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Is your curiosity piqued about Motorcycle Accident Law in Florida, yet you're uncertain about your starting point?

In this informative guide, we aim to elucidate every facet of Florida’s Motorcycle Accident law from beginning to end.

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Chapter 1:
What are the laws for motorcycle riders in Florida?

Many Floridians assume that the familiar rules of the road only apply to passenger vehicles, not realizing that all road users are subject to certain laws and regulations. Vulnerable road users like motorcycle riders are required to comply, especially considering the fact that the rules exist for the safety of all. The Official Florida Driver License Handbook includes laws that apply to motorcycles as well as cars, such as making turns, navigating signals, and yielding right of way.

However, when you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, there is an entirely different set of laws that you need to understand. These are legal matters that affect your rights and legal remedies as a victim. An overview on the laws for motorcycle riders in Florida is helpful.

Negligence

A fundamental law in Florida motorcycle crash cases is the theory of liability known as negligence, which has a very specific definition in the practice of law. To prevail in a claim, you must prove four essential elements:

To better understand how negligence works, some examples are useful. A driver may be at fault for speeding, drunk driving, failure to yield, distracted driving, improper lane changes, and many other violations of traffic laws.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations

Every US state has imposed deadlines on filing a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. This law has a significant impact on your rights, and it recently changed in Florida. Instead of a 4-year statute of limitations as was the deadline in the past, motorcycle riders now have 2 years to sue in court. If you allow the statute of limitations to expire, your claim is forever barred. You could attempt to file a lawsuit, but the defendant has a solid defense that will get your case dismissed.

Keep in mind that the statute of limitations works differently for children. They are considered as being under a legal disability because they are not yet adults, which means they cannot sue for motorcycle accident injuries. There is an exception to the statute of limitations in such cases, which would apply to a very limited number of motorcycle riders aged 16 and 17 years old. The victim has 2 years after turning 18, up to 20 years old, to file a lawsuit.

Comparative Fault in Florida

The concept of comparative fault is a crucial law you need to know, and it is also one that has recently changed in Florida. The basic concept is that the victim is held accountable for their own misconduct in a motorcycle accident. If your actions were also negligent based upon the essential elements described above, it could affect your options, compensation, or both. In a few US states, any fault by a victim is a bar to recovering any monetary damages. Other jurisdictions, including Florida, follow different rules that are not quite as harsh.

Florida is known as a modified comparative negligence state under recent modification to the statute. This means that you will recover no compensation if you were more than 50 percent at fault. If your actions contributed to a lesser degree, your monetary damages will be reduced by the amount of blame assigned to you.

Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claims

You will certainly be concerned about what compensation you can recover after a Florida motorcycle accident, as your losses could be considerable. Knowing the law on how damages work is critical, so the following points are useful.

Chapter 2:
How do I know if I have a valid personal injury claim from a motorcycle accident?

Florida motorcycle accidents may not make up a large percentage of the total collisions statewide every year, but statistics reveal how riders are disproportionately affected. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are almost 9,300 total motorcycle crashes annually. More than 8,100 motorcyclists are either killed or suffer injuries in these accidents, meaning around 88 percent of all collisions result in at least one rider casualty.

Fortunately, you may have legal remedies as a victim. A motorcycle accident is a type of personal injury claim, so it is possible to recover compensation for your losses. However, you can expect that you will need to meet certain requirements. Here are some ways to know whether you have a valid personal injury claim from a motorcycle accident.

You Can Prove the Essential Elements

Personal injury cases, including motorcycle collisions, are covered by a legal theory of liability known as negligence. The concept means more than just carelessness, because it requires you to prove certain facts. If you have evidence of the following, your outlook is good for a valid claim.

You Have Evidence of Damages

It is a positive sign for your rights in a personal injury claim if you have sufficient evidence of the losses you suffered in the motorcycle accident. Your losses are all the consequences that affect your life after you were hurt, and you might not even realize how extensive they are. For instance:

The Deadline for Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits has not Expired

Every US state sets a deadline for lawsuits, and the law in Florida could mean the difference between whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim. The statute of limitations in the state is 2 years. You must file a lawsuit in court before the deadline expires, or you are forever prohibited from recovering any monetary damages.

There is an exception to the personal injury statute of limitations, which applies to minors. In a motorcycle accident case, this would only affect the 16- and 17-year olds who are able to legally operate a motorcycle. The statute of limitations is tolled, since children do not have capacity to sue. The victim has 2 years from their 18th birthday to initiate litigation.

