Any motorcycle accident has the potential to be catastrophic. Most often, the person seriously injured in even a low-speed or “minor” traffic accident is the rider of the motorcycle. Additionally, many motorcycle accidents are caused by negligence on the part of the other motorists who share the road with motorcycle riders. They may simply not see a motorcyclist in their path, may be speeding, or may fail to yield the right of way. Whatever the cause, our Gainesville injury lawyers at Bagen Law Accident Injury Lawyers can help.
Involving a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Lawyer
Unfortunately, in many cases a motorcycle rider may be blamed for causing an accident, even if he or she was actually not at fault. Some individuals in law enforcement and drivers sharing the road with motorcyclists may have a skewed point of view regarding riders, considering them dangerous or reckless. It is essential that you have a personal injury lawyer with experience with motorcycle accidents at your side to ensure you are not held accountable for your accident, and to work to ensure you are given the opportunity to recover the highest amount of financial compensation possible, that will cover all of your medical care and the many other damages associated with your accident.
Motorcycle Accident Procedures
Don’t let the adjuster keep you from getting the money you deserve!
An insurance company is obligated to their stockholders and policyholders, not specifically to someone injured in a motorcycle accident. Insurance adjusters thrive off of the confusion a motorcycle accident causes in people’s lives and use that to make the insurance company more money by paying less money to people injured in a motorcycle accident-people who need it.
The obvious dangers associated with motorcycles can make it easy for insurance companies to blame the motorcycle driver for his or her own injuries. Negotiating alone or waiting until the insurance company makes an offer can be frustrating and costly. One wrong move or one mistake can cost you money. Delay or guessing about the value of your motorcycle accident can result in the loss of valuable time, money and your personal rights. Be aware of several things when dealing with the insurance adjuster.
What To Do If YOU Get Into An Accident
Take care of the basics
When you are involved in a motorcycle accident, follow the same procedures that you would if you were involved in a regular auto accident, if you are able:
- Stop immediately: remain calm, and do not leave the scene of the motorcycle accident. If there are no injuries, move vehicles out of the flow of traffic.
- Check for injuries: do not assume that a lack of a visible injury means that a person is not hurt. In fact, it is highly likely that an accident involving a motorcycle will involve serious injuries.
- Call the police: a motorcycle accident should be reported to the proper authorities, and the report may be helpful later in determining fault and receiving your due compensation.
- Exchange information: write down the name, address, phone number, insurance information, etc. of the person(s) who were involved in the motorcycle accident.
- Identify the witnesses so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court. Write down their names and addresses and interview them. Ask them what they saw and make a note of phrases they used like “slammed into,” “plowed,” “speeding,” or “he ran the red light.”
- Make note of the road, weather, and traffic conditions at the time of the motorcycle accident.
- Also, beware of insurance representatives at the scene of a motorcycle accident. It has been rumored that some insurance companies send adjusters to motorcycle accident scenes in order to catch people off guard with incriminating questions or to have them sign away any rights they may have to future compensation.
- Take pictures of your motorcycle as soon as possible after your motorcycle accident. When the adjuster asks for proof of damage, it is difficult to dispute a picture taken of your motorcycle at the collision scene.
Motorcycle Accident Procedures: What Do You Need to Know?
A motorcycle accident can prove incredibly traumatic. Afterward, you may not know what to say or do next, especially if you have serious injuries that you need to immediately treat.
What should you do to protect yourself?
1. Always report the accident.
Following a serious motorcycle accident, make reporting the accident your first step (unless you need immediate medical attention due to a severe traumatic injury). Call 911 and report the accident. Not only will that step summon the police to the accident scene, it will bring an ambulance if you need one.
Do not forego reporting the motorcycle accident. Any time you have an accident with serious property damage or severe injuries, a police report helps establish liability for the accident.
Offer an accurate assessment of what led to the accident.
When they arrive at the scene, the police will question both you and the other driver about the incident. Never accept liability for the accident in any form, including brushing off the other driver’s actions or trying to ease the other driver’s guilt.
