At the Dolman Law Group, our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys have significant experience representing motorcyclists who have sustained serious injuries in crashes. We know that many crashes take place because other drivers or parties act in negligent ways that put motorcyclists at risk. We are here to help protect your rights after a motorcycle crash, so please do not wait to call our office to learn more about our services today.
Our experienced attorneys can help you hold negligent parties liable in many different ways. For example, you may file a claim with that party’s insurance company, or you may need to file a personal injury claim against them in court. The process for seeking compensation from a government entity, however, is very specific and set out by Florida law. You always need the guidance of a lawyer who can identify the best method of seeking the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Florida has the second-highest number of registered motorcyclists of all of U.S. states. Unfortunately, Florida also leads the country in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents each year. While the state has a lot to offer people who ride motorcycles, you should always stay aware of the risks of injuries and know what actions to take should an accident occur.
Some motorcyclists crash because of their own errors. In many cases, however, a motorcyclist is not the one at fault in an accident. Others may cause motorcycle crashes, including:
- Distracted drivers – Motorcycles are already more difficult to see on the road than larger vehicles. Drivers who do not pay adequate attention to the road and surrounding traffic may easily miss motorcyclists around them. This may lead to dangerous lane changes, running a motorcyclist off the road, or rear-ending a motorcycle.
- Drunk drivers – Drunk drivers are a danger to everyone on the road, and motorcyclists are no different. Similar to distracted drivers, impaired people may not focus on the road well enough to notice motorcyclists in their paths—and may crash into those bikes.
- Aggressive drivers – Sometimes, a driver may become overly frustrated with traffic and may take it out on the vehicles around them. When an aggressive driver threatens a motorcycle, serious crashes can occur.
- Traffic violations – Drivers of all types of vehicles must follow traffic laws, including speed limits, lane changing procedures, yield rules, and more. When drivers violate the law, they can crash into motorcyclists.
- Defective motorcycle parts – Some motorcycle accidents are not the fault of another driver, but of the company that manufactured the motorcycle or its parts. When an important part of a motorcycle is defective, a motorcyclist may easily lose control and crash.
- Road hazards – Hazardous conditions on the road are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, because motorcycles cannot navigate through potholes, large cracks, gravel, or uneven pavement as well as other larger vehicles. Hitting a sudden hazard can cause a motorcyclist to lose control.
The above are only some examples of how negligent parties cause motorcycle accidents that can change the lives of motorcyclists. Make sure to identify any possible negligence that occurred so that you can protect your legal rights to compensation. The Dolman Law Group can help you determine which parties you may hold responsible for your accidents and injuries.
Motorcycle Crashes Can Result in Severe Injuries
Motorcycle accidents are so serious because motorcyclists have little to no protection from injuries. Florida does not require that all motorcyclists wear helmets, and some people choose not to do so. However, even with a helmet, motorcyclists can still sustain life-altering injuries.
Common injuries from motorcycle collisions include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skull fractures
- Fractured collarbones
- Fractured ribs
- Broken jaws, noses, or cheekbones
- Eye injuries
- Broken arms, wrists, or hands
- Leg fractures
- Soft tissue sprains, strains, and tears
- Neck or back injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Internal hemorrhaging
Such injuries can require emergency medical attention, including an ambulance ride to the emergency department. Some victims may need immediate surgery and other treatments to stabilize their injuries, as well as hospitalization for a period of time for monitoring. Other common medical treatments can include physical and rehabilitative therapy, pain medication, home health assistance, and medical equipment.
Motorcycle accident victims not only will incur medical bills for all of the treatment they need, but they also regularly lose out on income from missing work while they recover from their injuries. These financial losses can be devastating and can damage many areas of an accident victim’s life. Because the losses can be so substantial, it is critical to know your rights as an accident victim.
Florida Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Are people on motorcycles more at risk than people in cars?
Because anything can happen when it comes to an accident, someone in a car could end up in more danger than someone on a motorcycle.
In general, people on Florida motorcycles face more risk on the road than people in cars.
Motorcyclists and their passengers do not have some of the protections that drivers and car passengers enjoy. For one, they are less likely to be seen by motorists while driving.
Do you have to wear a helmet on a motorcycle in Florida?
Not always. You do have to wear a helmet on a motorcycle in Florida in the following situations:
- If you are under 21
- If you have less than ten thousand dollars’ worth of medical insurance coverage
General advice still dictates that you wear a helmet on a motorcycle regardless. It is always better to keep yourself safe.
