Riding your motorcycle on the open road enjoying our beautiful, warm weather is a favorite pastime of many Floridians. But imagine that while you were enjoying your time on the road, another person hit you.
When someone else’s actions involve you in an accident, it can be upsetting.
Motorcycle crashes can be devastating to your life and take a toll on your family, finances and health. Unfortunately, these types of accidents often leave motorcycle riders in pain, facing rising expenses, and under the overwhelming stress of not knowing what to do next.
Some people you have to deal with during this recovery process may think you were the reckless one because you ride a motorcycle, including the insurance adjusters. You need someone to advocate for you so you do not have to handle this process alone. Hancock Injury Attorneys are compassionate, experienced legal professionals who will help you determine if you have a valid legal claim for damages against the negligent driver.
Whether you are dealing with physical injuries, emotional suffering, or financial hardships, a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer can help you seek relief. Let our personal injury lawyers evaluate your circumstances and walk you through the process of filing a claim. We want to help you resolve your case so you can focus on your healing.
Why are Motorcycle Crashes More Complicated?
Florida has one of the highest annual rates of motorcycle fatalities in the United States. Likewise, it also has one of the highest rates of motorcycle injuries each year. As a result, personal injury claims are common, but that does not make them any easier to navigate.
The reason these claims can be so complicated is that each one is unique in its circumstances. Sometimes it may not be the fault of a particular driver but instead the result of defective motorcycle parts or poorly maintained roads. However, most motorcycle wrecks are directly caused by drivers or other third parties.
Aggressive, distracted, and impaired drivers all risk your safety on the road. Drivers who violate traffic laws by speeding, making improper turns, and disregarding traffic signals also can cause motorcycle crashes. Although these traffic violations are not required to prove fault in a motorcycle accident claim, they could show evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of the at-fault driver.
Motorcyclists also normally suffer more serious injuries, many that can be permanent and require long-term care. These victims often need more compensation for higher medical costs and lost wages because of how severe their injuries can be. Many victims also face biases and are stereotyped by adjusters and juries as careless, even when they were not at-fault. In motorcycle accidents that lead to a wrongful death of the victim, the families are the ones that have to seek justice, which can be extremely painful during an already hard time.
Police reports and tickets can be valuable support for your personal injury claim. Our legal team can help you break down the circumstances of your accident and gather evidence showing you have grounds to file for negligence.
Motorcycle Crash Injuries Can Be Especially Devastating
Standard vehicles have built-in safety features and metal frames to protect the driver and any passengers. But motorcycles only have two wheels, an engine, and flimsy fiberglass and metal frames.
Likewise, since they don’t have windshields, airbags, and seatbelts, the impact of a motorcycle crash can lead to more catastrophic injuries. Moreover, since there’s less space between the motorcyclist and the impact, avoiding getting hit is next to impossible.
Common injuries you can suffer in a motorcycle crash can include:
When your skin meets the road during a crash, road rash is inevitable. If not treated promptly and properly, road rash can result in serious to potentially fatal consequences, such as septic shock and staph infection.
Head and Brain Injuries
A blunt force to the head can lead to traumatic brain injuries. TBI symptoms can range from headaches, loss of consciousness, blurred vision, and nausea, among others.
More serious TBIs can even have long-term or permanent effects on your personality, concentration, memory, and other cognitive abilities.
Spinal Cord Damage
You can injure your back if you fall off a motorcycle, get thrown off one, or get trapped under one during a crash. Spinal cord injuries can range from pinched or slipped vertebrae to permanent and complete paralysis.
Multiple Broken Bones
When you get ejected off your bike towards the ground at a rapid speed, your first instinct is to protect your face. You do this by covering it with your arms and hands, but this leads to broken or crushed bones.
Likewise, the weight of the motorcycle or impact from the oncoming car could snap the ankles, splinter shins, and even crush a femur.
Nerve and Muscle Damage
Seemingly minor injuries may not be minor at all. Many muscle tears, strains, and sprains may need several weeks to heal. Severe nerve damage may even take extensive surgery and years of rehab and physical therapy to fully heal.
In a motorcycle vs. car crash, it’s likely the motorcyclist that suffers the most. Medical treatment for minor injuries can be expensive. Having to heal and miss work can add to your stress and frustration.
What is The Value of My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
The damages you seek from the at-fault driver depend on the extent and nature of your injuries and the specific losses you suffered. The Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys will thoroughly evaluate the evidence to figure out the compensation you’re entitled to and the total value of your claim.
How is Motorcycle Law Different from Automobile Accident Law?
One of the reasons these claims can be difficult to manage on your own is because motorcycle and automobile laws differ greatly. For example, when insuring a motorcycle, you cannot purchase first party medical benefits and income loss benefits as you can with an automobile.
However, many areas of motorcycle law are changing. The courts have yet to determine whether a biker who is injured in a motorcycle accident can stack uninsured and underinsured motorist benefits for the automobiles that are in the owner’s household. Our courts have also not decided whether private health insurers can claim subrogation against the motorcycle owner in the event of recovery.