However, it is rarely an advantage to wait several years when you have losses that are mounting now. You can resolve your claim faster by taking action as soon as possible.

You Talked to a Knowledgeable Motorcycle Accident Attorney

By consulting with a motorcycle crash lawyer, you get the most accurate assessment of whether you have a valid personal injury claim. Negligence and damages can be difficult to prove, but an attorney can conduct a thorough evaluation of your case to determine the strengths and weaknesses. Not only does this help with understanding your rights, but this information is also useful when you are considering settlement versus litigation.

You can also trust your attorney to handle the necessary tasks to know whether you have a claim, including:

Chapter 3:
What should I do after a motorcycle accident in Florida?

Many motorcyclists would argue that Florida is an ideal environment for riding, with its year-round warm weather, temperate climate, and miles of highway. When you are enjoying the open road, a motorcycle accident is furthest from your mind. However, data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reveals the risks of crashes. Every year, there are almost 9,300 motorcycle collisions across the state. Around 610 people are killed in these incidents, while another 7,500 suffer injuries ranging from minor to severe.

If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, the chaos can be overwhelming and leave you at a loss about your next steps. For helpful guidance, it is important to review some tips on what you should do after a motorcycle accident in Florida.

1. Seek Medical Treatment

The first step to take is getting proper medical care for your injuries. Your health is a top priority, and you cannot get on the road to recovery unless you head for treatment right away. There are different options available based upon the severity of your injuries, and the decision may be made for you if you are transported to the hospital by first responders. You should consider the following points about seeking treatment.

Your well-being comes first, but there is another reason to head for medical care immediately. You have rights after a motorcycle accident, and your decisions about treatment do affect your claim. If you wait, you are telling the at-fault driver and/or insurance company that you were not hurt badly.

2. Exchange Required Information

The motorcycle accident laws in Florida require all involved motorists to stop, render assistance, and exchange information. Just like with an auto crash, you will need to provide your contact and insurance details. Make sure to obtain them from the other driver, since this information will direct you on where to file a claim with the person’s insurance company.

When discussing the exchange of information, keep your conversation to this topic only. Do not talk about the severity and nature of your injuries, though you can mention that you were hurt. Avoid any reference to how you think the motorcycle collision happened. You are only speculating, and your words could come back to harm you if you say too much. By admitting fault, directly or indirectly, you could affect your claim. An insurance company or jury could take your statements to put the blame on you.

3. Collect Important Proof

This task will depend on whether you are physically able to explore the scene, as your injuries or transportation to the ER may prevent you from trying to get evidence. However, if you are capable, you should grab your cell phone to take pictures of:

In addition, you should make a note of the businesses in close proximity to the scene of the motorcycle accident. They may have security camera footage that shows who was at fault. Other essential sources of proof for a motorcycle crash include witness recollections and the results of investigations by accident reconstruction specialists.

4. Use Caution with Insurers

The information about conversation topics to avoid at the scene is even more important when you receive a call from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. During the discussion, you can confirm basics about the crash, such as time, date, your contact information, and your insurance details. If you have already retained a Florida motorcycle accident attorney, you can also let the insurer know.

However, most other areas of conversation are off-limits. Do not answer questions about fault or who caused the motorcycle accident. Insurance companies leverage this information against you, claiming that their policyholder was not responsible and you were to blame. They are looking to protect their bottom line, and your claim represents a loss. By sharing too much, you give the insurer reasons to deny your claim. It is best to decline to discuss the situation and rely on your lawyer to deal with the insurance company.

Chapter 4:
How do insurance companies determine fault in a motorcycle accident?

Florida motorcycle accidents continue to be a serious problem, but you might not realize the severity until you review relevant statistics. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are around 9,260 motorcycle crashes across the state annually. More than 600 motorcyclists are killed in these collisions, and another 7,500 suffer injuries. If you were hurt or lost a loved one, you may wonder about your options.

Fortunately, Florida law provides victims of motorcycle accidents with legal remedies. You can recover monetary damages for your losses, starting by filing an insurance claim. It will be necessary to prove that the company’s policyholder was responsible, known in the practice of law as being at fault. Insurance companies have strategies for determining fault in a motorcycle accident, and they do not always work in your favor.

