Why you need a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycles are compact and a convenient means of transportation great for a leisurely ride along the Florida coastline or simple and easy mode to get to work or grab a bite to eat, motorcycle are great to get you where you need to be, and quickly!
However, motorcycles are also a significantly riskier mode of transportation and are prone to injury while on the roads. The very last thing on your mind after a motorcycle crash will be to hire a personal injury lawyer, however, it’ll pay off to do so. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you may not have time to decide on an attorney, that is why being prepared is always important. We have outlined various aspects, below, on hiring a motorcycle attorney.
Statute of Limitations for Florida Motorcycle Accidents
A certain period of time during which you may file a lawsuit against the negligent party is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations aims to deprive evidence-based decisions that deteriorate over time or become less reliable over time. As an example, if you were in a motorcycle accident and decide to sue for damages, five years later, you may not be able to locate all of the witnesses and you may not be able to recall the details as accurately as you would have shortly after the accident. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents is four years.
Before You File Your Lawsuit for a Florida Motorcycle crash what should you do?
A few factors which may impact your ability to file a lawsuit when injured in a motorcycle crash in the State of Florida, maybe:
- Obtaining and gathering evidence from the motorcycle accident, such as police reports, witness statements and pictures and videos.
- Recovery time from your injuries, collecting and maintaining all your medical records and details of who you are seeing and when.
- A damage assessment, accident, or police report.
- Lost wages, and potential future wages.
- Future medical expenses related to injuries that occurred in the motorcycle crash.
What is an Accident Report?
An accident report or a police report is a report prepared by a law enforcement officer responsible for investigating the scene of a motorcycle crash. The investigator will evidence of their findings including pictures and videos, details collected at the scene, witness statements, and statements made by parties involved. The report will include any citations issued to the parties involved.
What factors lead to Motorcycle Injury Risk?
Injuries received in a motorcycle crash are common and often more severe than in automobile accidents, below are some of the factors that contribute to the increased risk of injuries in motorcycle accidents:
- Motorcycle Size: The size of a Motorcycle may be responsible for nearly 42% of all motorcycle crashes, because of its small size. Due to their compact size, motorcycles tend to end up in a driver’s blind spot compared to much larger vehicles causing them to get in accidents when cars make a left-hand turn, increasing the probability of a motorcycle being struck while heading straight through an intersection.
- Road Hazards and Debris: Because motorcycles have only two wheels and no other protection around them, they tend to be unstable compared to a passenger vehicle. Due to these factors, motorcycles can become susceptible to accidents due to poor road conditions, bad weather, or debris in the road such as junk or boxes which may have fallen off of another vehicle, oil or glass. Motorcycle riders should be on the lookout for potholes, slick roads, uneven lane heights, and objects in the middle of the road.
- Poor Motorcycle Maintenance: Maintaining your motorcycle is just as important to regular maintenance on your other vehicles, you should check the oil levels, the tires, breaks, lights as well as other fluids needed to properly maintain your motorcycle. Failing to do so may cause issues with your motorcycle which can lead to a tragic accident.
- Lack of knowledge: The failure to understand road conditions or how your motorcycle operates can have an impact on how you ride your motorcycle. Additionally, not having a motorcycle license or taking a special class to learn to drive your motorcycle will also impact one’s ability to know how to properly ride a motorcycle.
- Lack of protective Gear: Motorcycles are not equipped with protective safety mechanisms such as seatbelts or airbags, thus when riding a motorcycle, you are at a great risk than cars or trucks which have doors, a roof, seatbelts, and airbags. Having proper safety gear such as a jacket, boots and helmet may help reduce the risk to a rider and passengers of motorcycles if they are unfortunately involved in a crash.
Based on information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), there will over 1,000 motorcycle-related injuries for every 100,000 registered motorcycles on the road in the United States. Following the above recommendation may help avoid serious injuries and death.
Who is Responsible for a Motorcycle Accident?
Prior to filing a lawsuit, it is important to review the details of the motorcycle crash and figure out who is at fault. Additionally, we need to determine if the party who may be responsible for the crash, acted intentionally or was negligent. Working with our team of professionals can make all the difference when trying a motorcycle accident litigation case.
We have detailed below, several individuals or entities who may be held liable for an injury sustained while involved in a motorcycle crash:
Negligent driver: The other party involved in a motorcycle accident. If it is determined that there was a failure by the other party to comply with applicable driving rules or regulations, they may be held responsible for damages and injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. Type of negligence can be, speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign or red light, failing to check blind spots when changing lanes or turning, failing to use indicator lights when turning, distracted driving such as talking on a cell phone, texting, and driving or playing around with the radio and finally driving under the influence.