I was not wearing a helmet in my Florida motorcycle accident. Does it matter?
Yes and no.
As long as you were following helmet laws, you will not likely face legal ramifications for a lack of helmet. Still, motorcyclists wear helmets at all times to protect themselves. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident, be careful with what you say to anyone. Ask your lawyer for more information.
When do motorcycle headlights need to be turned on?
A motorcycle’s headlights must be on at all times during operation. This includes daylight hours.
What are Florida’s motorcycle laws?
- Motorcycles are entitled to full use of a lane.
- No motor vehicle is permitted to be driven in a way that would deprive a motorcycle full use of a lane.
- Two motorcycles can travel side-by-side in one lane.
Who investigates motorcycle accidents in Florida?
In Florida, the local police departments and/or the Florida Highway Patrol will investigate motorcycle accidents. It can be important to have a legal professional who you can trust and work with, regardless of which law enforcement agency is handling your investigation.
Why is it easy to be injured on a motorcycle?
Motorcycles do not have some of the safety features that cars do. For example, cars use airbags to absorb the shock caused by a car crash.
You should also consider the fact that many people who are injured in car accidents do remain in their vehicles during the crash. Sometimes this is to their detriment, but it usually keeps them safe from flying out into roadways or colliding with other objects. Motorcyclists do not have anything to help contain them on their vehicles.
Motorcycles can be dangerous because:
- They have no seatbelts
- They have no airbags
- They do not have exterior doors or walls
- They are smaller than almost any vehicle that could hit them
- They are difficult to see, especially at night or in very busy places
- Other drivers usually overlook or forget to watch for motorcyclists
- Other drivers are known to underestimate motorcycle’s speed and have a poor understanding of how they maneuver
- Some drivers do not show respect to motorcyclists on the road
What are the most dangerous Florida motorcycle injuries?
Some injuries have a greater potential to be catastrophic or fatal than others.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, injuries like these are especially dangerous:
- Back injuries: A back injury can kill someone—and even if it is not fatal, it can be life-changing. A lot of motorcyclists lose their livelihoods as a result of back injuries.
- Amputations: Some amputations can be incredibly dangerous, especially if you lose a major appendage like a limb. Other amputations may be physically smaller—like those involving fingers—but can still prove to be catastrophic.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Like back injuries, traumatic brain injuries are very common; they are another variety of injury that has the potential to alter someone’s life after an accident.
What are some common causes of Florida motorcycle accidents?
A lot of different things can cause a motorcycle accident. Just a handful of these include:
- Other drivers: Distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, speeding drivers, impaired drivers
- Road conditions: Potholes, misleading signage, etc.
- Weather: Inclement weather, sunny weather, windy weather, etc.
What should I do if I am in a motorcycle accident in Florida?
The first thing that you should do after a motorcycle accident is to make sure that you and anyone else involved in the crash are safe:
- Check yourself and others for injuries: It is important to ensure your immediate safety; if anyone else is with you, make sure that they are safe as well. Anybody with neck or back pain should be prevented from moving until first responders arrive.
- Move yourself and your vehicle to a safe place and stop: If possible, move out of the flow of traffic; try to find somewhere with enough space for first responders to access you as well.
- Check on anybody else involved in the accident: You should check anyone else who was involved in your accident for injuries.
- Call 911: Regardless of whether your accident was “minor” or it caused serious injuries, you should call local authorities. You could get emergency medical help for a serious crash and file a police report more efficiently regardless of the severity.
- Stay with anybody who needs your attention; keep yourself safe; if you were injured and you can do so, take pictures of your injuries
If everybody who was involved in your accident is safe and there is no immediate danger present, you can pay attention to the scene of the accident.
- Take photos and videos of the accident and any damage
- Exchange information with any other drivers: Take a photo of their driver’s licenses, registration information, insurance documents, etc. Exchange names and phone numbers and vehicle information.
- Collect witness information: If there were any witnesses to your accident, you can collect their basic contact info; share this with the police or pass it on to an attorney later.
What can I do if I am in a hit-and-run Florida motorcycle accident?
The first thing to do after any hit-and-run is to ensure your safety. If you have any opportunity at all, try to record information about:
- The car manufacturer
- The color of the car
- The car’s license plate
- Details about the driver
Contact the police as soon as possible to report the incident. If any witnesses saw the hit-and-run, collect their names and phone numbers. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
I was in a minor Florida motorcycle accident. Should I still see a doctor?
