Motorcycles are a very popular mode of transport in Florida. In fact, there are more registered motorcyclists here than in most other U.S. states. Unfortunately, Florida also has one of the highest rates of motorcycle accidents in the country, and the effects can be devastating, leaving victims with life-changing injuries and expenses that they are unable to pay for.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may find that your insurance policy does not cover all of your losses, and you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to be compensated in full. If this is the case for you, you’re probably wondering how much you can expect from a settlement. However, there is no such thing as an “average settlement” because every situation is different, and there are a number of factors that will be taken into account.
If you have questions about what you can expect from a motorcycle accident settlement, The Law Place can help. We have provided some information for you here, but you can call us for a free consultation, and we will answer any questions that you may have. Our telephone number is (941) 444-4444, and our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
As mentioned, motorcycle accidents are common in Florida because there are so many of them on the roads. Many of these accidents result in serious injury due to the fact that riders are more vulnerable than passengers of an average motor vehicle or commercial truck. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 467 fatal motorcycle accidents occur every year in Florida. This makes Florida the leading state for motorcycle accidents resulting in fatal injuries.
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Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
A motorcycle accident can occur for a wide number of reasons, but here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida:
Cars Turning Left
One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents is when cars turn left in front of a motorcycle. This could happen when a vehicle cuts off a motorcyclist and attempts to turn when they don’t have the right of way. It could also happen when a driver does not stop to look for motorcycles before they turn or when a driver fails to obey right of way laws and traffic lights.
Running Red Lights
Any driver who runs a red light is demonstrating negligence as they are putting others at risk of an accident. These crashes often happen at high speeds because a driver is speeding to beat the red light, and the motorcyclist may be thrown from their vehicle. Any driver that causes an accident because they chose to run a red can be held liable for any damage and injuries that they may have caused.
All drivers should ensure that the road is clear before switching lanes. Unfortunately, when they fail to do so, accidents can occur, and because motorcyclists can be harder to spot, they often fall victim to these types of accidents. Motorcyclists have protection under the law like any other road user, so if they are hit when a car or truck switches lanes, they can claim compensation for their injuries under Florida’s personal injury laws.
In some cases, motorcycle riders are involved in head-on collisions with other vehicles and are thrown from their motorcycle. They are injured when they hit the pavement, and this can result in very serious injuries. These accidents occur when the driver is not paying attention to the road, is driving recklessly, or if there is debris on the road.
Weaving Through Traffic/Lane Splitting
Just because a motorcycle isn’t as big as a standard-sized car, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right to the full use of a lane, but many drivers don’t see it this way. When other drivers, including other motorcyclists, weave through traffic, they can cause accidents. Furthermore, motorcyclists themselves are not permitted to weave between lanes of stationary traffic and must obey Florida’s traffic laws. Motorcyclists should always use their own lane, and if they fail to do so, they could face a negligence lawsuit.
Driving Over the Posted Speed Limit
Speeding is a serious traffic offense due to the fact that high speeds make an accident more likely. An accident at higher speeds is usually far more serious. All drivers on the roads of Florida should drive at the posted speed limits. Otherwise, they are putting others at risk of serious injury.
Driving Under the Influence
Drivers that take the wheel whilst they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol are far more likely to cause an accident. According to the NHTSA, up to one-third of fatal motorcycle accidents in Florida involve a driver that is over the limit. Florida drunk driving laws apply to motorcyclists as well as passenger vehicle drivers. If you’re convicted of drunk driving, you will face serious penalties, including license suspension. Furthermore, a drunk driver could face a civil personal injury case because it is considered negligent behavior. Whether the drunk driver is the motorcyclist or the driver of a passenger vehicle that hits a motorcyclist, they may be held liable for any personal injuries that occurred as a result.
How Are Settlement Amounts Determined for Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?
You may be aware that Florida is a no-fault state. However, this rule applies to four-wheeled vehicles only and does not apply to motorcyclists. This means that not all motorcyclists will have the same coverage, and it can be hard to work out how you will pay for your injuries. But if your insurance claim does not cover your accident damages, you can file a lawsuit with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Your legal representative will aim to reach a fair settlement between the parties involved. Settlements are an agreement on an amount of money that will be paid to the victim, with the hope of avoiding a court battle.
So how much should you settle for after a motorcycle accident? Calculating the value of motorcycle accident settlements is done by taking into account several factors, including:
- The insurance policy of the at-fault driver.