Investigating Negligence

The familiar term for fault is being responsible for some act or event, but the usage in the practice of law is more specific. Fault relates to negligence, which is a theory of liability. It applies in most motorcycle crash claims, so you can expect that the insurance company will investigate carefully after you file your claim. The insurer assesses the evidence in the context of four essential elements:

Duty

The policyholder must have a duty to drive safely, which is an obligation for anyone using Florida roadways.

Breach

The insurer will investigate whether its insured breached the duty of care by not driving safely.

Causation

There must be a connection between the breach of duty and the accident, such that the motorcycle crash would not have happened without the breach.

Damages

The insurance company will look at the losses you suffered from being hurt, which form the basis of your compensation. This is important information for the insurer to make a counteroffer after receiving your claim.

Examples of Fault in a Motorcycle Accident

Negligence can be a complicated legal topic, so it is helpful to review how motorists can be negligent and cause a motorcycle collision. The insurance company will meticulously review the information you sent about fault and your claims that its policyholder was responsible. Many examples of negligence are the result of violations of Florida traffic laws, including:

There are additional violations of traffic laws that can lead to a motorcycle crash, and they deserve special mention because of the devastation they cause. Drunk driving is a criminal offense in Florida, but that does not stop some motorists from getting behind the wheel. Distracted driving is another serious problem because of the ways it affects the manual, visual, and cognitive capabilities of the driver. Besides texting, talking on the phone, and surfing the internet, distracted driving includes eating, putting on makeup, and using a GPS.

Looking for Evidence of Comparative Fault

The insurance company will not limit its investigation into fault by its own insured. Your conduct will also be a focus because of the comparative negligence law in Florida. There was a recent modification to the statute which could impact your interests, so knowing the current state of the law is important. For motorcycle accident claims, insurers will look at how you may have been negligent in causing the crash. If you are 50 percent or more to blame for the crash, you cannot recover any compensation for your losses. When your conduct is less than 50 percent to blame, it may still be reduced by the amount of fault attributable to you.

In practice, the issue of comparative negligence is up to the jury when you go to trial. They decide the percentages based upon the evidence. Still, facts regarding fault by you will be important for settlement discussions with the insurer.

Insurers Do Not Follow Rules

What is described above is how a reputable, prudent insurance company would determine fault in a motorcycle accident. However, insurers are also motivated by profits. Your claim is a threat to the company’s bottom line, so it will do everything in its power to find reasons to deny it. With help from a Florida motorcycle accident attorney, you can overcome the insurer’s improper denial. Solid proof is essential, so should always submit with your claim sufficient evidence to support your position, such as:

Chapter 5:
What are the common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida?

Although there are many specific causes behind motorcycle accidents in Florida, most of these tragedies happen because of negligence. In the practice of law, negligence is a theory of liability that requires you to prove that the at-fault motorist caused the crash by failing to drive safely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), negligent driving and carelessness behind the wheel causes almost 6,000 motorcyclist fatalities every year. Plus, another 82,700 riders are injured in motorcycle collisions, leading to massive losses for victims.

Though negligence is the underlying reason that motorcycle accidents happen, there are many specific acts behind these tragic incidents. Your Florida motorcycle accident lawyer will develop a solid legal strategy around the concept of fault, and the common causes of these crashes point to liability by drivers. It is also helpful to know how they happen because you can use relevant safety tips to your advantage.

Causes Behind Motorcycle Accidents in Florida

Many of the common causes of motorcycle collisions are the same as other vehicle crashes, and they typically involve violations of traffic laws. Examples of driver negligence include:

However, there are additional factors at stake when you consider the design of a motorcycle. Issues that may not cause an accident for a four-wheeled vehicle may be devastating when they affect a two-wheeled motorcycle. Balance, momentum, and speed impact the motorcycle rider differently. In addition, a motorcycle has a narrower, lower visual profile, making them less visible to other motorists. Some acts of driver negligence are the result of not being able to see the motorcycle rider.

Drunk Driving and Motorcycle Collisions

Driving while under the influence of alcohol is also a common cause of motorcycle accidents, but negligence is amplified with DUI crashes. Visibility is already a challenge for some motorists when sober, and yet the ability to focus and concentrate on the road are the among the first abilities affected by alcohol. Plus, impairment affects decision making, leading a drunk driver to take risks or not recognize the threat of a crash. An intoxicated motorist may change lanes into a motorcyclist or strike a rider while speeding through an intersection.