Sometimes, those simple statements can end with you facing some liability for the accident, particularly if the responding officer or the insurance company has an intrinsic bias against motorcycle accident riders.
As you give your statement, watch your words with care. Many police officers and insurance companies automatically assume negligent behavior on the part of a motorcycle rider until you take the steps necessary to prove otherwise, so you may face immense consequences for even an innocuous statement.
A police report can help establish liability for the accident, especially in cases where the other driver’s negligence clearly led to your accident.
The responding officer will also interview others who viewed the accident.
Witness testimony can prove very useful in establishing what factors may have contributed to the accident. However, witnesses may have their own intrinsic biases, especially regarding motorcyclists.
Witnesses may also not have a full view of exactly what may have contributed to the accident. However, in many cases, their testimony can prove critical to establishing liability for the accident, especially if you and the other driver have vastly different versions of what occurred during the accident.
Always look over the police report for inaccuracies once you receive it.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can acquire a copy of the police report related to your accident. Once you get the police report, look it over carefully for any errors. Keep in mind that, while responding officers will likely do their best to ensure the accuracy of the report, that does not necessarily mean that they will not miss potential details.
Make sure you look over:
- The time and date of the accident
- The people involved in the accident
- The circumstances that, according to the responding officer, led to the accident
If you note incorrect information on the police report, you should discuss it with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible, since that inaccurate data could impact your motorcycle accident claim. You should not face liability for an accident that you did not cause. An attorney can help provide more evidence that can establish who really caused your motorcycle accident, which may put you in a better position to claim the compensation you deserve.
2. Get in touch with a lawyer before contacting the insurance company.
Most people assume that, after an accident, they should get in touch with the liable driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. You need to start, however, with a call to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The motorcycle accident attorney can then take over connecting with the insurance company for you.
Florida passenger vehicle drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance along with their liability insurance and any other coverage they keep on their vehicles. PIP insurance offers compensation for around 80 percent of the insured’s injuries in an auto accident up to $10,000, regardless of who may have caused the accident.
However, PIP insurance does not apply to motorcycle riders. As a result, you will need to pursue compensation through the liable driver’s insurance company for the full amount of the medical bills you receive due to your accident and your injuries.
The liable driver’s insurance company wants to avoid paying out as much of that amount as possible. To help protect you, make sure you get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Let the lawyer report the accident to the liable driver’s insurance company and guide you through any interactions you have with the insurance company.
Dealing with insurance companies after a serious accident can cause immense stress. You may need to carefully watch each interaction with the insurance company to decrease the odds that you will inadvertently say something that may reduce the compensation you can recover.
For example, simply chatting about your plans for the weekend following an accident could cause the insurance company to second-guess the extent of your injuries, particularly since the insurance company may have no idea what modifications you have made to make it possible for you to attend that event.
Ask the lawyer to help break down the compensation you should expect for your injuries.
Sometimes, you may wonder just how much compensation to expect for motorcycle accident injuries, especially in the immediate aftermath of your motorcycle accident. Many people find themselves surprised when the insurance company contacts them soon after the initial accident to issue a settlement offer.
The settlement offer may sound perfectly reasonable, especially if you have not yet had a chance to look at the full extent of your medical bills and other losses related to the accident. Many motorcycle accident victims will inadvertently accept potentially low settlement offers, especially if they have not yet had a chance to realize the full extent of their injuries and the impact those injuries will have on their lives.
A lawyer can help break down the compensation you should expect for motorcycle accident injuries and give you a better idea of what comes next in the process.
3. Expect an investigation into the accident and your injuries.
Once you have reported your accident to the insurance company, ideally under the guidance of a lawyer, the insurance company will launch an investigation into the accident. The insurance company may want to decrease liability as much as possible, especially in the case of incidents involving severe injuries.
Your lawyer, on the other hand, will want to look into any factors that may have contributed to the accident or worsened your injuries. That investigation can give you a better idea of how much compensation you should really expect and even who may bear liability for the accident.
Investigating the Accident
Both the insurance company and your attorney may want to carefully investigate the accident itself to determine liability and provide more information about all the factors that may have contributed to the accident.
