Florida is a beautiful state to enjoy a day on a motorcycle. From the Keys,
up the coast to St. Augustine, and across the state to Clearwater Beach
or in the Panhandle, Florida offers the serene roadways and weather that
were meant to be enjoyed outdoors on a bike.
However, motorcyclists face a great risk each time they go for that casual
ride. When a motorcyclist is in an accident where an automobile or some
larger vehicle is involved, the injuries are almost always disproportionately
incurred by the motorcyclist. Because the motorcycle is smaller and the
rider is physically more susceptible, motorcycle accidents are often catastrophic,
resulting in permanent injury or death to the motorcyclist.
For that reason, it’s important for riders to recognize the importance
of motorcycle safety, like carrying adequate insurance and wearing a helmet,
and to be aware of the rights afforded to a rider under Florida law if
he or she is involved in a
motorcycle accident. Below is a small synopsis of some of those rights.
The right to recovery after a motorcycle accident
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, which is the
most recent data available on the subject, motorcyclist deaths doubled
over the decade between 1998 and 2008, while motor vehicle crash-related
deaths had reached an all-time low.
This analysis supports the claim that motorcyclists suffer a proportionately
greater amount of damages, both physical and economic, when involved in
an accident or crash with another vehicle. The same Florida laws that
grant automobile motorists the right to recover for damages after an accident
also cover motorcyclists.
Under Florida law, a motorcyclist who is hurt in an accident has the right
to pursue monetary compensation up to the policy limits of the other driver’s
insurance policy to help pay for benefits like medical care and treatment,
lost wages, pain and suffering, and other economic and non-economic losses
that occur as a result of the accident.
A motorcyclist, generally, has up to four years from the date of a non-fatal
accident to make a claim against the Defendant, so it’s important
to contact an attorney immediately. An experienced personal injury attorney
can help the motorcyclist get the medical treatment they need to recover,
at no-cost up front. If the motorcyclist has been killed in an accident,
the surviving family has only two years to file a lawsuit.
Right to recover from uninsured/underinsured coverage
Sadly, we are all familiar with “hit-and-run” incidents, where
a negligent driver causes personal injury or property damage in an accident,
but then flees the scene. If a motorcyclist is hit by an unidentified
or uninsured driver, he may still recover compensation from his own Uninsured
or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) part of his insurance policy.
To find out whether compensation for injuries may be obtained in this scenario,
it’s important to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney
immediately following the incident. The longer you wait, the less effective
your attorney might be in pursuing a claim for you.
“Threshold” requirements to recover money for pain and suffering
The “Threshold” is a legal standard in Florida law that requires
a Plaintiff to demonstrate a permanent impairment or death in order to
attempt to collect monetary benefits for non-economic damages like pain
and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
Because of the nature of motorcycle accidents described in this article,
which often cause tremendous personal injury to the rider, this legal
barrier is sometimes easier to overcome. Sadly, permanent disfiguration
or complete and total loss of limb or life is not uncommon for today’s
motorcyclists who are involved in an accident.
Florida tort law is designed to protect motorcyclists and riding enthusiasts
from the careless behavior of others, just as it does for the driver or
passengers of an automobile. Because of often excessive damage to personal
property and life that is so common in motorcycle accidents, motorcyclists
need to be always aware that Florida law protects them.
Contacting a reputable, experienced personal injury attorney following
a motorcycle accident in Florida is the smartest decision a rider can
make, aside from buying the right insurance coverage and wearing a helmet