Because Florida has the second-highest number of registered motorcyclists in the U.S., it may not surprise you to hear that Florida also has the number of fatal motorcycle accidents each year. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to see motorcyclists, and in turn, many motorcyclists drive recklessly and are known to cause accidents. Whatever the case, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, it is important that you are fairly compensated for your damages.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit is not something that anyone should handle alone. It can be a complex and daunting procedure during which unexpected issues can arise.
Below, we have provided an outline of a standard motorcycle accident timeline, but if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, contact The Law Place for a free case review. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys has more than seventy-five years of combined experience representing clients who have been injured in accidents in Florida.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our injury lawyers at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open, so there is always someone available when you need them most.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Claim – the Key Steps
Our experienced team of injury lawyers will be able to walk you through the key steps of an injury lawsuit and support you through the legal process.
The key people involved in an injury lawsuit are:
- The plaintiff (victim) – The person or business bringing the lawsuit.
- The defendant – The person or business being sued.
Prior to the litigation, your attorney will write to the defendant on your behalf to demand a settlement.
If an agreement can be made, i.e., the defendant agrees to pay you a fair settlement for your damages, no further steps will need to be taken. This process usually takes around a month.
It is preferable for all parties involved that an agreement can be made at this stage. The defendant will want the issue resolved quickly, and through the help of the right personal injury lawyer, we may be able to make this happen. Without legal support, however, you might be pushed into accepting an offer that is not reflective of your injuries and losses, so even when you take lawyer fees into account, you are still more likely to be better off by having one.
Our attorneys will be able to tell you when an offer is worth accepting and when it is in your best interest to take the case to court.
The pleading is the beginning stage of the lawsuit where the parties involved will formally submit their claims and their defenses
In summary, the plaintiff will submit a complaint which states the intended cause of action. The defendant is then required to submit an answer which outlines their defense. Pleadings exist to provide notice to the defendant that a lawsuit has been filed against them and to provide notice of the defendant’s intentions to the plaintiff with regards to the lawsuit.
This legal document is prepared by a qualified attorney. It sets out the injuries and claims of the plaintiff and how the defendant is responsible for them. Typically, it takes two weeks to prepare this document.
In a typical personal injury case, the defendant is given about three weeks to prepare a response to the complaint. The answer will include claims, any possible factual disputes, and the defense that the defendant has against the plaintiff or any other party involved. In the event that a counterclaim is included within the answer or a third-party complaint, then that party will also have to submit an answer. If an answer is not filed by the defendant, a default judgment against them may be entered by the court.
At the discovery stage of the lawsuit, all of the parties involved will exchange any relevant documents and information relating to the issues raised. According to the rules’ liberal discovery approach, anyone who strongly suspects that they have been wronged can file a lawsuit, even without any solid evidence of such. Each party will send the other party an official request for documents and interrogatories (including written questions).
Some of this information will need to be specifically requested. An attorney can help you do this. Depositions of key witnesses to the events that led to the motorcycle accident will be taken, which involves them being interviewed on the record.
This process is a drawn-out one and can take months and, in some cases, years to complete. Furthermore, discovery rules are particularly complex, so it is always best for an attorney to assist you.
Both the defendant and the plaintiff can file motions (requests) with the court. They can be spoken or written but should be submitted to the court as per the relevant rules.
A motion is basically a request to a court for a desired order or ruling. They differ from case to case. Some involve extending deadlines (motion to extend), others could involve dismissing the case altogether (motion to dismiss). A variety of motions can be submitted throughout the motorcycle accident lawsuit, but only once you or your lawyer have submitted the initial complaint.
This process is lengthy – any substantive motions typically need to be submitted six weeks before the trial.
At the trial, each party will present evidence to support their case and dispute claims made against them. They might call witnesses to testify for them. When each side has rested their case, the judge or jury will consider all of the evidence, deliberate, and return with a verdict in support of one side or the other.
Only a very small percentage of legal disputes actually go to court, but if yours does, it will take about a week on average to settle. Your trial could either be by bench or a jury. We don’t recommend that you make the choice of requesting a jury or a bench alone. It is always best to discuss this decision with an attorney because it could be the most important decision you make.
