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How is Liability Determined in Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?

on  Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents are among the most devastating types of vehicular crashes, often resulting in severe injuries or even fatalities. Due to Florida’s mild and sunny weather, motorcyclists can ride year-round. This also means that Florida has more motorcycles on the road than virtually any other state. Only California has more registered motorcycles than Florida. Unfortunately, a higher number of motorcycles typically means more motorcycle accidents. 

Florida consistently ranks among the states with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities. In 2020, there were 552 motorcycle fatalities in Florida, accounting for nearly 17% of all traffic deaths in the state.

After a motorcycle accident, injured bikers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to securing compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Unlike car drivers in Florida, motorcyclists are not covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which pays some of their medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault. PIP insurance is only available to owners of motor vehicles with four wheels. As such, injured bikers are on their own when trying to recover money to pay for their injuries and damages. They must often rely on the at-fault party’s insurance or pursue legal action to obtain compensation to cover their expenses and move forward with their lives. 

Unfortunately, insurance companies are not on the side of the injured motorcyclist; their primary goal is to minimize payouts and protect their bottom line. This is why injured motorcyclists must contact an experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. A skilled attorney can help investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case to prove liability and demonstrate the extent of the biker’s damages. 

Establishing Negligence in Motorcycle Accidents

To determine liability in a motorcycle accident, you must first establish negligence. Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances and results in harm to another individual.

Some common examples of negligence in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Distracted driving: Motorists who are texting, eating, or otherwise not paying attention to the road are more likely to cause accidents involving motorcycles.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to react to changing road conditions and increases the likelihood of a serious collision.
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way: Drivers who fail to yield to motorcyclists when merging, turning, or changing lanes can cause devastating accidents.
  • Driving under the influence: Operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time, making it more likely for a driver to cause an accident.
  • Improper lane changes: Motorists who change lanes without signaling or checking their blind spots can easily collide with a motorcycle.

To prove negligence, your Florida motorcycle accident attorney will gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony to build a strong case on your behalf.

Comparative Negligence in Florida Motorcycle Accidents

In some cases, both the motorcyclist and the other driver may share some degree of fault for an accident. Florida follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this legal principle, if an injured biker is partially at fault for the accident, their damages are reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if the biker is 51% or more at fault, they are barred from recovering any compensation at all. This means that insurance companies have a strong incentive to pin as much of the blame as possible on the injured biker to minimize their own financial responsibility. 

Injured bikers in Florida often face an uphill battle when seeking compensation from insurance companies, who may use various tactics to shift blame and avoid paying out on claims. For example, there is a persistent stigma surrounding motorcyclists, with some viewing them as reckless or irresponsible. This bias can sometimes lead to unfair assumptions about a motorcyclist’s role in an accident, making it all the more important to have a skilled attorney on your side. Your motorcycle accident attorney can fight back against these tactics, advocate for your rights, and ensure that liability is properly assigned.

It’s important to note that even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of comparative negligence and fight to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible.

How Will Your Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Determine Liability After a Crash?

After a motorcycle accident, you and the other driver might differ in your interpretation of who caused the accident. Fortunately, when you hire a motorcycle accident attorney, you don’t have to take the other driver’s word for it. 

Determining liability after a motorcycle accident involves thoroughly investigating the crash and analyzing the evidence to establish which party or parties were at fault.  To do this, your attorney will look to gather key evidence to prove who is truly to blame for the crash, including: 

  • Police reports: Law enforcement officers who respond to the accident scene will create a report detailing their observations, statements from involved parties and witnesses, and any citations issued.
  • Witness statements: Accounts from independent witnesses can provide valuable insight into how the accident occurred and who may have been at fault.
  • Physical evidence: Skid marks, vehicle damage, and debris patterns at the accident scene can help reconstruct the events leading up to the crash and determine fault.
  • Traffic laws: Determining which party violated traffic laws, such as speeding, failing to yield, or making an improper turn, can help establish liability.
  • Expert testimony: In some cases, your lawyer may wish to consult with accident reconstruction experts or other specialists when building your case. An accident recreation expert can help your lawyer clearly establish who is to blame for your motorcycle accident. 

Insurance companies and legal teams will also gather their own information against you to argue liability in court. That’s why it is critical to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to fight back and protect your rights to compensation. 

Seeking Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Damages

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of damages, including:

  1. Medical expenses, both current and future
  2. Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
  3. Pain and suffering
  4. Emotional distress
  5. Property damage

The compensation you may receive will depend on the severity of your injuries, the extent of your damages, and the degree of fault assigned to each party involved in the accident. An experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney at our law firm will assess the full value of your claim and fight to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible.

The Statute of Limitations in Florida Motorcycle Accident Cases

In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, including those related to motorcycle accidents, is generally two years from the date of the accident (Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(a)). This means that an injured person has two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Therefore, even if you believe you missed the deadline, you may still have time. Our motorcycle accident lawyers will help ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines for filing your lawsuit.

It’s crucial to understand that the two-year statute of limitations may not always apply, and there could be exceptions based on the specific circumstances of your case. You may have more or less time than you think to file your claim. Even if you believe you missed the deadline, call our law firm to explore your legal options. 

While the law in Florida gives you two years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident, you should contact our law firm quickly. Over time, evidence such as witness memories, surveillance footage, and physical evidence at the accident scene can disappear or degrade. By contacting our lawyers promptly, we can investigate your case and gather the necessary evidence to build a strong claim on your behalf.

Contact Our Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Miami, South Florida, or anywhere across the state, don’t wait to seek help. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA., are here to help you navigate the complex legal system and fight for the compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Our team has a proven track record of success in handling motorcycle accident cases, and we’re dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate service to every one of our clients. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a motorcycle accident can take on you and your family, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA., today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you pursue justice and secure the compensation you deserve. Call us at 305-694-2676 to get started on your path to recovery.