Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Helping Motorcyclists Seek Financial Recovery
Bikers enjoy the freedom of riding their motorcycles on the open road, but many of the traits that make motorcycles so fun and exciting can also be downsides in a crash. With no seatbelts, airbags, or other safety devices to cushion a motorcycle rider from a collision with cars or other objects, motorcycle accident injuries can be severe. Motorcyclists are susceptible to severe injuries in a crash and are almost 30 times more likely to die from an accident than vehicle occupants. While DOT-approved helmets and thick leather riding gear can offer some protection from injuries, you may still spend months recovering and face astronomical medical bills. At Kurzman Law Group, P.A., our skilled lawyers strive to help injured motorcyclists seek justice and recover full compensation for their damages. Call 954-466-3220 to schedule a no-risk, free case evaluation today.
What Causes Accidents Involving Motorcycles?
As noted above, specific riding gear may lessen your injuries in a wreck, and wearing bright colors may help make car drivers more aware of your presence on the road. Still, the risk of catastrophic injuries from a significant crash is always present. Avoiding accidents altogether is the only way to ensure your safety; of course, that is much easier said than done. While practicing safe driving habits, such as following posted speed limits and maintaining your distance from other vehicles, can increase your chances of avoiding an accident, many risk factors are unfortunately out of your control.
It is still helpful to remain aware of these causes so you can recognize and potentially avoid dangerous situations. However, in many cases, accidents happen before you even have time to react. Some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Drivers fail to notice oncoming motorcyclists when they are making a left turn.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Operating a motor vehicle over the speed limit.
- Distracted driving, including texting, eating, talking, or performing other activities while driving.
- Failing to account for road or weather conditions.
- Following motorcyclists too closely, resulting in rear-end collisions if they have to make a sudden stop.
- Motorists violate the motorcycle’s right of way.
- Manufacturer errors lead to dangerously defective motorcycle parts, including brakes and tires that can fail and cause an accident.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accidents?
One key to a successful motorcycle accident claim is ensuring all your paperwork is filed on time. Like every other state, Florida has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims that restricts the time you have to begin legal proceedings. Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a claim with the court. If you do not meet this filing deadline, the court will likely immediately dismiss your case, and you will not be able to recover compensation for your losses.
While they are uncommon, some circumstances may also impact the time you have to bring a civil suit against the negligent parties in your motorcycle accident case. For example, there may be earlier deadlines for filing paperwork if the defendant is a government entity or a government employee. Some situations, such as difficulty identifying and contacting the defendant because they have gone out of state or have used a false identity, can lead to a tolling of the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations is tolled, the countdown on the timeframe is stopped. Once the circumstance which led to the tolling has been dealt with, the countdown on the statute of limitations will continue.
If you have questions about the statute of limitations on your specific case, a knowledgeable lawyer from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can advise you on your legal options. In general, it is a good idea to reach out to a trusted motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines. Your lawyer can also begin collecting evidence and negotiating with the insurance company, relieving some of the stress from you and your family during this difficult time.
Does PIP Insurance Cover Motorcycle Accidents?
Because Florida is a no-fault state, every automobile driver must carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This is necessary because car accident victims must file claims for damages such as medical expenses and lost wages with their own insurance companies. PIP insurance provides victims the coverage they need to get back on their feet after an accident.
However, there can be drawbacks to this system. The minimum PIP coverage required is $10,000, and medical expenses for severe injuries can quickly outstrip this amount. Unfortunately, PIP coverage in Florida also specifies that it only covers accidents that occur while operating a vehicle with four wheels, excluding motorcycle accident victims from using this coverage. Instead, carrying motorcycle insurance is recommended to provide maximum protection in the case of an accident. However, this still may not be enough to fully cover all the losses a major motorcycle accident can cause. In these cases, a civil suit may be your best option for recovering both economic and non-economic damages related to your crash. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation where we can discuss your unique situation and determine your next steps.
Can You File a Claim if You Share Fault for Your Accident?
As an injured motorcyclist, you may be concerned about whether you can file a claim if you share some responsibility for your crash. Luckily, Florida law recognizes that the causes of accidents are often complex and allows victims to seek compensation for their damages as long as they are not 100% at fault for the accident. However, the settlement amount that you receive will be reduced by the portion of responsibility assigned to you. For example, say you were awarded $100,000 in damages for a rear-end collision accident on your motorcycle, but you were found to be 20% responsible for the accident because you had a malfunctioning taillight. In that situation, you would only receive $80,000 as your settlement because it would be reduced by $20,000 (20%).
Thoroughly investigating the accident is crucial to getting a full settlement because the determination of fault directly impacts how much the other party’s insurance company has to pay an injured motorcycle rider for their damages. Insurance companies will often attempt to prove negligence on the part of the biker to limit their own liability. The strong legal representation of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can help ensure you get the fair compensation you deserve.
What Information Is Needed to File a Claim?
Certain information is necessary to file a successful insurance claim or lawsuit for your motorcycle accident injuries. Whether you are a motorcycle passenger or driver, the first thing you should always do after a motorcycle crash is to get an immediate medical evaluation. If your injuries are severe, you should call 911. However, it is equally important to see a doctor even if you only appear to have minor injuries. Sometimes your body produces adrenaline, which can mask the symptoms of harmful damage. You could even have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or internal bleeding without realizing it until later. The immediate treatment produces better health outcomes and also provides proof of your accident injuries.
Gathering information at the time of the crash, when possible, and keeping clear records of bills and other losses you’ve experienced can provide your lawyer with critical material they can use to build your case. Additional documents and information that can be beneficial to your claim include the following:
- Official police accident reports.
- Medical records documenting your injuries and descriptions of treatments.
- Medical bills.
- Photographs and/or video of the accident scene.
- Contact information of the other driver’s insurance company.
- Names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses to the incident.
- Your motorcycle insurance policy information.
What Damages Are Included in a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
A motorcycle crash can be life-changing. Many riders face significant hurdles to recovery after experiencing a catastrophic injury. It can be a difficult time for the victim and their family, filled with financial uncertainty and questions about the future. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash caused by the negligent actions of another person, you deserve to recover a fair settlement that considers all of the damages you’ve suffered from the accident. Your settlement should compensate you for both the economic and non-economic losses you’ve experienced, such as:
- Medical costs: Bills for medical treatment can be high, but you can recover compensation for these expenses, including surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy, prescription medications, and more.
- Lost wages: Recovering lost wages after the crash can help you regain your financial footing. If you are permanently unable to return to work, you can also seek compensation for the loss of your earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: An accident leaves victims with much more than financial losses. The physical and emotional pain you’ve endured must also be considered in any settlement.
- Scarring and disfigurement: Motorcycle crash injuries may drastically change the way you look and can move, and your lawyer will factor this in when valuing your claim.
If your loved one has tragically passed after a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim instead to recover compensation for funeral and burial costs, along with the loss of their companionship and financial support. Our compassionate lawyers can guide you through this process and help you seek justice for your loss.
Why Contact Our Law Firm?
The time following a motorcycle crash can be chaotic and stressful for the victim and their loved ones. With over 20 years of legal experience, the lawyers at Kurzman Law Group, P.A. have the skills to help you get through this challenging period. We will aggressively defend your legal rights while diplomatically attempting to negotiate a full settlement for you. Many claims can be resolved without a trial, but we are always prepared to pursue court cases when necessary. We take motorcycle accident cases on a contingency basis, so you owe nothing unless we secure a settlement for you. Call our law offices today at 954-466-3220 to schedule a free consultation on your motorcycle accident case.