Fort Lauderdale sees thousands of motorcyclists on its roads every year. It is a renowned destination for bikers around the country who seek beautiful scenery, clear weather, and good times. Unfortunately, some joyrides end in tragedy in the “Venice of America.” In the event of a serious injury or wrongful death, your family may need the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer. Kelley/Uustal can give your family a peace of mind. Call us today for a free consultation.
Why Choose Our Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Lawyers?
Motorcycle crashes can have serious life-changing consequences. Injuries such as broken necks, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries are common. If you or a loved one were injured in an motorcycle accident in Florida, our experienced attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys at Kelley/Uustal understand how certain actions can help or hurt compensation awards.
Our team of dedicated injury attorneys have extensive experience with insurance claim settlements and jury verdicts and we know how to direct you in a way that will maximize your odds of compensation. We are available 24/7, come see us as soon as possible after your motorcycle wreck in Fort Lauderdale. We can assist you during this most difficult time.
- Dedicated Attorneys
- Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Injury Lawyer Robert W. Kelley is one of the top ten attorneys in the nation.
- Free Consultation
- Kelley/Uustal has won over a quarter of a BILLION dollars in compensation for clients.
Discuss your case with our team after an injury. We offer help 24/7 and free consultations. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Fort Lauderdale have won millions for our clients and have the skills to get a fair compensation after your motorcycle crash.
Motorcycle Accidents Quick Answers:
Who Is Liable for Your Injury?
When you or a loved one is hurt in a motorcycle crash, you need a Ft. Lauderdale attorney with experience in Florida state laws, compassion, and a willingness to fight for you when you need it most. Medical bills pile up fast, but determining who is responsible after a motorcycle accident can be complicated. At Kelley/Uustal, you get an unparalleled level of expertise and the tenaciousness necessary to take your case to court if need be. Depending on your circumstance your damages should be covered by another party, particularly, someone who was responsible for the crash. This includes;
- The driver of the vehicle who struck you.
- The government responsible for the maintenance of the roadway, if the accident was caused by infrastructure.
- The construction company who built the road, again if the accident was caused by a faulty street/road.
- Motorcycle dealership or maker, if the accident was caused by an engine malfunction.
- Manufacturer of the motorcycle, if the accident was caused by a faulty product.
Florida is reported to have the most fatalities from motorcycle accidents in the country. In 2015, the state saw 606 motorcycle crash fatalities. Motorcycle riders are only 7% of drivers in Florida but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 19% of all the fatal accidents involve a motorcycle. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine who is liable for the crash.
Drivers of any vehicle have a duty to drive in a way that keeps themselves and others safe while they are on the road. If they do not do this at any point and an injury takes place, they could be liable. For example, if a car turned left in front of you, cutting you off, and it caused an accident, the driver of the car would be liable for your damages.
What to do After a Motorcycle Accident
What you do directly after a motorcycle accident can make a significant difference when it comes to receiving compensation. There are things accident victims should do and not do, to optimize the chances of the court’s ruling in their favor. When in doubt, talk to one of the experienced attorneys at Kelley/Uustal of Fort Lauderdale after a motorcycle accident. We can speak with you during a free, no-obligation consultation to help you understand what actions to take. General steps you should take after a motorcycle crash in Florida are as follows:
- Stay calm
- A motorcycle crash can be incredibly frightening and confusing. Do yourself a favor and remain calm in the aftermath. Don’t shout at the other driver or cause further damage.
- Don’t admit fault
- It can be difficult not to apologize after any kind of crash, but the other driver may construe this as an admittance of fault. Be polite, but don’t say sorry or admit that you were at fault. Wait for the police and insurance companies to determine fault.
- Check for injuries
- Check yourself and other involved parties for injuries. If anyone is hurt, call an ambulance right away. Keep in mind that you may have sustained injuries that you haven’t felt yet, such as a concussion with delayed symptoms.
- Gather information
- Start recording as much as possible about the accident. Write down the other party’s name and insurance information, as well as that of any eyewitnesses to the crash. Record a description of what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.
