FAQ: Motorcycle Accident Questions

Can a failure to wear a helmet reduce the claim for damages sustained by an injured motorcycle rider in Florida?

It certainly can. Florida’s a comparative negligence state. To the extent anything that you do, contributed to your injuries, it will reduce your ability to recover damages. Therefore, any injuries that you sustain as a result of failing to wear your helmet, you would be precluded from recovering those damages.

Do motorcycles require PIP coverage?

Motorcycles do not require PIP coverage. The statute specifically defines those vehicles that are required to carry PIP as motor vehicles, and excludes motorcycles from that requirement.

How are motorcycle accident attorneys compensated?

Well, that depends on the firm. All I can tell you is in our firm, for instance, we charge a contingency fee, which simply means that if we’re successful in making recovery for you, we get a fee. We also advance the cost to prosecute the claim and you don’t pay those costs either unless we’re successful at the end of the case. It depends on the firm but many firms do it this way.

How long do I have to file a Florida motorcycle accident case?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents is 4 years, so that basically means that if you don’t bring the claim within that period of time, you’re forever barred from doing so. We would suggest that you do work up the case much earlier than that. Actually, time is against you. Time is on the side of the insurance company. You do have 4 years, but we recommend that you work up the case much earlier.

How quickly should I contact an attorney in a Florida motorcycle accident case?

We recommend you contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Obviously the first thing you need to do is get your medical treatment. Once you’ve obtained your initial medical treatment, contact an attorney. The insurance companies are already working on the case. You need to get ahead of that.

I heard that if you are in a car accident and you do not have a seat belt on, your damages can be reduced. Is there any law like that for motorcycles?

Well, that’s correct. We have a comparative negligence statute in the State of Florida which basically says for a car accident, if you’re not wearing a seat belt and you damage your cars by the failure to wear the seat belt, then your damage can be reduced. In a motorcycle accident, even though you’re not legally required to wear a helmet, if you’re not wearing a helmet, and the failure to wear the helmet contributed to your injuries, then your damage will be reduced by that percentage.

I was in a Florida traffic accident when a car turned left in front of me while I was riding my motorcycles. Who is at fault?

Generally in Florida, the vehicle that is turning left into oncoming traffic is going to be cited and be at fault for the collision. Unfortunately, in motorcycle cases a lot of times people assume the motorcyclist was at fault simply because he was on a motorcycle. It’s very important to ensure the police come to the scene to do a thorough investigation, talk to all the witnesses and determine fault.

I was injured in a Florida motorcycle accident, but I wasn’t wearing a helmet Can I still recover damages from the other driver?

Yes, you can still recover damages from the other driver. However, the amount of those damages may be limited by the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet. Any injuries that you sustained because you weren’t wearing your helmet, you would not be able to make a recovery for.

Is an investigation of my a motorcycle accident case important?

Yes. It’s very important because quite frankly, many people consider motorcycles to be at fault just because you’re out there riding a motorcycle. Of course, when you investigate the accident, then you’ll find skid marks, damage on the road, debris, and that’s important to calculate who was at fault and how the accident happen. It’s important to contact an attorney immediately because he can bring in appropriate experts such as reconstruction experts to determine the liability, which will go a long way to determine how much you collect in damages.

Is any attorney going to help me with my Florida motorcycle accident?

Well I assume that question is asking whether any attorney can? The answer is theoretically yes. Any attorney that is licensed in the state of Florida can handle your motorcycle accident. We would suggest you might want to look for an attorney who’s experienced in that field because there are complexities, that only those who specialize in the field would know.

Is insurance coverage an important issue in a Florida motorcycle accident case?

Absolutely. Insurance coverage is an important issue in all injury claims, but especially in motorcycle accidents because there is no personal injury protection coverage to pay your medical expenses. It’s critical to find out who the at fault party is insured with and how much their policy limits are.

Is it important to retain an attorney for my Florida motorcycle accident case?

