Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Fort Lauderdale
Results-Driven Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Fight for Accident Victims’ Right to Compensation Throughout Florida
Riding a motorcycle is one of the best ways to enjoy the road. But it’s also one of the more dangerous ways to do so. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles have little protection for the rider should an accident occur.
So it’s no surprise that when a motorcycle accident occurs, it can lead to serious injuries and even death. Then to add insult to injury, 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.
The South Florida motorcycle lawyers from Lawlor, White & Murphey understand the frustration and pain. Whether it’s dealing with the at-fault driver or an insurance company, we’re here to help.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Dade County, FL
Since 2000, the number of crashes, injuries and fatalities 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% of motorcycle accidents in Florida involved people who had been drinking alcohol.
- Mechanical failure. Defective brakes, bald tires, faulty steering systems and other mechanical complications in the motorcycle or another vehicle can often lead to an accident.
- Speeding and traffic violations. Contrary to popular belief, it’s usually the driver of a car or other type of motor vehicle whose reckless actions cause the accident with a motorcycle.
- Poor road conditions. Florida is no stranger to road construction, and poor conditions on the roads can easily result in a motorcycle collision.
- Weather. All Florida residents are accustomed to the afternoon storms that can frequently lead to dangerous road conditions and impair visibility for drivers on the roadways.
- Distracted Drivers. Distracted driving is a major cause of all motor vehicle accidents. Add the fact that motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, and it’s not surprising how easy it is for a motorcycle mishap to occur.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries in Palm Beach County, FL
Some motorcycle accidents result in only minor injuries. These types of accidents end up being more of an inconvenience. Unfortunately, many motorcyclists aren’t so lucky.
If you’re in an accident while riding a motorcycle, there is a good chance that your injuries will require extensive treatment in the hospital. Then there may be follow up treatments and rehabilitation that last for weeks, months or longer. Some of the most common injuries sustained by Florida motorcycle accident victims include:
- Road Rash. This is a nickname for the injuries that occur to a motorcyclist’s skin. Road rash can occur when the person is thrown from the motorcycle and bounces and skids along the pavement before coming to a stop.
- 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.
- Head and neck injuries. When a person is thrown from a motorcycle and hits his or her head, serious head and neck injuries are very common.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TMI) can range from a concussion to some of the most severe injuries that a motorcycle accident victim can suffer. A TMI injury can often have life-long effects.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries vary in severity and can result in paralysis, chronic pain, and nerve damage. It’s common for spinal cord injuries to require extensive ongoing medical and rehabilitative care.
- Organ damage. Internal organs are fragile, and the severe impact that a motorcyclist may experience in an accident can easily cause significant thoracic and abdominal injuries, including internal bleeding.
Many of these injuries may require extensive and continuing treatment that can last months or even years. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine the full cost of that medical treatment and rehabilitation.
What might seem like a fair settlement check right now might be woefully inadequate in a few years. Only then do you realize that you’re still unable to earn the same living before the accident and that you continue to incur medical bills as a result of your motorcycle injuries.
That’s why you need to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer such as one from Lawlor, White & Murphey. These Miramar motorcycle attorneys can more accurately estimate the financial costs of your injuries. They can also and negotiate more effectively with the responsible parties and insurance companies.
The Effect of Helmet Use when Trying to Recover Damages from a Motorcycle Accident
Under Florida law, you can ride on a motorcycle without a helmet as long as you are more than 21 years of age and have adequate insurance. This means having a policy that provides at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
But Florida is also a pure comparative fault state. This means that a plaintiff’s level of fault in an accident will reduce the amount of damages they can recover.
What kind of fault could a motorcycle rider have that might reduce their potential recovery? There’s violation of a traffic law, such as running a red light or riding while drunk. But this can also include riding a motorcycle without a helmet.
For example, let’s say you got into a motorcycle accident and a jury awarded you $100,000 for your injuries. But the jury believed that 30% of your injuries were the result of you not wearing a helmet.
In some states, this might prevent you from recovering anything. Fortunately, Florida is not one of those states. Therefore, in Florida, your damage award will be reduced by 30%. So you’ll actually receive $70,000 from the jury.
When it comes to insurance coverage, things can get a little bit more complicated. For instance, let’s say you represented to your insurance company that you wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. However, during the accident, you fail to do so. It’s possible that you not wearing a helmet during your motorcycle accident could be a basis for your insurance company to deny you coverage.
Contact Us if You’ve Been Hurt in a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a Florida motorcycle accident, call the experienced legal team of personal injury lawyers at Lawlor, White & Murphey. We will be more than happy to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
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 motorcycle accident and unable to come into our offices, we can come to you. Our attorneys are available to travel to visit you in the hospital or your home, 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.