It is crucial to remember that alcohol also has the same effects on a motorcycle rider’s abilities, even after just a single drink. At .02 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), there is a decline in visual capabilities. With a .05 percent BAC, you experience reduced muscular coordination. Therefore, even when not above the legal limit of .08 percent, you put yourself at risk of motorcycle accidents by drinking alcohol.

Dangers of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another form of driver negligence that is a common cause of motorcycle accidents, and these activities may or may not constitute violations of traffic laws. It is against the law to use a cell phone for texts, surfing the internet, taking photos, or reviewing social media, as well as for talking on the phone without hands-free technology. However, some types of distracted driving are not specifically prohibited by law, such as:

All of these activities, as well as cell phone use, take the driver’s attention away from the only thing they should focus on: Safe operation of the vehicle. Distractions affect motorists visually when their eyes are not on the road, and a driver’s abilities are limited when their hands are occupied with a non-driving action. These risky activities can also affect a motorist’s cognitive capabilities if their thoughts drift off.

Safety Tips and Reminders for Riders

Knowing the common causes of motorcycle accidents is useful for protecting yourself, since you may be able to anticipate negligence and careless acts by drivers. Some additional safety tips can help you avoid collisions and minimize the effects if you are involved in a crash:

Chapter 6:
Can I still recover damages if I am partially at fault for the accident?

In an ideal world, fault in a motorcycle accident would be clear-cut and point directly at the negligent motorist’s decisions and actions. Unfortunately, the nature of a traffic crash means that there could be multiple parties whose conduct contributed to the collision. Other vehicles may seem to come out of nowhere, and chain reaction collisions send vehicles around in all directions after second and third impacts. You may not be able to tell which motorist caused the initial event, and other drivers may even put the blame on you.

If you are partly responsible for a motorcycle collision, the Florida comparative fault statute could apply when you pursue legal remedies as a victim. The law highlights the actions of the rider in a motorcycle collision, and whether they contributed to causing the crash. Because the implications could significantly affect your rights, you should consult with a Florida motorcycle accident attorney about recovering damages if you are partially at fault.

How a Victim’s Conduct Affects Compensation

Every US state has a rule on the general concept of contributory negligence, in which carelessness by the victim may impact the claim, amount of damages, or both. In Florida, the law establishes a version termed modified comparative negligence, in which two points are critical for a motorcycle collision.

Recent Changes to Florida’s Comparative Fault Statute

The comparative negligence law in Florida was recently modified by lawmakers, so there can be some confusion and misinformation as the new rules have gone into effect. Before the changes, Florida’s comparative fault statute provided that a victim could recover compensation even when up to 99 percent at fault. Like the current law, the previous rule operated to reduce monetary damages to account for the fault attributable to the victim. If the $100,000 award to a motorcyclist is reduced by factor of fault at 99 percent, the rider would have received $1,000.

There are a few US states that follow a pure contributory fault rule, which has harsh consequences for motorcycle riders and other victims of accidents. With this law, an injured victim cannot recover any monetary damages if they were even slightly at fault.

Understanding How the Law Works

The application of Florida’s comparative negligence statute comes as part of the civil process, because the notion of fault is one for the finder of fact. This role is held by the judge in a bench trial, but a jury will make the decision regarding the plaintiff’s fault in most trials. The process works as follows:

Comparative Fault and Settlement

Many personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, settle by agreement of the parties without going to trial. Therefore, the comparative negligence statute would not be a question for the jury as described above. However, it will be at the forefront for an insurance company when reviewing your claim. The underlying concepts and facts of the crash will impact settlement discussions, because any negligence by you is an unfortunate weakness in your case.

You might find yourself in a position to accept less in compensation, knowing that a jury could find you 50 percent at fault. Still, the insurer knows its policyholder could be assigned a higher percentage of blame, so you have leverage to negotiate.

Chapter 7:
How much can I expect to receive in compensation for my injuries?

Florida law protects the interests of motorcycle accident victims by providing powerful legal remedies, so it is important to have a solid strategy to recover damages. In general, the amount you can expect to receive in compensation for your injuries is linked to your losses. Riders suffer serious harm in crashes, as evidenced by statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Based upon figures collected so far, the state is on pace for more than 9,400 total motorcycle collisions in 2023. Almost 550 people are killed every year in these incidents, while 7,500 victims suffer injuries in motorcycle accidents.