- Take photos
- If you have a camera phone, take photos of the accident, the site, and of any injuries. Photographic evidence can be a significant help in legal matters later on. If you can’t take photos, send a friend or family member to do so as soon as possible.
- Call the police
- Florida law requires you to report an accident if it results in $500 worth of damages, injuries, or death. You must report the crash to law enforcement, and file a crash report if the officer doesn’t do so within ten days of the accident.
- Seek medical attention
- If your injuries aren’t severe enough to have gone straight to the hospital at the scene, go to the doctor directly after the police give you permission to leave the scene. Waiting to visit the doctor can harm your chances of compensation, as it can imply that your injuries weren’t very severe. Seek medical attention even if you don’t feel injured right away.
- Report to your insurance company
- Most insurance companies require policyholders to report incidents as quickly as possible. Do not make any statements, accept a settlement offer, or sign any paperwork with an insurer until speaking to an attorney. Insurance companies may not do what is in your best interests.
- Stick to the facts
- When speaking to the police or an insurance agent, don’t speculate or guess about what happened. State only the facts of the case, such as which directions both vehicles were heading. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with insurance companies, enlist the help of an attorney to do so for you.
- Consult with an attorney
- Once you’re on the mend, speak to our local Fort Lauderdale law office about your motorcycle crash. Our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys can take over communications with insurance companies, help you achieve your settlement goals, or take your case to trial if necessary.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can occur in any number of ways, but some are more common than others. Riding a motorcycle comes with unique risks and challenges that may contribute to a crash. Some of the most common include:
- Violation of the right-of-way
- According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, nearly 2/3rds of motorcycle accidents occur when the driver of another vehicle fails to adhere to rules regarding the right-of-way, causing a crash.
- Lack of visual recognition
- Motorcycle are smaller targets by nature, and motorists might not always be on the lookout for them. In fact, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone riding in a regular car. Additionally, motorcyclists are 5 times more likely to incur injury. This becomes a particularly dangerous issue at intersections, where most motorcycle accidents happen.
- Hazards in the road
- What may only be a minor bump to a car can send a motorcyclist flying. Additionally, loose gravel or road debris can lead to crashes and serious injuries. Other hazards include potholes, puddles, oil slicks, uneven pavement, or railroad tracks. Accidents of this type might give rise to claims against municipal authorities.
- Wobbling Accidents
- A motorcycle may malfunction and the front tire may begin to wobble or shake, particularly at high speeds. A misalignment of the front tire may be responsible. Accidents of this type can be serious or fatal because of the speed involved. The manufacturer may be to blame for any misalignments or dangerous conditions inherent in the motorcycle itself.
- Accidents resulting from inexperience
- Finally, a seasoned motorcyclist knows how to protect himself or herself from road hazards and the actions of other motorists. Inexperienced riders may lack the ability to make evasive maneuvers to avoid the crash, leading to more serious injuries.
Motorcycle accidents can occur in any number of scenarios, and many people could be responsible. For example, another driver, the government, or a construction company may be guilty of negligence and subsequently liable for any injuries. Injured motorcycle riders should schedule a review of their legal options as soon as possible following a crash. Contact us to arrange a free initial consultation with our firm today.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Florida
In the most recent crash reports released by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motorcycle Vehicles show that in 2016, more than 10,000 accidents involved motorcycles. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable to serious injuries and deaths in collisions. Here are more surprising statistics:
- About 88,000 motorcycle operators and passengers suffered crash-related injuries in 2015. Motorcyclist deaths occurred about 29 times more often than passenger car occupant fatalities.
- Motorcyclists accounted for 17% of all occupant fatalities, 14% of all traffic fatalities, and 4% each of people injured and occupants injured.
- The most harmful event for motorcycles in 2015 was collisions with motor vehicles (54%). About 24% of motorcycles involved in fatal collisions were in single-vehicle crashes with fixed objects.
- About 27% of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes in 2015 were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. This is a higher rate than passenger car drivers (21%) and truck drivers (2%).
