Any time a person puts the key in the ignition and foot on the gas, there is a risk for injury. This is especially true when that individual is operating a motorcycle. Accidents involving motorcycles are among the most horrific, and they usually result in large-scale injuries and even death. The types of injuries that are associated with motorcycle crashes have a high cost of recovery that most people are not fiscally prepared for at the time of the accident.
After sustaining injuries from a motorcycle crash, your sole focus should be on healing and recovery. It is best to let a skilled Miami motorcycle accident lawyer deal with the insurance companies and other drivers involved in the crash. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA has the resources and experience to effectively litigate your case and get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Why Should I Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Motorcycle riders are not required to carry any type of insurance to cover their medical expenses in the State of Florida. Injured motorcyclists are often faced with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that they simply cannot afford to pay. Moreover, these cyclists are unable to return to work due to the severity of their injuries.
An experienced personal injury attorney will manage your medical bills and medical treatment while investigating and building your case against the at-fault parties. Motorcycle accidents are often much more challenging to prove than ordinary car accidents. To build a strong case that will lead to a significant settlement or verdict, the attorney may need to:
- Obtain photos and videos of the accident
- Photograph the scene of the accident
- Investigate and confirm all insurance policies that may apply
- Investigate the other driver
- Speak with and take statements from witnesses
- Consult with an accident reconstruction expert to recreate the accident
- Review medical records
- Obtain and analyze any raw data from the vehicle’s event data recorder or “blackbox”
Choosing the right motorcycle accident attorney can lead to a significantly better outcome. Many Florida personal injury law firms rely on quick settlements for little money. These firms will not spend the time and money required to obtain the best outcome in your case.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations in Florida. During your consultation, you should ask the attorney about their experience representing motorcycle accident victims and read their online reviews and testimonials.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Miami, FL?
Because they are so much smaller than cars and take up less space on the road, motorcycles are often disregarded by other drivers. This is especially true in Miami-Dade County, Florida where motorcyclists face the dangers of inexperienced, unlicensed, and distracted drivers behind the wheels of larger vehicles. This lack of awareness of motorcycles can lead to very severe injuries and fatalities. Some of the most common factors that cause motorcycle crashes are listed below:
- Impaired drivers who are driving their vehicles or riding their motorbikes under the influence of alcohol, illegal substances, or prescription drugs
- Car doors opened in front of a motorcycle
- Unsafe lane changes and failures to yield the right of way
- Lane splitting – An extremely common yet illegal maneuver where the motorcycle rider cuts between slower vehicles in traffic
- Sudden stops and overcompensation of the front brake
- Other drivers not acknowledging their blind spot
- Poor road conditions including debris on roadways and inclement weather
What Are the Most Common Types of Motorcycle Injuries?
When an individual is involved in a motorcycle collision, the risk of severe injuries is high. Nothing stands between a motorcycle and another vehicle or a motorcycle and the road when a crash occurs. Motorcycle riders do not have the same protections and safeguards that people who drive cars and trucks have. Common injuries sustained in motorcycle crashes are as follows:
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Loss of limbs and injuries requiring surgical amputation
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Road rash and other types of scars
- Chest injuries and broken ribs
- Diminished sensation in legs and arms
Who is at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident in Miami?
After suffering injuries from a motorcycle accident, it is important to find out who or what caused the crash. It is best to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will properly investigate the crash and find all the responsible parties. These parties often include:
- Driver of the other vehicle – The driver of the vehicle that crashed into the motorcycle is often to blame for the accident.
- Owner of the other vehicle – Florida law allows accident victims to sue the owner of the vehicle that at-fault driver was operating pursuant to the dangerous instrumentality doctrine.
- The at-fault driver’s employer – Florida law allows accident victims to sue the employer of the driver of the at-fault vehicle if that driver was acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the crash.
- Motorcycle manufacturer – The motorcycle may contain a defective part that caused the motorcycle to crash. This is often the case with smaller custom motorcycles and “choppers” that are not subjected to rigorous safety inspections.
