As experienced West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyers experienced throughout the state of Florida, we’ve prepared this guide to offer a glimpse into the world of motorcycle accidents. Rely on the experts at Winegar Law Injury Lawyers to help you understand and navigate the process.
Three reasons why Florida’s system poses challenges for motorcyclists in West Palm Beach
As a “no-fault” state, Florida law requires all 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. Personal injury lawyers in Florida can help make sure you receive the treatment and compensation you deserve.
Limited Coverage for Serious Injuries
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, motorcyclists are more susceptible to severe injuries due to the lack of physical protection inherent in riding a motorcycle. 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 process. Without adequate legal representation from a local personal injury 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 West Palm Beach
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, we know its not easy to think clearly amidst the chaos. Adrenaline, injuries, and shock are likely to have you feeling disoriented & overwhelmed. However, you can regain control and prepare yourself for what’s to come by knowing the best actions to take immediately afterwards. The expert motorcycle accident lawyers at Winegar Law Injury Lawyers have put together some key actions to take if you’ve been involved in a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident:
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. Remember to turn on your hazard lights and use any other warning devices available to alert other road users 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. Besides creating an official record of the incident, Florida Statutes Section 316.065 states an accident resulting in injury, fatality, or property damage estimated at $500 or more, the driver must promptly notify local law enforcement. Obtain a copy of the complete motorcycle crash report here
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 case later on.
Consult a West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s wise to obtain legal representation before contacting your insurance company. As motorcycle injury lawyers specializing in West Palm Beach & surrounding areas, we will protect your rights and guide you through the process. If you’re not sure if you have a case, we’ll let you know. There’s no fee until your case is settled. Simply give us a call or use the form to reach out.
Preserving evidence related to the accident is crucial. Retain medical records, photographs, witness statements & repair estimates. During our consultations, we will also help you understand other vital information you can provide to strengthen your case and maximize the compensation you receive.
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 documentation will help us prove your injuries, conditions and furthermore recover expenses paid as well as any ongoing care you require going forward.
THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT DO When dealing with a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident case
If you find yourself the victim of a motorcycle collision in West Palm Beach, 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 attorney 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 West Palm Beach 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 amount 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 West Palm Beach help!
Do not sign any documents without legal review
Before signing any documents, have them reviewed by an expert West Palm Beach 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 West Palm Beach and throughout 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. The personal injury lawyers at Winegar Injury Law can help you stay on top of all deadlines and any updates to local and regional traffic laws.
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 could be 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 West Palm Beach motorcycle accident 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.
There were at least four separate proposals to exempt helmetless motorcyclists found to be in compliance with helmet laws (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 West Palm Beach or other parts of 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.
2023 Statistics for Motorcycle and Motor Scooter accidents in West Palm Beach, Florida
Data includes accidents involving motorbikes or motorized scooters reported as causing serious injuries or fatalities at the city, county and state level.
By comparing West Palm Beach motorcycle accidents to Palm Beach County and the state of Florida over recent years, we’ve observed the following:
2023 (Year-to-date through June 29th, 2023)
Palm Beach County: 71
West Palm Beach: 10
Palm Beach County: 131
West Palm Beach: 19
Palm Beach County: 132
West Palm Beach: 15
Palm Beach County: 121
West Palm Beach: 13
There has been a slight increase year-over-year across the board. Palm Beach County contributes a little less than 5% toward all motorcycle accidents that occur in the state of Florida. Of the motorcycle and motorized scooter accidents that occur in Palm Beach County, roughly 14-15% are within West Palm Beach city limits.
Quick Action Following a West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident is Vital
After a motorcycle accident in West Palm Beach, the initial shock can be overwhelming. While hiring a motorcycle accident attorney may not be your immediate thought, taking swift action is crucial. Time is of the essence because evidence can disappear, memories can fade, and the statute of limitations is ticking.
If you’re dealing with any of the following consequences of a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to us:
- Experiencing financial strain and income loss
- Suffering injuries as a result of preventable accidents
- Facing uncertainty or difficulty in proving fault
- Encountering resistance or opposition
- Navigating negotiations with insurance companies
How to choose the right West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyer
Essential factors to weigh when making your decision:
- Experience Matters
- Seek a lawyer with specialized knowledge of the local area who practices personal injury law and understands the specifics related to motorcycle accidents.
- Evaluate Reputation
- Effective Communication
- Confirm the lawyer’s responsiveness and communication skills. Your comfort in discussing the case and posing questions is essential.
- Resource Assessment
- Consider the resources at the lawyer’s disposal. A well-established local law firm like Winegar Law can stand up to defendants of any stature.
- Transparent Fee Structure
- Discuss fee arrangements upfront to avoid surprises.
WINEGAR LAW CHARGES NO FEES UNLESS WE WIN YOUR CASE
Guidance and Free Case Evaluation
In this challenging time, your first step is to reach out, and we’re here to provide support and clarity.
During your initial consultation:
- You can recount the details of your accident, including events and injuries.
- Our seasoned attorneys will listen closely, evaluate your case’s potential, and offer an initial assessment.
- We will clarify your legal rights and outline the available options tailored to your situation.
- You’ll have the opportunity to pose questions and address any concerns related to your case.