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Truck Collides with Motorcycle in Putnam County, causing Serious Injuries

The Gainesville Motorcycle Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile take note of a visibility-related accident, that left a motorcyclist seriously injured. The crash occurred on Friday, May 9th, at approximately 7:18 a.m, in Putnam County.

On this morning, 32-year-old Adam Sanford was riding 2001 Kawasaki ZX900, headed southbound on County Road 315. At this same time, 16-year-old Michael Mathes, along with a passenger, were headed east on Dogwood Street in a 1997 Ford F150. As Sanford approached the intersection at Dogwood Street, Mathes attempted to make a left turn, and in doing so turned directly into Sanford’s pathway. FHP says that Mathes failed to see the motorcyclist due to the fog present at the time of the incident.

Shortly thereafter, another truck, a 1998 Ford Ranger, being operated by 21-year-old Sara Soini, of Interlachen, encountered the initial T-bone collision. Although Soini swerved to avoid the motorcyclist, the two collided in a subsequent collision. As a result of this tragic incident, the motorcyclist sustained severe injuries, and, according to a press release from FHP, was transported to UF Health Shands in Jacksonville in serious condition. Officials say that Sanford was not wearing a helmet.

Before delving into, what our Gainesville attorneys feel is part of our moral duty—informing the public of our concerns over safety issues, accident causation, and injury compensation—we must take a moment to reflect on the serious nature of the injuries suffered by the victim. Sanford was catastrophically injured as he rode his motorcycle in not one, but two, consecutive crashes. Our injury team at the law firm of Alba & Straile send our well wishes to Mr. Sanford, as he recovers from the injuries sustained in this awful incident.

In regard to safety issues, this accident brings forth several key concerns. First, this incident demonstrates how visibility issues can greatly impact a motorist’s ability to operate their vehicle in a reasonable manner. As our attorneys previously discussed in Florida Specific Factors in Auto Accidents, smoke and fog-induced accidents are huge concern in our state. As provided by the national weather service, drivers should adhere to the following safety rules when driving in smoke and dense fog:

    • Drive with lights on low beam.
    • Reduce speed. Allow for plenty of room between you and other cars.
    • Avoid crossing traffic unless absolutely necessary.
    • Listen for traffic you cannot see.
    • Use wipers and defroster as necessary for maximum vision.
    • Be patient! Don’t pass lines of traffic.
    • Unless absolutely necessary, don’t stop on any freeway or other heavily traveled road.
    • If your car is disabled or you can’t continue, pull well onto the shoulder and turn off lights. Move away from your vehicle.
    • Consider postponing your trip until the fog clears.
    • Be especially cautious in and near school zones. Watch for flashing yellow or red signals on school buses. Watch for children waiting for buses in the fog.
    • Also, be aware that smoke from grass and forest fires along roadways can combine with fog to rapidly drop visibilities to zero.

Another safety concern that this accident compels us to reflect upon is the age of the driver that struck the motorcyclist. Given that the motorist responsible for the collision was only 16 years of age, and therefore newly licensed, our attorneys can’t help but wonder whether his lack of driving experience played a role in the incident. In Preventing Teen Crashes: Contributions from the Behavioral and Social Sciences, Workshop Report, Jim Hedlund discussed risk factors for teen drivers by identifying five critical elements:

    • skills—which include the capacity to operate the vehicle and to recognize hazards, as well as the capacity to react appropriately to the unexpected;
    • knowledge—of traffic rules and operating procedures, as well as understanding of risks and their potential consequences;
    • experience—including both sufficient practice, as well as the familiarity with the consequences of bad judgment that fosters good judgment;
    • maturity—or developed capacity for reasoning, judgment, and decision making; and
    • environment—or safe surroundings in which to learn to drive.

In addition to visibility issues and driver experience, this incident also serves as an example of the dangers faced by motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists and pedestrians. Because vulnerable road users lack the protection that a motor vehicle can provide, they are not only more susceptible to serious injuries in an initial collision, but they are also at risk for subsequent injury, or even fatality, as a result of being struck by other motorists that comes upon the accident, as was the case with Sanford. Furthermore, the victim was not wearing protective head gear,  which studies show can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or fatality in an accident.

Aside from the various safety concerns evidenced by this motorcycle accident, the incident also presents unique issues of liability and injury causation, given that there were two consecutive accidents. As a general rule, the driver responsible for causing the initial accident, will typically be held liable for concurrent or subsequent injuries extending from the same incident. However, it is also necessary to fully investigate the matter to determine if there was any negligence on the part of the second driver.

Consequently, it is imperative that accident victims consult with an attorney that has prior experience in handling similar claims. The Motorcycle Collision Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Straile, PLLC have successfully recovered compensation on behalf of numerous clients in a diverse range of cases involving complex legal issues, and would like to do the same for you.

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