Business Employer: A negligent driver, driving for a business or operating within the scope of their employment at the time of the motorcycle crash could be held liable for the actions of their employee.
Local government: In some cases, the roads are not maintained properly and the local governments are responsible for maintaining these roads, thus they may be held liable for motorcycles accidents due to poorly maintained road conditions of safety equipment such as lights or railroad crossings.
Vehicle Manufacturer Defects: In some instances, the vehicle was not built properly, and the vehicle may malfunction. In these cases, you may be able to bring a suit against the manufacture. Some typical malfunctions one may see in a vehicle defect case are as follows:
- Pedal issues: when pressing down on the brake or gas pedal they may get stuck and cause an accident.
- Safety indicators: blind spot indicators or turn singles or other safety alerts may malfunction and cause confusion, thus causing an accident.
- Engine or transmission: in some cases, the engine may malfunction, the vehicle may stall causing collisions.
- Tires: Factory ties may have been installed improperly or there may be issues with the tires themselves.
- Cracks in the frame: There may be cracks in the motorcycle frame that deteriorate over time, these may lead to a malfunction or more severe injuries if they cannot withstand the force of an impact.
How to Prepare a Florida Damage Claim
You have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you have sought medical treatment and are in the process of recovering, you want to pursue civil litigation for damages. What do you do and how should you go about it? Our team of expert personal injury attorneys will help you prepare. We will help you asses the damages by reviewing the following:
Medical expenses: Medical expenses are the key to any successful injury claim, insurance adjusters will review your medical history from your initial treatment to therapy. In order to succeed we will need to document all of your treatment, your medical bills, prescriptions, and projected future medical care.
Lost income: Based on your injuries, you may have been forced to miss work during your recovery, in many cases defendants may be held liable for lost income. In addition, they may also be responsible for future lost earnings or if you are not able to return to work additional judgments because of that.
Property damage: In most motorcycle accidents, there will be damage, it can be as simple as a broken light or worse total damage to the motorcycle. Other damages could include electronic devices or protective equipment. In most situations we will be able to seek property damages against the at-fault party or their insurance company.
Emotional Distress: There may be long-term emotional distress due to the motorcycle crash or even through the recovery process. You might experience depression, PTSD, or anxiety. In some cases, you may be triggered by sounds or sights which may need therapy now or in the future.
Punitive damages: These are damages that are meant to punish the defendant not to compensate the victim. In the State of Florida, punitive damages cannot exceed $500,000 or three times the plaintiff’s compensatory damages. In order to be able to recover punitive damages, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant acted negligently, with malicious intent or intentional misconduct.
Some of the above-mentioned claims may be intuitive and easy to document, others may require experts, as an example to gauge the true damage to future earnings, an actuary may have to be called in to testify.
Assessments are completed, now what?
Once you and your attorneys at Shiner Law Group have calculated and established damages, we will work on implementing a strategy for recovery. In most cases, the defendant will have insurance, yet their coverage may not be enough to cover all of the damages sufficiently and in some cases, the insurance carrier will not be willing to pay damages.
There may be a settlement offer, which does not completely cover damages, and although accepting the offer may be tempting, it may not be in your best interests. That is why you will lean on us and our opinion, and it is in your best interest to evaluate the settlement offer versus the calculated damages to ensure your interests are being protected.
Shiner Law Group’s 5 Tips for Maximizing Motorcycle Accident Recovery in Florida
Being in a motorcycle accident can be traumatizing and seeking damages will be time-consuming and will take time, but accident victims should know that the claim process begins immediately after an accident. In order to get the maximum recovery we recommend you follow the following 5 steps:
- Be prepared: If your primary source of travel is a motorcycle, the probability of being in an accident increases, however, you can prepare, by getting to know your motorcycle, maintaining your motorcycle, knowing the laws, understanding the roads and road conditions as well as wearing proper safety clothing and helmets. However, one of the best ways to prepare for an accident is to get the best insurance possible, to ensure you and your bike are protected from injury and damages prior to having to make a claim.
- Documentation: If you have been in a motorcycle accident and do not need immediate medical attention, start to document the scene as soon as possible, obtain contact information from all parties involved as well as witnesses, copy down the insurance and license information of all parties involved, take video and pictures of the scene and the damages, as well as pictures of any injuries. Get a copy of the police or accident report and take down the information of the officer on the scene, including the badge number, name, and contact information. Keep detailed copies of medical records, when you saw a medical professional, who you saw, date and time, and for what injuries. Finally, keep all physical evidence, including damaged property and personal effects such as the helmet worn at the time of the accident.
