Florida holds the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in the country. Every year more than 8000 motorcyclists are injured in accidents in the state.
A motorcycle rider injured in an accident must first seek proper medical treatment and then enlist the services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Miami to help him or her overcome the legal hurdles that he or she might face following a crash. An experienced Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer guides a victim through the following stages in a motorcycle accident case.:-
STAGES IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CASE.
An experienced Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney will conduct an in depth investigation to determine whether the facts and circumstances genuinely support a claim for damages. The lawyer will seek to address the following questions:-
- Which of the party/parties were at fault. Determining who was at fault can be very difficult. The insurance company of the opposing party will attempt to transfer the blame on the victim for causing or contributing to the accident.
- Were injuries sustained, and if so, were they caused by the accident? It is vital to document injuries caused by the accident. Injuries are documented by collecting and studying medical records, medical bills, doctor’s evaluation etc.
- Is there insurance available to provide adequate compensation? A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer will seek to identify all potential sources of compensation for a accident victim. The lawyer will evaluate insurance coverage of the at fault parties and ascertain other possible sources of insurances available to the victim such as personal injury protection and health insurance.
- SENDING DEMAND LETTER WITH COMPILATION OF DOCUMENTS TO INSURANCE COMPANY. The lawyer sends a demand letter to the insurance company to notify of the victim’s claims. A demand letter is drafted professionally and precisely by the lawyer and is supported by necessary documents which contain:-
- A summarized list of all the facts and information regarding victim’s claim.
- Victim’s rationale explaining the liability of the at fault party.
- Detailed description regarding the medical treatment undergone by the victim and the expenses incurred.
- Detailed description of all income lost.
- Detailed description of all types of damages and losses sustained.
- A demand for a compensation amount to resolve the claim.
- NEGOTIATIONS. After intensely scrutinizing the claim made by the victim in the demand letter, the insurance company may:-
- ACCEPT DEMAND. In this scenario, insurance company accepts the demand and agrees to the compensation claimed in the demand letter. Such a thing rarely happens as Insurance companies always indulge in negotiations to bring down the claim made by the victim.
- COUNTER OFFER MADE BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY. The insurance company offers the victim an amount less than what he or she had asked for in the demand letter. The victim decides to accept such an offer, or continue negotiations or file a lawsuit after consulting his lawyer.
- INSURANCE COMPANY DENIES CLAIM. The insurance company may deny the claim outright and refuse to pay.
- LAWSUIT. In the event of a victim rejecting the offer of the insurance company or the insurance company denying the claim of the victim outright, the victim through his lawyer files a lawsuit.
- MEDIATION. In Florida, all accident cases are ordered to mediation by the presiding Judge assigned to conduct the trial. In mediation, a neutral mediator, usually a retired Judge or a lawyer, assists the parties to amicably settle issues and differences in the case. The mediator helps the parties to reach a mutually agreeable solution. A mediator generally does not render a decision. If parties reach a settlement, insurance company will transfer the agreed upon amount to the victim who in turn will dismiss the lawsuit. If parties are unable to reach a settlement, the case will go to trial.
- TRIAL. The case will be conducted before a jury and a judge . Phases of a trial are as follows:-
- Jury selection.
- Opening statements.
- Witness testimony.
- Closing arguments.
- Instructing the jury.
- Deliberations and
- Verdict. A jury verdict is unpredictable and this reason motivates parties to settle a case and not leave the outcome in the hands of a jury.
Lawsuits are an expensive proposition and litigating parties face mounting legal costs.
A party unhappy with a verdict can seek to Appeal if there is sufficient legal basis for it.
Florida requires motorcycle riders to take a basic rider course and to get a proper license, or an endorsement added to their existing driver’s license.
A 2018 report from the National Transportation Safety Board found that 64% of motorcycle related accidents were caused due to a negligent act of another vehicle driver and not due to the fault of a motorcycle rider.
Negligence is defined as “Failure to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person.”
To prove negligence, the plaintiff (the injured party) must establish the following four main elements:-
- The defendant (the accused party) owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care.
All motorists such as car drivers, truck drivers and motorcycle riders owe a duty of care towards other riders, drivers, passengers, pedestrians and others on the roadways.