The physical, emotional, and financial losses for these victims and their families are devastating, and the implications could affect you in similar fashion. You will need an experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure you receive fair monetary damages, but read on for some details on what to expect.

Basics of Compensation in Motorcycle Accident Claims

The concept of monetary damages is based upon the idea that it is unfair for a victim to suffer because of another party’s negligence, so the injured person should be made whole through compensation. There are two categories of damages available for motorcycle crash cases.

Economic Damages

Some of the losses you sustain are tangible and can be measured in dollar value. The largest portion of economic damages will likely be your medical costs, including emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, and pain medications. You may also recover amounts for lost wages if you were out of work because of your injuries.

Noneconomic Damages

You also suffer diminished quality of life when you were hurt in a motorcycle collision. This class of compensation takes into account how your injuries may limit you in terms of personal relationships and enjoyment of favorite activities. Examples of noneconomic damages include pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and emotional distress.

Motorcycle Crash Losses Add Up

It is not possible to give you an exact figure on what you can expect to receive in compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries, because there are countless variables in these cases. The nature of your losses depends on the severity of your injuries. The most common injuries in motorcycle collisions include head and spinal cord injuries, trauma to internal organs, burns, and broken bones. It is important to aggressively pursue monetary damages to cover the related losses that add up, such as:

Steps for Seeking Damages

Motorcycle collisions are unique in many ways, but the basic legal process for recovering compensation is similar to other traffic-related accidents. Your first step is filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Florida law requires all motorists to carry minimum insurance amounts, so the policy is the source of monetary damages.

You might expect that the claims process will be straightforward when you have sufficient evidence of fault and your losses, but insurers are looking out for their own financial interests. Your claim may be denied or you might receive a lowball counteroffer to settle, with the company citing suspicious or bogus reasons for rejecting your claim.

If the insurer refuses to agree to an amount that compensates you fairly, the next step is to sue in court. Litigation involves motions, court appearances, discovery, and depositions during the pre-trial phase. These steps lead up to the trial, where a jury will determine the issue of monetary damages.

Compensation in Fatal Motorcycle Accident Cases

When a motorcycle accident results in a fatality, surviving family members have legal remedies to recover monetary damages. The personal representative of the deceased person’s estate has authority to sue in a wrongful death claim to recover losses. This individual may be someone named as executor in a will or appointed by the court when the decedent had no will. On behalf of the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other relatives, the personal representative may seek amounts for:

Chapter 8:
What if the other driver was uninsured or underinsured?

Every US state requires drivers to carry minimum auto insurance coverage that pays compensation to injured victims when the policyholder causes an accident. Rules about purchasing insurance are established by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), which makes it necessary to have coverage if you want to register a vehicle in the state. The point of the insurance requirement is to ensure an injured victim has access to a source of funds to cover the losses that result from a traffic accident. For those hurt in a motorcycle accident, these losses can be devastating.

When the at-fault motorist in a motorcycle collision does not comply with the law, the legal process is extremely complicated. You still have rights and remedies when the other driver was uninsured or underinsured, but it takes a solid strategy and extensive experience. Your Florida motorcycle accident attorney is prepared to overcome challenges, and an overview will help you understand them.

How Auto Insurance Works in Florida

Florida is one of a few US states that follows a no-fault rule for auto insurance, meaning that motorists can file a claim with their own insurance company after an accident.. They do not need to prove that someone else was at fault. To accommodate this system of auto insurance, motorists are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. As the insured, you could even be the motorist responsible for causing the crash and you can still file a claim for compensation because you pay the premiums.

When a traffic crash causes serious injuries and disfigurement, a person injured in a vehicle collision may opt to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. In such a case, you DO have to prove that the other motorist was negligent. You will also need evidence showing the nature and extent of your losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Options for Pursuing an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

Based upon how Floria’s system of auto insurance works, you have two options to recover compensation when the at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured:

Special Rules for Motorcycles and Insurance

It is important to note that the Florida auto insurance requirements only apply to four-wheeled vehicles, so motorcycle riders do not need to comply with the same laws. However, many motorcyclists do also register a passenger vehicle, so they will carry PIP. This coverage pays compensation to you even when you were driving your motorcycle, and NOT the four-wheeled vehicle that you insured.

