Motorcycle accidents are a serious problem in Florida. With our year-round beautiful weather and scenic views, it’s no surprise that many Floridians choose to ride motorcycles. In fact, motorcyclists account for 7 percent of all motorists in the state. The large number of bikers doesn’t entirely account for Florida’s #1 ranking in motorcycle fatalities, though. Those 7 percent of motorists account for 19 percent of the state’s traffic fatalities.
One reason motorcycle accidents result in a disproportionate number of fatalities is that the rider is exposed, and thus more vulnerable in an accident. Motorcycle accidents account for a significant percentage of traumatic brain injuries. The likelihood and severity of a TBI is somewhat reduced by helmet use, but the risk is significant even for helmeted riders.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many motorcycle accidents occur through the motorcyclist’s own fault, while others are the result of conditions such as an unexpected wet or icy patch. However, many motorcycle-related injuries occur due to someone else’s negligence. The most common type of motorcycle accident involves a car making a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
Other car/motorcycle accidents that are often the automobile driver’s fault include:
- Drivers failing to notice or accommodate motorcycles while changing lanes
- Drivers misjudging distance or failing to notice a motorcyclist stopped at a stop sign or stoplight and hitting the bike from behind
- Many of these accidents occur because drivers simply aren’t aware of or alert to the presence of motorcycles, or fail to appropriately judge distance and timing.
Motorcycle Accidents are Often More Serious than Car Accidents
Being rear-ended at a stop sign or stoplight is a fairly common occurrence for drivers of other types of motor vehicles as well. However, when that type of accident occurs between two automobiles, the damage is often minimal. What is typically referred to as a “fender bender” between cars can result in serious injuries or even death for a motorcyclist
Recovering Damages after a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident through someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. Some common expenses and losses you may be compensated for include:
- Lost work time
- Medical and physical therapy expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Damage to your motorcycle and other property
Protecting Yourself after a Motorcycle Accident
What you do immediately after a motorcycle accident matters. Of course, your first step should be to seek medical attention. However, as soon as you are able, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases. Although you have up to four years to file a personal injury case in connection with your motorcycle accident, there are some significant downsides to waiting.
- Mistakes you make, such as failing to follow up with a physician, may impact the damages you are entitled to
- You may be unable to locate witnesses, or their memories of the events may have grown hazy
- Physical evidence may have been lost
- Insurance company representatives may take advantage of the time before you seek legal advice to trick you into hurting or giving up your claim
Talk to a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident through someone else’s negligence or you have lost a loved one to a motorcycle crash, schedule your free consultation today to learn more about your rights and the compensation you may be due.
Just call 1-800-253-5523 or fill out the free consultation form on this page.
FAQ About Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Unfortunately, insurance companies are more focused on making a profit than ensuring that you receive compensation for your losses.
This is why all victims of a motorcycle accident should talk to a motorcycle accident attorney. Regardless of the severity of the accident, a skilled motorcycle accident attorney will handle the insurance companies for you to make sure that you receive your rightful compensation. With experience in fighting the insurance companies for motorcycle accident claims, an attorney will exponentially increase the likelihood of approval for your claim.
In the following scenarios, it’s particularly important to seek help from a motorcycle accident attorney:
- Serious injury or fatality
- Accident-related injuries require continued treatment or inhibit your ability to work
- Another driver in the accident is uninsured
- You need evidence to prove fault
We operate with a contingency fee arrangement. So, we only collect payment in the event that your case is won or settled. The contingency fee, if collected, is a percentage of the total amount that was recovered. With this arrangement, an out-of-pocket payment isn’t required to hire a motorcycle accident attorney.
If you get hit by a motorcycle as a pedestrian, it can cause serious physical and emotional trauma. A motorcycle is smaller than a car, but it can have as severe of an impact in pedestrian accidents.
After seeking medical treatment for any injuries, it’s important to determine fault when you get hit by a motorcycle. If the motorcycle driver is determined to be at fault for the accident, he or she is responsible for damages. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
In the days following a motorcycle accident, make sure to get evaluated by a medical professional. During this evaluation, the doctor will record the details of your injuries and recommend treatment options. Don’t wait to see a doctor after a motorcycle accident, even if your injuries are minor. You need an accurate record of your injuries to strengthen your insurance claim.
Additionally, make sure to record all accident-related damages. This may include doctor’s notes, medical bills, and receipts or quotes for vehicle damage. File all of these documents so that you can refer back to them easily.
As soon as possible after a motorcycle accident, reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney for a case evaluation. By completing this step immediately after the accident, you can improve your chance of securing your maximum compensation.
Unlike in most other U.S. states, motorcyclists in Florida aren’t required to have motorcycle insurance. But, to avoid full financial responsibility in the case of an accident, Florida motorcyclists should buy a policy anyway. Motorcycle insurance will provide you with coverage for losses if you get in a crash.
One of the main differences between motorcycle insurance and car insurance is cost. While motorcycles are significantly more expensive than the average car, motorcyclists are at a higher risk for accidents. So, motorcycle insurance generally comes at a higher price than car insurance.
Another key difference between motorcycle insurance and car insurance involves personal injury protection, or PIP. PIP provides coverage for personal injuries sustained by the driver, as well as by any passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident.
In Florida’s PIP statute, motorcycles are excluded from this form of no-fault insurance. So, injuries in a motorcycle accident can only be covered if the other driver is found to be at fault. Proving fault can be a complicated process, making it especially important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney after a crash.
Helmet laws in Florida have been altered many times over the years. Now, Florida motorcyclists are required to wear helmets unless they qualify for an exemption. To meet the exemption criteria, you must be at least 21 years old and have an insurance policy that provides medical benefits totaling $10,000 or more.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet during a motorcycle crash, it may impact your personal injury claim and ability to receive compensation. Specifically, if you weren’t wearing a helmet and don’t qualify for an exemption from the Florida helmet laws, the violation could be attributed to your own negligence. This can severely hamper your case or insurance claim after a motorcycle accident.
If you were in a motorcycle crash and weren’t wearing a helmet, talk to a skilled motorcycle accident attorney immediately to review your case.