What Are My Rights After A Motorcycle Accident?
When it comes to motorcycles, Florida leads the nation in accidents. If you or someone you care for has been in an accident on a motorcycle, the bills can pile up quickly. You may be wondering what your options are and if a personal injury lawyer can help. Here is everything you need to know about your rights after a motorcycle accident.
Proving Negligence In A Motorcycle Accident Case
If you are a victim of an accident and the other driver is at fault, you have to prove negligence. This means that duty of care was not taken. You must prove that:
● The defendant did not exercise the duty of care, that is not practicing reasonable care, resulting in the accident. An example is the speed limit was 45 and drive was going 60 mph.
● The defendant breached that duty. At fault driver knew speeding could cause an accident, but was speeding anyway.
● The breach of duty caused (the plaintiff) injuries and damages.
Once you and your personal injury lawyer have collected proof that duty of care was not taken, your attorney will file with the insurance company a demand letter, outlining the breach of duty, your expenses and expected compensation. Keep in mind that the insurance company will also be looking at ways to find that you are at fault. Some common things they look at include:
● Road conditions: was it raining and you could have slid on the wet road?
● Inspection record to ensure the motorcycle was properly maintained.
● Are the tires on the motorcycle worn?
Insurance companies do not want to pay out on claims, so they have full time lawyers on staff just for that purpose. They are able to twist around anything you say for the benefit of the company and its shareholders. This is why you need to talk to a personal injury attorney before you talk to the insurance company. Then refer all calls to your attorney.
Compensation For Motorcycle Victims
The at fault driver causing the motorcycle crash must cover all losses that are a direct result of their negligence. This includes compensating the injured motorcycle rider, passenger or surviving family in case of death for the following:
● All current and future medical bills from the injuries
● All lost income or wages including any future earnings if unable to work again.
● Property damage
● Out of pocket costs
● Wrongful death
While these compensations are based on economic issues you can also include non-economic damages such as:
● Pain and suffering
● Loss of consortium
● Mental anguish
● Emotional distress
These damages are known as “punitive damages” and are intended to “punish” the at fault driver. These damages are very difficult to win in Florida personal injury cases. You must prove that the defendant’s behavior was wanton, willful or malicious. If you and your personal injury attorney do prove your claim, Florida law still limits punitive damages to a maximum of $500,000.
Finding The Right Personal Injury Lawyer For Your Motorcycle Accident
It is important to know that there are a lot of important differences between motor vehicles and motorcycle law in the state of Florida. For one thing, all motorists in Florida are required to carry a minimum of $10,00 of personal injury protection. Motorcycles are not required to do so. When talking to an attorney, make sure they are well versed on motorcycle law. Remember the amount of damages or compensation you receive depends on how accomplished your motorcycle accident attorney is and how strong of a case they build.
The personal injury attorneys at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, & Walsh have decades of experience when it comes to motorcycle cases. For over 15 years we have been the top motorcycle injury attorneys in Southern Florida. From St. Petersburg to Ft Myers we have a reputation for winning cases. Contact us or visit our website for a free consultation.