Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Experienced Guidance Through Complex Legal Matters
Motorcycle accidents can be physically and emotionally devastating. Since motorcycles offer little physical protection to riders and their passengers, serious injuries often occur. Injuries can include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, injuries to the neck and back, spinal cord injuries, contusions, lacerations, abrasions and road rash, and even death.
In fact, motorcycle riders are about thirty times more likely to die in a crash than four-wheel vehicle occupants. Causes of death can include head injuries and severe blood loss, usually from internal injuries.
Victims often spend months, years, or even a lifetime trying to recover from the injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash. Recovery becomes more challenging when you consider the financial toll of a victim’s injuries. Medical bills pile up quickly. You may be unable to work and earn a paycheck. These financial stressors create a huge burden.
Fortunately, you have legal options to help you through. Smith, Ball & Báez focuses on personal injury claims, including those involving motorcycle accidents.
Our motorcycle accident lawyers have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in damages, so they can get the medical care and financial support they need. If you’ve been injured, contact us to go over the details of your claim.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents happen for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest causes is a negligent driver’s failure to maintain a proper lookout. Many times, motorcyclists hear the at-fault driver say, “I didn’t see you” or “you came out of nowhere.”
Motorcycles are more narrow and lower in profile than other vehicles on the roadway. While this “visibility” plays a major factor, it is not an excuse. Motorists still have a duty to exercise due care when driving on Florida’s roadways. This includes being on proper lookout for motorcycles.
Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding or aggressive driving
- Manufacturing defects
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Traffic violations like failure to yield and improper lane changes
- Road hazards
- Distracted driving like texting or cell phone use
Proving Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
You need to prove that another party was liable when filing a motorcycle accident claim. First, you must first show that the other party had a duty of care and that duty was breached. For instance, motorists have a duty of care to drive the speed limit on Florida’s roads. Speeding is a breach of that duty of care. Next, you have to prove that by breaching the duty of care, the other party caused the accident. Then, you have to show that the accident caused damages. If you can prove these components, you can file a claim against the other party.
Florida Helmet Laws
Florida motorcyclists who are over 21 years of age are not required to wear a helmet. However, motorcyclists must carry an insurance policy of $10,000.00 for medical payments if they chose to ride without one. Motorcyclists who are under 21 years of age must wear a helmet regardless of their insurance. Nevertheless, helmets help protect riders from serious head injuries and death. Also, if you opt not to wear a helmet and you suffer a head injury in a motorcycle crash, the insurance company will try to place blame or fault on you for not wearing a helmet. They will argue that you could have avoided the injury by wearing a helmet.
What If You Do Share Blame?
Some people fail to file claims after Florida motorcycle accidents because they are partially at fault. They think they cannot recover damages because of this. However, you may be able to collect damages if you share some of the responsibility under Florida’s comparative negligence law. Based on the law, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault you share. For example, if the evidence shows that you are 10% responsible for the motorcycle accident, the court will deduct 10% from your total financial award.
It’s also important to understand that thinking you are at fault and actually meeting the legal criteria for fault are two different things. You might feel responsible when you aren’t to blame at all. Smith, Ball & Báez can investigate the claim to determine if you are at fault, and if so, how much of the responsibility rests on your shoulders. Your Florida motorcycle accident attorney can then begin the process of collecting the money you deserve.
Statute of Limitations
You have four years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault party. However, waiting until the statute of limitations is almost up can hurt your case. Evidence such as roadway marks disappears over time. If you hire an attorney right after the accident, he or she can begin investigating the claim and collecting evidence while it is still fresh. Also, your attorney will be able to speak to witnesses right away. Getting witness statements right after the accident can help your attorney build a case against the at-fault party.
Damages in Motorcycle Cases
Florida law allows victims to collect economic and non-economic damages after motorcycle accidents. Economic damages include past, current, and future medical bills and lost income. Non-economic damages consist of pain and suffering and emotional distress. The amount of money you’re eligible for is based on the extent of your injuries and the at-fault party’s actions. Your attorney will fight for you to help you get the compensation you deserve after suffering an injury.
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