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.

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.

What Are the Most Frequent Causes of a Motorcycle Crash

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:

  • Distracted driving - many car drivers use their cell phones, fiddle with the entertainment system or engage in conversations with their passengers. One moment of not paying attention to the road ahead is sufficient to cause a tragedy;
  • driving under influence of alcohol and drugs - both these substances impair a driver's senses and reflexes. A DUI driver is not able to avoid a crash and usually drives recklessly;
  • speeding or traffic violations - running a red light or flooring the accelerator pedal may seem to save time, but they are also responsible for many crashes, involving other cars, motorcycles or pedestrians;
  • mechanical failure - malfunctioning brakes, poorly maintained vehicles or manufacturing flaws may cause a car to behave erratically and not respond to the driver's commands;
  • poor road or weather conditions - roads with potholes, heavy rain or both create the conditions for a fatal motorcycle accident.

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. Our personal injury lawyers in Fort Lauderdale at VG Law Group are always ready to help you understand your rights and legal options.

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Types of Injuries Suffered by Victims of Motorcycle Crashes

Motorcycle accident victims usually sustain severe injury to critical parts of the body. In our experience as motorcycle accident attorneys, we advised clients who suffered:

  • Broken bones
  • extensive road rash
  • nerve damage
  • neck injury
  • head injuries
  • spiral cord injuries
  • broken jaw and disfigurement
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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.

Understanding the Importance of Wearing a Helmet

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.

How Much Insurance Should a Motorcyclist Carry?

The minimum insurance coverage required by the state of Florida is:

  • $10,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $20,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $10,000 for property damage
  • $10,000 for medical payments coverage (personal injury protection is not an option for motorcyclists).

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.

What You Should Do After a Motorcycle Crash

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.

Related: Should I get a lawyer after a motorcycle accident?

Collect Evidence from the Crash Scene

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:

  • the driver was using their cell phone was driving
  • the driver ignored traffic signals
  • they noticed any other signs of driver distraction
  • they took photos or videos of the accident.
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Follow Medical Advice and Complete Your Treatment

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:

  • insisting that the extent and severity of your injuries is less than you state
  • you were partly at fault for the accident
  • you failed to mitigate your damages by not seeking medical assistance.

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.

Do Not Talk with an Insurance Adjuster on Your Own

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.

Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Obtain Maximum Compensation on Your Behalf

The only professionals truly on your side during these difficult times are your doctor and your personal injury law 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:

  • test indicating that an intoxicated driver caused the accident
  • the police report presenting all the findings at the scene of the accident
  • traffic camera footage
  • expert witnesses' and eye witnesses' statements.

Who Will Pay Your Damages?

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:

  • they caused their employee to break the law by speeding or exceeding maximum driving hours per day to meet a tight deadline
  • they required a drowsy or intoxicated person to drive
  • they continued to use a driver with a known accident history
  • they required the driver to drive in inclement weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow.

These circumstances also apply to accidents caused by Uber or Lyft drivers.

Common Types of Damages You May Recover after a Motorcycle Crash

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:

Medical Expenses

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:

  • cost of ambulance ride to the hospital
  • hospital stay and various tests and treatments
  • medical equipment you need during recovery
  • physical and psychological therapy
  • assistive devices - walkers, wheelchairs
  • long term care, including home and nursing care.

Compensation for Lost Wages and Loss of Income

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.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

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Also known as non-economic damages, this kind of compensation is awarded for:

  • Physical pain
  • mental and emotional anguish
  • loss of enjoyment of life
  • loss of companionship.

Punitive Damages

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.

Hire an Aggressive Law Team Defending Your Rights!

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!

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