Florida is home to many avid motorcycle riders and has one of the highest numbers of motorcycle registrations in the United States. In 2017 roughly 585,000 motorcycles were registered in Florida. However, with so many motorcyclists on the roads, motorcycle accidents can, unfortunately, be a common occurrence across the state.
Each year there are an estimated 600 motorcycle accident-related deaths in Florida, and of the 10,331 accidents in 2016, 8,256 drivers suffered injuries. The likelihood of suffering injuries in a motorcycle crash is higher than a car crash due to the lack of protection being provided by the surrounding steel frame, missing airbags, and other automobile safety features. Additionally, insurance companies are sadly known to stereotype motorcyclists by labeling them as reckless. This can often affect motorcycle accident settlements.
If you have recently been involved in a motorcycle crash that was not your fault, contact The Law Place today! Here at our law firm, our team of dedicated lawyers possesses 75 years of combined experience in handling cases such as your own. Contact us today to organize a free consultation with an attorney on our team so that we can answer some of your questions. Call us using our toll-free number (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Crash?
If you have just been involved in a motorcycle accident and are stable enough to be searching for some quick tips on what to do, then here is some basic advice to keep you safe and to ensure you have a strong case. However, it is important to keep in mind that you must prioritize protecting yourself and others from any further injury, so do not continue with these steps if you feel it is not safe to do so.
- Prioritize your safety and that of others around you – Before you do anything, if you are stable enough, you should check yourself for injuries and make sure that you are safe. If you can, then you should move yourself and your vehicle (if it is still drivable) to a safe place and move out of the flow of traffic. However, do not move too far from the scene, as first responders will need to assess you. If it is possible, you should also try and ensure the safety of others. If they appear to be injured, do not attempt to move them as this could worsen their injuries, especially with neck or back injuries.
- Call the emergency services – As soon as you and any other people involved are safe, and if it has not already been done, then you must call 911 immediately and alert the emergency services of the accident. This is a legal requirement and has to be done as per Florida Statute 316.062. First responders will be able to check for and treat any injuries, and officers will compile a police report, something that will be very useful for your case further down the line.
- Take photos – If you are well enough to do so, you should take pictures of the accident scene, any other vehicles involved, the road conditions (e.g., if the vehicles left skid marks on the road), and any damage to your vehicle. If you are not well enough, then you should consider asking somebody to do it for you.
- Gather any necessary contact details – Again, if you are well enough to do so, you should try and get the contact details of any witnesses, as well as the details of the other driver if they are stable (this includes their full name, address, phone number, and necessary insurance details). The details for the attending police officers (such as their full names and badge numbers) can also be beneficial for your case.
- Seek medical attention – You must seek medical attention as soon as possible following a car accident, not only for your own benefit but also to benefit your insurance claim. As per Florida Statute 627.736, you are required to seek medical care within two weeks of your motorcycle accident, or else the insurance companies have the means to devalue or even deny your settlement value. Furthermore, even if you feel well, there could be an injury not visible to you that only a healthcare professional can detect.
- Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer – Once you are physically and mentally well enough, it is important to consider contacting a motorcycle accident attorney. The sooner after the accident, the better. This will mean they can quickly get to compiling evidence and ensuring it is of good quality. The longer you leave contacting a lawyer, the harder it will be to make sure the quality of the evidence found is good enough to win your case.
Some other important tips to consider following an accident are:
- Never accept liability at the scene of the accident – The individuals at the scene of your accident (others involved, the police, and/or witnesses) may take whatever you say and twist it to place the liability on you. Sadly, many people lose out on compensation because they apologize or outright accept fault at the scene of the accident.
- Be careful what you say to insurance companies – As with witnesses and first responders at the scene, many insurance companies can also hold what you say to them against you. This can significantly affect your case, so you should always speak to a personal injury lawyer before you contact insurance companies. Never accept fault.
How Much Do Motorcycle Accident Cases Settle for?
It is hard to provide an average motorcycle accident settlement, but there are factors that a lawyer will consider when calculating motorcycle accident settlements. The settlement value of your motorcycle injury claim will be decided by looking closely at the physical, emotional, and financial damages you have suffered as a result of your motorcycle crash. Your compensation will also depend heavily on the following features:
- Your insurance policy.
- The driver who is found at fault’s insurance policy.
- The severity of any property damage.
- How much your medical bills and future medical expenses cost.
- The existence of any pain and suffering.
The amount of compensation you receive depends on the facts of your specific case. Every accident will bring about a different result. Through speaking to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, you will be able to better understand what factors will affect your settlement value and what options are available to your case.
What Is the Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amount?
As mentioned earlier, it is hard to establish an average motorcycle accident settlement amount, and it is vital you keep in mind that there are no two cases exactly the same. Some cases may settle for $9,000, whereas others could settle for over $200,000. In order to determine a motorcycle accident settlement following a crash, several factors will be considered.
