A motorcycle is an exhilarating (and often economical) way to get around town, and the great Fort Myers weather makes riding a motorcycle all that much more rewarding. Unfortunately, Florida is the most dangerous state in the United States when it comes to fatal motorcycle accidents, due to many different factors including increased ridership, complicated roadways, and dangerous drivers. However, many people still decide to operate a motorcycle while acknowledging these risks and dangers, and it is important that if you decide to drive a motorcycle in Florida that you are aware of how to move forward after an accident.
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident, contact us in order to be connected with an experienced motorcycle lawyer in Florida as soon as possible, so that you can begin working with a professional to build a comprehensive case for the damages that you deserve – not just the damages that the insurance company would like to pay for.
Read more below for some general information about motorcycle accidents, insurance claims, and personal injuries. To connect with an attorney as soon as possible, contact 1-800-Injured now to take advantage of our referral service and start working towards the money you deserve as soon as possible. Successfully fighting for a fair settlement or damage award after a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident can be a difficult and overwhelming process. Retaining a lawyer can go a long way toward getting you the compensation that you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The unfortunate reality of motorcycle accidents is that more often than not, the accident is caused by an inexperienced or distracted driver who doesn’t notice the motorcycle in their mirrors or peripheral vision and makes a sudden movement that causes a collision. Equally unfortunate is the fact that motorcycle riders are at much greater risk of injury in an accident due to the lack of safety devices (or even a vehicle frame to absorb some of the impacts).
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are as follows:
- Distracted driving
- Inexperienced drivers
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Lane changes
- Left turns into oncoming motorcycles
- Blind spots
The aforementioned causes are only a limited number of examples and provide no context about how these accidents can unfold. Oftentimes, a driver fails to notice a motorcycle because of how much smaller it is while they are looking for oncoming vehicles. In addition, motorcycles get lost in blind spots very easily which leads to vehicles turning or changing lanes directly into a motorcycle.
Working With an Attorney After a Motorcycle Accident
After the first few days of dealing with the immediate impacts of the crash and tending to your immediate medical needs, the next step will be to begin the long, bureaucratic process of getting compensated for your damages, both to your motorcycle and to your person. If someone else caused the accident, they (or, more likely, their insurance company) are responsible for the damages that you have suffered, and you will need to initiate a claim with their insurance company.
From the moment you contact the insurance company, they will begin to find ways to reduce their client’s fault and liability, and then work to find ways to pay as little as possible while still resolving your claim. Working with an attorney is a way to combat the insurance company’s goal of paying you as little as possible, while also prioritizing your own need to reduce your stress in order to focus on recovery.
Fault and Liability
One of the foundational questions of a personal injury case is that of who caused the crash (fault), and therefore who is responsible for paying (liability). Florida uses a rule known as pure comparative negligence in order to determine liability by assigning a percentage of the fault to everyone involved. For example, if you were driving with your headlights off and were struck by a driver making a left turn, the case can be made that you are partially at fault. In states that do not use comparative negligence, you would be out of luck for seeking damages. In Florida, though, you may be assigned 25% of the fault, and the result is that your final award will be reduced by 25% to account for this.
While comparative negligence is much better than the alternative (denying compensation if someone is even 1% responsible), the insurance company will use this tool to their advantage and attempt to assign as much fault as possible to you so that they can save as much money as possible. Using a combination of methods, your lawyer will fight to ensure that you only accept what fault you are truly responsible for.
In addition to the question of fault and liability, your attorney will need to work through the question of how much money you are actually entitled to. The insurance company will perform its own investigation once you file a claim, but it is important to understand their motivations during this investigation. Whereas you and your attorney will try to understand all of the damages that you have suffered, and therefore all that you are owed, the insurance company will focus on identifying every possible way to limit the amount that they must ultimately pay.
Negotiating a Settlement or Filing a Lawsuit
Once your attorney has reached a calculation for the damages that you have suffered, you will likely be shocked at the difference in that calculation and the initial offer from the insurance company. At this point, your attorney will likely initiate negotiations with the goal of reaching a fair middle ground where you will be able to accept a settlement that adequately compensates you while avoiding a costly and complicated trial process. However, if the insurance company is unwilling to reach a fair agreement with you, the next step may be to file a lawsuit with the Florida courts.
A lawsuit is a complicated process, and there is still a long road to trial that has many opportunities to reassess negotiations and hopefully reach a settlement. However, you and your attorney will have had ample time to discuss your options by this point, and you will have a clear understanding of the different options and the costs and benefits of each.
Frequently Asked Questions About Fort Myers Motorcycle Accidents
The following are just a few of the questions that your attorney will be able to help you answer in specific detail, both during your initial consultation and throughout your work together. Keep in mind that the following is only meant to give you a general idea and that you can find the answers you’re looking for by consulting with a lawyer.
How much is my motorcycle accident claim worth?
In order to determine what your accident claim is truly worth, you and your attorney will need to gather all of your economic and non-economic damages and find a number that makes sense. Keep in mind that this amount will almost certainly not be the same as the number that the insurance company arrives at since their goal is to pay as little as possible while yours is to get the money you rightfully deserve.
Will I need to go to trial for my claim?
There are many steps along the road to a trial, beginning with direct settlement negotiations before a lawsuit is even formally filed. While it is impossible to truly calculate, there are estimates stating that fewer than 5% of all personal injuries ever make it to trial. This is no guarantee of your own experience but should provide you with some better insight into what you can expect.
How long will it take to get money for my accident?
The length of time that it will take for you to get compensated for your accident depends on a variety of issues, primarily with whether or not the insurance company is willing to negotiate with you and your attorney. This willingness can vary depending on the discrepancy between your calculations and theirs. Note that Florida has a four-year statute of limitations for personal injuries.
Contact 1-800-Injured Today
The sooner you contact 1-800-Injured, the sooner you will be able to start working with an attorney. Speaking directly with an attorney can help you get clear insight into your situation from a legal professional, which can help you understand your options more, and hopefully alleviate some of the stress of the “unknowns” that lie ahead.