Each side, however, may look at it from a different direction to fully determine who may share liability for the accident.
- Both sides may want to talk to any witnesses who saw the accident. Witness testimony can serve as a critical element, especially following a severe accident. Witnesses may provide an outside look at what led to the accident, including factors that neither driver may have noticed. Both the insurance company and your lawyer may also want to review witness testimony to identify any inconsistencies between what the witness noted and what you or the other driver mentioned as causing the accident.
- The insurance company and your lawyer may review any video footage of the accident. Video footage, from dashcam footage to traffic camera footage when available, can provide some of the most valuable evidence related to the accident. Video footage often spots things that people may miss regarding the accident, from outside factors that may have contributed to the specific driver error that ultimately led to the accident.
- Expert witnesses may get called in to take a look at the circumstances that led to the accident and provide more context. Sometimes, your attorney or the insurance company may want to use an expert witness to look over the scene of the accident and any damage to the two vehicles to help recreate the accident itself. Expert witnesses have considerable experience reconstructing accident scenes and can often provide much-needed perspective on what led to the accident or who may bear liability.
Investigating Vehicle Damage
Damage to your motorcycle may help establish your right to compensation: due to the extent of the damage, you may clearly see exactly what led to the accident. Evaluating vehicle damage can also show how much compensation you may deserve for the damages to your motorcycle.
The insurance company may send out an independent evaluator to take a look at your motorcycle, or you may take your motorcycle to a shop that will evaluate the damage. Usually, you will need at least one assessment from a provider recommended by the insurance company.
However, if you do not agree with the assessment provided by that company, you have the right to take your vehicle to your preferred mechanic for an evaluation. You also have the right to have your motorcycle repaired wherever you like, or even to forego repairs to your motorcycle if you do not want to repair it.
Investigating Your Injuries
Your injuries often represent the greatest challenge you face following your motorcycle accident. You may need considerable medical treatment for those injuries, particularly if you sustain long-term injuries or severe injuries that will require ongoing medical treatment or support.
To determine how much compensation you deserve for those injuries, the insurance company may want to privately evaluate your injuries.
You may also need to provide specific evidence of the injuries you sustained and the limitations those injuries may pose in your life.
- Your medical records. Your doctors will provide comprehensive records of your injuries and the treatments you need. Those records may include specific scans as well as the doctor’s report of what you need. You may need to submit those records to the insurance company so the insurance company can assess the extent of your injuries. Your medical records will also help serve as evidence of the specific treatments you have undergone and why you needed those treatments.
- Your medical bills. Always keep track of your medical bills following any type of serious accident, including a motorcycle accident. Your medical bills will show your specific financial losses because of your injuries. Submitting them to the insurance company can help you establish the compensation you expect for your medical bills, including what specific procedures you have undergone and why, in many cases, your medical bills have risen so high.
- An independent medical evaluation. In some cases, the insurance company may require you to undergo a medical evaluation from a specialist chosen by the insurance company. That provider will take a look at the extent of your injuries and the limitations they have posed so that the insurance company can better determine how much compensation you may deserve for your injuries.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can provide you with more guidance about what to expect during that independent medical evaluation, including how it may affect your motorcycle accident claim.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Gainesville
With its beautiful weather and scenery, Florida is one of the most popular destinations in the nation for riding a motorcycle. Unfortunately, traffic congestion, distracted drivers, and other issues may turn a fun and enjoyable journey into a nightmare of painful injuries, strenuous medical treatments, and lost wages.
Alachua County sees around 135 motorcycle accidents each year, resulting in several fatalities and more than 100 injuries.
Distracted or drunk drivers cause accidents near the university. City leaders have worried that the high speed limits on certain roads place motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users at unreasonable risk of injury.
Other common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Inattentional blindness: Inattentional blindness is captured by the words often heard from drivers who have caused an accident with a motorcycle: “I didn’t even see them.” Though it may sound like a medical condition, inattentional blindness is simply how the brain prioritizes the information in a chaotic environment by focusing on the largest hazards—which, on a road, would include large vehicles such as semi-trucks—while failing to notice small details, such as an approaching motorcyclist.
