We understand why people love to ride motorcycles. Motorcyclists enjoy the camaraderie, the sense of adventure, and the freedom of the open road. There are so many beautiful routes to visit and things to see and do in and around the Orlando area. However, for some people, their dream ride quickly turns into a nightmare when they are involved in a motorcycle crash. This is when you should turn to a dedicated Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer at Dolman Law Group.
In many ways, riding a motorcycle is different than driving a car. There are several types of motorcycles, and each handles a little differently. But in general, riding safely takes balance, coordination, and awareness. Motorcycle accidents may cause severe injuries that can change your life. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Orlando area, you deserve the high-quality, compassionate legal representation only we can offer. Reach out today.
What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Across the United States, there were 5,014 motorcycle fatalities in one recent year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Florida is one of the worst states when it comes to motorcycle fatalities. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), A few years ago, there were 8,045 motorcycle crashes in Florida, with 552 fatalities, 1,890 incapacitating injuries, and 5,030 other injuries. There were 470 motorcycle crashes in Orange County, with 405 injuries and 35 fatalities.
Many factors can contribute to an accident. In motorcycle accidents, some of the common factors include:
- Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs is a dangerous crime. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 34 percent of motorcycle crash fatalities in 2019 involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
- Left-turn accidents. Left turns are risky maneuvers. Because motorcycles are smaller vehicles, drivers often do not see them. In fact, 42 percent of all accidents involving a motorcycle and a car happen when cars are making left-hand turns with an approaching motorcycle, according to the NHTSA.
- Speeding. We think of speeding as driving above the posted speed limit. However, it also may mean driving too fast for road or weather conditions. Generally, the faster a driver is going, the more severe the accident injuries.
- Unsafe lane changes. Again, because motorcycles are smaller vehicles, a driver who does not check their blind spot or signal a lane change may not see the motorcycle in time to avoid an accident.
- Car doors. A driver seated in a parked car may fail to see an oncoming motorcycle and open the car door, hitting the motorcyclist.
- Lane splitting. This means driving between two lanes of traffic, which is illegal in Florida, per Florida Statutes § 316.209.
- Sudden stops. Following too closely or stopping abruptly may cause serious or fatal injuries to a motorcyclist.
- Inexperienced drivers. At first, new drivers may drive with extreme caution, but as time passes, they may make unsafe moves on the road that endanger themselves and other motorists.
- Hazardous road conditions. Motorcyclists are more at risk from road hazards than other vehicles. Because motorcycles are smaller and less stable, potholes, debris, irregularities, or unexpected objects in the road can cause accidents.
- Type of motorcycle. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reported that riders of supersport motorcycles (those made for racing and modified for street use) have much higher insurance claim frequency and accident severity rates than those who drive other types of motorcycles.
- Motorcycle defects. When a defective motorcycle component causes an accident in Florida, the liability for the accident may fall to the manufacturer of the component or the motorcycle.
- Collisions between motorcycles and fixed objects. When a motorcycle crashes into a fixed object, the motorcyclist may be thrown from the vehicle and suffer serious injuries.
These are just a few common causes of auto accidents our Orlando motorcycle crash attorneys handle. If you have been involved in another type of accident that was not mentioned above, we can help you determine whether you can hold the liable party accountable for your suffering. When you need a skilled Orlando personal injury lawyer, we can help.
What Common Injuries Do Our Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Encounter?
People sustain all sorts of injuries in motorcycle accidents. Even injuries that seem minor, like whiplash and bruising, can indicate greater problems (like a potential concussion or internal bleeding).
- Traumatic brain injuries: Motorcyclists face a particularly high risk of experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during an accident. This is especially true in states like Florida, where many people can legally ride without helmets. A TBI can change how a person thinks, feels, and acts and may even cause lifelong complications.
- Road rash injuries: Road rash occurs when a rider's skin is dragged along the ground. The result usually takes the form of an injury ranging from red abrasions (and sometimes bruising) to severe lacerations and friction injuries. Road rash can sometimes lead to severe and life-threatening infections.
- Spinal cord injuries: Motorcyclists are at particular risk of spinal cord injuries because motorcycles expose their bodies while they navigate roadways. Spinal cord injuries disrupt the body's core communication system and may cause symptoms ranging from pain and acute paralysis to long-term mobility problems.
- Bone fractures: Most of us are familiar with the basics of a broken bone, but few people understand how much bone fractures can impact your day-to-day life. If you sustain bone fractures during a motorcycle accident, you may also experience long-term (or even lifelong) complications.
If you have questions about your physical health or any injuries you received after your motorcycle accident, reach out to a medical professional right away.
What Motorcycle Laws in Florida Do You Need to Know?
Florida Statutes § 322.01 defines a motorcycle as a vehicle that has no more than three wheels, is powered by a motor, and has a displacement of no more than 50 cubic centimeters. It also has a seat and saddle for the rider. All motorcyclists are required to carry insurance and obey traffic laws.
To lawfully operate a motorcycle whose engine is larger than 50cc, Florida motorcycle drivers must have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license. To obtain this endorsement, drivers must complete certain courses on safe riding. If a motorcyclist does not have a driver's license, they will be licensed for motorcycles only.
Motorcycle insurance law is different in Florida than in other states and different from those who drive other vehicles. In Florida, if you drive a motor vehicle with four or more wheels, such as a car, you must carry personal injury protection (PIP). However, PIP is not available for motorcycle owners, even when the owner has PIP for another vehicle.
A motorcycle owner is not required to carry insurance to register a motorcycle. However, if you operate a motorcycle, Florida law requires you to have some proof of financial responsibility, and if you are involved in an accident, you must furnish your proof at that time.
The motorcycle owner is not required to carry insurance to register a motorcycle. However, the driver can be held financially responsible for charges resulting from a motorcycle crash. For motorcycle owners, there are three financial responsibility options.
- Buy liability insurance from a licensed Florida insurance carrier. This is the most common method.
- Obtain a Financial Responsibility Certificate. To do this, you post a surety bond or deposit cash or securities with the FLHSMV.
- Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after providing evidence of a net encumbered capital.
A licensed insurance agent can provide information about insurance options available, but the minimum requirements for motorcycle insurance in Florida are as follows:
- $10,000 for one person for bodily injury liability;
- $20,000 for two or more people for bodily injury liability; and
- $10,000 per crash for property damage liability.
Even though a motorcycle owner is not required to carry insurance to register a motorcycle in Florida, if you are in an accident and do not have insurance, you may face penalties, including:
- Loss of your driving privileges
- Suspension of your registration and tag
- Being required to purchase bodily injury/property damage liability coverage for three years
- Possible judgments against you in civil court
In addition to following the Florida motorcycle insurance requirements, there are several other laws surrounding the operation, safety, and maintenance of motorcycles in Orlando and across Florida. These include:
- Helmets: Motorcycle drivers over age 21 are not required to wear a helmet under Florida law, provided they carry an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical benefits (Florida Statutes § 316.211).
- Riding two abreast: Riding two abreast is permitted, and motorists are required to give riders a full lane.
- Lane splitting: Driving a motorcycle between lanes of vehicles is not permitted. Also, riders are not permitted to pass motorists using the same lane.
- Wheelies: If the wheels lose contact with the ground while operating a motorcycle, it is considered a moving violation unless conditions beyond the operator's control cause the loss of contact (Florida Statutes § 316.2085).
- Headlights: Florida Statute § 316.405 requires all Florida riders to use a daytime headlight.
- Turn signals and mirrors: All motorcycles must have at least one rearview mirror. The law also requires functioning turn signals.
- Eye protection: Required by law under Florida Statutes § 316.211.
- Handlebar height: Handlebars must not extend higher than the shoulders of the rider when seated on the motorcycle.
- Helmet speakers: Earphones are not allowed, but helmet speakers are permitted for communication purposes.
Orlando Motorcyclists Have the Right to the Full Use of the Road
Just like other drivers, Florida motorcyclists must obey the rules of the road. Motorcycle drivers must obey all traffic signals and cannot weave in and out of traffic. However, motorcycle riders can use hand signals for stopping, slowing, or turning. This makes the rider more visible when the motorcycle's indicator lights are difficult to see.
In addition to following the rules of the road, motorcycle drivers have the same rights to the road as other drivers. Other drivers must give riders the full use of an entire lane per Florida Statutes § 316.209.
Who Can an Orlando Motorcycle Crash Attorney Hold Liable for Motorcycle Accidents?
If a motorcyclist is injured in an accident in Florida due to someone's carelessness, they may be entitled to compensation. To recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you must prove negligence. Florida law defines negligence as follows:
“Negligence is doing something that a reasonably careful person would not do under like circumstances or failing to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under like circumstances.”
The victim must prove the other party is at fault for the crash. A negligent driver who did not cause the accident cannot be held responsible for the crash.
Unlike criminal cases, the standard of proof is “by a preponderance of the evidence.” Essentially, this means you must prove your injury was “more likely than not” caused by the other party's negligence. Finally, to recover damages, you must prove any financial losses that resulted from the accident. Therefore, it is critical to obtain treatment for your injuries from a medical professional and keep all medical and financial records related to your accident.
Potentially Liable Parties in Your Accident
Some parties are found liable for causing auto accidents in Orlando more frequently than others. More often than not, negligent driving plays a part in causing motorcycle accident injuries and damages. Some examples of unsafe driving practices that cause motorcycle accidents in Orlando include:
- Cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs
- Following too closely
- Failure to use a turn signal
- Failure to stop at a traffic light or stop sign
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
In addition to driver negligence, other parties who may be found liable for motorcycle accident injuries in Orlando include:
- Motorcycle parts designers and manufacturers
- Motorcycle distributors
- Other auto parts designers, manufacturers, and distributors
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)
- Other government agencies
- Safety inspectors
Only a thorough investigation into the details of your case will determine which individuals or entities are responsible for causing your accident injuries. Do not be surprised if multiple parties are found to share liability for your injuries. This could increase the likelihood of recovering fair compensation for your damages.
Our Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Work to Recover the Maximum Compensation for Your Injuries
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault, you might be entitled to receive compensation, also known as damages. Your damages may include:
- The cost of current and future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Cost of household services (if, for example, your injuries mean you need to hire a lawn service or house cleaners while you recover)
- Physical and mental or emotional pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- In some cases, punitive damages
Frequently Asked Questions About Orlando Motorcycle Accidents
As Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers, we answer many questions about Orlando-area motorcycle accidents. These answers will provide some basic information, but remember, every accident and injury claim is different. When you are hurt in an accident, hiring a motorcycle accident attorney may help you successfully pursue the most compensation from the at-fault party.
What Factors Make Motorcycles Dangerous?
Motorcycles are small and easy to maneuver. This is commonly seen as one of their greatest benefits, but it also presents some risks for riders. Standard motor vehicles have enclosed spaces and safety features to protect occupants. Motorcycles don't afford much protection.
It can also be very difficult for other drivers to see a motorcycle, depending on the conditions. Motorcycles are small - they can be easily caught in blind spots or may not be easy to see in otherwise difficult conditions like fog or heavy rain.
Why Is Orlando Such a Dangerous Place For Motorcyclists?
You may not know it, but Florida is among the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders. There are a handful of reasons why, but before we address them, we want to emphasize that nothing excuses other drivers' dangerous or reckless behavior that puts motorcyclists at risk on the road.
Here are some of the factors that make Florida's roadways particularly dangerous for motorcycles:
- Florida does not have strict helmet laws, and helmets save lives.
- Florida is very large and has warm weather, making it the ideal place for motorcyclists year-round. There are a lot of motorcycles on the road, which means more crashes.
- Distracted driving is on the rise. People drive while on cell phones, while they eat, and while they're otherwise distracted in their vehicles. This puts motorcycle riders at risk.
Why do Orlando Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Many situations can lead to a motorcycle accident. Similar to car wrecks, motorcycle accidents are usually caused by negligent acts or the failure to act when required.
Many accidents happen because of:
- Other drivers' failure to see motorcycles
- Motorcycles' unique braking times and distances
- Inclement weather like wind and rain
- Poor road conditions
- Defective equipment
- Negligent or reckless drivers on the road
What If a Pothole Caused My Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
If a pothole or other hazardous road conditions caused your accident, you might hold a government entity financially responsible for your crash. You can work with a lawyer to determine whether a government agency was negligent in its duty to provide a safe roadway. If it was, you may be eligible to file an Orlando motorcycle accident lawsuit against that government agency.
In many states, the statute of limitations deadline to file a lawsuit against a governmental entity is much shorter than the deadline to file a lawsuit against an individual or corporation. Talk to a dedicated motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible to ensure you don't miss any important deadlines.
Do You Have to Wear a Helmet When You Ride a Motorcycle in Orlando?
Florida law does not generally require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Here, we are subject to a partial helmet-use law. This means that helmet use while on a motorcycle is not legally required for many adults.
It's legal to go without a helmet on a motorcycle in Orlando IF the motorcyclist is at least 21 years old and has an insurance policy with a minimum of $10,000 in coverage for “medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.”
Will Wearing a Helmet Affect My Orlando Motorcycle Accident Claim?
While wearing a helmet is not legally required, it can make a difference in your accident claim, and it is always a good idea to protect yourself as much as possible from severe injury.
What Is a “Left Hook” Motorcycle Accident?
Left-hook motorcycle accidents occur when a car turns left and strikes or drives directly in front of an oncoming motorcyclist. The person driving the vehicle that turned left is usually at fault for the accident. If the vehicle driver did not give the motorcyclist a timely warning by using a turn signal, the motorcyclist may have a viable motorcycle accident claim.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Orlando?
If you've been involved in a motorcycle accident, it's important to take certain steps to protect yourself. You can do the following to keep your physical, legal, mental, and financial health safe:
- Remain still and wait for help if you feel severe pain or have significant difficulty moving after a motorcycle accident.
- If possible, help other people hurt in the accident move to safety.
- Once everyone is safely out of danger, call 911.
- Take photos and videos of damage to vehicles and motorcycles, nearby surroundings, and your injuries.
- Obtain contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including witnesses.
- Request a copy of the police report.
- Do not admit fault to anyone, even if you believe you may be partially to blame.
- Do not sign any documents without having a motorcycle accident attorney review them for you.
- Do not discuss your injuries with the at-fault party's insurance company without consulting with an attorney first.
- Do not post about the accident on social media, as your words may later be used against you.
Do I Have to Call the Police If I'm in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
You should always call the police after an auto or motorcycle accident. This helps ensure that the accident scene is dealt with properly, injured parties receive the appropriate medical attention, and a timely accident report is filed.
If the police were not called to the scene of your accident, make sure to file an accident report online. If the crash caused injury, death, or more than $500 in damage, reporting the accident is mandatory, per Florida Statutes § 316.065.
Does an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Case Have to Be Investigated?
Yes. You need a professional investigator to look into your Orlando motorcycle accident case. This is one reason why it's so beneficial to work with a motorcycle accident attorney at Dolman Law Group.
Our attorneys can conduct this investigation for you and use the best tools possible to do so. A professional investigation can turn up vital information and may make an enormous difference in the outcome of your insurance claim or motorcycle accident lawsuit.
How does Motorcycle Law Differ from Auto Accident Law in Florida?
Here in Florida, we're subject to motorcycle and automobile laws that look very different from one another. Motorcycle owners, for example, purchase first-party insurance policies (like income loss and medical benefits) of their own accord. Talk to an experienced motorcycle law attorney to fully understand the different laws that apply to cycle accidents.
How Much Money Will I Get in My Orlando Motorcycle Accident Case?