If you only register a motorcycle and carry insurance accordingly, you have the option to choose PIP as an add-on for your insurance policy. You can also choose to add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy. Both of these options will pay compensation to you, though your premiums will be higher. In both cases, you will not have to prove fault when dealing with your own insurance company.

When you carry a motorcycle insurance policy that does not include coverage for PIP or uninsured/ underinsured coverage, you would resort to pursuing the at-fault driver directly as in #2 above.

Coverage Under PIP

PIP provides much-needed financial compensation when you were injured in a motorcycle accident, but it does not cover the entirety of your losses. For insurance, PIP will reimburse you for 80 percent of medical costs that you incur for treatment of your injuries. In addition, your PIP coverage will pay up to 60 percent of your lost wages if you were unable to work because of motorcycle crash injuries. With both medical expenses and lost income, you are subject to the limits of your PIP policy. The minimum amount is $10,000, though some motorists pay additional amounts for higher PIP coverage.

Chapter 9:
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident in Florida?

In Florida and all other US states, there are deadlines for filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident. This law is called a statute of limitations, and it could affect your rights if you allow it to expire. In fact, the Florida statute of limitations could be a complete defense in a case if the plaintiff misses the deadline, eliminating any chance of recovering compensation for physical, emotional, and financial losses.

The statute of limitations is important and will make or break your case. However, there are also other timing issues to keep in mind. Additional factors impact the potential for receiving a favorable outcome after a motorcycle collision, so a solid legal strategy is critical. You can rely on your Florida motorcycle accident attorney for guidance on the statute of limitations, and information on other timing matters is useful as background.

Overview of Florida’s Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a legal rule that puts an end to your remedies if you allow it to pass without taking action. After a motorcycle crash, that action must be filing a lawsuit for a personal injury case. The statute of limitations in Florida is 2 years, as measured from the date that the injuries occurred. If you do not file a lawsuit in court by this time, you are forever barred from obtaining monetary damages. The clock on the statute of limitations does not stop during the time you are negotiating settlement with an insurance company.

Keep in mind that there is also a statute of limitations for a wrongful death case if you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident. The deadline is also 2 years, but it is measured from the date of death rather than the date that the crash happened. The injuries that caused death must be directly related to the motorcycle accident as opposed to some other intervening event.

Special Note About Recent Changes

There is some confusion about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including those involving motorcycle collisions. The reason is that lawmakers recently changed the duration, reducing it from 4 years to 2. Many people who are not in the practice of law are unaware of the updates, so there are myths about how long you have to file a personal injury case after a Florida motorcycle accident.

Reasons to Avoid Delays

The Florida statute of limitations is obviously the paramount reason to make sure you file a lawsuit after a motorcycle collision, but there are additional factors at stake. For instance:

Other Timing Factors for Florida Motorcycle Accidents

The statute of limitations applies to lawsuits, but there are additional time-related considerations if you were hurt or someone close to you died in a motorcycle collision. Officially, an insurance company cannot deny a claim on the basis of the statute of limitations until the deadline expires. However, the insurer is more likely to make a lowball counteroffer if you delay in filing your claim. The company will allege that your evidence outdated or your injuries occurred after the accident.

Similar logic applies to seeking medical attention after a motorcycle crash. Do head to the ER for life-threatening injuries right away or visit an urgent care center for same-day care. By waiting, you send the message that your injuries were not severe. The insurance company will take delays into account with denials.

Chapter 10:
What are the most common injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents?

Motorcycle riders are extremely vulnerable as they maneuver through traffic, with no metal shell to protect against impacts from larger, heavier vehicles. Many motorcyclists are killed in accidents because of driver negligence, but far more suffer bodily harm ranging from mild to severe. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 180,000 riders seek medical treatment at emergency rooms after suffering harm in a motorcycle collision.

The vulnerability of a motorcyclist is clear when you review the injuries that riders often suffer. Some affect the lower extremities, but the head and torso are also exposed to significant, violent impacts. These injuries lead to devastating losses, and they could affect many aspects of your life if you were hurt. Fortunately, you have legal rights, and a Florida motorcycle crash lawyer will help enforce them. To avoid injuries, it may be helpful to review the types that occur frequently.

Common Injuries for Victims of Motorcycle Crashes

One type of injury that occurs far too often is trauma to the head, which is why so many states have universal helmet laws. In Florida, the statute requires users under 21 years old to wear a helmet and forces others to carry special insurance. In a motorcycle collision, an operator may suffer a concussion, which causes chemical changes in the brain that affect how it functions. The violence of a crash could also cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), possibly leading the brain to shift and strike the skull.