- Left-turning drivers: Left-turning drivers pose a risk to motorcyclists, particularly at solid green lights, rather than lights with green arrows, which give them the right-of-way to make the left turn. The solid green light requires drivers turning left to yield the right-of-way to vehicles in the oncoming traffic lane and judge when a safe gap in traffic allows the turn. Because of distraction and inattentional blindness, drivers often fail to see or accurately judge the speed of oncoming motorcycles and pull out into their path.
- Dooring: Dooring occurs when an occupant of a vehicle parked along the roadway opens their door into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist, causing the rider to either collide with the door swerving to avoid the door and collide with another vehicle or obstacle.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Because of their smaller size, motorcycles can prove more difficult to keep track of on the road than larger passenger vehicles. Often, drivers have a hard time seeing motorcycles, which can increase the risk of an accident caused by a negligent driver.
Blind Spot Accidents
Most vehicles have blind spots, especially on the passenger side and rear of the vehicle. In some cases, drivers may lose track of the presence of a motorcycle around them, or even fail to note the presence of the motorcycle altogether.
Motorcycles fit into the blind spots of most passenger vehicles with ease. A motorcycle that hovers in the blind spot of a passenger vehicle, in particular, may raise the risk of a serious accident. However, many drivers also fail to check for motorcycles around them, even during high-traffic times when motorcycles fill the area.
Though Florida motorcycle riders cannot legally split lanes, which means driving between two lanes of traffic to save time, some motorcycle riders will nevertheless choose to engage in that dangerous behavior.
Motorcycle riders may fit easily between two lanes of traffic even during traffic jams. Some riders will try to slip through those lanes, either because they want to decrease the time needed to reach their destination when traffic does not move as fast as they had hoped or when larger traffic must come to a full stop because of a traffic jam.
Lane splitting, however, puts motorcycle riders in a place where other drivers do not expect to find anything, including a motorcycle. When traffic starts back up again, drivers may not take the time to check around them before they start to move forward, which can raise the risk of a lane-splitting accident.
Furthermore, motorcycles may not fit as well between big trucks or other large vehicles that take up a great deal of space in traffic.
Remember, however, that lane-splitting doesn’t justify open season on motorcycle riders. Drivers have a duty not to negligently hit a lane-splitting motorcyclist. They need to check their mirrors and clear their blind spots before changing lanes or turning, and otherwise consistently stay in their lanes.
The drivers of cars may also try to split lanes when they note a single motorcycle in the other lane. Sometimes, car drivers may assume that a smaller motorcycle does not need as much space on the road. The driver may allow the car to drift into the motorcycle’s lane or even try to pass the car in front by moving deliberately into the motorcycle’s lane.
Dangerous lane splitting, however, does not leave the motorcycle rider with adequate room to maneuver and may result in a serious accident.
Poor Road Conditions
Poorly maintained roads may prove much more difficult for motorcycles to navigate. Potholes, gravel, or uneven surfaces can make it more difficult for motorcycle riders to keep their vehicles on the road, which can raise the risk of an accident.
Poor road conditions can also require the drivers of passenger vehicles to keep more of their attention on the road itself, which may decrease the likelihood that they will take the time to look for motorcycles around them.
Hazardous weather can pose a particular danger for motorcycle riders. Not only does heavy rainfall prove very uncomfortable for riders who lack adequate protective gear, motorcycles often do not hold the road as well as passenger vehicles.
A motorcycle has only two wheels to grip the road, which means that if it slides on slick, wet roads, the rider may have much greater odds of a serious accident. Hazardous weather can also interfere with visibility, making it more difficult for motorcycle riders to predict conditions around them and increasing the odds that a passenger vehicle driver will fail to see the motorcycle.
Distracted drivers include any driver who engages in behavior that removes attention from the task of driving. Visual distractions take the driver’s eyes off the road; manual distractions take the driver’s hands off the road; and cognitive distractions take the driver’s attention off the road.
Distracted driving can prove particularly hazardous when the distracted driver shares the road with a motorcycle. Motorcycles do not fit the visual profile drivers expect when they look around them.