Even after a judge has made their verdict, the case may not be completely over. All parties involved still have the following options:
File More Motions
Each party has the option to file post-trial motions, and they have up to nine weeks after the trial ends to do so. The motions can involve asking the judge to award attorney’s fees or costs or asking the judge to take a second look at issues that were raised before or during the trial. You could even ask for a new trial under the right circumstances.
Appeal the Verdict
The losing side can bring an appeal to a higher court. Appeals can sometimes take years to settle, and it’s is rare for a judge to overturn their decision. But with the right attorney and the right evidence, it is certainly possible.
You or your attorney will be required to file a notice of appeal with the court where the final verdict regarding your motorcycle accident settlement was made within a period of 30 days following the decision.
Having a lawyer on your side is crucial to understanding your options post-trial. For more information with regards to your motorcycle accident claim, call us for a free consultation.
Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
Anyone in Florida who regularly rides a motorcycle should be prepared for the possibility of a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accidents can be very serious because of the lack of protection riders have compared with car and truck drivers. Even if you wear the best safety gear, injuries are very likely. A negligent driver could injure you easily and should be held accountable.
To help your motorcycle accident attorney build your case and secure you the compensation that you deserve, you should take the following steps:
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t think that you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, it is still important to seek medical attention immediately. Many victims feel fine at the scene of the accident due to adrenaline and shock, but severe symptoms could develop later on. This is common with injuries such as whiplash. Medical professionals can check you for signs of concussion or other injuries and file a medical report that could prove vital evidence for your motorcycle accident claim.
Gather Evidence at the Motorcycle Accident Site
It is always a good idea to take your own pictures of the accident site if you can before the scene is cleared up and evidence is lost. These pictures alone can act as evidence of how the accident happened. Make sure that you also make a note of license plate numbers, insurance information, and the contact information of other drivers involved. Take details from any witnesses and even record their testimony if possible.
Keep a journal and record every detail about the motorcycle accident that you remember. Defense teams often argue that victims recall the incident incorrectly, but notes that were kept at the time of the accident can dispute this claim.
Notify Your Own Insurance Company
It is important to notify your insurance company of the motorcycle accident as soon as possible. The insurance company might ask you to provide a statement. A skilled accident lawyer can instruct you on what to say and what not to say when you give your statement to the insurance company. This can eliminate your liability for the motorcycle accident and stop you from saying something that could be used against you later on.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible following an accident, you can get your story straight and start building your motorcycle accident claim. Your attorney can speak to the insurance company on your behalf and support you throughout the legal process.
If you need advice regarding a motorcycle accident settlement, call our law firm for a free case review.
An Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement in Florida
It is difficult for any lawyer to tell you what an average personal injury settlement looks like. It will largely be determined by the circumstances of the motorcycle accident, the severity of the victim’s injuries, and other damages. Having said this, motorcycle accidents are usually very serious. This is because the State of Florida does not require that all motorcyclists wear helmets, and some choose not to. But even with a helmet, motorcyclists are still likely to sustain life-changing injuries
Some injuries require emergency medical attention, including an ambulance ride and even surgery to stabilize their injuries. Common medical treatments following motorcycle accidents include prescription pain medication, physical and rehabilitative therapy, home health care, and medical equipment – like wheelchairs.
In addition to medical bills, some motorcycle accident victims will lose money due to missing work to recover from their injuries. Others may not be physically able to return to the same job. Financial losses from motorcycle accidents can be devastating and affect all areas of an accident victim’s life.
A good lawyer can also file a claim for non-economic damages. Anyone who is involved in a serious accident will endure a huge amount of pain and suffering and should be compensated for this.
For these reasons, settlements in a motorcycle accident case can be substantial. However, it is critical that you seek the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can ensure that your settlement is reflective of the losses, pain, and mental turmoil that you have suffered.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer From Our Law Firm Today
It is impossible to tell how long the lawsuit process will take or if any unexpected issues will arise. A motorcycle accident case can take more than two years to settle. Don’t handle this lengthy and complicated process alone.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from The Law Place for a free consultation. We will fight for your legal rights and fair compensation for your injuries.
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida, our law firm can help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.