- Get Immediate Medical Attention: Even if you are not injured, or you believe not to be injured, you will still want to see a medical professional as soon as possible. Your injuries may not be so apparent, you can have torn ligaments that appear fine or internal bleeding which may not cause you any pain immediately after an accident, or there may be sourness the following day.
- Never Accept a Direct Payment Offer: In some cases, a negligent driver may offer you a cash payment for damages or injuries, in exchange for not filing a report and making a claim, if this occurs, it may affect your ability to seek compensation at a later date. Additionally, the typical offer would not nearly be enough to cover damages, medical bills, and lost wages. The truth is, before accepting an offer, you should discuss your options with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law.
- Be Careful About Sharing Information: Keep information about your accident to yourself and your attorney, do not share pictures or stories about your motorcycle accident on social media, in some instances this can work against you. A few years back a young woman in New York City claimed she tripped and fell on a cracked city-owned sidewalk, she claimed serious injury to her ankle, which impeded her daily life. During discovery the city reviewed her social media accounts showing her in high heels, climbing a mountain, working out and out and about shortly after the accident, she lost her case.
Proving fault will be challenging, however, having a solid case with enough documentation compensation for damages could be promising. Working with our personal injury lawyers will go a long way, as we understand what is required to build a solid case and how to present your case to the insurance companies and a jury.
Our team will examine the following:
The Motorcycle/Vehicle Driver Examination: After the traffic accident, each party must undergo certain tests, to determine if alcohol or drugs may have been the cause of the motorcycle crash.
The motorcycle or vehicle Examinations: All vehicles involved in the traffic accident should be checked for defects. The Motorcycle must be reviewed for any failures, including engine failure, brake damages, snapped components, frame defects, and other potential damages. The other vehicle will go through a similar review. This will help both parties involved in the motorcycle accident to prove negligence or if the entire accident was caused by something else.
Road Conditions: We will examine the location of the accident review the lighting conditions, the road conditions, were there potholes or other obstructions which may have caused the accident. We will also examine the weather conditions at the time of the accident to see if that may have played a role. Knowing these situations will be helpful to win a case. Speeding late at night or in icy road conditions, maybe a good foundation for negligence.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Cases
Now that we have had time to break down the anatomy of a motorcycle accident lawsuit and what is involved, we need to assess damages. Every successful claim relies on our ability to prove negligence, that the at-fault party acted recklessly and without regard to others wellbeing or in legal terms the at-fault parties failure of exercising a duty of care. The following actions may help prove negligence in motorcycle accident litigations:
- Driving about the stated speed limit or in common parlance speeding.
- Failing to utilize indicators or following posted safety laws, failing to stop at a stop sign or traffic lights.
- Driving Under the Influence – Drinking excessive alcohol or drug use
- Distracted driving – Using your cell phone, Florida has a hands-free law, texting and driving, playing with the radio, daydreaming, etc.
In order to have a chance at winning a lawsuit, we must first be able to establish the following:
- Duty of care: You, as the victim, have acted reasonably and reduced the risk of injury to ourselves and to others.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault party failed to follow safe driving behaviors, which lead directly to the accident and caused damage and injuries.
- Damages: We are able to provide documentation and evidence of specific injuries caused by the at-fault party, we are also able to provide detail medical records which show our expenses as well as our losses.
- Causation: We are able to prove the damages and injuries suffered are directly related to the actions of the at-fault party and not from another causation (aka previous accident).
After a Motorcycle Crash What Type of Damages am, I entitled to?
If you win a motorcycle crash personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to receive the following compensation for the damages you received in the accident:
- Medical expenses, including emergency room care, medication, diagnostic tests, and physical therapy/occupational therapy.
- Future medical needs, especially if you have become permanently disabled.
- Lost wages for work missed due to the accident as well as during the recovery period
- Loss of future wages or wages you may have earned (earning potential) after becoming permanently disabled.
- Pain and suffering, pertaining to your emotional trauma as well as to your physical pain.
How are Damages in a Florida Motorcycle Injury Litigation Case Calculated?
Personal injury damages are typically divided into two categories when being calculated.
- Special damages – Damages that are capable of exact calculation such as property damages, damages to the motorcycle or vehicle, injuries, and lost wages. These damages can be calculated down to a specific dollar amount.