As a result, drivers who already suffer from a high degree of distraction may not notice the presence of motorcycles around them at all, which can increase the odds that they will engage in dangerous behavior, including changing lanes on top of the motorcycle rider. A distracted driver may also veer off-course or engage in abrupt actions that can substantially increase accident risk.
Motorcycle riders often feel more comfortable traveling at a high rate of speed than the drivers of passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, speeding can prove exceptionally hazardous. Not only does speeding raise accident risk, it can increase the severity of accidents, particularly motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles offer no protection from the road or from other vehicles in a collision, which means that drivers moving at high rates of speed may have a much greater likelihood of suffering severe injuries.
Lack of Helmet Use
Florida’s laws do not require motorcycle riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, as long as they carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance protection to help offer compensation if they suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle accident.
As a result, many Florida motorcycle riders choose not to wear helmets when riding on a motorcycle, even though helmets can substantially reduce the risk of head injury. Failure to wear a helmet can not only increase the risk of serious trauma to the head, neck, and face in an accident, it may increase the risk of accident, since riders may have nothing to screen their face from wind, bugs, or potential hazards.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries that may substantially impact the victim’s overall quality of life. Because motorcycles offer no protection either from the road or from potential hazards around the driver, motorcycle riders have a higher risk of severe injury than the riders of passenger vehicles.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Head injuries occur all too often in motorcycle accidents. Wearing a helmet can help decrease the risk of traumatic brain injury, but may not eliminate it. Victims with traumatic brain injuries can find their entire lives changed by the accident.
While victims with traumatic brain injury can make a full recovery, some victims with traumatic brain injury may have lifelong symptoms. Traumatic brain injury can cause a wide range of symptoms, from trouble with emotional regulation to extreme difficulty concentrating on the task at hand.
Traumatic brain injury also often results in a loss of memory, including both short-term and long-term memory, which can interfere with the victim’s ability to work or even engage in normal self-care tasks following the accident. Victims with severe traumatic brain injury often need to go through substantial occupational therapy as they learn how to cope with the limitations posed by their injuries.
Back and Neck Injuries
The force of a motorcycle accident can cause immense trauma to the victim’s back or neck. Back neck injuries can interfere substantially with the victim’s overall mobility and ability to function normally. Injuries can range from muscle strains or herniated discs to spinal cord injuries, which can cause paralysis.
Often, back and neck injuries require intensive physical and/or occupational therapy. They may prevent the victim from performing many of his normal job duties.
Because of the extreme force associated with a motorcycle accident, some victims end up with limb amputations, either immediately, due to the force of the immediate accident, or in the aftermath of the accident, due to extreme crushing damage to the limbs.
Amputees may choose to use prosthetic devices to help replicate the function of the missing limb, but prosthetics can prove extremely expensive over time, particularly since they require regular replacement. Amputees may also require substantial physical and occupational therapy to help them learn how to cope with the limitations of their injuries.
Motorcycle accidents often result in multiple broken bones for the victims. Contending with multiple broken bones can leave the victim with ongoing limitations, from mobility difficulties to self-care challenges.
Motorcycle accident victims who suffer multiple broken bones may require assistance with many of the regular activities of daily life, including bathing and keeping up with the house. Furthermore, broken bones can cause considerable immediate challenges, including ongoing pain.
Some victims with broken bones may require surgery to properly set the bones and increase the odds of healing. Others may need physical therapy to help them restore strength and mobility, particularly in the case of severe or multiple breaks.
Often, motorcycle accident victims get dragged across the pavement during the accident. The pavement can rip away skin, leaving behind a burn-like wound known as road rash. Extreme road rash can have many of the same complications as burn injuries, but with an added risk of infection due to foreign material in the wound. Road rash frequently results in heavy scarring.
Helmet use can decrease the risk of facial injuries in an accident. Victims who do not wear helmets, however, may suffer from severe facial injuries, including broken bones in the face, serious lacerations, or extensive scrapes. Facial injuries can cause permanent scarring or changes in appearance, which may pose psychological challenges for some victims.
