Motorcyclists are considered vulnerable roadway users, and even though riding a motorcycle is a great way to get around, serious injuries can occur in an accident. At GOLDLAW, we are here to help if you need a Port St. Lucie motorcycle accident attorney by your side. We want to help motorcycle accident victims recover compensation from the person who caused the crash, and we have no problem taking your case to trial.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Port St. Lucie
Many people enjoy the wind in their hair and the freedom of the open road that comes with being motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, this mode of transportation also comes with a high risk of road rash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 5,500 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2020 alone.
Some of the most common causes of these accidents include the following:
- Head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are one of the most common—and deadliest—types of motorcycle accidents. These accidents often occur when a motorcycle riders fail to see an oncoming motorcycle and turns into its path or when the rider drifts into the lane of oncoming traffic. To avoid being involved in a head-on collision, be sure to ride defensively and always assume that other drivers don’t see you.
- Right-of-way violations. Motorcycles have the same rights—and responsibilities—as other vehicles on the roadways. However, many drivers fail to yield to motorcycle riders when they should, resulting in serious accidents.
- Road hazards. Poorly maintained roads are one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. To avoid being injured in a road hazard accident, be sure to pay close attention to your surroundings and avoid riding in areas where the roads are in poor condition.
- Lane splitting. It is illegal in Florida to ride between two lanes—essentially using the lane markings as guidance rather than adhering to them strictly. Lane splitting is dangerous because it increases the risk of being struck by another vehicle.
Compensation Available for a Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle accident victims in Florida may be able to recover various types of compensation for their losses. Remember, unlike other types of vehicle accident claims in Florida, there is no personal injury protection (PIP) coverage required for a motorcycle accident claim. This no-fault insurance allows individuals to file a motorcycle accident claim with their own insurance carrier regardless of who was at fault for the incident, but motorcyclists will not get that benefit.
Instead, motorcyclists will need to file a claim against the at-fault party in order to recover compensation for their losses. The ultimate goal is to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages. Economic damages associated with a motorcycle accident claim are the types of losses that become relatively calculable after the incident occurs. Using receipts, bills, invoices, and other verifiable methods, economic damages can be calculated and negotiated with insurance carriers. Some of the most common motorcycle accident economic damages include:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Ongoing therapy or rehabilitation costs
- The cost of medications and medical devices
- Lost income and loss of future earnings
- Out-of-pocket household expenses
- Property damage expenses
- Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages associated with motorcycle accidents revolve around less measurable losses victims are likely to sustain. These types of damages and losses are not quite as “visible” or calculable, but they are equally as important. Some of the most common types of non-economic damages associated with motorcycle accidents include a victim’s:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
How Much Compensation is Available?
There is no set amount of compensation paid to motorcycle accident victims in the Port St. Lucie area. However, there are various factors that could influence the settlement amount. Some of these factors include the overall severity of the injuries and property damage, as well as how long it takes a person to recover from things. Other factors include whether or not an individual is able to work during the recovery time frame, whether or not there was any shared fault for the incident, and issues related to insurance policy limits.
If you have any questions about how much compensation you may receive for your particular motorcycle crash, we encourage you to speak to motorcycle accident attorneys. Even though your lawyer will not be able to give you a definitive amount, they may be able to give you a ballpark estimate based on their experience.
How Florida’s Pure Comparative Negligence Rule Affects Motorcycle Accidents
The state of Florida used to operate under a pure comparative negligence system to determine liability in situations where more than one party was at fault for an incident. This is particularly important for motorcycle accident claims because no-fault insurance does not apply to motorcycle incidents. Previously, individuals could recover compensation regardless of how much fault they had for an incident, even up to 99% at fault.
However, in a new tort reform law passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor in 2023, individuals who are 51% or more responsible for causing an incident will be unable to recover compensation for their losses. Individuals percent are less responsible can still recover compensation, but they will receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault.
For example, let us look at a theoretical motorcycle crash where two parties are at fault. If the motorcyclist is 55% responsible for the incident, then they will be unable to recover compensation for their losses from another party. However, let us suppose that a motorcyclist is 20% responsible for an incident and they sustained $100,000 worth of monetary losses. In this situation, they would receive 80% of the compensation instead of the full 100%, which accounts for their 20% of fault. So, the motorcyclist would receive $80,000.
These numbers are unrealistically simple for the purposes of showing how comparative negligence works in Florida. However, if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and there have been allegations of shared fault, you need to work with an attorney immediately. A lawyer can push back against any shared fault allegations and work to recover more compensation on your behalf.
How Liability is Determined in a Motorcycle Accident
Liability for a motorcycle accident in Port St. Lucie is determined by conducting A thorough investigation and examining all of the evidence available. Determining fault often begins at the scene of the incident by individuals involved taking photographs or videos on their phones or other devices. These photographs and videos can include vehicle damage, debris and skid marks, license plate numbers, possible causes of the crash, injuries, and more. Surveillance footage from nearby cameras on businesses or homes, as well as dashcams, could also be used.
There are times when eyewitnesses saw what happened and are able to give statements to law enforcement officials or insurance carriers. Sometimes, eyewitnesses can give testimony in a personal injury trial if one becomes necessary for the motorcycle accident.
It may be necessary to work with accident reconstruction experts who can use the evidence obtained, as well as mobile device records or vehicle black box data, as well as computer 3D modeling, to help determine how the incident occurred.
Motorcycle accident victims should not be expected to investigate and determine fault all on their own. A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer with experience handling complex injury claims can help this process and provide the resources needed to handle every aspect of the claim.
Why GOLDLAW is The Right Choice for Your Florida Motorcycle Accident Claim
You may be wondering if you need to hire a personal injury lawyer after your accident. Let us help you answer that question. Here’s why you should hire GOLDLAW:
We Care About Our Clients
We understand that dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming and stressful. That is why we take care of everything for our clients so they can focus on their recovery. We will handle all of the paperwork, communicate with the insurance companies, and keep you updated on the status of your case every step of the way. You should not have to worry about anything except getting better.
You Are Our Top Priority
We understand that your case is important to you, and we will treat it with the urgency it deserves. We will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.
If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, don’t hesitate to contact GOLDLAW to schedule a free consultation.