Some of the other common injuries from a motorcycle crash include:

Also, keep in mind that the motorcyclist will almost always be tossed from the vehicle in an accident. This secondary impact, when the rider hits the ground or another hard surface, can be just as severe as the initial collision.

Road Rash and Motorcycle Accidents

There is a specific type of trauma that is unique to those who ride motorcycles, bicycles, scooters, e-scooters, dirt bikes, and other vehicles without an enclosure. Road rash is an injury that occurs when skin is exposed to the surface of the road, sliding along the rough pavement as the rider is tossed. It carries characteristics of a burn because of the heat energy transferred to the skin from the friction of the road. Road rash is also an abrasion because of the scraping along the concrete.

Though it typically only affects the outer layers of skin, including the dermis and epidermis, the pain from road rash is agonizing. The injuries are also prone to scarring once they do heal, so a victim also suffers psychological and emotional consequences.

Long-Term Consequences and Complications

The immediate injuries from a motorcycle accident can be serious and catastrophic, but there are also implications that could affect victims for months, years, or a lifetime. Especially with severe TBI and related head injuries, a person could lose independence, requiring at-home care or relying on loved ones as caretakers. The extent of the harm varies depending on the type of trauma, severity of the impact, and location of the brain that is affected by the impact.

Spinal cord injuries can also mean long-term consequences and medical complications. The trauma may be considered a complete injury, in which all function, movement, and sensation below the location of the injury is lost. An incomplete spinal cord injury is less severe, but a victim could still be unable to walk or live independently.

Get Medical Attention Right Away

Motorcycle accident injuries may range considerably, from minor harm to life-changing trauma. Regardless of how serious you believe your injuries to be after the incident, it is critical to seek appropriate medical treatment immediately. Head to the emergency room if:

When your injuries require same-day care, you should visit an urgent care facility or your primary care physician. Time is of the essence to seek medical care after a motorcycle accident, as your health is the top priority. You must receive treatment to get on the road to recovery. Plus, going to a physician immediately could affect your rights. To recover compensation, you will file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer. If you delay getting treatment, you send the message that your injuries were not severe enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

Chapter 11:
Can a personal injury lawyer help me with my motorcycle accident case?

Motorcycle accidents may comprise just a small percentage of the total motor vehicle crashes in Florida, but statistics indicate the severity. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), up to 6,000 people are killed in motorcycle collisions every year across the US. Plus, another 180,000 victims seek medical care at hospital emergency rooms after sustaining motorcycle injuries. It is reassuring to know that you have legal options under Florida personal injury laws if you were hurt or lost a loved one in such a tragedy.

However, you may not know where to begin with pursuing your remedies. You could miss out on recovering the compensation you deserve if you do not have skilled legal representation as soon as possible after a crash. An overview describes details on how a Florida personal injury lawyer can help with your motorcycle accident case.

Steps in the Legal Process

There are multiple stages along the timeline of a motorcycle crash claim, and having legal counsel on your side is critical for each one. From the start of the process, you will need to focus on negligence as the theory of liability behind your rights. You must prove certain facts to recover monetary damages for your losses, so you must show that the other motorist caused the collision by failing to drive with reasonable care.

A personal injury attorney will develop a strong legal strategy to establish proof and meet all requirements, so you can count on support with such tasks as:

Advising You on Settlement

After filing your insurance claim, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation to assess fault, the nature of your injuries, and your losses. You might believe that you have sufficient evidence to support your claim, but keep in mind that insurers are for-profit businesses. Your claim could result in a loss, which affects the company’s bottom line. The insurer is likely to deny payment or make a lowball counteroffer that does not fully compensate you for your losses.

A Florida motorcycle crash lawyer is essential during settlement discussions, as the parties go back and forth trying to reach an agreement. Your attorney will ensure you take advantage of the benefits of settling, including certainty in the outcome. You do not risk going to court, where a jury might not agree with your position. Plus, you avoid the mistakes of settling too early, which could lead to lower monetary damages.

Advocate During Mediation

Many personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, will go through mediation to resolve disputes. Mediation is similar to settlement, as the parties work through differences to try and reach an agreement. However, mediation is a more structured approach to compromise. The process is overseen by a mediator who is specially trained to facilitate productive conversations. Through discussions guided by the mediation professional and your attorney, it is often possible to negotiate an agreement and avoid court.

