Motorcycle accidents can be extremely serious, often resulting in costly medical bills, missed work, and months of physical therapy. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A motorcycle accident lawyer can walk you through the legal process and help you receive the damages to which you are entitled. Contact GOLDLAW today to schedule a free consultation.
West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Resources
- Steps to Take After a Motorcycle Accident
- Florida Motorcycle Laws
- What Types of Compensation Are Available?
- How Much Does a West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Cost?
- Florida’s No-Fault System
Why Choose GOLDLAW for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
- At GOLDLAW, we understand how devastating motorcycle accidents can be, which is why we want to handle every aspect of the claim in order to ensure you are treated fairly.
- Our team has the resources and experience needed to stand up to every party involved in a motorcycle accident case, including the aggressive insurance carriers and a new legal team for the other party.
- We believe in providing an open line of communication with our clients so that they have a thorough understanding of progress moving forward.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
After an accident, it is essential to take proper steps to ensure your safety and give you a chance to file a successful insurance or personal injury claim in the future. The following is a list of things you should do if you are involved in a motorcycle accident:
- Move to a safe location. If you can, move your bike to the side of the road or a safe location away from traffic. If you are unable to move your motorcycle, move out of the road and wait for help.
- Call 911. A police officer should arrive at the scene, speak with the parties involved, and take notes about what happened. They will create an accident report which you should obtain a copy of.
- Gather information. If the other driver is still at the scene, exchange insurance and contact information with them. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their information as well. Be sure to also take photos/video of the damage to both vehicles and any skid marks or debris from the accident.
- Contact an attorney. An experienced West Palm Beach car and motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Motorcycle Laws in Florida
- To operate a motorcycle in Florida, an individual must have a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or a separate motorcycle license.
- The headlight must be illuminated when the engine is running, even during daylight hours. Riding without a headlight won’t be considered negligence per se if you are in an accident; however, if your failure to use a headlight is the cause of the accident, this issue will be considered when determining negligence and liability in a claim.
- Florida law requires all motorcycle operators to wear a helmet while the motorcycle is in motion. The only exception to this law is for operators who are 21 years or older who show proof of an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash.
Types of Compensation Available for Your Claim
There may be various types of compensation available for motorcyclists if their claim against another driver is successful. Our goal is to help injured motorcyclists recover both economic and non-economic damages for their losses. Whether we secure compensation for a client through an insurance settlement or as a result of a personal injury jury verdict, we strive to recover the following:
- Economic damages. These are the losses that are calculable by looking at receipts and bills that come in after the incident as well as examining possible calculable future expenses the individual is likely to endure. The most common economic damages associated with a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident include:
- Emergency medical bills
- Ongoing doctor visits
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation
- Medical devices and prescription medications
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage expenses
- Non-economic damages. These damages revolve around less calculable losses individuals are likely to incur as a result of the motorcycle accident. Unlike the economic damages we just reviewed, non-economic damages are not as easily calculable because they do not have receipts or bills in the traditional sense. These types of losses revolve around a motorcycle accident victim’s physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as their loss of enjoyment of life caused by any disability.
There are various ways to calculate economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are added up by examining verifiable losses. Non-economic damages are often calculated by using something called a multiplier method. Using this method, your legal team will add up all of the economic damages associated with the case and then multiply that by a set number, often a number ranging from 1.5 to 5. For example, if an injured motorcyclist sustains $50,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages, a multiplier of “three” could be used to reach a non-economic damage total of $150,000.
Time Limit for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
For personal injury lawsuits in the state of Florida, the statute of limitations (or deadline) for filing a claim against an alleged negligent party used to be four years from the date and injury occurred. However, recent tort reforms in Florida have changed the personal injury statute of limitation to two years from the date the incident occurs. If a motorcycle accident victim fails to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged negligent party within this two-year time frame, it is unlikely that they will recover any compensation for their losses.
Please keep in mind that the insurance carriers involved in these claims have much stricter deadlines, often within a few days after the incident occurs. Failing to report the incident promptly to the insurance carriers could delay the claim significantly.
New Comparative Negligence Laws
Because motorcycle accidents are handled on a fault-based system, it is important to understand how shared fault can affect these incidents. Under Florida’s previously mentioned new tort reform law, the state moves from a pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system. Under this system, any person who is 50% or more responsible for their own injuries will be unable to recover compensation for their losses.
Under a modified comparative negligence system, individuals who are 50% or less responsible for their injuries can still recover compensation, though the total amount of compensation they receive will be reduced depending on their amount of fault. For example, using simple numbers, if an individual is awarded $100,000 after a motorcycle accident, but a jury determines that they were 20% responsible for the incident, the victim would receive $80,000 instead of the entire $100,000.
How Much Does a West Palm Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney Cost?
If you need to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, the good news is that you will find it affordable. Our team handles these claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that we cover all of the out-of-pocket and upfront costs related to the case, and clients will pay no legal fees until after we successfully recover compensation for their losses. The final legal fee will be a percentage of any settlement or jury verdict that comes through, and clients will pay nothing if we do not win the case.
Factors That Could Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Fault: Who is at fault for the accident? If you are found to be even partially at fault, it will reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to.
The severity of injuries: The more severe your injuries, the greater your costs will be and the longer your recovery time. This will all be taken into account when determining your compensation.
Employment status: Are you able to return to work? If not, how long will it be until you can return? Your lost wages will be calculated based on this information.
Pre-existing conditions: Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions? If so, these will need to be considered when assessing your injuries from the accident. This can be a barrier to recovering compensation, but it isn’t impossible with the help of a qualified lawyer.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault System Affect Your Claim?
Florida is a no-fault system when it comes to auto insurance, but no-fault insurance does not pertain to motorcycle accidents in Florida. Typically, this insurance would cover up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages when a person gets into an accident and files a claim with their own insurance carrier. Motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers do not have the option to turn to personal injury protection to recover compensation. This can complicate the process a bit because motorcyclists and any other injury victims are required to file a traditional fault-based claim against the alleged negligent party.
One upside in motorcycle accidents focusing on a fault-based system is that it may be possible for motorcyclists to recover more compensation than they otherwise would have been able to through the no-fault insurance system. In the traditional no-fault system, only injuries that meet certain injury or dollar value thresholds allow a claimant to file a fault-based claim to recover additional types of compensation. Additionally, individuals can file a civil personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident occurs in order to recover compensation for pain and suffering damages.
Choose GOLDLAW For Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by the negligent actions of another party in the West Palm Beach area, reach out to the personal injury team at GOLDLAW as soon as possible. We take pride in our ability to secure compensation through settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of our clients. Let us help you as soon as possible.
If you need help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.