helmet while riding, which dramatically increased their risk of death in a crash.

The quick takeaway from the NHTSA data is that more riders need to wear approved helmets while riding. It also reveals that there is a significant problem with intoxicated riding that must be addressed. Please always wear your DOT-compliant helmet and never drink and ride.

Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles Crash Data

What does the data show for Florida specifically? The Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) department has recently published 2018 crash data about all accident types in the state. Looking through their findings, we can learn a little more about trends in Florida motorcycle accidents.

Key notes from the FHSMV 2018 statistics:

  • 531 fatal motorcycle accidents were reported throughout Florida.
  • 7,849 motorcyclists reported being seriously injured in crashes.
  • 25 motorcycle passengers lost their lives in reported crashes.
  • 621 motorcycle passengers were injured in serious motorcycle accidents.
  • Only 1,225 motorcycle riders in crashes reported no injuries.
  • Roughly 50% of motorcycle accidents involved a motorcyclist with a no helmet or a non-DOT-compliant helmet.
  • Volusia County reported some of the highest numbers of motorcycle crashes in Florida with 503 reports in 2018 or one motorcycle accident every 18 hours or so.

Additional Data from the III

The Insurance Information Institute (III) is an independent safety organization that uses insurance claim information to compile crash data each year. Without direct ties to the federal government, the III sometimes takes a little longer to research data and release their findings. Currently, most of their information is reliant on 2016 data, but it is still quite useful when getting an understanding of motorcycle crash statistics in the country.

According to information gathered by the III:

  • Proper motorcycle helmet usage has actually increased by about 15% in the last 10 years. The lowest point on their records is a concerning dip to just 48% in 2005.
  • In 2016, the motorcyclist fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled was 25.85, the highest it has ever been recorded by the III.
  • In 2015, approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were suffered nonfatal injuries in crashes. This amount is about 10% of all motorcycle riders with registered rides.
  • 21% of all fatal motorcycle accidents are reported between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Another 20% occur between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM.

From the III provided information, we can readily see a couple of important notes. Firstly, learning that 10% of all motorcyclists are injured in a crash each year is concerning. Every rider must always be cautious and aware of their surroundings to stay off this high statistic. Secondly, it is clear that traffic complications caused by rush hour and the sunset spike the chances of a motorcycle accident. If you need to ride during these hours, then you should pay even extra attention to the road.

From all of us at The Fran Haasch Law Group, we wish all motorcyclists safe rides each and every day. If you’re ever in an accident in or around Clearwater, we would like to see if we can help you pursue compensation. Call (727) 784-8191 to connect with our Florida motorcycle accident attorneys.

Useful Resources

Our Firm Joins the 39th Annual Suncoast Brotherhood Toy Drive

Our firm is passionate about helping our community and we frequently participate in motorcycle rides and events for various different charities and organizations. This season, we’re excited to join thousands of other riders in the 39th Annual Suncoast Brotherhood Toy Drive.

This event will benefit the Pinellas County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association in the longest-running, safest toy run to date. Participants will gather at the Walmart in Dunedin and will begin the ride with a police escort through Downtown Dunedin along Main Street. But the event doesn’t end with the ride! Attendees can also meet with Santa and enjoy a live performance by Diamond Gray as they watch the ride go by and join in the benefit by donating gifts and toys.

Last year, more than 3,000 bikes were involved, not to mention the countless onlookers and supporters, and we expect this year’s turnout to be just as significant, if not more so!

Signups for the 39th Annual Suncoast Brotherhood Toy Drive will take place from 9 am until 12 pm on December 15th in the Walmart parking lot on US 19 and N.E. Coachman. Riders can expect to leave the Walmart parking lot and head towards Main Street at 12 pm.

If you’re interested in participating in this event, or if you’d like to contact our team and learn more about our involvement in the community, contact The Fran Haasch Law Group today for a free consultation!

The Fran Haasch Law Group Joins Full Throttle Magazine For the Teddy Bear Toy Run

The Fran Haasch Law Group is proud to serve as a sponsor of Full Throttle Magazine’s 21st Annual Teddy Bear Toy Run. Learn more about this upcoming event on our latest blog:

‘Tis the Season! Christmas is coming early for a few very special children. The Fran Haasch Law Group is proud to serve as a sponsor of Full Throttle Magazine’s 21st Annual Teddy Bear Toy Run. Participants will gather at the Harley-Davidson of Tampa and ride their motorcycles (or follow in cars) to deliver donated toys to the local hospital.
We invite you to join us and celebrate the meaning of the season by giving back to those in need. The event will benefit the children of St. Joseph’s Children Hospital and give them a little extra Christmas cheer this holiday season.

Join Us for the Teddy Bear Toy Run

The event will take place on December 14, 2019, from 9am to 12pm. The ride will begin at the Harley-Davidson of Tampa, with sign up and registration from 9am to 11am. The ride to St. Joseph Children’s Hospital will start at 11:15 am, and will conclude when volunteers bring the toys and other gifts to the kids at St. Joseph’s. The Full Throttle Fire Truck will pick up any extra toys and deliver them to the hospital.
We would like to thank you in advance for your ongoing support of this special tradition. We have been involved in the Teddy Bear Toy Run cause for several years and we could not be more thrilled to attend this year’s event. For more information, please check out the Facebook event page at FT Teddy Bear Toy Run, and remember to like and check their page out on Facebook!
If you want to get in touch with our team at The Fran Haasch Law Group, or if you need help with a legal issue, call (727) 784-8191 to speak to a member of our team.