Taking to the road on a motorcycle can be a fun and exhilarating way to see the country. However, riding a motorcycle comes with a certain level of risk, as the exposed nature of riding a motorcycle means that injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe than car accidents. In fact, motorcycle accidents can leave riders with debilitating injuries that linger for months, or even years, after their accident. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists tend to be overrepresented in traffic-related fatalities, as they account for 14% of all traffic-related fatalities while representing only 3% of registered vehicles.
Thusly, if have recently been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, it is likely that you are facing a long, difficult recovery and mounting medical bills, and you may find yourself out of work for a long period of time. This can leave you with a lot of questions and a feeling of uncertainty as to how to proceed as you try to recover from your accident. Particularly if you believe that the other driver was at fault, you may be wondering what steps you should be taking in order to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. To help you begin to process your options moving forward, here is a look at answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about motorcycle accident injuries.
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Can I Sue The At-Fault Driver?
While being injured in a motorcycle accident can be frustrating, this frustration will only be magnified if you believe that your injuries are the result of another driver’s negligence. In this circumstance, you may be wondering what your options are for seeking compensation. Can you sue the other driver considering Florida is a no-fault state for auto accidents? As you are likely already aware, Florida drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance due to the fact that Florida is a no-fault state. In the event that a driver is injured in an accident, their PIP insurance will kick in immediately and cover their medical bills up to their policy limit regardless of who is at fault; however, this does not necessarily mean that you can’t seek compensation from the other driver.
Considering how serious motorcycle accident injuries often are, you will likely find that your injuries exceed the limits of your PIP insurance very quickly. In this case, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver in order to recover losses not covered by your insurance. In some cases, you may also be able to sue the other driver, regardless of the cost of your medical bills, if you suffered from severe or permanent injuries, or if you believe that you have experienced extreme pain and suffering. This makes it important that you consult an attorney after being injured in a motorcycle accident in order to discuss your options for receiving proper compensation.
What If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet at The Time of The Accident?
You may find yourself wondering if you still have a case if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. While Florida law does not require drivers 21 and over to wear a helmet, if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident this could still have an effect on your case. Florida uses a comparative negligence doctrine when determining fault in a personal injury case, which means that each driver can be found partially at fault for an auto accident.
For instance, even if you believe that the other driver is to blame for your accident, you could be found 30% responsible, meaning that you would only be able to recover 70% of what would have otherwise been owed to you from the other driver. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, even though not legally required, you may be found partially at fault for your injuries if the other driver’s insurance company is able to prove that a helmet could have reduced the extent of your injuries. Even if the other driver caused the accident, you could find your settlement significantly reduced if a helmet would have protected you, such as in the event of a head/brain injury.
How Long do I Have to File a Claim After My Accident?
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, filing a personal injury claim may not be your immediate priority as you may be facing a lengthy rehabilitation process. This may lead you to wonder exactly how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Florida after a motorcycle accident.
The first thing that you need to know is that it is extremely important for you to seek medical care immediately after a motorcycle accident. Not only is this smart as a medical professional can assess the full extent of your injuries, but also, Florida’s no-fault law requires that you seek medical treatment within 14 days of an accident. If you do not seek initial treatment within this time, you may not be able to receive PIP benefits, and it could be harder to receive other benefits from your insurance company.
If you decide to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, you have 4 years from the time of your accident to do so. While this may seem like plenty of time, filing a personal injury claim can be a lengthy process. Additionally, if you wait too long after your accident to file your claim, this can make it more difficult to get proper compensation. Thusly, it is important that you do not delay filing a personal injury claim after being injured in a motorcycle accident.
How Long Will My Case Last?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, as the time-frame for settling a personal injury claim can vary greatly from one case to the next. If there is a lot of evidence to support your claim that the other driver was negligent and you suffered severe injuries as a result, you may be able to reach a settlement in a relatively short period of time. However, if the other driver’s insurance company chooses to fight your claim and your case has to go to court, then it could take months, or even years, to settle your claim. This is why it is important to work with an attorney from day one. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to gather evidence and build a case against the other driver, and they will work tirelessly to get you properly compensated for your injuries in a timely manner.
How Much Are My Injuries Worth?
Of course, this may lead you to wonder exactly how much your personal injury claim is worth. Again, no two motorcycle accidents are the same, and how much you can expect to receive for your injuries will greatly depend on the specifics of your case. The fact is that while one motorcycle accident victim may only get a few thousand dollars, another might get a 6 or 7-figure settlement. The size of your settlement will be based on a variety of factors including the severity of your injuries, wages lost, and the value of your medical bills and property damage. Additionally, pain and suffering may come into consideration when determining your settlement as well. This is another reason why it is so important that you consult an experienced personal injury lawyer when filing a personal injury claim. An attorney will have experience handling cases similar to yours, and they will be able to use this experience to assess the specifics of your case in order to determine what your claim may be worth.
What Do I Do if The Insurance Company Thinks I’m at Fault?
Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to scapegoat motorcyclists by portraying them as reckless. However, the reality is that motorcycle accidents are often the result of other drivers not wanting to share the road with motorcyclists or drivers not watching the road properly. If the other driver’s insurance company tries to claim that you were at fault, it is important that you gather any evidence you may have that proves otherwise such as pictures from the scene of the accident, eyewitness accounts, as well as the police report (if there was one). You should then contact a personal injury attorney who can help you build a case to prove the other driver’s negligence and their ultimate responsibility for your injuries.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?
Alternatively, you may find that the insurance companies recognize the other driver’s fault, and they may try to offer you a settlement fairly quickly after you file your personal injury claim. However, it is important that you do not accept any offers you receive before you speak with an attorney. The fact is that the insurance companies likely do not have your best interest in mind as they will be looking to close your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. They may then be offering you a low-ball settlement that is significantly less than what your claim should be worth in the hopes that you will accept it without knowing any better. Before you agree to anything, it is critical that you consult an attorney who can help determine if the settlement being offered is fair, and if it isn’t they can negotiate a better deal on your behalf.
Contact us to learn more about what you need to know if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and are planning to submit a personal injury claim. It is important that you partner with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can support you during this difficult time and ensure that your best interests are being looked after.