Baltimore Ravens Cornerback Tray Walker, 23, has died of injuries sustained in a Miami motorbike accident. He lived for 24 hours after the collision with a sport utility vehicle at the two-way stop intersection of Northwest 75th Street and Northwest 24th Avenue. However, the swelling and damage to his brain was too severe to overcome.
Family members, along with NFL coaches, teammates and fans, are reeling at the news. At the site of the crash, fans laid out a series of candles in the team’s colors – purple, black, white and gold – in the shape of Walker’s initials.
As for the cause of the car accident, detectives with Miami-Dade said it was too early to say definitively as the investigation is still underway. The crash occurred shortly before 8 p.m., and Walker was donned in dark clothing. His bike also did not have headlights and he was not wearing a helmet (though there is no requirement in Florida that he do so).
Motorbikes – also known as dirt bikes, trail bikes and off-road motorcycles – have become increasingly popular in the U.S. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted sales of these off-road vehicles nearly doubled to 300,000 in the five-year period before 2004. It is believed to have continued to grow since then.
Although there haven’t been any recent studies on the issue, the CDC did note that between 2001 and 2004, there were an estimated 24,000 emergency department visits of youths under the age of 19 injured in dirt bike accidents. That was an increase of nearly a third from a just five years earlier.
Serious injuries – mostly fractures and internal injuries – accounted for 40 percent of those injured. Injuries to the head accounted for 17 percent of all serious injuries.
Technically, dirt bikes are not street legal. This could make it tough for Walker’s family to recover any damages from the driver of the SUV, even if she was at-fault for the collision.
Still, it may be worth exploring the possibility because Florida’s contributory negligence statute allows even those drivers who are partially at-fault to recover damages for their injuries – so long as they aren’t 100 percent at-fault. That means even if an injured person 99 percent at-fault, he or she could still recover damages for the other 1 percent. However, because the total damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of plaintiff’s own fault, one must weigh carefully whether it is worthwhile to press forward in such a case.
Most dirt bike injuries in Florida are going to stem from off-road incidents, where the terrain is uneven and the jumps are difficult. In some cases, it may be possible to pursue a premises liability claim, if the property where the riding took place was unreasonably unsafe (keeping in mind that there is usually an assumption of risk that comes along with riding a dirt bike).
In some cases, dirt bike passengers or anyone hit by a dirt bike can seek liability insurance benefits if the owner/operator had a policy covering the bike, which isn’t required.
Although riding a dirt bike can be a thrilling experience, the Walker tragedy reveals there are many inherent risks as well, particularly when riders venture out into the streets.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Ravens cornerback Tray Walker dies of injuries sustained in motorbike accident, March 18, 2016, By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun
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Report: Pedestrian Accidents in Florida, U.S., Surge, March 16, 2016, Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog