If you’ve been hurt in a Florida Motorcycle accident
If you’ve been hurt in a Florida motorcycle accident, you need experienced legal representation on your side. Motorcycle accidents can result in devastating injuries and significant financial burdens. At Winegar Law, our dedicated team of Florida motorcycle accident attorneys is here to help you navigate the complex legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Why Florida’s System Poses Challenges for Motorcyclists
As a “no-fault” state, Florida law requires all vehicle owners to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which provides benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, up to the policy limit.
One of the major downsides, however, is that it does not extend to motorcycle accidents.
Limited Coverage for Serious Injuries
Motorcyclists are more susceptible to severe injuries due to the lack of physical protection inherent in riding a motorcycle. Injured motorcyclists must pursue compensation through traditional fault-based personal injury claims. Unfortunately, the no-fault system’s limitations can leave injured motorcyclists with inadequate compensation for their medical expenses and long-term care needs. To make matters worse, PIP benefits often fall short when it comes to covering extensive treatments, rehabilitation, and ongoing care, leaving motorcyclists struggling to shoulder the financial burden of their injuries.
Difficulty Establishing Fault
The no-fault system indirectly impacts the process of establishing fault in motorcycle accident cases. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys may take advantage of biases against motorcyclists to cast doubt on their credibility or shift blame onto them. These biases can influence fault determinations, resulting in reduced compensation or even denial of claims for motorcyclists. Proving fault becomes an uphill battle for motorcyclists, and they often face challenges in obtaining full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Differing Treatment Compared to Other Motorists
The no-fault system treats those involved in motorcycle accidents in Florida differently than other motorists. As mentioned before, while other motorists can rely on PIP benefits to cover their immediate medical expenses and lost wages, motorcyclists are forced to pursue fault-based claims, subjecting them to a more complex and often arduous legal processes. Without adequate legal representation from a local motorcycle accident lawyer, motorcycle injury victims in Florida can be at a disadvantage when it comes to making claims for their injuries.
What to do after a motorcycle accident in Florida
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, it’s not easy to think clearly amidst the chaos. Adrenaline, injuries, and shock are likely to have you feeling overwhelmed. You can regain control and get ready for what’s next by knowing the best actions to take after a crash. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida, here are some tips from Winegar Law’s experienced motorcycle accident lawyers.
The first priority is to move to a safe location, if possible, away from oncoming traffic. By doing so, you minimize the risk of further injuries or accidents. Use any warning devices you may have to alert other drivers of the accident scene.
Seek Medical Attention
Check yourself & others involved in the accident for any injuries. Even if you initially feel fine, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Adrenaline can mask pain and symptoms, and some injuries may not be immediately apparent. Call 911 or ask someone nearby to do so if there are serious injuries requiring immediate medical care.
Contact Local Law Enforcement
Reporting the accident to the police is crucial, particularly if there are injuries, significant property damage, or disputes over fault. Request an officer to come to the scene and file an official report. This report can serve as valuable documentation for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Remember to obtain a copy of the report for your records.
If the motorcycle accident resulted in death, injury, or property damage exceeding $500, Florida law requires a crash report to be filed with the Florida Dept of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Law enforcement present at the scene typically files the report with the FLHSMV within 10 days. You can find more information on their website at: FLHSMV
Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle details with the other parties involved in the accident. Also, collect contact information from any witnesses present. Capture photographs of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, injuries, and any relevant road conditions. These details can be essential in supporting your motorcycle accident case later on.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Notify your insurance provider of the accident, but be careful making statements that could be used against you later! Your insurance company will help you with claims and assess coverage for your damages, but they prioritize their own interests. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Winegar Law can assist you after a motorcycle accident. We’ll file a claim on your behalf and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Seek Legal Representation
The legal strategies used in Florida motorcycle accident cases differ than those used in a car accident. Our law firm has experience with motorcycle accident injuries throughout the state of Florida. We will defend your rights and help you through the process. If it’s not possible to reach a fair settlement, we can help you file a lawsuit.
There’s no fee until your case is settled. Reach out for a free case evaluation by calling or using the online form.
Collect & Preserve Evidence
Retain police reports, medical records, photographs, witness statements & repair estimates. We’ll help you understand important details to support your motorcycle accident claim.
Follow All Medical Advice
For your own good, you should adhere to any medical treatment plan you’ve been advised of. Attend all follow-up appointments, therapy sessions, and rehabilitation as necessary. Document your injuries, symptoms, and treatment progress. This helps to prove your injuries, conditions, and recovery expenses, including ongoing care needed in the future.
Act Before Its Too Late
Recent changes in the Florida statute of limitations may have impacted the amount of time motorcycle riders have to file a claim. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to seek compensation. In addition, when a motorcycle accident involves death, there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
What NOT to do after a Florida motorcycle accident
If you find yourself the victim of a motorcycle collision in Florida, there are some common mistakes that might cause your case to be compromised. It’s important to align yourself with a local Florida personal injury lawyer who knows the ropes and can help put you on the road to success.
Do not leave the accident scene
There can be legal consequences if you leave before the motorcycle accident has been processed! While waiting on authorities, you can be taking pictures, notes, identifying witnesses & exchanging contact information. Clear your day and notify your relatives, friends and workplace of the situation.
Do not admit fault
Avoid making any statements or admitting fault. Stick to factual information when speaking to others involved or authorities. Any information you provide about the motorcycle accident can be misinterpreted, misunderstood or cause confusion that may be twisted and used against you later. Having the best Florida motorcycle accident lawyers on your side can often be what it takes for the outcome to resolve in your favor.
Do not negotiate with insurance adjusters alone
Remember, this is mostly likely the first time you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Florida, but insurance adjusters do this for a living. Their interests are usually to settle the claim quickly for the lowest claim possible. Their experience gives them the edge, and you need someone experienced on your side. Let the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Winegar Injury Law in Florida help!
Do not sign any documents without legal review
Before signing any documents, have them reviewed by an expert Florida motorcycle accident attorney. You may be approached, especially by insurance companies to sign offers or waivers that could potentially limit your rights to future compensation. Winegar Injury Law has dealt with countless motorcycle injury cases in Florida and can negotiate the best outcome for your situation. No fee unless we win!
Do not overshare accident info on social media
Discuss your experience with people you trust discretely and in private. Any information you post publicly about your motorcycle accident in Florida will also be viewed by opposing parties and insurance companies. When you are working with a personal injury lawyer at Winegar Injury Law, we work hard to protect your best interests and can determine what, if anything, is suitable to share with the public.
Do not miss the statute of limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, including motorcycle accidents is now 2 years from the date of the accident. Keep in mind, however, that certain factors or exceptions might affect the statute of limitations. Seeking legal advice specifically from the personal injury lawyers at Winegar Injury Law is imperative to fully protect your rights.
Do not delay reporting the motorcycle accident
Not only is this important for insurance purposes and creating an official record of the incident, but it also ensures you are following the legal obligation of reporting. Furthermore, the sooner you report the incident, the more likely evidence is preserved and enforcement agencies can begin timely investigations.
Do not neglect medical attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you can’t be sure of the severity without seeking medical help. Some injuries can have delayed symptoms, be masked by shock, or internal and not visible without a closer look. A medical specialist will not only check your health and injuries after a motorcycle accident, but also create an official record of the incident for insurance companies.
Does wearing a helmet affect the outcome of your case?
IMPORTANT NEW TORT REFORM INFORMATION
Florida has implemented a new tort reform law – HB837, which went into effect on March 24, 2023. A troubling aspect of this change is the shift to a contributory negligence system. The new law states that if a motorcyclist is involved in an accident and is found to be 50.1% or more at fault, they may be completely barred from seeking damages.
This means an opposing insurance company’s lawyer can argue the motorcyclist’s decision not to wear a helmet contributed to their injury. If they can demonstrate that the motorcyclist was 50.1% or more negligent, the motorcyclist could lose their case and receive no compensation.
Picture a scenario where a car is turning left but the driver fails to see the motorcyclist and turns in front of them. The motorcyclist is within speed limits and obeying traffic laws but collides with the car through no fault of their own and sustains serious injuries.
Florida motorcyclists over 21 can ride without a helmet if they have proof of medical insurance with at least $10,000 in coverage for crash injuries, but under the new law, even if another party is at fault, the rider’s choice not to wear a helmet could be used against them in court, potentially leading to a complete loss of damages.
It’s worth noting that during legislative hearings, there were at least four separate proposals to exempt helmetless motorcyclists who adhered to the helmet law (s. 316.211) from the new contributory negligence law. Unfortunately, these amendments were voted down in both the House and Senate.
2023 Helmet Usage Statistics for Motorcycle Riders
According to Forbes
- 65% Wear DOT-Compliant Helmets: The majority of motorcycle riders prioritize safety by wearing helmets that meet Department of Transportation (DOT) standards. This includes 67% of riders and 52% of passengers.
- 6% Opt for Non-Compliant Helmets: While not meeting all DOT regulations, 6% of riders and 4% of passengers choose non-compliant helmets, which still offer some protection compared to not wearing a helmet.
- Helmets Are 37% Effective in Preventing Fatalities: Helmets may not prevent all motorcycle accident fatalities, but they are estimated to be 37% effective in reducing the likelihood of a deadly outcome. For every 100 motorcycle riders involved in accidents, wearing a helmet could potentially save the lives of 37 of them.
If you are a motorcyclist in Florida, be aware of the new tort reform law and how it could affect you in the event of an accident. If you are considering riding without a helmet, carefully weigh the risks and benefits.
You can rely on our dedicated attorneys to work tirelessly with your best interests at heart. We understand the importance of obtaining rightful compensation to help you rebuild your life after an accident.
Which Florida cities are the most dangerous for motorcyclists?
According to roughly 20 years of U.S. fatal crash provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – motorcycle accidents account for a disproportionate amount of fatalities. On a nationwide level, Florida has several cities that top the lists.
Mid-size Florida cities with higher than average motorcycle accidents
- Daytona Beach
- Pinellas Park
- Fort Lauderdale
Large Florida cities with higher than average motorcycle accidents
In the list of the ten most dangerous cities for motorcyclists, Florida surprisingly claims many spots. It can’t be pinpointed to a single cause, but there’s a few contributing factors that help to understand.
- High Motorcycle Registration: Florida ranks second in the United States for registered motorcycles, just behind California.
- Good Weather, More Riders: Surprisingly, most motorcycle accidents occur in good weather conditions. Florida’s year-round warm climate attracts more riders, resulting in a higher frequency of accidents and increased fatality rates.
- Daytona Beach Bike Week: This 10-day event, drawing around half a million people annually, is the nation’s largest motorcycle gathering.
When should you hire a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer?
We know in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, hiring an attorney isn’t often the first thought in your mind. Acting fast will increase the likelihood of building a strong case. Evidence can disappear, people can forget, and you need to take action before the legal time limit (Florida statue of limitations) runs out.
If you are experiencing any of the following due to a Florida car accident, don’t hesitate to call on us.
- Loss of income and financial stress
- Any injury due to a preventable accident
- Fault is unclear or hard to prove
- If you are facing resistance
- Negotiating settlements with insurance companies
How to choose the right motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida?
Choosing the right Florida lawyer for your car accident case is crucial to the outcome of your claim. Here are a few factors to consider when making your decision:
1. Experience: Look for a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and has a proven track record of success in car accident cases.
3. Communication: Ensure that the lawyer is responsive and communicates effectively. You should feel comfortable discussing your case and asking questions.
4. Resources: Consider the resources available to the lawyer. A well-established firm with a team of experts can provide additional support and expertise.
5. Fee structure: Discuss the lawyer’s fee structure upfront to avoid any surprises. Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case.
By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a lawyer who is not only qualified but also the right fit for your specific needs.
Why choose Winegar Law for your motorcycle accident case?
- Expertise in Florida Motorcycle Accident Law
We recognize the specific challenges involved with Florida motorcycle accidents and have direct experience helping motorcycle accident victims.
- Comprehensive Investigation
We’ll help gather key evidence, consult experts, and interview witnesses for strong liability proof.
- Thorough Documentation
We work with medical specialists to meticulously document injuries and losses for maximum compensation.
- Negotiation and Litigation Skills
As skilled negotiators, we work relentlessly for fair settlements or we’re ready to take it to trial.
- No Upfront Fees: You don’t pay unless we win your case.
- Compassionate and Personalized Service: We offer personalized support and custom legal stratgies based on understanding the unique challenges motorcycle accident victims face.
How to get started and what to expect during your free consultation
The first step is to simply reach out. We understand this is a challenging time, and we’re here to offer support and clarity.
During your initial consultation:
- You can share your account of the car accident, detailing the events and any injuries you sustained.
- Our experienced attorneys will listen attentively, assess the potential strength of your case, and provide an initial evaluation.
- We will explain your legal rights and the options available to you based on the specifics of your situation.
- You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you may have regarding your case.