With less stability than other vehicle types and a high likelihood of ejection in the event of a collision, motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die during any given trip than the occupants of motor vehicles are. Traumatic brain injuries are the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents and can lead to severe disability due to the brain’s limited ability to heal from damage. The deficits acquired by the injury depend on the damaged part of the brain, the ability of healthcare providers to address common complications arising shortly after this injury that can result in further damage, and the severity of the damage that has occurred.
Other types of injuries commonly experienced in motorcycle accidents include:
- Arm and wrist Injuries: Motorcyclists often suffer injuries to their arms and wrists, such as bone fractures, joint damage, and soft tissue injuries as a result of the body’s instinctive urge to outstretch the arms to catch itself when falling.
- Hips, legs, and feet Injuries: Broken bones and other damage are often common in the rider’s lower extremities from colliding with an object after ejection, or getting one’s legs caught between the road and motorcycle.
- Internal injuries: The skin and ribcage generally protect the body’s internal organs. However, a motorcycle accident is often a violent occurrence that can allow these organs to become damaged despite the protection offered by the ribs. A sharp edge of a broken rib often causes a pneumothorax—a collapsed lung—by puncturing the organ. The main risk of internal injuries is dangerous blood loss, known as a hemorrhage, that can cause organ failure.
Recovering Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident: How Much to Expect
Compensation after a motorcycle accident helps to provide some financial assistance with many of the bills and losses you may have faced due to your accident and your injuries. At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, we cannot provide any guarantee of the compensation you will recover for your motorcycle accident injuries. However, we can help break down your financial losses and give you a better idea of how much compensation you should expect after your accident.
Dealing with the insurance company after a motorcycle accident can prove difficult. Many motorcycle accident victims find the insurance company pushes them to accept a lower compensation offer than they really deserve, especially if they suffered severe injuries that required extensive medical treatment.
Others may need to contend with an insurance company that tries to prove that the motorcycle rider caused the accident. Working with an attorney offers you better odds of accurately determining how much compensation you should expect for your accident and your injuries.
Compensation for Medical Costs
Following a motorcycle accident, your medical costs may mount quickly. Motorcycle accident victims may suffer from extreme injuries that require comprehensive medical treatment. As a motorcycle rider, your personal injury protection coverage does not apply as it would if you were in a passenger vehicle.
After your accident, you may need to pursue compensation for all your medical costs, from immediate medical treatment in an urgent care facility or hospital to the long-term care costs associated with severe injuries, including in-home care or physical therapy.
Compensation for Lost Wages
If your motorcycle accident injuries prevent you from working, you may face immense financial strain alongside the other financial losses caused by your accident. As part of your motorcycle accident claim, you can claim compensation for the wages you lost because of time missed at work due to the accident.
Discuss with your attorney elements like missed time for appointments and procedures once you returned to work or lost vacation or sick wages, which could also impact your claim. In addition, if your injuries will stop you from returning to your former field in the future, you may claim compensation for your lost earning potential.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
You may struggle with immense pain and suffering following your motorcycle accident. Sometimes, physical pain or the activities your injuries prevent you from enjoying can offer the greatest struggle.
Other times, you may suffer immense emotional anguish because of your accident, including psychological trauma from scarring or the loss of independence that often accompanies severe injuries. Talk to a lawyer about how to claim compensation for non-financial damages associated with your accident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcyclists who end up in crashes don’t just face the trauma of the initial accident, but a stigma based on their chosen vehicle. In the eyes of an insurance company, this can impact the value of their claim. The experienced legal team at Bagen Law Accident Injury Lawyers understands that these stereotypes exist, but also that they do not affect your right to seek compensation for the injuries you incurred because of someone else’s negligence. We are committed to fighting on behalf of our motorcycle accident clients to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Here are the answers to some frequent questions about motorcycle accidents. If you have questions about your specific case, be sure to contact our motorcycle accident attorneys for a free case evaluation.
I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of my accident. Can I still seek compensation?
Yes, you can still seek compensation. Florida requires riders to wear a motorcycle helmet if they are under 21, or can’t show that they have an insurance policy of at least $10,000 that to compensate them for injuries.