Yes. Even if you “only” walked away from your accident with some bruises or small cuts, you should still see your doctor. It is important to let a medical professional observe you in case there are any delayed symptoms from injuries you might not know about. You could also underestimate your injuries.
Should I really still talk to a lawyer after a minor Florida motorcycle accident, too?
It can help to talk to a motorcycle accident attorney after any motorcycle accident.
Consulting with a lawyer does not mean that you are going to open a case or pursue any kind of legal action at all. It is just a way to speak with a knowledgeable legal professional. He or she can tell you about your rights and help you decide whether you would like to pursue legal action.
What compensation could I get after a motorcycle accident in Florida?
After you are hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may receive compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills: This includes past, present, and even potential future medical bills associated with the accident; you could work with a lawyer to pursue compensation for surgeries, emergency medical transport, therapies, and more.
- Property damage: Most accidents are going to result in some property damage; you may recover compensation for that damage.
- Lost wages or reduced earning capacity: Sometimes, a motorcycle accident puts you out of work for a while and you miss out on wages. In other situations, a motorcycle accident victim may have their ability to earn money permanently altered. If this is the case for you, you could likely pursue compensation for these damages.
Should I talk to other drivers’ insurance companies after a Florida motorcycle accident?
Refrain from speaking with an at-fault party’s insurance company after a motorcycle accident.
- You might have already spoken to the insurance company; as long as you have not verbally agreed to anything or signed a statement, your case would likely remain relatively unaffected.
Many insurance companies purely focus on trying to pay out as little as possible after an accident. The person you speak to on the phone might be nice, but they do not necessarily want to help you. They need to help their employer.
The best step you can take is to retain a trustworthy motorcycle accident lawyer. He or she can help represent you and deal with insurance companies’ calls for you.
Should I talk to my insurance company after a Florida motorcycle accident?
Yes. Keep your correspondence brief, but get in touch with them to let them know what happened. Your own insurance company will not be as interested in getting you involved with a bad deal as other insurance companies, but you should still work with an attorney to help protect your best interests.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident in Florida?
Different states have different guidelines that dictate how long after an accident you can file a lawsuit. These guidelines are known as a statute of limitations.
- In Florida, our statute of limitations gives motorcycle accident survivors four years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
How could a Florida motorcycle accident attorney help me?
Motorcycle accident survivors decide to work with lawyers for a variety of reasons.
When you work with a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney, he or she could use their experience to benefit you. Their legal knowledge becomes a part of your case. If you have a question about what is going on or what you should expect, you have someone you can trust to answer your questions.
An attorney could also work with industry experts on an as-needed basis to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. If they have to, they may bring in auto manufacturers and mechanical professionals to help prove your case.
What if a Florida motorcycle accident killed someone I love?
You may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
A lot of attorneys who help people after motorcycle accidents also offer services for wrongful death lawsuits.
- A wrongful death lawsuit may cover the future decedent’s income, their funeral expenses, loss of benefits, etc.
- Some survivors are entitled to compensation for the loss itself.
Some plaintiffs find it difficult to pursue wrongful death lawsuits because they feel guilty for profiting off of a loved one’s death. This is not what a wrongful death lawsuit achieves. Instead, it helps provide some of the support that you deserve after someone you love is killed prematurely.
Your Rights After a Florida Motorcycle Accident
Your legal rights and options after a motorcycle accident will vary depending on the circumstances of the crash. Unlike drivers of cars, Florida law does not require operators of two-wheeled vehicles to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. In fact, even when motorcyclists have PIP coverage because they also own cars, those policies will not cover injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents.
Fortunately, if another party was negligent and caused your motorcycle accident, the law gives you the right to hold that party financially responsible for the injuries and losses they caused. Such parties may include other dangerous drivers, manufacturers that sold defective motorcycle parts, or even government entities that failed to maintain or repair roadways.
Discuss Your Situation With a Florida Personal Injury Law Firm
The skilled team of attorneys at the Dolman Law Group represents motorcycle accident victims who have sustained a wide variety of injuries and losses. The sooner you call our office, the sooner we can evaluate your situation and begin protecting your rights as an accident victim. To schedule your free consultation, please call our Florida personal injury lawyers at (727) 451-6900 or contact us online today.