You may be able to find a Florida motorcycle accident settlement calculator, but no online calculator has the power to provide a truly representative estimate of what your settlement value may be. It is best to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at The Law Place to have your case evaluated and an accurate sum calculated.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take to Settle?
The length of time taken to settle the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can, unfortunately, vary, depending on the circumstances of a case, so it is difficult to provide a specific time frame. Recovery times differ, and a vast amount of evidence must be collated to prove you have a solid case.
If you choose to go ahead with hiring a lawyer, then your lawyer will be able to take part in the negotiation phase of your settlement. Once you enter the negotiation phase, you will be able to make demands of your insurance company, as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Many motorcycle riders and their lawyers succeed at this point, and no extra steps are necessary. You simply argue a settlement value and hopefully get given this amount.
On the other hand, if negotiations do not result in a fair settlement amount, you are required to move forward in the legal process and begin a lawsuit, where a lawyer will be extremely helpful. Lawsuits can be lengthy and involve several steps, the first of which is known as the discovery stage of a lawsuit. The trial discovery stage permits both sides involved in the lawsuit to question one another, collect documentation, and gather evidence. This is when both your attorney and the attorney representing the at-fault driver will speak to witnesses, refer to police reports, bring in experts, etc. Many legal teams reach an agreement here, but in some cases, a mediator is used to help settle the case outside of court.
Finally, if mediation is not successful, then it may be time for your case to go to trial. At this point, your case will be presented by your attorney in front of a judge or jury. A trial in court can last anywhere between a day to multiple months. It will depend on the complexity of your case.
Can You Sue an Individual After Settling With Their Insurance?
In many car accident cases, as soon as you have settled with the necessary insurance company, your case will be closed, which will make it impossible for any further claims to be made. A settlement is designed to wrap cases up, and that means, in most cases, you will no longer be able to request more compensation once you have settled with an insurance company. Despite this, a personal injury attorney may tell you that there can be some exceptions to this rule.
Once an insurance company has settled a case, they essentially agree to pay an amount of money to finish up this claim. The agreement will include specific wording that prevents the victim from requesting more compensation. As soon as you sign a waiver to release the cash settlement, this will then stop you from being able to make any further claims. You will only be able to file another lawsuit if you can prove in court that you agreed to the injury settlement because of fraud or coercion.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?
Two of the most documented causes behind motorcycle accidents in Florida are drivers straying from their lane of travel or disobeying the right of way laws on the road. It is most commonly the case that many fatal motorcycle accidents are a result of a head-on collision between two vehicles. This is more dangerous than any other type of accident. This type of collision can include a head-on collision on a two-way road or one vehicle turning in front of another without having the right of way. Some other common causes behind motorcycle accidents in Florida include:
- Lane splitting/white-lining – Drivers cutting in between slower vehicles and traveling rapidly between lanes is extremely dangerous and has the potential to cause a very serious accident.
- Road rage – Aggressive drivers are a great risk to all drivers on the road and can cause serious crashes.
- Too much force on the front brake -If you are riding a motorcycle and you brake too forcefully, then your own momentum can rapidly throw you over your own handlebars.
- Defective motorcycle parts – Sometimes, drivers are not at fault at all, and instead, the fault will lie with the manufacturer. If an important part of a motorcycle is defective, then the vehicle could easily lose control and cause a collision.
- Speeding – Speed limits should always be followed; a violation can easily cause an accident.
- Bad weather conditions – Ice, rain, snow, and high winds can all make for very dangerous road conditions. These conditions have the potential to cause a motorcycle accident if you are not careful.
- Distracted driving – Motorcycles are harder to see than larger vehicles. If a driver isn’t paying attention, they could easily miss a motorcyclist and cause an accident. This is common when changing lanes. This can also include not checking your blind spots when necessary.
- Driving under the influence – Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that almost 27% of motorcycle riders involved in a fatal accident were found to be intoxicated whilst driving.. Drunk driving put the lives of those on the road at risk.
- Not checking your mirrors – Unfortunately for motorcyclists, it is common for drivers to park and open their vehicle door without checking their mirrors for oncoming traffic. This can impede the motorcycle rider’s path of travel and cause an accident.
- Road defects – This includes potholes, uneven road surfaces, roadworks, missing stop signs, etc.
If you or somebody you know have fallen victim to a motorcycle accident that was not their fault, then contact The Law Place today. As a motorcyclist in Florida, you should not have to fear being involved in an accident, and you have every right to enjoy driving in a safe and reasonable manner. Because of this, you have the right to a suitable motorcycle settlement value if your accident was caused by something out of your control. Contact a personal injury lawyer at our law firm today to organize a free case evaluation.
Who Can Be Sued After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida?
