Serious Personal Injury Recovery for Motorcycle Collisions
Florida is fast becoming a dangerous place to ride a motorcycle. The state has one of the worst fatality rates in the United States for riders. Though most bikers are careful and courteous on the road, there may be nothing they can do to avoid a wreck when a careless, dangerous, or intoxicated motorist is bearing down on them. When a car and motorcycle collide, the rider almost always suffers the most serious, potentially disabling injuries.
When it is time to seek financial restitution for your medical bills, lost wages, and losses caused by your motorcycle accident, Burnett Law, P.A., can help. An experienced Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer works directly with each client. You will get total focus on your case until our team resolves your claim. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at our Tampa office.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists do not have the same structural protections that drivers of cars and trucks enjoy. Therefore, the likelihood of serious bodily injury or death increases when a motorcycle is involved in a motor vehicle collision. Motorcyclists have the same rights and duties as those driving larger cars and trucks. Unfortunately, sometimes they are not as easy to see, especially when other drivers are speeding or distracted with their cellphone.
Because of the design of motorcycles, motorcyclists are more prone to severe injuries than drivers or passengers in other vehicles. Some of these injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries and head injuries (although wearing a properly fitted helmet can significantly reduce the chances of suffering a severe head injury)
- Neck, spine, and spinal cord injuries, as motorcyclists are more prone to being thrown off of their motorcycles during a crash
- Amputations or disfigurement of limbs and fingers as body parts can become severed or caught between the motorcycle and the road or the motorcycle and another vehicle
- Pelvic and hip injuries, mainly as the result of the way the rider must straddle the motorcycle and the stress placed on these joints during a crash
Motorcycle Accident Injuries Have Higher Rates of Serious Injury and Fatality
It should be no surprise that motorcycle accident cases have higher rates of serious injury and fatality because motorcyclists have less protection in a collision. In fact, severe injuries can be ten times more likely in a motorcycle crash than in an auto accident.
Unlike in a car accident, where the airbags will deploy and the seatbelt will restrain passengers from being tossed out of the vehicle, motorcycle accident victims only have a helmet to protect them. It’s unfortunately common for motorists to get thrown from their bikes during an accident, resulting in broken bones and road rash. The force of being thrown from the bike can also lead to internal bleeding, organ damage, and even wrongful death.
Further, because motorcyclists experience higher rates of severe injury and fatality, medical costs are higher for these accidents. For example, some researchers estimate that medical expenses from a motorcycle accident can be up to six times higher for motorcycle owners than car owners.
If you ever find yourself in a Florida motorcycle accident, you’ll want to hire a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Filing a motorcycle accident claim can help recover lost damages and ease pain and suffering.
Motorcycle Crash Injury Statistics for Florida
A 2019 annual report from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department documented 8,895 motorcycle crashes. In 2019, 521 motorists died; in 2018, 506 died. This means nearly 6% of crashes were fatal in 2019, compared to 5.5% in 2018. However, these numbers don’t account for others who also perished in the accident, such as car passengers.
Preliminary data from 2022 shows that as of November 26, there were 8,038 motorcycle crashes and 503 fatalities. More than 6% of crashes have already been fatal, indicating that this year will be as deadly as others.
The takeaway? It’s not enough to reduce motorcycle accidents to save lives. One accident can quickly lead to wrongful death, so it’s necessary to try to do everything possible to eradicate motorcycle crashes.
Our legal team knows it’s impossible to eliminate all crashes. That’s why if you do get into a motorcycle accident, you need to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer in Tampa, FL. At our law office, you can receive a free case evaluation and legal advice from one of our experienced attorneys.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
While there are many causes of motorcycle accidents, some common ones include the following:
- Drunk driving or otherwise impaired drivers
- Head-on collision
- Inattentive driving
- Lane-splitting where a motorcycle rider is driving between lanes of traffic, commonly during heavy traffic or at traffic lights
- Left-turning cars hitting motorists due to blind spots
- Mechanical failures
- Road hazards such as potholes, slippery roadways, standing water, or trash
- Unsafe lane changes
Based on the common causes, you can see that when motorcyclists and auto drivers take more caution, it’s easier to avoid deadly collisions.
