The pleasant clime of Florida encourages many people to seek freedom on the open road, riding a motorcycle. However, Florida is also the state with the highest risk of death in motorcycle accidents. According to National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 550 motorcyclists died in Florida, representing 33% of all motor vehicle accidents involving fatalities in this state. This somber statistic may be linked to the fact that wearing a helmet is not mandatory if riders are over 21 years old and hold a medical payment's coverage insurance policy. At VG Law Group, we know how difficult it is to overcome such a traumatic event, given the long term negative effects it has on your life. This is why we recommend anyone who was involved in a motorbike crash to contact a knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyer at our law firm.
Motorcycle riders are vulnerable in traffic. The size and build of this vehicle offers no protection in case of a collision with another motor vehicle, be it another motorbike, passenger cars or commercial vehicles. At the same time, road sharing is still a problem across the US. Car drivers are not always diligent and demonstrating the adequate duty of care they should towards every other participant in the traffic, be it a person on a motorcycle or a bicycle.
In this context, some of the most frequent causes of motorcycle crashes are:
No matter what the circumstances of the crash, victims of motorcycle accidents need to know their legal rights in order to obtain financial compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages and other damages they suffered. An experienced motorcycle injury attorney at VG Law Group is always ready to help you understand your rights and legal options.
Motorcycle accident victims usually sustain severe injury to critical parts of the body. In our experience as Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers, we advised clients who suffered:
Most of these types of accidents required extensive medical treatment, and the motorcycle accident survivors accumulated huge hospital bills and other expenses. We helped them assert their rights to compensation from their insurance coverage and from the fault driver, in a personal injury lawsuit.
As we explained above, the law in Florida does not oblige motorcyclists to wear a helmet if they are over 21 years old and have medical expenses coverage ($10,000 minimum amount). And, as various surveys indicate, only 48% of Florida motorcyclists wear a helmet every time they ride their motorbikes.
Looking at NHTSA statistics, helmet wearing saved the lives of 1,872 people across the US in 2017 and may have prevented the death of other 749 if they had worn one. Even though the law does not mandate wearing the helmet, the pure comparative laws of Florida allow negligent drivers to assign a part of responsibility for the crash to you, if you were not wearing a helmet at the moment of the accident. While this will not prevent you from seeking recovery of financial losses from the responsible party, your maximum compensation will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.
In order to protect yourself from deadly crashes, you should always wear a motorcycle helmet that meets the Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Standard 218, issued by the US Department of Transportation in 2019.
The minimum insurance coverage required by the state of Florida is:
The last type of insurance is required because Florida is a no-fault state. Instead of filing an insurance claim against the responsible driver's insurance company, your own insurer will pay for medical expenses. However, after a threshold of severe injuries (including permanent injuries and debilitating injuries), the law allows victims of motor vehicle accidents to pursue the fault party's insurance.
It is always recommended to have adequate insurance, because there are many uninsured drivers in Florida. Therefore, you may not be able to obtain sufficient compensation to cover for your own medical costs and subsequent long time care, including nursing care in some of the most serious cases.
In many cases victims of distracted drivers are left with severe injuries that require immediate medical assistance and hospitalization for further tests and surgeries. Even if you suffered minor injuries, such as road rash and feel that you are able to walk away from the accident, you should still call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance and law enforcement officers to investigate the scene of the traffic accident.
If you are able to move without making your condition worse, document the accident as much as possible. Take photos and videos of your injuries and the damage to your bike. Photograph eventual skid marks left by the other driver. Talk to eye witnesses, ask them for their contact data and find out whether:
When you get to the point of suing a negligent driver, any experienced attorney will tell you to prepare for a barrage of attempts to reduce your claim by:
This is why you should always follow the EMTs recommendation to go to the hospital and have all investigations performed. Likewise, you should continue the recommended course of treatment until completion, including physical therapy and refilling your prescription.
Once you filled a claim for compensation, you will be soon contacted by an insurance adjuster. Their role is to convince you to accept a quick settlement and sign a waiver. Don't do any of these. In fact, do not talk to the insurance company representative on your own. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that care about their bottom line more than they care about you. They will use anything you say or do against you during settlement negotiations or in a personal injury lawsuit.
At the same time, refrain from posting about the accident on the social media. A simple comment such as "getting better" or "feeling a bit better now" to reassure your friends will be used by the insurance company to prove that you exaggerated the extent of your injuries.
The only professionals truly on your side during these difficult times are your doctor and your Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer. While one is fighting to help you get better and return to your life, the other is looking after your financial interests.
An experienced attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies, bringing counterarguments and presenting a clear narrative of the accident. In order to reach a fair settlement, the lawyer will collect all relevant documents including:
While the first source of compensation are your insurance company and the fault driver, a skilled motorcycle accident attorney may identify other individuals and entities who can be held liable for your injuries. For instance, if a design or production fault is the cause of the accident, car and motorcycle manufacturers can be called as defendants in your personal injury lawsuit.
Also, if the driver who caused the accident was on the clock, their employer may be held liable if it can be proven that:
These circumstances also apply to accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers.
Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be entitled to a range of compensations. An experienced legal team will analyze the cause, special elements of the crash and explain to you what type of compensations you may receive.
These usually include:
This type of damages will cover all the costs and expenses you incurred after the accident to treat your injuries. Some of these expenses are:
While you were in hospital and under recovery, you could not work, thus you lost your regular source of income. You can recover this type of financial loss and you can also obtain compensation if your permanent injuries prevent you from going back to your job. You may also recover rehabilitation costs if you need to learn another trade.
Also known as non-economic damages, this kind of compensation is awarded for:
If the fault party is found to have acted in gross negligence (drunk driving, aggressive driving), you may also receive punitive damages. In the state of Florida, the maximum amount of punitive damages you may obtain is $500,000.
VG Law Group is your reliable and knowledgeable legal representative in any kind of personal injury case. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, we are ready to offer you a free case review and explain what kind of compensation you are entitled to receive.
We work on a contingency basis, thus, you don't have to pay any advance fee. We only get paid after we win your case. Our approach is both modern and aggressive, ensuring that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. We are experienced both in negotiating with insurance adjusters and in court, and we don't stop until justice is served for the injured party.
We are available 24/7 so call us any time you need expert legal advice: 833-HELP-365!