Parker Waichman LLP Represents Motorcycle Accident Victims and the Families Who Lost a Loved One Due to a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
Motorcycles are an entertaining form of primary or secondary mode of transportation for many Floridians. However, Florida sees more motorcycle-related fatalities than any other state in this country. Such a statistic is alarming and suggests that something needs to change to reduce the incidence of fatal motorcycle accidents in the great state of Florida.
It is important to acknowledge that there are inherent risks associated with operating a motorcycle, but motorcyclists should still feel safe on the roadways as they share them with passenger cars, pickup trucks, and large tractor-trailers, among other vehicles. There are also risks of driving in a passenger car or truck on any given day, and even if such risks are higher for motorcyclists than drivers and passengers of cars, preventable motorcycle accidents happen that can lead to tragedy. The risk of getting on a motorcycle is not reason enough to explain away a Florida motorcycle accident. There may be more to a motorcycle accident than meets the eye from first glance.
Why Call Parker Waichman LLP For Your Free Consultation?
At Parker Waichman LLP, our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys have handled, and continue to handle, thousands of personal injury lawsuits associated with motor vehicle accidents, including, but not limited to, motorcycle accidents. Our Florida Motorcycle Lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means that if a client’s case is not successful, the attorneys do not get paid. Our law firm takes the risk of helping injured victims even though there are no guarantees that a client will receive compensation. However, we are confident in the skills of our attorneys and staff and believe our efforts help clients have the best possible chance of being compensated for their injuries.
Florida Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries – Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits and Settlements
Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are often more tragic than a car-on-car accident, mostly because motorcycles are at a disadvantage in terms of size and protection. Helmets are not mandatory in Florida, and even when a motorcyclist wears a helmet, he or she is still at risk for suffering severe injuries that may not be suffered in a car accident. Some motorcycle accidents may not be considered preventable. However, a significant number of motorcycle accidents our state sees each year are indeed preventable.
Common causes of Florida motorcycle accidents include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, or using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media apps, among others;
- Drunk driving, “buzzed” driving or driving while under the influence of drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medication;
- Failure to signal and lane splitting (when a motorcycle travels between lanes); failure to yield, speeding, following too closely, failing to stop at a stop sign, and running a red light, among other traffic violations;
- Weather conditions;
- Failed or defective equipment (failed brakes or blown tires, among others); and
- Driver/Motorcyclist experience.
Many people believe that most Florida motorcycle accidents are caused by the person on the motorcycle, but this is far from the truth. Passenger cars, trucks, SUVs and tractor-trailers also cause some motorcycle accidents, many of which can be catastrophic. As such, when determining who may be at fault for causing a Florida motorcycle accident, it is always best to speak with an attorney before jumping to conclusions on what went wrong. It takes a thorough evaluation of the facts to put the pieces back together and paint a picture of how and why a motorcycle accident has happened.
Injuries Associated with Florida Motorcycle Accidents
When a motorcyclist in Florida is not wearing a helmet or any other protective gear, any impact of an accident, whether the accident involves only the motorcycle or other motorists, the consequences can be devastating. Even when motorcyclists wear a helmet, they can still suffer fatal injuries resulting from an accident. Many motorcycle accident victims who survive an accident suffer a variety of severe injuries that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Neck, back, Sacroiliac Joint, and spinal cord injuries, many of which lead to nerve damage, numbness, partial paralysis or complete paralysis;
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), some of which are closed-head injuries and other open-head;
- Fractured, broken and shattered bones, which often results in the need for one or more corrective surgeries using screws, plates and other metal;
- Blunt force trauma to the chest and other parts of the body;
- Damage to organs;
- Internal bleeding;
- Torn muscles, large gashes and wounds, and other soft tissue injuries; and
- Any other injuries requiring hospitalization, surgical procedures, and continuous medical treatment after the accident.
Many of the injuries listed above can cause secondary injuries or symptoms. For example, any head injury can result in chronic headaches, chronic generalized pain, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, depression, suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from family members and friends, learning disabilities, and many other conditions that can be life-altering.
Additionally, orthopedic injuries often result in permanent consequences, such as the development arthritis, chronic pain, and the need for long-term physical therapy. Because the injuries associated with Florida motorcycle accidents can be severe, speaking with a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney about the injuries and how they happened is helpful to investigate the link between the accident and resulting injuries.
The Tragic Truth of Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Florida continues to be the deadliest state for motorcycle accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Florida saw a total of 577 motorcycle fatalities in 2015, which is substantially greater than most other states. The total number of motorcycle accidents across the United States in 2015 was 4,684. Therefore, 12% of all motorcycle fatalities in 2015 occurred in Florida, an alarming statistic that may be surprising to many Florida residents. The NHTSA has reported that many of these motorcycle fatalities are preventable, especially if a helmet is worn. Florida saw similar statistics in 2014, suggesting that the trend of fatal motorcycle accidents is increasing. Full statistics for 2016 and 2017 are not yet available.