Location as a Factor for Crashes
Your location can also be a significant factor in a collision. Motorcycle accidents occur more frequently in highly populated areas. Looking back at the 2019 data, of nearly 402,000 total crashes, 54% occurred in only six counties:
- Palm Beach
When accounting for Lee and Pinellas counties, that number goes up to 61%. So if you are riding a motorcycle in a more densely populated area, always take additional precautions.
How Florida Law Can Affect a Motorcycle Injury Case
The state of Florida’s negligence laws and rules of civil litigation handle motorcycle accidents. Potential compensation and the success of your personal injury case will depend on the facts of your case and how these laws apply to the facts. Unfortunately, when it comes to personal injury law, you cannot compare similar points from other cases to estimate your case’s outcome.
This is why hiring a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer is essential to help build your case.
To receive compensation, your personal injury attorney must prove that your injury resulted from the at-fault party’s negligent conduct. This requires showing the following:
- The defendant had a duty of care, a moral, or legal obligation to ensure your safety
- The defendant’s actions violated that duty of care
- The defendant’s actions caused your injury
- Damages from the accident
Multiple At-Fault Parties
All lawyers know that assigning fault in a negligence case can be challenging, especially if both parties share responsibility. You can have injuries from a motorcycle accident and still face some accountability.
Since there can be multiple at-fault parties, Florida law only follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. If the motorcyclist’s responsibility for the accident were 20%, the compensation would be reduced by 20%. So, for instance, if the payment is $100,000, the motorcyclist would receive $80,000.
Punitive damages are typically not applicable to motorcycle accident cases unless the accident involved drunk or distracted driving. But, again, your lawyer will be able to guide you through understanding the legalese when handling your personal injury claim.
Additionally, Florida’s statute of limitation for negligence claims is four years. For motorcycle accidents, the four-year period starts on the day of the crash. Thus, you want to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Damages Available to a Person Injured in a Motorcycle Accident
Although you have legal rights to receive compensation after being involved in a motorcycle accident, the damages you can obtain will vary depending on several factors. Therefore, meeting with a motorcycle accident injury lawyer in Tampa is imperative to assess your case and identify the best way to recover the economic damages.
Possible compensation can represent the following damages:
- Lost wages and future earnings in the case of a permanent disability
- Medical treatments and related expenses such as emergency transportation, medication, physical therapy, and surgery
- Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Property damage
Our law firm has reliable Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys with years of experience to help you receive the maximum compensation possible. We’ll help file your personal injury lawsuit and collect the proper documentation to prove your claim. This includes:
- Income statements
- Medical assessments
- Medical bills
- Motorcycle insurance policy
- Photos and videos of the accident
- Police reports
- Vehicle inspection reports
- Witness testimonials
How We Assist Injured Motorcycle Riders
We encourage you to independently survey the traffic when you are driving and notice how many drivers of cars and trucks are using cellphones while driving versus those riding motorcycles. The odds are that very few motorcyclists use phones to check emails or texts because they are generally singularly focused on the road.
We get to work when an injured rider calls us for legal help. Among the things we can do for you:
- Connect you with local doctors and physical therapists
- Fill out or review your insurance claim to make sure it is complete and error-free
- Negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the insurance company, or pursue a lawsuit if necessary
- Answer all your emails and phone calls promptly, giving you the information you need
Our assistance will help you get your life back on track more quickly.
Because Florida is a “comparative negligence state,” even if the motorcyclist is partially at fault for the accident, they can still recover a percentage of the total damages. Even if you believe you were partly responsible for the crash, do not presume you cannot pursue your right to recovery.
Help for Injured Motorcyclists Near Tampa
At Burnett Law, P.A., we help injured patients recover compensation for their injuries, additional treatment costs, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of chance of survival, and other damages. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death from a motorcycle accident and you believe that the accident arose due to the negligence of the other party, we encourage you to call Burnett Law, P.A., at 813-221-5000 for a free consultation. Se Habla Español.