- Motorcycle mechanic, dealership, or service center – If the mechanic serviced your bike in a negligent manner, that left it unsafe to ride.
- The motorcycle driver – Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that your recovery as the motorcycle driver may be limited by how much your own negligence contributed to the crash. Unfortunately, jurors in Miami often find that the motorcycle driver is partially at fault. For example, if you sue the other driver and a jury determines that you were 25% at fault, your damages will be reduced by 25%.
How Much is My Motorcycle Injury Case Worth?
Unfortunately, many people, including insurance companies, have biased views and stereotypes that they hold against motorcycle riders. This can make the process of receiving compensation for injuries more difficult because insurance companies have a tendency to place blame on the motorcycle rider even if that person was not the cause of the crash. Insurance companies will claim that a motorcycle rider had pre-existing injuries or that the rider’s recklessness and speed were the cause of the crash. This is done in an effort to reduce or eliminate damages owed to the injured rider. Victims often become vulnerable to persuasive insurance claims adjustors and even to the individuals responsible for the crash. This is why it is so vital to retain a motorcycle accident lawyer right away to handle cases like these.
The value of any motorcycle accident claim will depend on the severity of the injuries, the amount of comparative negligence, and the amount of bodily injury or uninsured motorist insurance coverage that is available to recover. The more severe the injuries, the greater the medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages will be.
Unlike with car accidents, motorcycle accidents involve much higher rates of serious injury and death. Motor vehicles in Florida are not required to carry bodily injury auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, this means that motorcycle accident victims often sustain damages that far exceed the total amount of insurance available for them to collect if they win their case. Moreover, it is incredibly uncommon for motorcycle owners to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, which provides coverage in the unfortunate event that they are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle.
Comparative Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Cases
In Florida, a motorcycle rider can successfully claim personal injuries even if they were partially to blame for causing the accident. Florida is a modified comparative negligence system state. A plaintiff can recover in proportion to the defendants’ percentage of responsibility only if the plaintiff’s own share of responsibility is 50 percent or less.
In these situations, the rider’s total recovery may be reduced by their proportional contribution to the accident. For example, if the case is worth $100,000.00 and the rider was 40% at fault, their recovery will be reduced by 40% or $40,000.00. However, if the motorcycle rider is found to be more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, they will be barred from recovering anything at all. Even if you received the traffic citation for causing the accident, it is worth having an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate the facts and circumstances to determine if your case has merit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Following a motorcycle crash, it is crucial that the injured rider be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the person who hit them as well as any other liable parties or insurance companies. The statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time after the accident that an accident victim has to bring a lawsuit. There are three different statutes of limitations for motorcycle accident cases according to Florida law:
Lawsuit Against At-Fault Driver or Vehicle Owner
The State of Florida has a two (2) year statute of limitations for filing claims for injuries sustained in car/motorcycle accidents. This means that an injured person has just two years from the accident date to file in court against the driver who caused the accident, the owner of the vehicle they were driving, or any other responsible third party.
Uninsured Motorist Lawsuit
Florida law allows a motorcycle accident victim five (5) years to to sue their uninsured motorist carrier.
Suing for Wrongful Death
If a family wants to file a wrongful death suit for a family member who was killed in a motorcycle collision, the statute of limitations is reduced to two (2) years from the date of the victim’s death.
Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorney Offering Free Consultations
The sheer trauma of experiencing a motorcycle crash and the injuries that result is understatedly overwhelming. It is easy for someone trying to heal physically and emotionally to let insurance paperwork, medical bills, and the opportunity to file a lawsuit slip through the cracks. Hiring an experienced Miami motorcycle accident and injury attorney is a vital step in receiving compensation for both physical and emotional injuries.
If you or a loved one have experienced severe injuries from a motorcycle collision, call an experienced personal injury attorney today. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA handles cases like yours not only with tenacity and drive, but also with compassion and sensitivity. Your success is the firm’s success, and the ultimate goal is to get you back on your feet again. For a free case evaluation, call Prosper Shaked at (305) 694-2676.