A Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Accident Victims
Florida suffers from at least one dubious claim to fame – it led the nation in motorcycle deaths in 2014 and 2015. Indeed, motorcycle crashes account for about 19 percent of all vehicle fatalities on Florida roads. These statistics are not particularly surprising when you consider how many Florida motorcycle riders fail to wear helmets.
You may or may not realize that it is legal to ride a motorcycle on Florida roads without a helmet, as long as you purchase at least $10,000 from an auto insurance company to cover any head injuries that might result. One in seven Florida motorcyclists lack even this minimal degree of coverage. Florida does not exempt motorcyclist from all safety gear requirements, however — protective eyewear is required for all motorcyclists.
How Motorcycle Accidents Happen
Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident can happen in a thousand different ways. Most of those ways can be traced to negligence on the part of a motorist, not the motorcyclist. Following are some of the most common ways that motorists cause motorcycle accidents:
- Following too closely;
- Failure to yield when appropriate;
- Changing lanes into the motorcycle;
- Driving too fast for road conditions (even within the posted speed limit)
- Texting while driving
- Driving while intoxicated; and
- Turning left in front of a motorcycle.
I’ll Handle the Insurance Company for You
It takes time to physically and emotionally recover from a serious injury, and the recovery period is the worst possible time to have to deal with the sharp business practices of a stingy insurance company whose sole motivation is to preserve its own profits at your expense. You can be certain that the insurance company will spare no effort to manufacture excuses to minimize the value of your claim, or even deny it altogether.
I won’t put up with it. Nobody takes advantage of my clients because I simply won’t allow it. At the negotiating table I know all of the games they like to play, and I can play them better than they can. All final decisions are yours and yours alone to make, of course. As your attorney it would be my job to present you with the best possible chance to secure the compensation you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is lane-splitting legal in Florida?
Lane splitting — sharing a single lane of traffic with another vehicle — is a minor traffic infraction in Florida, even though motorcyclists routinely do it. Under Florida personal injury law, proof that you broke a traffic law is considered evidence of negligence – evidence that the court can accept or reject in light of the circumstances surrounding the accident. Even if the court determines that you were negligent, it won’t matter unless your negligence substantially contributed to the accident.
Will my claim die if I am found partially responsible for the accident?
Strictly speaking, the answer is no. Under Florida law, you are entitled to one percent of your damages even if you were 99 percent responsible for the accident. In other words, you are entitled to a percentage of your damages that is equal to the defendant’s percentage of fault.
The problem is that the defendant is also entitled to a percentage of his own damages that equals your percentage of fault. Depending on the circumstances, you could end up ahead or behind in terms of damages. If your percentage of fault for the accident is well below 50 percent, however, you will likely come out ahead.
Will an adverse police report defeat my claim?
Not necessarily. Of course, it is never good news when a police report contradicts any of your assertions. In some cases, however, it is possible to overcome the negative influence of an adverse police report and still win the case.
What types of compensation am I eligible for?
Florida personal injury law recognizes three possible types of damages, depending on the facts of your case:
- Economic Damages: Medical bills, lost earnings and other easy to count losses.
- Non-Economic Damages: Psychological damages such as pain and suffering. In fact, pain and suffering damages are often awarded in amounts that greatly exceed medical bills.
- Punitive Damages: Damages that punish the defendant for “actual malice.” Although most claims don’t qualify for punitive damages, an intentional “road rage” accident might qualify.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is a claim filed under the Florida Wrongful Death Act if someone died in the accident. The personal representative of the deceased’s probate estate (usually a close relative) files the lawsuit on behalf of certain relatives of the deceased, who share the damages amongst themselves. Damages can be quite substantial.
Is Florida a “fault” or a “no-fault” state?
Florida is generally a “no-fault” auto insurance state. Motorcycles are treated differently from other motor vehicles, however – they are not required to carry PIP insurance as motorists are.
No Legal Fees Unless You Win
At my law firm we reject the entire concept of “billable hours” when it comes to a personal injury claim. Instead, I charge by the results I achieve and nothing else. You will owe me nothing up front, and in fact your bill will never come due until you win your claim and your compensation has actually been paid.
Contact a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else (including the driver of a motorcycle you were riding on), there’s no time like the present to begin pursuing fair compensation with the help of an experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer.
Make no mistake about it — your best chance of receiving full compensation comes when you act promptly to secure expert legal representation. A motorcycle accident claim can get complicated, and you are going to need a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer to maximize your chances of victory at the settlement table or, if necessary, in court.
If you have been involved in a Florida motorcycle accident contact DLE Lawyers immediately at (305) 363-7855 or fill out my online contact form for a free initial consultation on your case.