- Pain and Suffering – These are damages that do not have an accurate measurement or are difficult to calculate. Courts utilize the best judgment of the jurors to value human emotions. The jurors will use their history, sense of judgment, their experiences to come to a fair value for the injured parties’ pain and suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions as it Relates to Florida Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
What are some of the most frequently asked questions as it relates to how your motorcycle crash will impact you and your family. In addition, what are some of the issues our motorcycle injury lawyers will help you with? From dealing with the insurance companies, working to help you get medical records and medical bills, helping with property damage issues, etc.
There is a belief by insurance adjusters and the insurance companies they work for that not all medical treatments are equal, and they tend to evaluate your injuries based on these beliefs when they review personal injury claims. When you are injured in a motorcycle accident you should immediately see a medical professional to be diagnosed, also when being treated by medical professionals follow their advice, and continue treatment, insurance adjusters will consider not only the type of treatment but also the length of treatment. The belief by the insurance adjusters is that the longer you are treated, the longer it takes for you to heal from your injuries. This may determine the degree of pain and suffering you eventually receive.
Insurance companies also will evaluate documentation from medical professionals such as medical records from physicians, emergency room records, hospital, or medical clinic records. Although the insurance adjusters will consider records from physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, and Chiropractors, during their evaluations, they will be treated differently.
As an example, although physical therapy is a common medical treatment after being injured in a motorcycle accident, the insurance companies may use a lower multiplier when evaluating claims compared to a spine and neck specialist. Chiropractic and massage therapy treatments will be given even less wight than Physical therapists and occupational therapists.
You probably have typed in motorcycle accident attorneys near me and our Stuart Florida Shiner Law Group office came up in your menu, that is like, you so many others are interested in knowing what to do when injured in a motorcycle crash, how do you handle the insurance companies and what treatments should you be utilizing after an accident. Your first priority should be your recovery thus allowing our attorneys to handle the negotiations with the insurance adjusters and the insurance companies. We have the experience and the expertise in dealing with personal injury accidents, we understand that you need to take care of yourself, to heal and work on your recovery, while we present your medical history and the accident details with these adjusters. We can help present the police reports, witness statements, pictures and videos, and other documentation which will describe what occurred and your medical records to detail your recovery. We work with the insurance adjuster as they investigate the claim and are prepared to respond to their questions and help them better evaluate the true value of the claim.
Our attorneys will be able to provide details to evidence actual damages, lost wages, medical bills, property damage, and other damages that may not be calculated such as pain and suffering. In most situations, the insurance adjusters will offer a figure lower than actual damages, which is why selecting our attorneys to help you through this process is extremely important, as we have the experience necessary to respond.
Where to seek Medical Treatment in Florida after a Motorcycle Crash?
As discussed, motorcycle crashes can, and do, occur throughout Florida. Our lawyers have helped injured people in virtually every county in South Florida and Central Florida. These accidents occur on nearly every type of roadway, including areas on I-95 or Florida’s Turnpike, local streets, and even in rural areas. If you happen to be hurt after a crash then you should seek medical treatment in the area you live in order to make sure you have the ability to regularly seek medical advice from your doctors.
Because these types of crashes occur in many different geographical areas in Florida, our law firm has made sure that we too have offices throughout Florida to make providing legal services more convenient to our clients. Our lawyers can meet our clients at one of our local law Firm offices such as our main office in Boca Raton, or our busy office in West Palm Beach. We can meet you to discuss your motorcycle case in Port St. Lucie or Fort Pierce, and just recently our Firm expanded to help injured riders in Belle Glade Florida.
The reasons we have these many offices is because we often hear that clients find our legal services because they search the internet for help by typing in “motorcycle accident lawyer near me” and one of our many business locations come up in their search. Thus, it is also important to find a lawyer who is familiar with working with your medical doctor or healthcare provider in order to make your case generally move forward easier, especially when it is important to keep the insurance carriers up-to-date with your medical records and medical bills.
If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Crash, Call our Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
As discussed throughout this informational page related to motorcycle accidents, we have learned that motorcycles are commonly involved in road accidents. Shiner Law Group encourages every rider to drive as responsibly and safely as possible, but as with anything in life, even the most careful and experienced riders, riding a motorcycle can still lead to the inevitable – injuries and death. Unlike cars, motorcyclists are entirely exposed, leading to more severe injuries.
Speaking to an expert in Florida motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuits will ultimately help the injured victim or their family recover from a terrible trauma. Our experts, at Shiner Law Group, have your best interests in mind when we take on your case. Contact us today and speak to a lawyer, we want to earn your trust, we will listen to you and we will provide our best guidance.
Call today for a Florida motorcycle accident attorney you can count on, we offer a no-fee no-obligation evaluation. Call us today at 561-777-7700.