If you or a loved one was recently injured in a motorcycle accident, call 954-915-7405 to consult with an experienced Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyer.
Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience. However, it can also be dangerous, and not necessarily due to anything the rider does wrong. In many cases, the actions of other motorists cause motorcycle accidents. Faulty motorcycle parts or roadway design could also be factors. Unfortunately, most motorcycle crashes cause serious injuries to the rider, many of them being fatal.
While you could take precautionary steps to help avoid serious injuries, such as wearing a helmet and brightly colored reflective clothing, motorcycles can still seem invisible to other motorists, and you may not be able to avoid an accident, no matter how cautious or observant you are on the road. Since motorcycles are smaller than cars, they can easily be missed by most drivers due to inattentiveness and blind spots.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the personal injury team at Klotzman Law Firm can help. Our Hollywood car accident lawyers have years of experience working with motorcycle victims, and we will go above and beyond to help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help With My Compensation Claim?
Motorcycle accidents in Florida often become complex personal injury cases. This is because insurance providers, police officers, and even people in the personal injury justice system are often biased against motorcyclists. This could be a problem for victims looking to secure compensation for their losses.
A Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyer will be your best advocate. They can use their knowledge, skills, and resources to handle every aspect of these cases. Some of the ways your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you include:
Collecting the necessary evidence to prove liability. This includes statements from witnesses, accident reports, photo and video surveillance from the scene of the accident, medical records, etc.
Making sure that you are thoroughly evaluated by a trusted medical professional that can treat your injuries and help determine your total expected losses.
Seeking help from financial and economic experts to properly assess the current and future expected losses.
Facilitating communication with other involved parties, including negotiating with the insurance companies and the other party’s legal team.
Preparing your case for trial where necessary and ensuring that you get a favorable outcome.
Your Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyer will also be instrumental in helping the insurance adjustors and personal injury juries to overcome any bias they may have against motorcyclists. This is a critical step to ensure that you secure the compensation you need and deserve.
When filing a motorcycle claim in Florida, it’s important to understand the complex legal system surrounding it. Our Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyers are experts at practicing law and are trained to represent your best interests. The insurance companies you have to deal with already have their own legal team, and not hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer would be putting you at a great disadvantage.
What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
At Klotzman Law Firm, we often find that most motorcycle crashes are a result of the negligent actions or carelessness of other motorists. When we do our own investigations into the accidents, we often find they were caused by other drivers. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
A driver turning left at an intersection: A sudden left turn is one of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. This could be because motorcycles are less visible than other vehicles, and drivers fail to spot them when turning left, causing a crash.
Head-on collisions with other vehicles: In most motorcycle accident fatalities, another vehicle strikes the motorbike from the front. These crashes could occur when the other driver is going the wrong way, fails to yield the right of way, runs a red light, or simply turns into the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
Defective equipment: A defective motorcycle part, such as a damaged tire, could easily cause a crash. In such a case, the manufacturer would be held liable for the collision.
Hazardous roadways: Considering that motorcycles are less stable than four-wheeled vehicles, any hazardous conditions on the road could have disastrous consequences for the rider. Such hazards include potholes, gravel/loose rocks, uneven pavement, dead animals on the road, etc.
Traffic violations: When another motorist violates traffic laws, it could put a motorcycle rider in great danger. This is because even the smallest of accidents could lead to fatal injuries.
Reckless or careless driving: When a motorist doesn’t pay attention to the road as they should, they make the road dangerous for themselves and others on the road.
Driving while intoxicated: From the smallest of bicycles to the largest of trucks, all road users have a responsibility to use the road safely. Any driver that uses the road while intoxicated with alcohol or other illegal substances can easily cause avoidable accidents.
Distracted driving: Any driver that is distracted is a lot more likely to make mistakes that could lead to collisions. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving an automobile, our motorcycle accident lawyers recommend that you should always avoid distractions such as using your phone.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
The number of annual motorcycle fatalities in Florida has more than doubled during the past 20 years. While there has been some decline since 2015, when there were 584 fatalities, the numbers remain elevated, with an average of 550 per year from 2016 to 2021. It’s also quite concerning that over the past 5 years, motorcycle fatalities have increased by 3%.
