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Most personal injury claims fail because victims fail to hire a lawyer on time. Learn about why and when you need to hire a lawyer after a motorcycle crash.

It can be difficult to know exactly what to do after a motorcycle accident. While family and friends may have the best intentions, their advice may not be sound. Some people may tell you that it's not necessary to hire a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle crash lawyer. This is true in some cases, but many accident victims benefit tremendously from having legal representation.

Since Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, you have nothing to lose by meeting with a few attorneys and getting their opinions. A motorcycle accident lawyer typically works on a contingency fee basis, so they won't take your case unless they believe they can get compensation for you. You can, therefore, be sure that you're getting honest feedback on your case. Even if you opt not to hire a lawyer, in the end, you will benefit from knowing your options.

When It's Essential to Hire a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Crash Lawyer

When Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Crash?

Since motorcycles offer such limited protection to motorcycle riders, bike crashes often cause lots of harm. There are certain circumstances in which you need to talk to a motorcycle lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

You're Not Sure Who Is Responsible for the Accident

It's not always clear who is at fault for a motorcycle crash if multiple parties are involved. Sometimes, you may have more than one liable party. You can't rely on the police and the insurance company to sort out liability. When you hire an experienced attorney, they will arrange their own investigation so that all the at-fault parties can be identified and held accountable. The sooner you hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, the better it will be for you.

Your Injuries Are Serious

Motorcycle injuries from broken bones to soft tissue injury usually take a long time to heal. If they are serious, they may cost thousands of dollars in medical treatment. This means you'll likely be pursuing a significant amount in compensation. Also, the insurance company is more likely to challenge or deny your claim. You don't want to take chances with these types of claims, so it's best to get a legal professional from the outset.

You Sustained Permanent Injuries

Similarly, if you suffered a permanent injury that causes a lifelong disability, you may benefit more from hiring a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle crash lawyer. Permanent damage often means that victims cannot make a physical recovery. When this happens, your legal counsel will consider it during the claims process and settlement negotiation.

If the permanent injury requires lifelong medical care, they will factor it into the claim for compensation. The motorcycle attorney's job is to ensure you get a fair settlement from the responsible party. 

You Need Lots of Medical Care

Even if your injuries aren't permanent, they may require extensive medical care. If you require multiple surgeries or ongoing treatment, you will incur a substantial medical expense. This is besides any property damage the motorcycle collision caused.

For these reasons, you need an accident law firm to handle your injury compensation. Also, as time goes on, the amount of compensation you have to demand may increase. Having a motorcycle injury attorney means you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer quantifies your losses. They will also gather evidence to support your motorcycle accident claim.

You've Missed Lots of Work

Depending on the type of motorcycle accident injury you sustained, you might miss work for days. However, if you have to take multiple weeks or even months off, you'll miss out on wages. Since you are entitled to compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity, you should ensure you get fair compensation. You can protect your interest in reaching out to a Fort Lauderdale experienced motorcycle crash lawyer.

The Insurance Company Is Offering a Really Low Settlement

Insurance adjusters don't usually offer fair settlements upfront. The first offer you get is usually to get the negotiation process going. However, sometimes insurance companies engage in shady practices, or they refuse to budge. If you feel you're out of your depth and unlikely to be treated fairly, you should have an attorney with experience handling monetary compensation claims step in on your behalf.

Why You Need To Act Quickly

A motorcycle accident victim does not need to hire a personal injury attorney before filing a claim for damages. However, it's highly recommended if it appears that your injuries are serious and your losses are substantial. You'll also want to keep the option of a lawsuit open if negotiations prove to be unsuccessful. This means you need to keep an eye on the Statute of Limitations and other deadlines. 

You have 14 days to file a personal injury protection claim in Florida, and typically, four years for a personal injury lawsuit. To ensure you don't get barred from filing a claim, you should seek prompt legal advice from an experienced motorcycle attorney.

If your injuries are catastrophic, you may have no choice but to focus on getting better before handling any legal issues. Still, you don't want to drag things out. Talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can, so they can start collecting vital evidence. 

What Types of Damages Are You Entitled to After a Motorcycle Wreck?

A motorcycle accident claim follows the same civil law rules as other personal injury claims. For this reason, an injured victim making a legal claim against a guilty party would be entitled to three types of damages. 

A man rides a motorcycle on a scenic road in Ft Lauderdale

1.  Economic Damages or Compensatory Damages

They are the most identifiable and concrete type of compensation. Insurance companies and courts calculate them to a specific dollar amount. They usually cover lost income, medical bills, property damages, and funeral and burial expenses when a person dies. A qualified lawyer would use documents obtained as evidence to seek a definitive amount based on the degree of injuries and property damage suffered by you. 

2. Non-Economic Damages or General Damages

Lawyers seek general damages together with compensatory damages. General damages are less specific and less tangible than economic damages. They are mostly from the traumatic experiences brought on by the motorcycle accident. Common examples are pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment, etc.

They can sometimes include future losses due to loss of earning capacity or future medical care. When evaluating general damages, factors like the victim's age, occupation, income, and the severity of the injury and permanent damage would play a key role. 

3. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages cannot be negotiated with or awarded by an insurance company. A court awards it, and it is meant to punish a defendant for grossly negligent conduct. Punitive damages are harder to prove than compensatory and general damages.

But if a victim's attorney successfully proves it, they can receive hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on the court awarding it, it can exceed both compensatory and general damages. Defendants sometimes appeal punitive damages that are quite substantial. This is why most states cap the amount a person can get for punitive damages. 

Florida Damage Caps 

In Florida, there is no limit to the amount you can claim for compensatory and general damages. But it places a limit to how many courts can award for punitive damages. Florida's law limits it to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500 000. 

If punitive damages exceed $500 000, the law stipulates that the court award the higher amount. In this regard, the cap is not a strict law but an attempt to ensure punitive damages are not significantly higher than compensatory damages. Note that Florida is strict as to when a victim can ask for punitive damages. 

For the claim to succeed, the defendant's conduct must be especially egregious. An example is a motor vehicle driver with a history of driving drunk or speeding. In most personal injury claims in Florida, most victims do not pursue punitive damages because of the difficulty in proving it. 

What Percentage of the Settlement Will a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Take? 

As mentioned earlier, personal injury lawyers in Florida charge on a contingency fee basis. It means that they demand no upfront payment, and their fee is dependent on them getting you a settlement. In Florida, many contingency fee agreements give the motorcycle attorney between 33% and 40% of the settlement sum. 

The best time to agree on percentage is during consultations. At this point, you can negotiate for a lower percentage or an alternative agreement. Most lawyers draw up a contingency fee agreement based on the stage of the claims process. 

When a claim ends with a settlement within the shortest time, your accident attorney would take 33% of the settlement sum. But where the matter proceeds to a motorcycle accident lawsuit, their percentage will be 40. Note that the contingency fee does not cover other costs like filing fees and other out-pocket-expenses. 

For instance, your lawyer can call an expert witness to show a defective motorcycle part caused the accident. If they paid the expert while the case subsists, they would regain the amount spent from the settlement or judgment sum. Your take-home in that instance would be the money left after the attorney deducts the contingency fee and other expenses.

A man rides his motorcycle on a Florida highway

Talk to a Motorcycle Crash at Lawyer VG Law Group

As a motorcycle accident victim, you don't have to go through the process of getting proper compensation alone. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident injury attorney and get an expert legal opinion.

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