Following motorcycle accidents, it is vital that you and your lawyer can establish who was at fault and who will accept liability for the accident. Every single driver on the road automatically owes a duty of care to all other drivers and pedestrians. This means that they are legally required to act as a reasonable person would in order to ensure the safety of others. If a driver owes a duty of care but then breaches this duty, and this breach is what causes the accident, then the liability will lie with this person. People who may be found liable following a motorcycle accident include, but are not limited to:
- Motorcycle riders – If the driver of the motorcycle behaved recklessly or negligently, then they will most likely be found liable for any injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering that any other accident victims experience. Reckless driving includes anything that breaches a driver’s duty of care. Examples of this are drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving.
- The driver of the other vehicle – As with the motorcycle riders, if the driver of another vehicle drives recklessly or negligently, then they will be held liable for any damages sustained in the motorcycle accident.
- The motorcycle manufacturer – If the motorcycle manufacturer or the manufacturer of specific parts distributes a faulty product, which then causes an accident due to malfunction, then they could be determined to be liable for the motorcycle accident. This is a form of negligence and is a breach of the duty of care they owe to their consumers.
- A government entity – The State of Florida and its smaller government entities could be found liable for a motorcycle accident if it is caused by something that is under government jurisdiction. Causes under government jurisdiction include (but are not limited to) missing necessary road signs, poorly maintained roads, and bad road design.
Whoever is found liable will be responsible for paying the victim’s motorcycle accident settlement. If you have been personally involved in a motorcycle accident or are being sued for causing one, contact The Law Place today. Our team possesses over 75 years of combined experience and will work tirelessly on your case.
What Are the Laws in Florida Surrounding Motorcycle Helmets?
The State of Florida currently has no laws that strictly require a motorcycle driver over the age of 21 years had to wear a helmet, as long as they have a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage for any injuries caused by a motorcycle accident.
However, helmets are 37% effective in preventing a motorcycle accident-related fatality and are 67% effective in reducing the likelihood of a dangerous head injury caused by the collision. Helmets may not protect motorcycle riders from every single possible injury, but not wearing a helmet could easily leave the rider more exposed to a severe head injury or even death in some cases. For these reasons, if you own a motorcycle, it is vital that you consider always wearing a helmet when driving.
What Damages Are Available Following a Motorcycle Accident in Florida?
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, then, unfortunately, it is common to suffer instances of financial, mental, and/or physical harm. After your accident, you may wish to file a lawsuit, which could provide you a range of different damages. Your motorcycle accident settlement will consist of the following expenses:
- Medical bills – If you have sustained an injury or multiple injuries in your motorcycle accident, then you may be able to argue that you are owed the cost of these medical bills in your final settlement. Furthermore, if your injuries are long-lasting, then you may also be able to claim for any future medical expenses as well as any necessary costs to alter your lifestyle (e.g., hiring a carer or making amendments to your home).
- Lost wages – If your motorcycle accident means that you must have time off from work and you have lost wages, then you could be owed compensation. Your settlement should compensate for any wages you lost. If your motorcycle injuries mean that you are sadly unable to return to work, then you may be able to also claim for a loss of earning capacity, any future lost earnings, or the price of retraining.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering is a complex form of damages. It involves any mental or physical suffering that has surfaced because of your motorcycle accident. This also includes loss of enjoyment in life, such as not being able to take part in a sport or play an instrument you could before your accident. Accident victims who apply for pain and suffering damages will often require a personal injury lawyer as pain and suffering is extremely difficult to prove and calculate into an amount of compensation.
- Property damage – It is unfortunately very likely that during a motorcycle accident, your vehicle will sustain some damage. If the damage is bad enough to require professional maintenance, then any repair or replacement expenses will be included in your final settlement value.
- Wrongful death – If you have sadly lost a loved one because of a motorcycle accident, then Florida Statute 768.21 means that you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit will provide you with a settlement that will cover any funeral expenses and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages – In some motorcycle accidents, the at-fault party could have done something very wrong, or they could be a repeat offender. In this case, the judge may give out additional damages to punish the at-fault party. This is not common, though.
If you believe that you or somebody you know could be owed any of these types of damages, then it is best to get in contact with an experienced personal injury lawyer from The Law Place, Florida. A motorcycle accident lawyer from The Law Place will be able to identify what specific forms of damages you could be owed and build up evidence for each form so that you receive a suitable settlement. Contact us today to organize a free case evaluation.
How Much Do Insurance Companies Payout for Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering is extremely difficult to calculate, and you should not rely on an online pain and suffering calculator to predict how much you may be owed. As with a general motorcycle accident settlement, the results vary on a case-by-case basis. The payout for pain and suffering depends on factors such as:
- The severity of your injuries.
- Any long-term consequences of your injury.
- The direct and indirect economic cost of your injury.