While failure to wear a helmet can certainly result in fatal injuries should a motorcycle accident happen, there are motorcyclists all across the country who do not wear helmets, so there could be additional factors that contribute to fatal motorcycle accidents that have nothing to do with whether a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. Florida did, at one time, require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, but that motorcycle helmet law was repealed in 2000. The current law requires motorcyclists 21 years of age or older are not required to wear a helmet. Motorcyclists under the age of 21 are still required to wear a helmet.
It is important to keep in mind that an accident itself is not necessarily caused by a person’s choice to not wear a helmet. A helmet may affect how severe an injury is, but is not a contributing factor to the cause of a Florida motorcycle accident. Therefore, wearing helmets may help to minimize or prevent a serious injury, but will not necessarily reduce the number of motorcycle accidents that happen. Preventive measures that apply to all motor vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents, are key to reduce the number of fatal accidents seen in Florida year after year.
Motorcycle Safety Tips All Florida Motorists Should Follow
Visibility is crucial for motorcycles to reduce the risk that an accident will happen. In addition to the recommendation that a motorcyclist should wear a helmet to reduce the severity of injuries suffered, all motorcyclists should have proper reflective gear that provides other drivers with as clear a view as possible. Because motorcycles are so small, they are more difficult to see than a passenger car or truck, especially at night. Additionally, following too closely—whether it is the motorcycle following too closely or a car—can increase the chance of an accident happening. As such, learning to provide sufficient room both in front and behind a motorcycle is a good safety tool to use.
Motorcyclists should also avoid traveling in between lanes to pass cars, also known as “lane splitting.” While lane splitting is illegal in some states and legal in others, it is still conduct that can contribute to an accident. Motorcycles, cars, trucks, SUVs, and tractor-trailers all should treat each other as equals on our roadways, and provide room for one another to safely travel. It is the small things that can prevent a tragedy from striking, and hopefully, all Florida residents will help to change the trend of Florida being the deadliest state for motorcycles.
The Statute of Limitations for Florida Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need to Know
Motorcycle accidents have specific time limits in which limits the time a person has to file a lawsuit in Florida. However, Florida provides more time to file personal injury lawsuits than many other states. Under Florida law, a person who suffers personal injuries resulting from an accident, including a motorcycle accident, has four years from the date he or she knew the injuries were related to the accident to file a lawsuit. Ordinarily, the date of the accident will be what triggers the four-year period. However, if an injury is not immediately identifiable (i.e., symptoms are not experienced until days, weeks or even months after an accident), a person will have four years from the date the injury was identified to file a personal injury lawsuit.
If a person suffers fatal injuries in an accident and a spouse, child or another family member with representative capacity, has two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit, which is much stricter than the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. Once the two-year period has passed, it is too late to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Because the process for determining how long a person has to file a lawsuit can be complicated and unique based on the facts and circumstances of the accident and injuries, speaking with a Florida Motorcycle Accident and Personal Injury Attorney is essential before deciding to file a lawsuit.
The Case Process from Start to Finish for Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
While many motorcycle accidents may lead to similar injuries, the facts surrounding the accident are unique from one case to the next. Even if a motorcycle accident case seems clear-cut, there is a substantial amount of work that must be put in to get to the bottom of the cause(s) of the accident and how the accident resulted in catastrophic injuries or death.
It is always essential to keep in mind that when pursuing a lawsuit, it can take a long time to conclude. Often, it can take up to one year or longer to get a trial date scheduled. Additionally, it can take months to exchange information among parties, and it is always best to be thorough when investigating an accident. Trying to resolve a case too quickly does not always benefit a client, so patience is key when trying to receive the maximum compensation possible given the severity of the injuries suffered in an accident.
Whether seeking to file a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit, one should expect to go through the following process:
- Case evaluation and consultation;
- Review of relevant facts;
- Attorney decision on whether a potential claim exists;
- Plan of action between attorney and client;
- Obtain key preliminary information, such as accident or police reports, medical records documenting injuries, and witness statements, among other evidence;
- Filing the lawsuit or settlement before filing the lawsuit if a case can be reasonably and fairly settled before going to court;
- The discovery process – where the parties in the lawsuit (plaintiff and defendant) exchange information to build the case;
- Settlement negotiations, mediation, and arbitration;
- Trial or settlement;
- Verdict; and
- Appeal (typically the losing party will appeal a trial verdict).