It’s one thing to read the numbers on motorcycle crashes in Florida and throughout the country, but it’s another to be personally involved in one. In the aftermath of a motorcycle collision, the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with a competent team of Fort Lauderdale motorcycle attorneys. The right litigators can help you navigate the complex legal field after a crash and fight for maximum compensation for your hospital bills, missed time at work, physical pain, and emotional suffering.
Florida Statute of Limitations in Motorcycle Accidents
Florida sets time limits for filing a motorcycle accident claim, called the statute of limitations. This is a state law that dictates how long you have to go to court and file a claim on the grounds of negligence. In Florida, the statute of limitations may vary based on whether a motorcycle accident resulted in injury or death. For questions regarding statutes of limitation, talk with one of our motorcycle accident attorneys.
If a motorcycle injury led to an injury – whether it was a driver, passenger, or pedestrian – the person seeking a claim must file one with the applicable court system within four years of the date of the accident. This same four-year deadline applies to claims for property damage, for example, compensation for a lost bike.
However, if someone died as the result of a motorcycle accident, it becomes a wrongful death case. According to the laws in the state of Florida, a person filing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a decedent must do so within two years of the date of the person’s death.
Failure to file a claim within the two or four year deadline can lead to disastrous consequences. The courts could refuse to hear a plaintiff’s claim, even if another party clearly committed negligence. It’s in a victim’s best interest to contact a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyer and schedule a free review of legal options as soon as possible following an accident.
Florida Motorcycle Riding Laws
Motorcyclists have all the same rights to the roads as passenger vehicles. They also have the same responsibilities. Knowing the laws before hitting Fort Lauderdale’s highways is imperative to a motorcyclist’s safety and legal protection. Every state has its own motorcycle statutes. Obeying Florida’s can help you prevent accidents and serious injuries. Here are a few important rules to follow as a motorcycle operator in the Sunshine State:
- Motorcycle headlight requirements
- Florida Statute Section 316.405 states that any motorcycle operator must have headlights turned on from sunrise to sunset. Headlights may use either lower or upper beams during this time.
- Helmets are NOT Mandatory
- Motorcycle operators must wear helmets throughout Florida UNLESS the operator is over 21 years old and has an insurance policy for at least $10,000 in medical coverage for injuries. This exception has led to far too many motorcyclists deciding not to wear helmets.
- Passenger laws in Florida for motorcycles
- Operators cannot carry passengers unless the motorcycle has a design that accommodates more than one person with a permanent seat. Any motorcycle with a passenger must have footrests for the passenger. All passengers must wear helmets unless they fall under the above-mentioned exception.
The NHTSA reports about 1,772 motorcyclists survived because of helmet use in 2015. Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing fatal motorcycle injuries to operators and 41% for passengers. In 2015, 283 un-helmeted motorcyclists in Florida (46% of all un-helmeted riders) suffered fatal injuries. Breaking Florida’s helmet or other laws could reduce your chances of compensation after an accident. The defense could argue comparative fault, or that you were partially at fault for the incident/injuries because you broke the law. Abide by the laws to limit your personal liability in the event of a crash.
What You Should Know Before Buying a Helmet
- Make sure the helmet meets DOT standards by checking the label
- Buy a helmet approval by Snell: The Snell Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to helmet testing and the development of helmet safety standards. Snell independently tests helmets to ensure they meet Snell’s strict standards, which require the helmet to absorb substantially greater forces than the U.S. Department of Transportation. A label indicating Snell compliance may be fake, so check the Snell website to verify that the helmet has been tested and approved by Snell.
- Learn how to identify an unsafe helmet.
- Avoid used or “hand-me-down” helmets: If the helmet has been dropped, crashed or damaged in the past, it may not protect fully. Any helmet that has suffered damage or been involved in a crash should be replaced and the old helmet be destroyed.
- Buy a good helmet and make sure to use it.
What are the helmet laws in Fort Lauderdale?
Helmets are not required for motorcyclists in Florida who are above the age of 21. Whether you are wearing a helmet or not, a driver may still be liable if you were injured in an accident with them and were not wearing a helmet. Because Florida does not require helmets, it will most likely not significantly impact the amount you are rewarded in your case if you were not wearing a helmet.
