Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale
Results-Driven Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Fight for Accident Victims’ Right to Compensation Throughout Florida
Unfortunately, motorcyclists who are involved in any type of accident are particularly vulnerable to serious injury—and there is very little that the motorcyclist can do to prevent these injuries apart from exercising reasonable caution while driving. Unlike accidents involving other kinds of automobiles, there is nothing to protect your body from severe and sudden impact when you are riding on a motorcycle. You have no doors, windows or roof to protect you on a motorcycle, so when another car hits you, or if you crash into another object, it is not the bike itself that takes the brunt of the damage—it is the human motorcycle driver or passenger. Of course, the very open nature of the motorcycle is often what attracts individuals to this mode of transportation, and motorcyclists have every right to share the Florida roadways with other vehicles—and also have the right to expect that other drivers will drive safely.
Unfortunately, when motorcyclists are involved in accidents, serious injuries or even death frequently result. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the injury itself is often only the beginning for motorcycle accident victims. Beyond the necessity of recovering from serious and painful injuries, many motorcycle accident victims also end up having to fight tooth and nail to obtain the compensation that they deserve for their pain and suffering.
If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident in South Florida, you don’t have to go through this fight alone – contact the experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey and discover how having an expert on your side can help your case.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in South Florida
Since the year 2000, the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities in crashes involving motorcycles in Florida have all nearly doubled. Equally troubling is the fact that although motorcycles only made up 3.6% of motor vehicles on the Florida roadways, they accounted for just under 19% of traffic fatalities.
So, what’s causing all of these motorcycle accidents to occur in our state? Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida:
- Alcohol and drug use. In 2016 alone, over 30 percent of motorcycle accidents in Florida involved people who had been drinking alcohol. Many of motorcycle accidents that result in fatalities also involve alcohol or drug use.
- Mechanical failures. Defective brakes, bald tires, faulty steering systems and other mechanical complications in the motorcycle or another vehicle can all lead to an accident.
- Speeding and traffic violations. Speeding and reckless driving often cause motorcycle accidents but, contrary to popular belief, it is usually not the motorcyclist who is driving recklessly or disobeying traffic signals—in the majority of crash cases involving a motorcycle, it is a driver of a car or other type of motor vehicle whose actions cause the accident.
- Poor road conditions. Florida is no stranger to road construction, and poor conditions on the roads can easily cause an accident.
- Weather. All Florida residents are accustomed to the afternoon storms that we experience for many months of the year, and those often heavy rainfalls can frequently lead to dangerous road conditions and impair visibility for drivers on the roadways who may not anticipate that a motorcyclists would be stuck driving on the roads in rainy conditions.
- Driver distraction. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, making it more difficult for the drivers of those vehicles to see the motorcycle if they are not paying close attention to the roads. Worse yet, because they make up such a small percentage of overall vehicles on the road, drivers may be unaccustomed to having to watch out for bikes. This often leads to situations where cars violate motorcyclists’ right of way and even crash into them because the driver never knew they were there.
Common Injuries Sustained by Florida Motorcycle Accident Victims
Despite the fact that it is possible to escape from a motorcycle accident with only minor injuries, those that do so are unfortunately in the minority. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident while on the motorcycle, there is a good chance that your injuries will require treatment in the hospital, and many victims must to undergo treatment and rehabilitation that lasts for weeks, months, or longer.
Some of the most common injuries sustained by Florida motorcycle accident victims include:
- Road Rash. “Road rash” is a nickname for the injuries that occur to a motorcyclist’s skin when the person is thrown from the motorcycle, and may bounce and skid along the pavement before coming to a stop. Road rash sometimes only causes redness and scrapes, but in more severe cases, motorcyclists may lose large patches of their skin because of this contact with the road.
- Broken bones and fractures. Motorcycle accident victims commonly suffer from multiple broken bones and fractures, including broken feet, legs, hands, collar bones and arms.
- Eye damage. When the victim hits his or her face or head and the eyes are not protected, the sensitive eye area is especially susceptible to serious damage. Some victims have even lost their eyes in motorcycle accidents due to objects piercing them or damage from extreme jostling.
- Head and neck injuries. Safety councils have been encouraging motorcyclists to wear helmets for years, and there’s a very good reason – when a person is thrown from a motorcycle and hits his or her head, serious head and neck injuries may result.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can range from a concussion to some of the most severe injuries that a motorcycle accident victim can suffer, and almost always require prompt and continuing medical attention.
- Spinal cord injuries. The falls associated with many motorcycle accidents are precisely the types of accidents that often cause harm to the spinal cord and surrounding areas. Spinal cord injuries vary in severity, and can result in paralysis, chronic pain, and nerve damage that requires extensive ongoing medical and rehabilitative care.
- Organ damage. The internal organs are fragile, and the severe impact that a motorcyclist may experience in an accident can easily cause significant damage to the internal organs.
Many of these injuries may require extensive and continuing treatment, and it can often be difficult to anticipate the full cost of that treatment without consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can more accurately estimate the financial costs of your injuries.
