Translate
Talk to Us Latest News

Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers

talk to an attorney 888.988.1774

×

The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Accidents & Personal Injury Claims

Protect yourself & win the compensation that you deserve!

Hiring an expert motorcycle injury lawyer will help you navigate what can be complex claims and legal environments. With the proper legal support, you can hold the right people responsible and win compensation to pay for injuries, lost income, and other related expenses.

Most motorcycle riders know that they are much more at risk on the road than other motorists. People on motorcycles die and get injured at much higher rates than people in cars, trucks, and other vehicles.

It’s not hard to understand why. When you’re on a motorcycle, you’re exposed to the elements. Any sort of collision or careless driving from other drivers puts you in grave danger. You risk hefty objects flying at you at high speeds in a crash. Likewise, if a driver doesn’t see you, they risk putting you in a precarious situation where you have to either collide or make dangerous maneuvers that could put you on the pavement.

Here in Florida, the government reported 592 motorcycle accident deaths in 2021. That’s in line with numbers over the past decade. Last year there were 8,636 motorcycle crashes. Motorcycle crashes account for almost 1 in 5 road deaths.  Miami-Dade County leads the state in motorcycle deaths.

Understanding the risks on the road and how to react after an accident are keys to staying healthy and safe long-term. Here’s all of the information you need to know about motorcycle accidents and what you should do if you or someone you love is involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida.

Why Motorcycle Accidents Are Common in Florida

It’s not hard to imagine why more motorcycle accidents happen in Florida versus other states. If you look online, you’ll see plenty of articles and websites claiming that Florida is one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists.

It’s not as if people are trying to hit motorcyclists, but it’s easy to understand why crashes are more common. Here are some reasons why.

The Weather’s Great: In other parts of the country, you get snow and long winter months. In Florida, motorcycles are an option year-round. People are out on the roads for longer and in larger numbers than in other states

Risky Drivers: In Florida, you get a mix of tourists, older drivers, and distracted drivers. They’re either new to the area or unaware of motorcyclists on the road.

Wet Conditions: It rains a lot here. On a motorcycle, there is less room for error when things are wet on the pavement. One small mistake can lead to a crash.

People On Vacation: As a tourist destination, Florida is filled with vacationers who are both unfamiliar with the roads, special hazards and driving styles of Floridians (that’s a special category unto itself!).  Plus many vacationers are enjoying the party life so they may be more lax about drinking and driving while they are enjoying the Florida lifestyle.

These are just some of the reasons why motorcycles are involved in accidents at higher rates in Florida. Road hazards like construction also get in the way and make it so other drivers don’t notice motorcyclists on the road.

The Devastating Impacts of Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are over 20 times more likely to be in an accident than other motorists, according to an NHTSA report. That’s a statistic, along with the numbers cited above, that every Floridian should know before getting on a bike.

While there are such things are motorcycle fender-benders, the risks involved to drivers on motorcycles are a lot higher. Even people who walk away from a motorcycle accident will likely have some injuries.

In far too many instances, motorists die or suffer severe injuries. When a driver doesn’t see you during a lane change, or you are the victim of road rage, it’s easy to get hurt very badly.

Negligent drivers are one of the biggest causes of motorcycle crashes. If, for example, someone is texting and fails to stop, they can collide with a motorcycle ahead of them at high speed.

The most common injuries that occur in motorcycles crashes are:

Broken bones – When you’re riding a motorcycle you are exposed, and if you hit another car or are involved in a crash, there is a good chance you will eject from cycle at high speed. Any impact you have with objects at high speed can lead to fractures and worse. The human body was not built for that.

Spinal cord injury – Most often when you are hit by a car and crash hard on the ground or are thrown from a moving motorcycle, you can damage your spinal cord which can result in paralysis and even death. Motorcycle crashes are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States.

Brain injury – If you don’t wear a helmet you have a higher chance of getting a brain injury while in a crash. Like we mentioned above, the body is very fragile and even “minor” hits to the head can cause damage. Even people who wear a helmet but are hit hard enough in a serious car and motorcycle accident can sustain brain damage.