According to data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which tracks motorcycle crash statistics in the state, in 2021 alone, there were 8,647 documented motorcycle accidents, with 620 fatalities and 7,396 injuries.
What Are the Motorcycle-Specific Laws in Florida?
Motorcycle laws are designed to help all motorists stay safe while using the road. The following are some motorcycle-specific laws in Florida to keep in mind.
Lane-Splitting is Illegal
While some states allow lane-splitting, or driving between two occupied lanes, Florida law prohibits it. All motorcyclists are required to use a full lane when riding anywhere in the state. Attempting to pass between occupied lanes is also prohibited.
It’s Illegal to Ride Side by Side
Florida law also prohibits riding side by side with another rider in the same lane. Even if they might seem to be, most lanes in the state are just not wide enough to accommodate two riders safely.
Helmet Use is Optional
Motorcyclists under the age of 21 years are required to always wear helmets while riding. For riders over the age of 21, wearing a helmet is optional. But this also comes with the requirement to carry at least $10,000 in medical benefits via insurance to pay for injuries in case of an accident.
There are also rules on the equipment that must be installed on motorcycles. The law requires that the headlights must be on while riding, no matter the time of day. This is meant to help increase their visibility to other motorists on the road. All motorcycles must also have mirrors installed to allow the rider to see at least 200 feet behind them.
Licenses and Classes
People with a driver’s license can ride a motorcycle without having to get a special license, so long as they obtain a motorcycle endorsement. In turn, this requires the individual to complete a Basic Rider Course, which is provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
For those without a regular driver’s license, you will need to get a special motorcycle license before you’re allowed to legally ride a motorcycle on Florida roadways.
The law that gives adult riders an option not to wear helmets doesn’t apply to protective eyewear. All riders must wear protective eyewear such as goggles when riding their motorcycles on Florida roadways.
What are the Most Common Injuries Seen in Motorcycle Accidents?
Unfortunately, motorcycles don’t have the same kind of protection for the rider that a car does for the occupants. In most cases, the rider’s body receives the full force of the impact. The result could be life-threatening and catastrophic injuries. Some of the common motorcycle injuries include:
- Road rash and lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Hand, knee, elbow, and ankle injuries
- Skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Chest injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Crushing injuries
Immediate medical attention is often necessary to save the life of the rider or prevent the injuries from getting worse. If you’re unable to go to the emergency room following an accident, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Failure to seek medical attention or delaying too much may give the defendant and their insurer a reason to undervalue or deny your claim.
How is Fault Determined in a Hollywood, FL Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcyclists in Florida are expected to follow the same traffic laws as other motorists. As such, when a motorcycle rider gets into an accident, their duty of care is handled as any other negligence case. If the accident is found to have been caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, the victim must be able to prove the four elements of negligence as outlined below.
The defendant owed them a duty of care.
Drivers are expected to behave in a way that is reasonably safe for other road users. In these kinds of cases, conduct is usually compared to that of a reasonable person. This means that an intoxicated driver should not get behind the wheel and a driver talking on their phone should pull their car over.
The defendant breached their duty of care.
You have to show that the defendant breached their duty of care towards you by not taking reasonable care while driving. Any driver that breaks traffic rules or engages in any behavior that endangers other road users, such as distracted driving, DUI/DWI, or careless driving is considered to be in breach of this duty of care.
This breach directly resulted in injuries and damages being claimed.
You must also be able to prove that the other driver’s negligent or reckless actions directly led to your injuries and damages. This might require the use of compelling evidence and expert witnesses to show that your specific injuries were a direct result of the driver’s actions.
You suffered damages and injuries compensable under Florida law.
This is probably the easiest element to prove. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will calculate and document the total damages and expected costs of the injuries suffered in the crash to ensure that all damages are accounted for in full.
Comparative negligence in Florida
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that the blame for the accident (liability) is distributed among the responsible parties. The court or a mediator will figure out what percentage of fault each of the parties holds, and then reduce every party’s compensation by this amount.
This means that even if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, they might still be able to recover damages. The percentage of liability or fault you are ascribed to will reduce the amount of any compensation the judge or jury awards you by the same percentage.
For instance, if the damages in your motorcycle accident are found to amount to $100k, and the at-fault driver is found to be 80% at fault (and you 20% at fault), you would only be eligible to receive $80k.