An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover Full Compensation for Your Injuries
If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident and believe that another driver caused the accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you fight to recover the compensation that you deserve. The road to recovery can prove to be long, hard, and expensive for motorcycle accident victims, but you don’t have to travel down it alone. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the financial consequences of an accident caused by no fault of your own. Our lawyers can help you explore options for pursuing a claim against a negligent third-party driver, or even help you with your own insurance claim in cases where the insurance company has either delayed in paying benefits, or offered a lowball settlement offer.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries in a Florida motorcycle accident, call the experienced team of injury lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey to schedule a free initial consultation today. You can also fill out this online contact form, and we will respond promptly to your inquiry. Even if you are still recovering from your accident and unable to come into our offices, our attorneys are available to travel to visit you in the hospital or your home to discuss your case if you prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Not in all cases. Under Florida law, you can ride on a motorcycle without a helmet as long as you are over the age of 21, and maintain an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. The PIP coverage must provide coverage for motorcycle accident victims.
Not without first speaking to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Insurance company settlement awards frequently fail to fully account for the extent of your injuries. If you were badly injured, you will likely require extensive immediate medical care, as well as significant ongoing physical therapy or rehabilitation to get you back on your feet. It may be difficult for you to estimate the total costs of this care, and can also be difficult for someone without experience to understand how long your recovery may take. Our lawyers are dedicated to making sure that your compensation award fully accounts for all of the expenses relating to your motorcycle accident, so contact us today for a free initial consultation where we can discuss the offer you have on the table.
Following a motorcycle accident, it is important that you first check whether anyone involved in the accident requires immediate medical attention. After that, you should try to take photographs of the accident scene, if possible, including the vehicles involved in the accident, any skid marks, traffic controls, and the weather, lighting, and road conditions. You should also seek medical treatment for your own injuries, which may be important for establishing what injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. Finally, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help you to understand your rights and options following your accident.
Yes. In Florida, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for compensation for injuries and damages you have suffered in your accident. If you are a minor who was injured in a motorcycle accident, you have seven years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
In a motorcycle accident, fault for the accident is apportioned to all those who are found to have been negligent. A motorist is negligent if he or she breaches a duty of care to an injured party, the breach is directly and proximately responsible for causing the accident, and the injured party has suffered some form of compensable damages.
There are various pieces of evidence that can be used to determine the negligence and fault of the parties involved in a motorcycle accident, including accident scene photos, damage or repair records from the vehicles involved, eyewitness testimony, and the police’s accident scene report.
“Comparative negligence” is a doctrine that states that a plaintiff’s recovery of compensation following an accident is reduced by the plaintiff’s share of fault for causing the accident. For example, if a motorcycle rider is awarded $100,000 in compensation following an accident and is found to have been 20 percent at fault for the accident, then the rider’s compensation will be reduced by 20 percent, or $20,000.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that a motorist who is injured in an accident can obtain compensation from his or her own insurance policy’s personal injury protection coverage, regardless of who may have been at fault for the accident. As a result, you will be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses and lost wages while waiting for your case against another motorist to be resolved.
Possibly. Under Florida law, every rider under the age of 21 is required to wear a helmet. A helmet is also required for riders 21 or older unless they can prove they have at least $10,000 in medical expenses coverage to cover injuries that arise in a motorcycle accident. Thus, if you fail to wear a helmet when required by law, or even if you are legally permitted to ride without a helmet but choose not to do so, your failure to wear a helmet can be seen as your own negligence having contributed to your injuries, especially if you suffer head or brain injuries. Your compensation may therefore be reduced by your determined share of fault for your injuries.
In some cases, if you represented to your insurance company that you wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle and fail to do so during an accident, the fact that you were not wearing a helmet during your motorcycle accident may be a basis for your insurance company to deny you coverage.
Florida Statutes s. 316.211 sets forth the regulations for acceptable motorcycle helmets in Florida. As of 2019, the only acceptable motorcycle helmets under Florida law are those that comply with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218, as promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
It is advisable that you refrain from speaking with the insurance companies before speaking with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The insurance company’s primary objective is to reduce the amount of compensation that it has to pay to you. Therefore, the insurance company will look to obtain evidence or statements from you that they can use to argue that you were entirely or partially at fault for the accident or that your injuries or damages are not as great as you claim. Instead, any communications you have with the insurance company of the at-fault driver should ideally be through your attorney, who can ensure that your rights and interests are protected in any dealing with the insurance companies.
The amount of compensation that you can recover following a motorcycle accident depends on the types of damages that you suffer. If you are injured in an accident, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses incurred in treating your injuries. If you are out of work during your recovery and miss out on wages, you may be able to be compensated for lost wages. And if you are unable to return to your old job and suffer a reduction in your income, you may also be able to seek compensation for your lost earning capacity. Finally, you may also be entitled to be compensated for other damages such as pain and suffering and loss of quality of life.
Many motorcycle accident attorneys are able to take on an injured victim’s case on a “contingency” basis. This means that the injured party is not required to pay the attorney unless and until the attorney is able to obtain financial compensation. The attorney is then paid an agreed-upon percentage of the total recovery obtained. As a result, an injured victim of a motorcycle accident may be able to hire an attorney at no up-front cost.