Riding your motorcycle on the open road enjoying our beautiful, warm weather is a favorite pastime in the Tampa area. 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. The Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys have represented many clients who have suffered from catastrophic injuries caused by negligent drivers. You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Our Tampa office serves clients throughout Central Florida, including Tampa, Spring Hill, and Wesley Chapel. Call us at 813-915-1110 to schedule a free consultation.
Why Choose Hancock Injury Attorneys?
You may be confused about what to do after a motorcycle crash. Seeking medical treatment or dealing with the death of a loved one, filing an insurance claim, and figuring out how to pay for crash-related expenses can be complicated. You need an advocate, 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.
Contact us today to discuss your case and discover how we can help you on your path to justice.
Our Office Locations
Our primary offices are located in Tampa at 1317 W Fletcher Ave., Tampa, Florida 33612. You can reach us by phone at the Tampa office at 813-915-1110. We have additional offices in Wesley Chapel at 2224 Ashley Oaks Circle, Suite 102-E, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33544. Call the Wesley Chapel office at 813-537-6927. We serve clients in Tampa, Spring Hill, Wesley Chapel, and throughout central Florida.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes
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.
Common causes of motorcycle crashes may include:
- Distracted Drivers: Motorists not paying attention to their surroundings, such as texting or using a phone, can lead to collisions with motorcycles.
- Speeding: Excessive speed by both motorcyclists and other drivers can reduce reaction time and increase the severity of accidents.
- Unsafe Lane Changes: Failure to signal or check blind spots when changing lanes can result in collisions with motorcycles.
- Impaired Driving: Alcohol or drug impairment can impair a driver's judgment and coordination, leading to accidents.
- Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, debris, or uneven road surfaces can be hazardous for motorcyclists.
Although 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.
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.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists normally suffer more serious injuries than someone in a car, truck, SUV, or other type of vehicle. Many of these injuries can be permanent and require long-term care. Accident victims often need more compensation for higher medical costs and lost wages because of how severe their injuries can be.
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. 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). TBI symptoms can range from headaches to 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 toward 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 often 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.
Establishing Liability in a Bike Crash Claim
In Florida, establishing liability in a motorcycle accident claim typically involves considerations of negligence and adherence to traffic laws. Some specific Florida laws that can affect liability for both motorists and motorcyclists include:
- No-Fault System: Florida follows a "no-fault" insurance system, which means that each party's own insurance covers their injuries in most cases, regardless of who is at fault. However, exceptions exist for severe injuries.
- Right-of-Way: Motorists must yield the right-of-way to motorcycles when applicable, just as they would for other vehicles. Failing to do so can lead to liability.
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting (riding a motorcycle between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic) is illegal in Florida. If a motorcyclist is engaged in lane splitting at the time of an accident, it can affect liability.
- Helmet Laws: Florida requires motorcycle operators and passengers younger than 21 to wear helmets. If a motorcyclist violates this law and sustains injuries, it could affect liability.
- Reckless Driving: Both motorcyclists and motorists are required to obey traffic laws and drive safely. Reckless driving, such as excessive speed or aggressive behavior, can contribute to liability.
- Proper Licensing: Motorcyclists must have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver's license. Riding without the proper endorsement may impact liability.
- Signal Use: Both motorcyclists and motorists should use turn signals to indicate their intentions when changing lanes or making turns. Failure to signal can affect liability.
Establishing liability in a motorcycle accident claim often involves a thorough investigation, witness statements, and evidence of negligence. It's important to consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law to navigate the complexities of these cases and determine the specific factors that may affect liability in your situation.
Many victims also face biases and are stereotyped by adjusters and juries as careless, even when they are not at fault. In motorcycle accidents that lead to the 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. A compassionate personal injury attorney can be an ally to fight for you and your loved ones.
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 an accident, you could hold them liable for the costs. Especially if their behavior directly caused the vehicle collision, they could 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. We can help you decide whether it should be based on negligence or strict liability.
What is the Value of My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
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. 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.
To determine the value of your claim, consider these key elements:
- Medical Expenses: The cost of your medical treatment, including surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and rehabilitation, will be a significant factor in the claim's value.
- Lost Wages: If the accident caused you to miss work, you can seek compensation for the income you would have earned during your recovery.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, such as physical pain and emotional distress, can be challenging to quantify but are an essential part of your claim.
- Property Damage: The value of your damaged motorcycle or any other property involved in the accident can be included in the claim.
- Future Medical Expenses: If you require ongoing medical treatment, these future expenses should be estimated and included in the claim.
- Permanent Disability: If the accident resulted in a permanent disability or disfigurement, the long-term impact on your quality of life should be considered.
- Liability: Establishing who was at fault and to what degree can impact the value of your claim. If the other party was clearly negligent, it may increase the value of your claim.
- Insurance Policy Limits: The at-fault party's insurance policy limits and your own underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage can affect the maximum compensation available.
- Negotiation and Litigation: The skill of your attorney in negotiating or litigating the case can influence the final settlement or verdict amount.
Florida No-Fault Laws
Because Florida is a “No-Fault” state, motorists must use their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance first to pay for medical bills and lost wages. If a motorcycle rider owns an insured vehicle, regardless of their fault, that person’s PIP insurance would be the primary source for paying for medical care and lost wages. Additionally, motorcyclists may also have Medical Payments coverage available to them on their auto policy.
Reduced Compensation for Partial Fault
Florida follows a "pure comparative negligence" system when it comes to personal injury claims. This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault. Liability is assessed based on the evidence and circumstances of the accident. Both the motorcycle operator and the other party involved may be assigned a percentage of fault. Even if the injured party bears some responsibility for the accident, they can still seek compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can navigate the complexities of comparative negligence and pursue a fair and just settlement for your injuries and losses.
Florida Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for a personal injury or wrongful death claim is typically two years. If you don’t file your claim within the required timeframe, you may lose your right to seek compensation.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A motorcycle accident lawyer can provide crucial support, particularly when dealing with serious injuries or wrongful death cases, by offering a compassionate and effective approach. A motorcycle accident lawyer has the legal knowledge and experience to navigate complex personal injury or wrongful death cases. They can help you understand the legal aspects and your rights.
In cases of wrongful death, a compassionate lawyer can help surviving family members pursue a legal claim to seek justice and compensation for their loss.
Lawyers can conduct a thorough investigation into the accident, collecting evidence, speaking to witnesses, and reconstructing the events to establish liability. In complex cases, attorneys can consult with medical and accident reconstruction experts to provide testimony that strengthens your case.
Your attorney can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages. Your lawyer can handle all communication with the involved parties, including insurance companies and the other party's legal representation, reducing your stress and ensuring your rights are protected.
Attorneys work to maximize the compensation you receive, ensuring that you're fairly compensated for both economic and non-economic damages. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can advocate for your rights in court, presenting a strong case to a judge and jury.
Dealing with serious injuries or wrongful death is emotionally challenging. A compassionate lawyer can provide support, empathy, and understanding throughout the legal process, helping you cope with the emotional toll. By having a skilled lawyer on your side, you can focus on your recovery or grieving process while knowing that your legal matters are in capable hands.
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.
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.
Contact Hancock Injury Attorneys 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.
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. Contact us by calling 813-915-1110 or filling out the contact form on this website.
To learn more about the individuals that Hancock Injury Attorneys have served, watch The Helmet Stories, a three-part miniseries in which firm founder Mike Hancock tells the stories behind the helmets.