As in all injury claims, hiring an attorney is an important first step. The attorney can help advise you of your rights, evaluate your claim, ensure that all of your avenues of compensation and recovery are explored.

My state requires a special license for motorcyclists What is the impact on my liability and damages in an accident when I do not have the required state license?

Well, they can be showing that the action was caused by your failure to know something that could have been learned on the exam. You study up for that exam, and possibly your damages can be reduced. We recommend that all our clients who ride motorcycles go through the proper licensing requirements.

What should I do if I am involved in a Florida motorcycle accident?

The first thing you want to do is ensure that the police had been called to the scene and get the medical treatment that you need. Most likely you’re going to be taken to the hospital unfortunately in motorcycle cases injuries can be very severe. The next thing you should do is contact an attorney to discuss your rights.

What should I do if the other party’s insurance adjuster calls following a motorcycle accident?

There’s no legal requirement and you can talk to anybody you want. However, we would recommend you not talk to the other insurance company because quite frankly, they’re there just to help minimize the damages to their case. For that reason you should probably call an attorney and have an attorney present during the statement so it doesn’t come back to haunt your case and reduce your damages.

Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster after a Florida motorcycle accident?

We recommend that you not release your records to the other insurance company’s adjuster. Obviously their interest is in protecting their insured, not you. Early on you don’t know the full extent of your damages and the insurance company is simply going to use that information to try and minimize your recovery.

The police report said there was a long skid mark from my motorcycle at the scene of the accident which indicates I was speeding and therefore at least partially or wholly responsible for the accident. Does the skid mark hurt my case?

Skid marks are very important at an accident scene because they do demonstrate speed. Quite frankly, a Reconstruction Expert can calculate what your speed was at the time of the impact and at the time that you first noticed the potential accident occurring. The other side will use that against you, obviously. That’s why it’s important to contact an attorney who’s experienced in these fields, who can go out and hire a Reconstruction Expert to help you.

What if a loved one has been killed in a Florida motorcycle accident that was not their fault?

When you have a death that’s considered to be a wrongful death case, and the family of the deceased can bring a claim. You have to open an estate. There’s many issues involved. You’re going to want to have to contact an attorney who’s got the experience to handle it, they can bring the claim.

What if I was partially at fault for causing the Florida motorcycle accident?

Florida is a comparative negligent state and that means your amount of your recovery is going to be reduced by your percentage of negligence. For example if it’s determined that you’re 25% at fault, your damages are going to be reduced by 25%. You still have the right to bring a claim against the at fault driver just be aware that the amount of your damages maybe reduced by that negligence.

What insurance is a motorcyclist required to have in Florida?

Incredibly, if you wear a helmet, you don’t have to have any insurance. If you’re over 21 and you don’t wear a helmet, then you’ve got to carry $10,000 of medical insurance. However, we recommend to our clients that they should all carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage; the most important coverage they can carry in Florida.

What should I look for in hiring an attorney to represent me in my Florida motorcycle accident case?

Well, based on over forty years of personal experience, I would say you want to hire a law firm that’s experienced, a law firm that’s got the financial resources to move your case along. Basically, just feel comfortable with the attorney you’re with.

Why do I need an attorney when it is clear that the car driver is liable for my Florida motorcycle accident?

Well the insurance companies have attorneys working for them and so should you. The issue of liability is the first part of your case. The most important part from your perspective is what you injuries are and what the value of your claim is. An attorney can help you navigate those issues.

Will it cost me any money to bring a Florida motorcycle accident case?

Well that depends on how the case is handled, but most cases in Florida, the firms will handle it on what’s called a ‘contingency fee,’ which simply means that they’ll charge a percentage of the recovery for their fee. Most of these firms will advance their costs, so you can go ahead and it doesn’t usually cost anything to pursue the case. Firms like ours don’t even charge for initial consultation, so usually you can get into a case pretty easily.

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