The amount of compensation you will receive after an accident depends on several factors. Every motorcycle accident case is unique; even a lawyer can't guarantee how much compensation you may receive.
That said, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can estimate your case's value once they gather the relevant information. The attorney will weigh numerous factors when considering the answer to this question.
Your case's worth will depend on circumstances such as:
- How the accident occurred
- What insurance coverage is available
- Your medical bills
- Whether you had to take time off of work because of your accident
- The extent of damage to the vehicles in the accident
- Your age and health at the time of the accident
Should I Quickly Settle My Claim With the Insurance Adjuster from the At-Fault Party's Insurance Company?
Not before you talk to our Orlando motorcycle accident attorneys. Even if the insurance adjuster is offering you a fair deal, you wouldn't know it without an accident attorney by your side. Learning Florida law takes years of calculated and dedicated work. Our skilled lawyers can help you determine whether a settlement offer is fair.
Remember that insurance adjusters work for the insurance company. They don't work for you. An insurance adjuster's job is to get the best deal possible for their company. It isn't their fault; that's what they are trained to do to make a profit for their company. However, it means you should never accept their settlement offer without seeking a legal opinion from an attorney first.
What Compensation Can I Receive After a Motorcycle Accident in Orlando?
If you've been hurt in a motorcycle accident anywhere in Florida, you have the right to pursue several types of damages, including:
- Medical bills: You may recover compensation to account for past, present, and even projected future medical bills associated with your motorcycle accident injuries. This broad category covers all aspects of medical care, including emergency medical transport, specialized care, custom medical equipment, and more.
- Pain and suffering: No one deserves to undergo physical or emotional pain and suffering due to another person's negligence or recklessness. When this happens, you may be eligible to recover additional damages to account for pain and suffering.
- Lost wages: Many motorcycle accidents cause survivors to miss time from work. Sometimes it's a few days, and sometimes it's several months, but either way, you deserve to be paid for the time you would have spent at work if not for your accident. Lost wages damages help ease the financial burden of missing work because of your injuries.
- Diminished earning ability: Lost income is common after an accident, but sometimes an accident victim's ability to earn money changes forever because of an accident. If your accident permanently diminished your earning ability, you can work with a lawyer to pursue damages for that loss.
- Disability: Disability damages may be available to motorcycle accident survivors experiencing disability after a crash.
These are not the only damages that you may be eligible to receive compensation for. The best way to determine what you may recover after your motorcycle accident is to consult an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney today.
How Long Will a Settlement Take in My Orlando Motorcycle Accident Case?
There's no way to predict how long a case may go on. Generally, the more complicated the case, the longer it takes to litigate. Accidents that cause more severe injuries or deserve higher amounts of monetary damage may take longer to settle.
How Long Do I Have to File My Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Orlando?
Under Florida Statutes § 95.11, you must file your motorcycle accident lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Generally, for most personal injury lawsuits, you will have up to two years to file your civil lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs out.
If you are the surviving family of someone who has passed away from a fatal motorcycle accident injury in Orlando, you also have a two-year wrongful death statute of limitations under Florida Statute § 95.11 (4)(d).
Ensuring you file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires is critical. Failure to do so will likely result in the dismissal of your case, meaning you will no longer have the opportunity to recover compensation for your damages.
Why Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Orlando?
A motorcycle accident can change someone's life forever, and they deserve compensation for those losses. Some of the outcomes of accidents are difficult to overcome, but with a trusted legal team by your side, you can work to pursue justice and the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Orlando, there are legal professionals ready to answer your questions and support you in pursuing justice. The Dolman Law Group leverages more than 120 years' worth of combined experience to help our clients achieve superior legal results. We maintain offices across both Florida coasts and on Park Center Drive in Orlando, so you can easily reach us.
Contact an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Dolman Law Group Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you should contact an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney without delay. Reach out to Dolman Law Group today by calling (727) 451-6900 or contact us online.
1701 Park Center Drive, Suite #240-G
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 759-4565