Florida is a comparative fault state. This means that it is rarely a case of one party being 100% at fault. The court will look at various factors in a case that may have impacted the situation. They will determine the percentage of fault of each person involved. The amount that you are rewarded will be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault for the accident.
Motorcycle accidents can often be severe. Immediately after the accident, as you are speaking to the police or the other person involved in the accident, do not admit any fault. Keep your statements simple and factual. It may seem natural to say you’re sorry but that could later be construed as an admission of guilt. This could affect you if you pursue a lawsuit and need to prove that the other party was at fault.
You should also seek medical attention as soon as you can. Not only because it is advantageous for your well-being, but because you will need to document your injuries with a medical report if you decide to pursue a lawsuit against the other driver. The visit will also provide you with evidence through medical records and bills. You will need this proof later in your case to show that it was the accident and not something else that caused your injuries.
Damages and Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
After a serious motorcycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, you’re probably curious about the value of your personal injury case. You might be facing thousands of dollars in medical costs, property damage, and lost earnings – not to mention significant personal pain and suffering. Each case is unique and requires a legal consultation for an accurate evaluation of your claim’s value. However, you can get an idea of what your case could be worth by identifying and calculating your damages.
Medical Bills and Future Medical Care
Almost all motorcycle accident claims result in compensation for past and future medical bills. You likely have already received medical treatment for your motorcycle accident prior to contacting an attorney about the value of your case. Take your medical bills and expenses you’ve already incurred and add them up. This may include ambulatory fees, emergency aid, hospital stays, scans and tests, treatments, skin grafts, surgeries, medications, follow-up appointments, and your gas expenses to and from appointments.
Next, calculate your future medical costs for the duration of your injury. Get your prognosis and estimated recovery time from your physician. Then, total up the costs of your doctor’s visits, wound care equipment, creams and antibiotics, pain prescriptions, etc. until the date of predicted recovery. An estimate based on your past medical expenses will suffice for the purpose of approximating the value of your motorcycle accident claim. Future medical costs could amount in the millions if you suffered a permanently disabling injury.
Calculating Lost Earnings
Another form of compensatory damages you may qualify for is lost earnings. “Lost earnings” can refer to both income you lost from missing work during your recovery as well as lost future earning capacity from a temporary or permanent disability. Add up the wages you have already lost from taking vacation or sick days to heal from your accident-related injuries, based on whether you receive annual salary or an hourly wage. Then, calculate your future lost earnings.
If you receive an hourly wage, take the amount you get per hour and multiply it by how many hours of work you’ll have to miss total. If you receive salary, divide your total annual sum by 2,080 hours (the number of work hours per year). Then, multiply this amount by the number of hours you’ll miss from your injury. Don’t forget to add missed promotions, overtime wages, commissions, and bonuses you normally would have made.
Future lost earnings will depend on your age, job position, skills, education, and severity of your injuries. Younger victims, for instance, would lose more in future earnings than a motorcyclist close to retirement age. You may need to support your future earning capacity calculation with wage documentation, your work history, and other evidence. Our attorneys can help you accurately make this calculation and prove your losses to a judge or jury in Fort Lauderdale.
The Florida civil courts also permit motorcycle accident victims to seek recovery for non-economic damages, or those without an exact monetary amount. These damages can include physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, and lost quality of life. The amount you may qualify for will depend on the severity of your injuries. Catastrophic injuries that permanently disable or affect victims are worth more in non-economic damages than more minor damages.
Since juries determine pain and suffering compensation values, the amount a plaintiff receives can vary greatly on a case-by-case basis. The skill of your attorney can play a role in how much compensation you receive for your motorcycle accident claim. Finding the right lawyer to represent your case is key if you wish to maximize your recovery. Kelley/Uustal has secured impressive results for past clients and may be able to do the same for you.
If you have more questions regarding your accident or injury claim, don’t hesitate to call our Fort Lauderdale injury lawyers, we are here to help and answer your questions during a free consultation.
Call (954) 522-6601 for legal guidance or to schedule your free case evaluation today.