Amputation due to serious injury – When an organ of the body such as a leg or arm is injured so severely, sometimes there is no choice but to amputate it. This can have a serious effect on the quality of life and can sometimes lead to other complications. But be careful as there are many people who suffer from medical malpractice due to wrongful amputation.

Road rash – When you slide on the road or on the pavement in high speed and you don’t wear protective gear, your skin will tear like paper leaving you with many bruises and cuts.

Death – If someone is in a serious motorcycle crash, especially with a car or truck, the impact can be so violent that it is not survivable.  Sadly, motorcycle crashes have a much higher fatality rate than car crashes.

Almost every day, a family in Florida has to deal with the sobering reality of a motorcycle accident. They see a relative or close friend unable to move, speak, work, or enjoy life like they once did.

Proving Negligence in a Florida Motorcycle Accident

When you’re in an accident, your personal safety is the priority. Close to the top of the things you should be thinking about, though, is how to prove negligence on the part of the other driver and win the justice you deserve.

Negligence is a fancy term used by lawyers and insurance companies, but what it generally boils down to is when someone fails to meet a reasonable expectation of care with regard to others. Examples of negligence include things like texting while driving, failing to signal, speeding, etc. It’s basically failing to do what you should to keep others safe on the road.

Here are the four components of negligence. To prove another driver was negligent, you must meet the following elements:

  • Existence of a duty of care – The defendant (driver or another party responsible for your injuries) was directly responsible for limiting the risk to you and anyone else involved.
  • Duty of care was breached – The defendant failed to meet their responsibility.
  • Damages – The existence of a duty of care, and their inability to meet the standard of care, resulted in damages or injuries.
  • Causation – The defendant directly caused the damages to the people hurt or killed in a motorcycle accident.

Meeting with a Florida motorcycle accident attorney will help you understand whether your case meets the standard of negligence and how to proceed with your case. However, it’s essential to know ahead of time what to do in the event of a motorcycle crash. What you do in the aftermath of any motorcycle accident will matter a great deal in your case.

What You Should Do After a Motorcycle Accident

No one ever gets behind the wheel or gets on a motorcycle expecting an accident to happen. Any sort of motor vehicle incident is always a surprise.

When you get in an accident, there’s a rush of adrenaline and a lot of emotion. You will probably go from angry to sad, scared, or worried and back. Knowing what to do after a crash is vital to the success of your case.

Follow these steps if you get in a Florida motorcycle accident:

1.   Make Sure You & Others Are Safe

If you get in a crash on the road, there are still dangers after you come to a complete stop. There are likely vehicles traveling quickly around you. Your vehicle may be damaged to the point where there is a fire risk.

On the other hand, moving may worsen your injuries. Some vehicle accident victims must stay still to avoid making things worse. Whatever the situation, do what you can to quickly assess your condition and eliminate risks around you. This may involve moving off of the road to safety or calling for help.

2.   Call 911

Call the authorities and ask for support no matter how you’re feeling. Plenty of motorcycle riders stand up and walk around after a serious crash. Your body goes into overdrive and reduces your ability to feel pain.

Ask for first responders even if you feel like you don’t need them. When the adrenaline wears off, you may discover that you’re badly injured. Calling first responders also helps to document injuries at the scene of the crash.

3.   Take Pictures & Ask for Witnesses

If you or someone with you is able, take pictures of the scene before you leave to get medical attention. Ask anyone in the area who saw what happened for their contact information. Get the insurance information of the person at fault.

If the police are there, you should ask for a copy of their accident report. They may not be able to give it to you immediately, but they’ll tell you how to get it later.

4.   Go to the Hospital

Don’t feel ashamed or silly about taking a ride in an ambulance after a bad crash. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you could be experiencing unseen injuries like internal bleeding. Get to the doctor to make sure you understand the full extent of your injuries.

5.   Hire an Expert Lawyer

We can’t overstate the importance of getting the right sort of legal support after a motorcycle accident. If you’re injured, it’s going to be overwhelming handling the insurance claims, hospital visits, physical therapy, and everything else.

You need an expert Florida motorcycle accident attorney who can handle your claim and aggressively pursue a personal injury case, if necessary.

At the very least, meeting with an attorney during a free consultation will guide you in the right direction and help you understand whether you have any recourse after your crash.