Here is how the law impacts your claim:
- If you are under 21, you can file a claim. However, the value of your claim will likely diminish because you violated the law, including potentially being barred from seeking compensation directly related to injuries that your lack of helmet caused or worsened.
- If you are over 21 and purchased insurance, you may seek the maximum compensation in your case, as you did not violate traffic laws by riding without a helmet.
My husband died in a motorcycle accident. Is there compensation available for me?
Yes. To pursue compensation for losses you incurred because of your husband’s death, you would file a wrongful death lawsuit under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to recover compensation for the losses that family members such as parents, spouses, and children have incurred. The Statute of Limitations for Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is 2 years, meaning you must file your claim within two years of your loved one’s death.
The type of compensation you can seek includes:
- The loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and mental pain and suffering.
- The costs of medical expenses related to the treatment of your husband’s final injury that you, another family member, or the estate paid directly.
- Reasonable costs relating to funeral services and burial or cremation.
- The loss of services and support that the deceased provided to their family members.
- Loss of love, protection, nurturing, care, and guidance the deceased provided to family members.
- Loss of wages, benefits, and other earnings from the time of the deceased’s final injury to their time of death.
- Loss of prospective net accumulations to the deceased’s estate, had they lived long enough to finish out their career and retain some of those earnings in savings.
I was injured in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident. How will this impact my claim?
Hit-and-run accidents generally make a case more complex. An at-fault party’s insurance policy compensates most personal injury settlements and awards. Individuals injured in motorcycle accidents caused by an uninsured driver can seek compensation directly through the driver, though judgments in such cases are often very difficult to collect, as most people do not have the cash to pay them. Even worse, in the case of a hit-and-run driver, you are missing an insurance resource and the driver.
There are other options for obtaining compensation, including filing a claim against your own vehicle insurance policy or other insurance policies you have, such as uninsured motorist insurance coverage. There may be additional sources of liability, such as other drivers whose actions contributed to the accident that caused your injury. If the hit-and-run driver comes forward or police can locate them, then you may file your claim either with that driver’s insurance company or against the driver.
If a hit-and-run motorcycle accident injured you, our experienced attorneys can explore your options so that you can tap into all potential sources of compensation.
Do I have to pay taxes on my motorcycle settlement?
The Internal Revenue Service does not tax the funds you obtain through a settlement or award because it doesn’t consider it income.
However, it makes an exception for punitive damages. Punitive damages do not compensate a victim for the expenses of their injury but serve as a financial consequence for a defendant’s extremely reckless behavior. Because the money does not compensate for your injuries, the IRS taxes this portion of your award.
Can I file a motorcycle claim on my own, or do I have to have an attorney?
You need a lawyer. Those who attempt to represent themselves in a motorcycle accident case often realize too late that it was a costly mistake.
There are many reasons why having an attorney is crucial to your motorcycle accident claim, including:
- An experienced motorcycle accident attorney has had years of education, training, and involvement in the process, which gives them a deep understanding of the necessary work and the timeframe to complete it to recover compensation. Individuals with little experience in the law, who must juggle recovering from an injury, lost income from missing work, and the other expectations and stresses of life, would likely fail to obtain enough, if any, compensation.
- A motorcycle accident attorney is confident in your right to seek compensation and is not interested in shaming you for your choice of vehicles or blaming you for being injured. You have as much right to compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury as anyone else whom someone else’s carelessness or recklessness injured.
- You never need to pay for our legal services upfront for us to begin working on your case. We work through a contingent-fee basis that allows you to withhold payment for our services unless we secure a successful outcome to your claim.
- Our expert attorneys at Bagen Law Accident Injury Lawyers, including attorney Bagen, ride themselves, and truly understand the realities faced on the road and the dangers posed by other drivers. We have the experience not only in the courtroom, but also on two wheels.
Most Importantly: Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Without legal help from a personal injury law firm like Bagen Law Accident Injury Lawyers, you may have no idea of the real value of your motorcycle accident claim. Contact us today.