Proving Fault in Motorbike Injury Cases
To be successful in your personal injury claim arising from a motorcycle accident, you are required to prove negligence. Careless and reckless conduct could both be a basis for personal injury claims. Essentially, other parties may not be held responsible for the accidents unless the evidence shows that their behavior fell short of a reasonable person’s actions. Our attorneys are practiced at collecting evidence that proves a defendant driver is responsible for the accident and resulting injuries.
All drivers have the duty to obey traffic laws to keep others safe on state roads and highways. If another driver has violated a traffic law and their violation leads to a bike accident you are involved in, you could hold them liable for the costs. Especially if their behavior directly caused the vehicle collision, they can face liability through a personal injury claim.
However, negligence is not the requisite standard in every motorcycle accident claim. In product liability claims involving defective motorcycle parts, companies may be strictly liable for the parts that they produce, regardless of whether they were negligent in manufacturing or designing them. It can be confusing to know what the best approach for your personal injury claim should be. Contact our local motorcycle accident attorneys who have experience determining the best strategy for a personal injury claim and can help you decide whether it should be based on negligence or strict liability.
Can an Injured Passenger Sue the Rider on the Same Bike if Injured?
Anytime someone injures another person due to negligent or intentional actions, the victim can file a personal injury claim. This also includes the passenger of a bike where the driver was at fault. If you were not the one driving the vehicle when the incident happened, you can still file a claim for damages.
Damages and Motorcycle Crash Claims
Proof of damages is a required element in all personal injury claims that arise from motorcycle crashes. You must be able to show that you suffered compensable injuries as a direct result of the collisions. The damages available to you will depend on the extent and permanency of your injuries.
With legal help, you may have the potential to recover a wide variety of compensation that can include property damage to the motorcycle and any other personal property that was damaged. You can also seek compensation for costs related to your injuries, including medical bills, surgical expenses, and rehabilitation. Furthermore, if a motorcycle accident has impacted your ability to return to work, you could seek compensation for lost income through a personal injury claim.
To learn more about the individuals that Hancock Injury Attorneys have served, watch The Helmet Stories: a three-part miniseries in which Mike Hancock tells the stories behind the helmets.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Tampa?
After a traumatic incident, it can be tempting to put off filing a claim until you feel ready. The prospect of handling the accident claim can be completely overwhelming, which is why hiring a Hancock Injury legal team to handle your case could be your best option. As of January 2020, State law only gives a victim of a motorcycle accident four years to file their claim (Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a)). This time starts on the day of the accident. If the case is not filed within this time, it’s likely that the right to claim a motorcycle personal injury case will be gone.
Four years may seem like a lot of time, but the longer you put off filing a claim, the more of a burden it could become. Consult with our Tampa motorcycle collision attorneys about your claim, they can help you adhere to all the deadlines, so you are not barred from any recovery.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
Immediately after a motorcycle crash, you should:
- Report the accident to the police and ask for medical attention for your injuries.
- Be clear and accurate in how you describe the events of the accident. Any and all witnesses should be identified by name, address, and telephone number.
- Take photographs or videos of the scene and vehicles from as many angles as possible. Photographs showing the damage to your motorcycle can be invaluable to our legal team and can help maximize your recovery.
Call a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Under the law, someone can represent themselves. However, keep in mind that the insurance company and their high-priced defense lawyers have processed many claims, and this is possibly your first experience with a personal injury lawsuit. It could be wise to at least talk to an experienced local bike collision lawyer to be advised of the law and your rights.
Tampa attorney Mike Hancock brings 30 plus years of experience in personal injury litigation, including many verdicts and settlements for motorcycle accidents.
- He is knowledgeable about the causes of motorcycle crashes and has the resources to bring in professional investigators when there is a dispute about who was at fault.
- He is familiar with common injuries in motorbike collisions and works closely with medical providers, economists, and other professionals to detail the hardships and future needs to pursue full compensation.
- He understands the unique insurance issues and laws pertaining to motorcycles and how they factor into your personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party.
- He has helped families recover wrongful death damages for the financial losses and emotional aftermath of a fatal motorcycle accident.
You will be able to build a stronger personal injury claim by scheduling an appointment to meet with a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer. By working with legal counsel experienced in handling cases like yours, you could be more likely to get the full amount of damages you are owed. These damages could help you get back on your feet following a motorcycle wreck and begin to rebuild your life.
Especially if your injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident are severe, you may need financial assistance if you are unable to support yourself. The sheer amount of medical bills can be overwhelming in this situation.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be a challenging time for you and your family. You may be uncertain whether you have a valid legal claim arising from the accident. You may be at a loss for how to proceed. Our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers can help! We can give you the advice and counsel you need to move forward.
Click the button below for a free consultation so that you can focus on getting better while we take care of everything else.