Statute of Limitations – You Have 4 Years to Pursue a Case (2 years for wrongful death)

One thing that people don’t always realize is that, generally, you have four years from the time of the accident to sue for damages related to the accident. That’s an important factor because some people feel like they lose their chance at compensation to make things right unless they act immediately. In Florida the statute of limitations is reduced to two years for wrongful death. Believe it or not, these times pass very quickly and there is much to be done when tragedy strikes.

The Florida statute of limitations dictates that you have four years from the incident to pursue a personal injury case.

There are some exceptions to the rule. For example, if you have delayed injuries related to the accident or you discover lingering effects from the crash at a later time, the statute of limitations may be extended from the time of discovery. But in most cases you need to treat the statute of limitations strictly and act promptly once a crash has taken place.  Under any circumstance, you will want your attorneys working as soon as possible to preserve evidence and locate witnesses before memories fade and evidence is lost.

Damages You Can Sue for After a Motorcycle Accident

If you’re confident that you can prove negligence on the part of the other driver, then you should sue for damages to cover your expenses related to the crash.

Medical care can easily reach into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Catastrophic motorcycle cases such as spinal cord injuries, can cost in the millions.  Victims regularly suffer serious road rash injuries or burns that require multiple surgeries. The bills quickly add up.

Add onto that the cost of rehabilitation, physical therapy, counseling, and ongoing accommodations for any disabilities, and you’re looking at a hefty price tag.

People lose their jobs or must take reduced roles at their companies that don’t pay as well.

Victims and their families shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of the costs when the accident wasn’t their fault.

In worst-case scenarios, people die in motorcycle accidents and lose years or decades of future income. How is a family supposed to survive without a key breadwinner at home?

Generally speaking, available damages include any medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs directly related to the incident. When the accident causes death, the survivors are entitled to their mental pain and suffering and their economic losses like lost future income.

Hiring a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney

The lawyer you choose to handle your case is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

A good attorney will take on the load of managing administrative tasks and correspond with authorities and insurance companies. They’ll gather evidence and negotiate damages or prepare your case for trial.

One of the most crucial things an expert attorney will do is give you advice on the value of your case.  That will be based on many factors, including the specifics of your case, the liability (fault issues), the extent of the damages and a number of other issues.  An experienced trial attorney will know how to get the most money for your injuries or the death of a loved one.  This is not something most people will know how to do – evaluate or negotiate these cases.  The best settlements are a result of expert preparation and the reputation of the trial lawyers handling the case.

Frequently insurance companies or defendants who know they are at fault make quick offers to settle the case. They’re hoping victims don’t calculate or realize the true cost of their injuries. Many times, these offers work because victims are facing financial hardships.

An expert lawyer will do the work to understand your situation and when the time is right to accept any settlement offers. They’ll negotiate the maximum possible to best set you up going forward.

If you’ve never hired an attorney, here’s where you should start:

  • Go with experience – Hire a legal team specializing in motorcycle accident personal injury cases. When your health and financial future are on the line, it’s no time to try something new.
  • Do some research – Read about different firms. Look online for reviews and visit their website to see how they managed past cases. Try to find what the outcomes were.  Find out which law firms are trial lawyers (those lawyers who actually go to court) and which firms are recognized as being at the top of their field.  Look to see if they are recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Florida SuperLawyers, Florida Legal Elite, U.S. News Best Law Firms, and South Florida Legal Guide’s Top Lawyers and Law Firms.
  • Take the free consultation – Most good firms offer free initial consultations to discuss the details of your case. Meet with potential lawyers to see if things are a good fit.
  • Find out about the firm’s track record – Have these lawyers handled cases like yours before? What kind of recoveries and verdicts have they obtained?  Do they have a reputation in the legal community for being at the top of their field?
  • Set expectations early – Talk to your lawyer about what you can expect regarding timelines and communication styles. Not every firm is the same, so you’ll want to find one that meets your needs.

Now that you know what to do before and after an accident, you increase your chances of getting the damages you and your family deserve. Stay safe on the roads and always practice defensive driving on a motorcycle!

LET’S GET STARTED