With our moderate climate and scenic roads, it’s no surprise that Florida is popular with motorcycle riders from all over the country. You can comfortably ride your motorcycle 365 days a year here. However, an increase in riders on the roads means a higher risk of accidents as well. Vehicles don’t always pay attention to motorcycles, and that can have catastrophic results. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident, contact a lawyer today.
Motorcycle accidents can change your life in a split second. You could be left with permanent injuries and require medical assistance for the rest of your life. At Palmer | Lopez, we are dedicated to helping clients recover the compensation they deserve after a Florida motorcycle accident. Please contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation to learn how we can help.
Proving Negligence in a Florida Motorcycle Accident
Before you receive any compensation, you must prove the other party was negligent. Proving negligence is the foundation of most personal injury claims, including motorcycle accidents. You must show the at-fault driver owed you some type of duty. Motorists are required to exercise reasonable care when driving. Did the other driver do something to breach that duty? Examples include not stopping at a stop sign, turning left on a red light, or speeding.
You must show the defendant’s breach of duty is the direct cause of your injuries. If the other driver violated a traffic law, but that didn’t cause your accident, then you don’t have causation. If you can show the at-fault driver caused your injuries, you could still have a successful St. Petersburg motorcycle accident claim. The last element is damages. You could be injured, but if you didn’t see a doctor or miss time from work, it is hard to sue the other driver. You need to show verifiable losses before you can collect any compensation.
Legal Basis for Florida Motorcycle Crash Claims
The foundation of these cases is the legal concept of negligence, which revolves around the duty of motorists to exercise reasonable care when driving. If they breach this duty, and directly caused the motorcycle accident in doing so, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Some examples of negligence in motorcycle collision claims include:
- Failure to yield to motorcycle riders;
- Illegal lane changes and not using turn indicators;
- Running red lights and stop signs;
- Texting, talking on the phone, surfing the internet, and posting to social media;
- Other forms of distracted driving, such as eating, grooming, and adjusting the radio; and,
- Many more.
You should note that your own conduct could be an issue in a motorcycle accident if you were also negligent. Florida’s comparative fault law could lead to a reduction in your compensation, based upon the percentage of your negligence. An example is lane splitting, a common practice among riders that is illegal.
Florida Helmet Law
Each state has its own helmet law, and requirements vary. Some states have universal helmet laws, which mean everyone has to wear one. Other states have a rule that only requires specific riders to wear a helmet. Florida follows the universal helmet law, but there are a few exceptions. All motorcycle riders and passengers must have properly-fitting helmets that meet DOT-regulations. However, there are several exceptions to pay attention to when riding a motorcycle. These exceptions are:
- The motorcycle rider is over 21 years old and has minimum medical liability coverage of $10,000 or more;
- The rider is in an enclosed cab; or
- The motorcycle rider is at least 16 years old, and the motorcycle cannot exceed two brake horsepower or be capable of traveling more than 30 miles per hour.
While there is a helmet law on the books, wearing one is still a personal preference, and your compensation should not be denied because of not wearing one. The other side may place some liability on you, but Florida law still allows you to receive compensation against a driver who was at least partially at-fault for your injuries.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Our lawyers at Palmer | Lopez will seek the full range of compensation available for victims of motorcycle crashes. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to recover for two types of losses:
- Economic damages, such as your medical costs, lost wages, and other bills or out-of-pocket expenses; and,
- Non-economic damages, which are more subjective. In this category, you may qualify to receive amounts for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and losses based upon diminished quality of life.
A St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Assist with Your Claim
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, retaining solid legal representation is critical throughout the claims process. Our lawyers at Palmer | Lopez are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies, and we’re equally skilled in the courtroom. To learn how we can assist with your motorcycle accident claim, please call 813-967-8505 or go online to schedule your free consultation.