- Your own insurance policy.
- The extent of the damage to your bike or other property.
- The severity of your injuries.
Because all of these elements can vary from one motorcycle accident to another, no lawyer would be able to give you a fair estimate of a settlement before they have investigated your individual case. The best thing you can do is speak to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer straight away as they can tell you what your options are.
How Florida’s No-Fault Law Will Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amount
As mentioned, Florida’s motorcyclists are not included in the state’s no-fault law that requires other drivers to carry a minimum amount of PIP insurance. Riders are therefore left very vulnerable after an accident because they will not have a no-fault reimbursement for any initial medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Their settlement amount will therefore be larger than a diver of a four-wheeled vehicle that would have been able to cover some of their expenses under the no-fault system.
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Factors That Affect Motorcycle Accident Claims
As mentioned, there are a number of factors that will affect your motorcycle accident settlement, and an estimate would be based on your individual case. However, to give you an idea of what would be taken into account, we have included four of the main things to consider:
Your Financial Losses
In motorcycle accident cases, there is a wide range of damages that a victim can expect to claim, from property damage to pain and suffering. They could include any past and present losses, as well as any expected future expenses such as medical bills for ongoing treatment.
Example of economic damages in an average motorcycle accident settlement:
- Past and current medical bills directly related to treatment following the accident.
- Expenses that are expected in the future due to the accident, for medical treatment such as physical therapy.
- Lost wages due to any time taken off work.
- Lost or reduced earning capacity due to an accident-related injury.
The Impact of Loss
As well as calculating your economic damages, an important factor in establishing the value of your claim is looking at how the accident has impacted your personal life and lifestyle. Economic damages are much easier to calculate because they are based on exact monetary amounts. However, non-economic damages, which are for more subjective losses such as emotional and physical pain and suffering or discomfort as a result of the accident, are not so easy to estimate. A lawyer with the right experience would be able to make a case for your non-economic damages.
The Severity of Your Injuries
The impact of an accident involving a motorcycle can be far more serious than a car accident and can cause unique injuries and damage.
When there are very serious injuries involved, such as broken bones, a head injury, or loss of limbs, victims are likely to incur significant personal and financial losses during their recovery. In more minor cases with smaller injuries (e.g., whiplash or soft tissue injuries), victims can expect a much smaller settlement.
In a motorcycle accident case, like in all personal injury cases, a lawyer will seek to prove negligence, or fault, on the part of the other party involved. This is because, in order to make a claim for compensation, they will need to validate your claim and establish that another driver’s actions caused the accident to occur. If the fault is in dispute, an unbiased witness may be called upon to testify about how the accident happened.
Determining fault is pretty much impossible without legal support. An experienced attorney can investigate the accident and give you a good idea of your percentage of fault, if any. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the personal injury lawyers from The Law Place can discuss your damages and their potential values with you during a free consultation.
How Can I Secure Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident in Florida?
In order to support your compensation claim following a motorcycle accident, there are some things you can do from the very beginning to put you in the best position.
At the scene of an accident, there are some things you can do that will help your claim later on, for example:
- Take pictures of the accident scene, property damage, and your injuries.
- Take the personal details and insurance information from all other parties involved.
- Take the contact information of any witnesses.
- Get checked over by a medical professional, even if you think your injuries are minor.
- Remain at the scene and call law enforcement, who will file an accident report.
Keep a detailed record of any car repairs, medical bills or appointments, and lost wages.
The more information you have relating to the nature of the accident and any injuries or financial losses, the stronger your case will be.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The sooner you reach out to an attorney for help after a motorcycle accident, the better. By being pro-active in seeking legal support, you will put yourself in the best position for a positive outcome in your case.
The at-fault party’s auto insurance company may push you into settling for a much lower amount than you are actually owed, and an experienced attorney can stop you from being taken advantage of when you are feeling vulnerable. They can investigate your case in full so that no stone is left unturned, and you are awarded a settlement that is reflective of all of your economic and non-economic damages.
Call The Law Place Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be overwhelmed at the prospect of filing a lawsuit and feel as though you have no idea about how much you should settle for. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible can take away this burden, so call us today.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience in handling personal injury cases. Using our knowledge and expertise, we can pursue a lawsuit on your behalf and ensure that you are fully compensated for your losses. Call us today for a free consultation and learn how we can support you through the process of filing a claim. Our telephone number is (941) 444-4444, and our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.