A standard method used to calculate the value of pain and suffering is to utilize the ‘multiplier method.’ This is when the economic damages are multiplied by a number between 1-5, depending on the severity of injuries. For example, if an accident victim sustains a life-altering injury (such as a traumatic spinal cord injury) and has $10,000 in medical expenses, then an attorney will argue $50,000 would be a fair settlement.
What Are Some Common Injuries Following Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents can occur anywhere between two motorcycles, a motorcycle and a pedestrian or animal, a motorcycle and another type of vehicle, or the motorcyclist alone. As a motorcycle doesn’t offer much protection in comparison to a car or truck, the driver is sadly more susceptible to severe injuries. Examples of accident injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash.
- Spinal cord injury.
- Severe burns.
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Internal bleeding or organ damage.
- Traumatic head injuries.
- Fractured, broken, and/or crushed bones.
Psychological injuries can also be considered in a personal injury lawsuit following a motorcycle accident. Examples of mental distress can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and insomnia.
If you or a loved one has recently sustained a motorcycle injury that was not your fault, then contact The Law Place and organize a free consultation. An experienced personal injury lawyer from The Law Place will be able to explain in detail whether you could be owed compensation. It is important that you get the opportunity to receive the justice you deserve after your motorcycle accident.
How Will Comparative Negligence Laws Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Florida Statute 768.81 lays out the strict laws regarding comparative negligence that the State of Florida abides by. This concept means that the law considers the element of fault to be an essential aspect of every motorcycle accident case. The courts will assign liability and then award a suitable settlement based on the rules of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence, in relation to your motorcycle accident case, means that the judge will reduce your settlement amount based on the percentage of fault that was proved to be your own.
An example being, if your motorcycle accident was mostly caused by the other person drunk driving, but you were also proven to be speeding at the time, then the judge working your case may reduce your settlement by up to 10%. This reduction will reflect your own liability. This amount is chosen because drunk driving is a much more serious driving offense than traveling over the speed limit by up to ten miles per hour.
An accident lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation, and you will be compensated with a suitable settlement amount, calculated using the rules laid out by the comparative negligence laws of Florida. Contact The Law Place today if you wish to sue an individual following a motorcycle accident but are unsure of the legalities surrounding comparative negligence.
How Will No-Fault Insurance Laws Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Florida Statute 627.7407 explains the infamous “no-fault” law in the State of Florida. No-fault law means that if you are involved in an accident, all parties involved must turn to their respective auto insurance companies to make claims, regardless of who is proven to be at fault. To cover this, all drivers in Florida must have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance within their auto insurance policy.
PIP insurance covers medical bills and lost wages following a motorcycle crash, as well as expenses incurred because of the crash (e.g., childcare costs whilst you were in the hospital) up to a certain percentage. However, PIP insurance does have a threshold. If your expenses go over the certain amount covered by PIP insurance, then you may have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to make up this gap.
There Is a Time Limit on your Motorcycle Accident Claim!
If you, a friend, or a family member have recently been involved in a motorcycle accident, then it is vital that you act as quickly as possible and hire a personal injury lawyer to help your case. In the State of Florida, Florida Statute 95.11 lays out that there is a strict time limit on how long a personal injury case has before it can no longer be put forward. This statute of limitations means that after a motorcycle accident in Florida, you will only have four years from the date of your accident to pursue your claim. Otherwise, your motorcycle accident claim will be permanently barred. This means that you will be unable to receive the settlement you are entitled to. If you have sadly lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, then the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is reduced to an even shorter two years from the date of death.
In addition to this, as per Florida Statute 627.736, you will be required to seek medical care within two weeks following your motorcycle accident. Even if you believe yourself to be well, there could be an injury that is not visible, such as a head injury. This statute is for insurance purposes, as well as for your own health benefits. If these two weeks elapse, then the insurance companies working on your motorcycle accident settlement could use this to devalue your claim or even completely disregard it. This is because, in terms of legalities, you have left it too late, and it could be argued your injuries were not serious enough to be compensated.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, then contact The Law Place as soon as possible to organize a free case evaluation with a dedicated personal injury lawyer from our team.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at The Law Place Today!
If you or somebody you know has recently been involved in a motorcycle collision that was not their fault, then get in contact with The Law Place today! Here at our law firm, our team of dedicated lawyers boasts 75 years of combined experience handling cases such as your own, and many are AVVO 10.0 rated. Accidents of this degree have the capability to completely alter your life and require a significant amount of recovery time, so it is always best to focus your energy on recovering instead of unnecessary legal stress. Our team can provide a dedicated and supportive attorney-client relationship, so you need not worry about the legalities of your case.
Contact us today to organize a free consultation with an attorney at our law firm so that you can tell us about your case, and we can help you decide what to do. Call us on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7 for your own convenience.