If you have any concerns or questions about who can be held liable for your injuries or damages, be sure to contact the Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyers at Klotzman Law Firm today.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for My Motorcycle Accident?
If you go hurt in a motorcycle accident in Hollywood, FL., you might be eligible for compensation from the at-fault party to cover your losses. As a motorcycle crash plaintiff, you could be eligible for compensation under the following types of damages:
Economic damages, also known as special damages, are those that are meant to financially compensate the victim for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred from the accident. Some examples of special damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Motorcycle replacement or repair
- Lost income or loss of earning capacity in case the injuries prevent you from working as you used to
- Loss of irreplaceable or priceless items
Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, are meant to compensate the victim for any non-monetary losses from the accident. General damages often make up the largest percentage of most injury claims. They include:
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Lowered quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
People who lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash might be eligible for additional damages under the wrongful death statutes, including grief, loss of companionship, loss of personal or household services, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
Punitive action may sometimes come into play based on the circumstances of your case. The conduct of the responsible party might have been too extreme to call for additional punishment as a way to deter the defendant and members of the public from engaging in such acts in the future.
For instance, a motorist who intentionally strikes a motorcycle and ends up causing serious injury to the rider might be considered to have engaged in conduct that the judge or jurors might believe calls for the award of punitive damages.
Why Was My Motorcycle Accident Claim Denied?
If the motorcycle accident was caused by a negligent driver, you might naturally expect their insurance provider to do the right thing and pay you the compensation you need and deserve for your damages. However, you should be ready for the fact that this is not always the case, and some will deny your claim, even if you have a strong claim.
Understanding the tactics that insurance companies might use to avoid paying claims is important so that you’re aware of the right steps to take to fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are some of the reasons insurance companies may give to deny claims:
Many people tend to stereotype motorcycle riders as reckless. Although they might rarely admit this, it could be an underlying reason why your claim was denied. You might have to fight harder for a fair settlement.
Delayed medical treatment
If you didn’t seek immediate medical attention following the accident, it could be a reason for the insurer to deny your claim. This is especially true if you didn’t get examined by a doctor within 48 hours of the collision.
In case your medical records show that you had suffered injuries similar to those suffered in the crash, the insurance company could deny your claim. However, in most cases, it’s not a legitimate reason to deny a claim.
The insurance company might claim that you were the negligent party responsible for the crash. You might have to present additional evidence to prove otherwise. Even if you’re found partly to blame for the accident, you’re still entitled to compensation under Florida negligence laws.
The insurance company might deny your claim for reasons associated with the other driver’s insurance policy. They might claim that:
- The insurance policy had lapsed at the time of the accident due to factors such as non-payment of premiums.
- The driver responsible for the accident was excluded from coverage under the policy
- The insurance policy undertaken by the negligent driver is insufficient to fully compensate you.
In case your claim is denied for any of these reasons, you should seek the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to review your policy and establish if the insurance company is actually telling the truth, and seek other ways to get the compensation, such as using your own motorcycle insurance policy.
Are There Time Limits to Filing a Claim in Florida?
In every state, you have to file your motorcycle accident claim in court within a given timeframe for it to be valid. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, is four years from the time of the accident.
If you fail to meet this deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. In some cases, the judge might be willing to extend this deadline, such as if the plaintiff is a minor, or in case the injuries didn’t manifest until a few weeks after the crash.
It’s also worth noting the 14-day rule that can affect your ability to obtain compensation under your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy. It says that you have to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident. Failure to meet this deadline might result in your PIP provider denying your claim.
Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the reckless behavior of another motorist in Hollywood, FL, consider seeking legal assistance as soon as possible. At Klotzman Law Firm, our Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyers have extensive legal experience handling these kinds of claims, and we’re ready to get to work immediately.
Let our Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyers investigate what happened, establish exactly who is liable, and work to secure full compensation for your losses. We’ll guide you through the legal process, and make sure you understand your rights and options at every step of the way.
We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay us anything upfront to access our services. We collect our fee from any settlement we obtain on your behalf. So, you have nothing to lose when you enlist our services.
Whenever you need an experienced Hollywood motorcycle accident lawyer, feel free to contact us online or call us at 954-915-7405 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. You can also visit our Hollywood office or request our motorcycle accident lawyers to come to a convenient location.