A significant number of motorcycle accident cases are settled before a case goes to the jury, and many lawsuits settle before the trial even starts. However, because every case is different, results cannot be guaranteed, but with the help of a truly experienced Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney, injured clients are placing themselves in the best position possible to seek and recover compensation.
The Significance of Retaining a Qualified Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Regardless of how a motorcycle accident happens, injured victims must first speak with an attorney before getting answers to very important legal questions. Additionally, because time is limited to file a claim, acting quickly to speak with an attorney is also critical. At Parker Waichman LLP, our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys understand that an injured person’s livelihood is at stake, and take on the challenge to represent every client’s rights to the fullest extent possible. Working with an attorney is a no-risk situation for an injured person as the attorney will not receive any compensation until the injured victim receives compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Is “lane splitting” legal in Florida?
No, “lane splitting,” or driving between lanes to pass other vehicles, is not legal in the state of Florida. This might come as a surprise to many Florida motorcyclists given that helmets are not required, and Florida is such a motorcycle-friendly state. However, given how many fatal motorcycle accidents that happen in Florida each year, having a law prohibiting lane splitting is at least one way to help minimize the incidence of motorcycle accidents.
What should I say to other motorists if I am involved in a Florida motorcycle accident?
Many people make the mistake of saying “I’m sorry,” or “It was my fault,” following an accident, and this can be very damaging if an injured person is seeking compensation, even if it is clear the person who apologized was not at fault for the accident. It is always best to focus on treating anyone with injuries and worrying about recovering before discussing and investigating who is to blame. Potential causes of a motorcycle accident and who is to blame are matters that should be discussed with a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney.
How much compensation am I likely to get if I am injured in a Florida motorcycle accident?
Compensation is always going to be calculated differently from one case to the next. The severity of a person’s injuries will determine the amount of money the injured person is entitled to. For example, a person who suffers permanent brain injuries who can no longer work is likely to receive more compensation than someone who has suffered a treatable back injury. If a person can no longer work, he or she is losing out on income, and therefore, may be entitled to a greater amount of compensation.
What if two attorneys give me different opinions about a potential case?
Doing your research to find the right attorney is always a good idea, and it is not uncommon for one attorney to give a different opinion about a potential case than another attorney. Also, some law firms may not have the resources to take on what may be a very viable case, while another firm may have the necessary tools to handle that same case. As such, speaking with multiple attorneys about a potential case will help to determine what the general consensus is as to whether a case has a chance of settling or winning at trial.
Why should I seek a medical evaluation after a motorcycle accident when I don’t have immediate symptoms?
Symptoms associated with serious injuries may not be felt until well after an accident has happened. For example, a person may hit his or her head in a motorcycle accident and walk away feeling completely normal, but after a few days or even weeks, that person may begin to suffer the symptoms of a concussion, which can be a very serious injury. Therefore, seeking a medical evaluation after an accident can help to find out if there are any potential injuries that should be treated. Waiting too long to seek medical treatment can be harmful to an injured person, making the situation even worse.
Parker Waichman LLP Has Collectively Obtained More Than $2 Billion for Injury Victims
There are thousands of accident injury attorneys in Florida who handle motorcycle accident cases. However, there are a few firms that stand out from the rest, and Parker Waichman LLP is one of them. As a nationally-recognized personal injury law firm, Parker Waichman LLP always places emphasis on meeting a client’s needs and interests before anything else.
Our legal team has recovered more than $2 billion for clients through mediations, arbitrations, negotiated settlements, and verdicts at trial.
Because of our firm’s success, we have been honored and recognized with the following:
- AVVO Rating of 9.8/10;
- AV Peer-Reviewed “Preeminent Lawyers” rating;
- Listed in Peer-Reviewed “Best Lawyers”; and
- Ranking of “5 Dragons” according to Lawdragon’s peer review.
Ratings and honors are not everything, but they do help to demonstrate that a law firm has everything that it takes to fight for its clients. Parker Waichman LLP works tirelessly to ensure all clients are receiving the best legal representation possible for the injuries they have suffered in a motorcycle or other motor vehicle accident.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Schedule Your Free Consultation
If you, a loved one or someone you know has suffered injuries resulting from a Florida motorcycle accident, consider speaking with a Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney as soon as possible. At Parker Waichman LLP, our skilled legal team represents motorcycle accident victims who have suffered injuries ranging from treatable to permanent, if not fatal. Our motorcycle lawyers understand what is at stake and why it is important to fight to help injured clients receive compensation.
Parker Waichman LLP represents injured clients all throughout Florida, but mostly in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Bonita Springs, Immokalee and Marco Island. Call us right away to protect your legal rights and to receive your free consultation with one of our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys. Contact Parker Waichman LLP today by calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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