The benefits of mediation are similar to those of settling your motorcycle accident case. It is an informal proceeding, so many crash victims prefer the setting rather than having to testify in court. Another advantage is that mediation is not binding, and the mediator does not make findings or decisions in the case. If the parties do not agree, they can still take the case to court and go to trial.

Representing You in Court

If the insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount and mediation is not productive, the next step is going to court. Litigation is highly complex, and your case will be governed by a combination of case law, statutes, and court procedural rules. If you do not have a legal background, you could make mistakes that put your compensation at risk.

With a Florida motorcycle collision attorney to assist, you feel confident your case is in good hands. Your lawyer will handle all important tasks related to the litigation process, including:

Chapter 12:
What are the possible defenses in a motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuit?

Motorcycle accidents are the result of negligent, careless driving, and statistics indicate that the problem is a common one. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports that there are almost 8,700 motorcycle crashes every year, leading to around 550 fatalities and injuries to 7,500 riders. As a motorist, you may already know that you have legal remedies if you were hurt in a collision that was not your fault. The legal process seems straightforward, requiring you file an insurance claim with the responsible driver’s insurer and pursue a lawsuit.

However, you might not realize that the at-fault motorist may claim defenses, typically through the insurance company. Insurers will raise these issues when discussing your claim, negotiating settlement, and when suing in court. You can rely on your Florida attorney to fight possible defenses in a motorcycle accident personal injury lawsuit, but you should know what they are.

Contributory Fault

The theory of liability behind motorcycle crashes is negligence, and it requires you to prove that the at-fault motorist caused the accident by not exercising reasonable care when driving. Under Florida’s comparative fault law, negligence by the victim of a collision is also an issue in the case. The statute focuses on your own unsafe actions that may have contributed to the accident, and it could serve to reduce your compensation.

The comparative fault statute in Florida was recently changed in a significant way. Prior to 2023, the law reduced compensation for victims who were also negligent in causing an accident, including a motorcycle collision. The damages were lowered according to the percentage of fault attributable to the victim. The current law also restricts compensation, but you can only recover if you were less than 50 percent at fault. If you were more than half responsible, comparative fault is a defense that prohibits you from obtaining damages.

Lane Splitting Under Florida Law

A good example of comparative negligence comes from a traffic maneuver often used by motorcycle riders. Lane splitting is the practice of driving a motorcycle in between lanes of traffic. Often, an operator will engage in this action when surrounding vehicles are stopped or slowed. Lane splitting is tempting and entirely do-able considering the narrow profile and maneuverability of a two-wheeled vehicle.

However, lane splitting is illegal in Florida and all US states except California. Traffic laws impose fines for driving your motorcycle in between lanes of traffic, but this practice can also affect your rights. Lane splitting could be considered an unreasonably risky or dangerous move, especially because it is against the law. The insurer will raise allegations of comparative fault, so your compensation could be at risk.

Statute of Limitations

There is a deadline imposed in personal injury lawsuits, and Florida motorcycle crash cases are subject to this law. The statute of limitations is 2 years, and the clock starts to run on the date of the collision. If you do not sue in court within this timeframe, you are barred from ever recovering compensation. You could attempt to file a lawsuit, but the statute of limitations is a complete defense to the case.

Because of a recent change to the law, there is some misinformation about Florida’s statute of limitations. The deadline was 4 years prior to 2023, and you may have friends, family, or acquaintances who are familiar with the concept. If you search online, you may also find many blogs and websites that contain erroneous information. However, to definitively clarify, the current statute of limitations is 2 years.

Questions About Injuries

The foundation of your claim as the victim of a motorcycle accident is your injuries, along with all the physical, financial and emotional losses associated with them. As such, if there are issues, questions, or weaknesses regarding your injuries, the insurance company may develop a defense strategy around them. The insurer may allege:

Closing Thoughts

The topics covered in this Motorcycle Accident E-Guide should help you understand your rights, the legal process, and challenges you may encounter as you pursue your rightful remedies. The information should also convince you that retaining a Florida motorcycle accident attorney is a top priority if you were injured. Our team at Rosen Injury is ready to serve your needs and fight to ensure you receive fair compensation, so please contact us today to learn more about your options.

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