If You Drive a Motorcycle
Per mile, motorcyclists are about 16 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than car occupants. The same freedom that a motorcycle offers its riders, also exposes them to the dangers of serious injury. Unfortunately, most motorcycle/car accidents result in extremely serious injuries to the motorcycle rider even if the cyclist was riding safely and completely obeying the law. Therefore, it is even more important for a cyclist to carry quality health insurance and Uninsured Motorist coverage since it will protect them if they are injured by a careless driver.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcycle rider is 8 times more likely to be injured and 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than the occupant of a car in an automobile accident.
Just in the past decade, motorcycle accident deaths have not simply climbed steadily, they have actually doubled, in part due to the fact that more and more motorcycles are being purchased each year, not only by younger riders, but, increasingly, by riders over 40. Florida has one of the leading rates of motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities in the entire country.
As a motorcycle accident victim you are entitled to the following compensation that is applicable to you.
- Rental Reimbursement.
- Payment of your medical bills.
- Compensation for future medical care.
- Repair or replacement of your motorcycle.
- Medical treatment, whether you have insurance or not.
- Recovery of your loss of earnings and any future losses.
- Reimbursement of your out of pocket expenses.
- Maximum recovery for pain and suffering of your physical injuries and emotional distress.
Things you might want to know:
Who can a claim be brought against? The operator of a motorcycle or his/her survivors in a wrongful death case, can make a claim for their damages against any other party who is at fault for causing the crash.
What if I am passenger on a bike? The passenger on a motorcycle can normally make a claim against the motorcycle operator if the operator is at fault, and you can make a claim against any other person or entity who is responsible for your injuries, loss or damage.
What if I was injured by another motorcycle? Any person injured by a motorcyclist, such as a pedestrian, can recover damages against the motorcycle operator and any other responsible party.
What if I was partially at fault for causing the accident? Florida is a comparative fault state. A person can make a claim for serious personal injuries even if they are partially at fault. To make a recovery for you, we must prove that one or more other parties are also at fault. However, your recovery will be reduced by the amount of your fault. Therefore, if you were awarded 5 million dollars in a serious personal injury case, but are found to be fifty percent (50%) at fault, the recovery will be 2.5 million dollars. This is also true in wrongful death cases in which the award is reduced by the percentage of decedent’s fault.
How important is a quick investigation of my motorcycle accident? It is critical! Since there is almost a presumption by the general public that motorcyclists assume the risk for their own injuries and they are usually at fault for causing accidents, it is essential that a quick and thorough investigation is performed to establish fault on other responsible people or entities, and to establish that the motorcyclist did little or nothing to contribute to the accident.
The investigation should consist of an examination of the scene; an examination of the vehicles that were involved in the crash; obtaining statements from witnesses and the reports from the police. Liability is 1/3 of your claim.
One of the most importance things you can do is to preserve the motorcycle and helmet in the exact condition they were in at the moment when the motorcyclist came to rest after a crash.
Is insurance coverage an important issue? It is 1/3 of your case. If you are in a motorcycle crash and the person, or people who are at fault don’t carry liability insurance, you may not be able to recover any damages for your losses. Such as past and future wages, past and future medical bills, disability, disfigurement, aggravation of pre-existing conditions, and pain and suffering. Also, your recovery might be limited to the policy limits of the at fault party. If they only carry the minimum amounts of insurance, it may prevent you from making a full financial recovery for all of your losses. If you have purchased an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, that policy might help compensate you if the responsible parties are uninsured or underinsured.
One of the reasons why it is so important to do an investigation in a motorcycle accident case is to make sure that all potential defendants are included in your claim which will increase your likelihood of obtaining full compensation for your injuries.
How much time do I have after my crash to file a motorcycle injury claim? The sooner the better. If a death of a loved one is involved, the time limit is only two years. If there is not a death, the time limit in Florida is four years from the date of the crash.
Will my motorcycle accident settle out of court? Most likely, yes. Close to 90 percent of motorcycle crash cases settle without a trial; however, they can be more difficult to settle than other motor vehicle cases because many defendants and insurance companies are more willing to risk going to trial, hoping that the public’s bias against motorcyclists will help them win the case or hold down damages. That is why it is so important to hire a lawyer who is Board Certified as a Civil Trial lawyer, one who has experience in trying cases, and not just settling them.
How important is going to the doctor? Very important. The damages in your case are the other 1/3 of the case. Your medical records will likely be one of the most important parts of your case. If you have serious injuries, but there are gaps in your treatment, the jury, and certainly the insurance company will assume you are not hurt very badly, and they will not offer you full value for your claim. Also, it is very important that you go to specialists, that is doctors who know how to treat the types of injuries that occur in motorcycle crashes, and they know how to document your injuries, and will order the right tests to help prove your injuries.
What should you do after a motorcycle crash? Escape Immediate Danger: The scene of a motorcycle accident is a dangerous one, since nearly 62% of wrecks involve fuel leaks and spills. Therefore, your first step should be to distance yourself from any fire hazard. Get away from any other vehicular traffic.
- Get Medical Care: If you are injured in the motorcycle crash, you should be taken to an emergency room for prompt medical care. Head and chest injuries are among the primary causes of death in motorcycle accidents, so you should undergo examination by doctors and obtain necessary diagnostic tests (like x-rays and MRIs) without delay.
- Report the Accident: Unless you are transported from the scene by ambulance, call the police and report the crash. A police report will document the facts of the wreck and will identify the parties involved, along with any witnesses. All too often, a motorcycle accident is blamed on the rider of the bike, which makes it critical that you protect yourself early on.