How Florida's Helmet Laws And Comparative Negligence Can Impact Your Motorcycle Accident Compensation
With its welcoming weather and scenic vistas, Sarasota in coastal Southwest Florida is a paradise for motorcycle riders. However, these benefits are shadowed by the high incidence of motorcycle accidents in the state. Florida recorded 2,482 motorcycle accidents this year alone, with a substantial 9,146 accidents the previous year.
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice or anywhere in Florida this year, it's crucial to understand that you may be entitled to financial compensation. Factors such as helmet usage can significantly influence the compensation you receive. Florida's helmet law and the newly modified comparative negligence law play pivotal roles in the determination of compensation due to a negligent driver's actions.
At Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, we will explain the breakdown of Florida's helmet regulations and the impact of not wearing a helmet on your motorcycle accident injury compensation claim.
Keep in mind that reaching out to a skilled personal injury attorney is paramount after a motorcycle accident. An accomplished attorney from Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can meticulously evaluate the particulars of your claim and determine your eligibility for compensation.
Florida's Motorcycle Helmet Law Explored
According to Florida law, both operators and passengers on motorcycles who are under the age of 21 must wear helmets that comply with federal safety standards, along with appropriate eye protection. Nevertheless, Florida state law permits riders aged 21 or older to ride without a helmet, given that they have a minimum of medical benefits insurance coverage including, $20,000 of total bodily injury - with a $10,000 per-person bodily injury coverage and $30,000 in single-limit liability. Regardless of what age the riders are, however, eye protection remains a compulsory requirement for all riders.
Non-compliance with the helmet law may lead to a traffic violation and an ensuing fine. However, failure to wear a helmet doesn't undermine your right to claim compensation if you're injured due to another driver's negligence.
It's noteworthy that the defense may argue against your compensation claim based on your failure to wear a helmet. Florida law authorizes judges and juries to evaluate the negligence evidence of all parties involved in a crash, including your contribution to the accident or the injuries you suffered.
Comparative Negligence and Impact of Helmet Usage
Florida abides by the principle of comparative negligence, which means that the plaintiff could be held accountable to a certain degree for causing the accident or injuries. In 2023, Florida underwent significant changes to its comparative negligence law.
Previously, Florida followed a "pure comparative negligence system" where plaintiffs could claim compensation regardless of their share of fault. The recent amendment transitioned this system into a "modified comparative negligence" framework. It specifies that a plaintiff's degree of fault must not surpass 50% to claim compensation against another party.
For instance, if the defense can prove that the plaintiff was 51% at fault, the jury is forbidden from awarding compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries. Under the previous laws, the plaintiff could still be compensated, although the amount was reduced proportionately according to their fault percentage.
Deciding to ride without a helmet, even when legally permitted in Florida, can be used against you during legal proceedings. It might insinuate that you share some responsibility for the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. The defense may argue that had you worn a helmet, the injuries could have been prevented or at least been less severe, influencing the fault percentage assigned to you.
Revised Statute of Limitations
The introduction of a modified comparative negligence system wasn't the only modification in personal injury laws affecting your potential recovery for injuries sustained in a Florida motorcycle accident. The statute of limitations, the period within which you must file a lawsuit to claim compensation, has been curtailed from four years to two years from the date of the accident.
Timely action is essential as failing to lodge a claim within the stipulated two-year statute of limitations will forfeit your right to sue the party at fault. To secure your rights, engage a personal injury attorney and promptly initiate a lawsuit within the prescribed period.
Local Motorcycle Accident Attorneys For, Sarasota, Bradenton, St Petersburg, And Charlotte County
As you navigate the complex legal terrain following a motorcycle accident, the expertise of Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can prove invaluable. We are committed to delivering thorough legal support and helping you through this difficult time. We have office locations from Charlotte County in the south to Pinellas in the north and our attorneys will meet with you anywhere you choose, at your home, hospital or one of our office locations.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in a motorcycle accident we are available 24/7 - reach out to us for all your legal concerns related to motorcycle accidents in Florida.