- The Defendant breached his or her duty of care. The breach of care by the defendant is the crux of the personal injury law. It is the plaintiff’s burden of proof to convince the judge or jury that there was a breach of care committed by the defendant.
- The breach of duty by the Defendant caused the accident. It is not enough to show that the Defendant was negligent, careless or reckless, it has to be established by a preponderance of the evidence that his or her act of negligence was the main cause of the car crash.
- The accident caused compensable damages.
The plaintiff has to establish that he or she suffered damages due to the breach of duty by the Defendant. Damages may include economic damages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost wages, loss of quality of life and/or property damage.
COMMON CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS/CRASHES:
Some major factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents are:-
- Inexperienced riders.
- Riding under influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Distractions (Texting, eating or talking on a cellphone.).
- Failure to obey traffic rules.
- Lane splitting.
- Poor weather and road conditions.
- Failing to wear or improper use of protective gear (helmets, leather clothing).
TYPES OF INJURIES SUSTAINED IN MOTORCYCLE COLLISIONS/ CRASHES.
Motorcycle accident injuries vary from person to person, and from crash to crash. Most common motorcycle accident injuries are :-
- Broken bones and Fractures.
- Injuries to the chest.
- Leg and knee injuries.
- Facial damage.
- Spinal injuries/ paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries.
- Permanent disability.
- Wrongful death.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR FILING A MOTOR CYCLE ACCIDENT CASE IN FLORIDA
There are specific time limits, restrictions and rules for filing a accident claim. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer ensures that a victim fully understands the Federal, State and Local laws that might apply to his or her case. Florida statute of Limitations for motorcycle accidents is four years after the accident occurred. In general terms, residents of Florida have four years from the date of the accident to initiate a civil lawsuit.
It is in the best interests of the plaintiff to enlist the services of an experienced Miami motorcycle accident lawyer. Sufficient time is necessary to collect evidence to establish the defendant’s liability. Numerous records have to be collected and opinion of experts has to be sought.
Motorcycle accident cases must be filed at the earliest as these cases rely heavily on witness statements. After a few weeks, witnesses tend to forget details about the accident.
COMPENSATION FOR VICTIM OF A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT IN MIAMI.
Our Miami motorcycle accident lawyers seek to get maximum compensation for the victim of a motorcycle accident and help him or her explore other options and alternative ways to seek additional compensation for injuries sustained.
Several states will not allow a person to recover damages if he or she contributed to, or is more than 50% responsible for his or her own injuries. Florida, being a Comparative Fault State, allows a person to recover damages irrespective of his or her degree of fault. A Court will apportion fault among the parties, and the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages to the extent, he or she is not responsible for causing his or her injuries. In Florida, the median hospital bill for a injured motorcyclists is approximately $47,000.
Our Miami motorcycle Accident lawyers help victims recover compensatory damages mentioned below:-
- Medical Bills.
- Lost Wages.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Property damage.
- Estimated future medical expenses.
- Out of pocket expenditure.
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of companionship.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Punitive damages can be sought too. For a case to qualify for punitive damages, the victim will have to prove that the at fault party’s conduct was malicious, wilful and reckless.
DETERMINATION OF FAULT IN A FLORIDA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT.
Florida is a no fault state, which means that in the event of an accident, riders have to turn to their own vehicle insurance for coverage. It means each person’s insurance company pays for their own client’s accident expenses. Who was responsible for the accident is not taken into consideration.
WHY HIRE KAIRE & HEFFERNAN ?
Our qualified and experienced Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorneys possess in depth knowledge and experience to assist a victim and his family to navigate through complex accident laws. Our team relentlessly fights to secure maximum compensation through verdicts and settlements for victims of motorcycle accidents in Miami and all across Florida.
Our team of motorcycle Accident lawyers in Miami are experienced at collecting and protecting evidence. They know how to obtain and review medical records and have access to top motorcycle industry experts.
Our team of Miami motorcycle accident lawyers know how to effectively deal with Attorneys and Insurers of the Defendant who try to deny the plaintiff’s claim or reduce the claim value significantly.
CONTACT A MIAMI MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER.
If you or your loved one has been injured due to the carelessness or negligence of someone else, you deserve to be duly compensated for the injuries suffered and other damages. Call an experienced Motorcycle Accident lawyer at our firm for a free case evaluation right away.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.