Florida is a popular destination for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists from all over the country travel to Florida for popular events, including Dayton Beach Bike Week and Thunder Beach Motorcycle Rally.
Despite the freedom and festiveness surrounding motorcycles, there is an increased risk of accidents, injury, and death in comparison to traditional motor vehicles.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Administration, Florida leads the U.S. in motorcycle fatalities. Fatalities have increased steadily over the last eight years with the exception of 2008.
Between 2000 and 2008 3,716 motorcyclists and passengers were killed in motorcycle accidents. In Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties an average of 73 motorcyclists fatalities occur each year.
If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, it is important to consult an experienced Tampa motorcycle attorney. Recovery of damages is more complex than a traditional car accident. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge to obtain recovery if negotiations with the insurance company fail.
Tampa Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Contact Michael Germain of Germain Law Group, P.A. for a confidential consultation about your motor vehicle accident. With over 12 years of experience, Michael Germain has the knowledge and skill to obtain the best possible result in your case.
The team of attorneys at Germain Law Group, P.A. will work diligently to ensure your claim is fully investigated and an appropriate settlement is reached. Should the settlement not be sufficient to cover your loss, including lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, Germain Law Group, P.A. is not afraid to take your case to trial.
Germain Law Group, P.A. represents clients throughout Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Temple Terrace, Plant City, Bay Crest Park, Hunters Green, and surrounding areas. Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. at (813) 835-8888 or complete an online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney.
Florida Motor Cycle Accident Information Center
- Florida Law Regarding Motorcycle Accidents
- Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
- What Steps Should I take After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa
- Central Florida Motorcycle Accident Resources
Florida Law Regarding Motorcycle Accidents
Under Florida law, accidents involving motorcycles substantially differ from accidents involving traditional motor vehicle. First, motorcycles do not have the same insurance protection as a car or a truck.
Motorcycles are not permitted to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance or “no fault” insurance, which covers medical bills and lost wages despite fault in the accident. Motorcycle owners do have the opportunity to purchase insurance for bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and uninsured motorist coverage.
The insurance limits for motorcycles are generally insufficient to cover serious injuries, like lost limbs, spinal injuries, or traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, most motorcyclists erroneously believe motorcycles do not require insurance.
The low insurance limits coupled with high percentage of uninsured motorcyclists means that a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover damages resulting from a motorcycle accident, especially if the individual does not have health or disability insurance.
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
When determining fault in a personal injury accident, including motorcycle accidents, Florida is a pure comparative fault state. This means if the person seeking damages is at fault, the percentage will diminish proportionately the amount he or she is entitled to recover. F.S.A. § 768.81(2).
For example, if a court decides that the plaintiff or the person seeking damages is 30 percent at fault and the other driver is 70 percent at fault, the plaintiff’s recovery is diminished by 30 percent. This means if a court determines the plaintiff’s damages equal $100,000 then it will award the plaintiff $70,000.
Because of the pure comparative fault system, the insurance company will try to cast as much blame against the plaintiff as possible. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced motorcycle attorney to go against lawyers for the insurance company.
There is a limited time to bring a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident. Generally, the plaintiff has 4 years from the date of the motorcycle accident to pursue the lawsuit. However, there are some instances in which a plaintiff may pursue the suit at a date later than the 4 years.
Steps After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa
The steps taken following a motorcycle accident are crucial to the case. It is important to collect and preserve any evidence. Although it certain facts and evidence may not seem immediately helpful, an experienced motorcycle attorney will know how to appropriately use this evidence in your case.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important immediately take the following steps:
- Cooperate with the authorities– Cooperate with the authorities investigating the crash. Respond to the authorities inquiries directly. Do not provide extraneous information that could be taken out of context.
Lawyers for the insurance company will have access to police or incident reports. Any information contained in the police report or incident report can be used by both the plaintiff and defendant.
- Do not give any recorded or written statements-Within days of the accident, the insurance company may be in contact. The insurance representative will inform that the conversation will be recorded.
Do not give a recorded statement, sign anything, or admit guilt as there may be other facts which are not immediately recognizable or available. The recorded or written statements may be used in the negotiations or lawsuit to establish fault.
- Seek medical treatment immediately– Safety is the primary concern following a motorcycle accident. Seek treatment as soon as possible. Medical records are the most credible documentation to demonstrate injuries.
Do not assess your own injuries. Seek medical treatment and allow a medical professional to appropriately assess and document your injuries.
- Collect documentation at the scene– Get the names, contact information, and insurance information of any drivers involved in the accident. Even more important, obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses on the scene.
Witnesses are crucial to the case. Customarily, witnesses are impartial and can support or refute each driver’s version of the events. Witnesses are especially important if the other driver flees the scene of the accident.
- Preserve any other evidence-Take steps to preserve evidence from the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the scene. If the motorcycle is removed, informed the towing company in writing that they must make every effort to preserve the motorcycle as evidence.
Central Florida Motorcycle Accident Resources
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles ǀ Traffic Safety Statistics– The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is the state agency responsible for conducting and collecting research related to Florida roads and highways. Available online are traffic and accident reports from 2008- 2014.
Germain Law Group, P.A. ǀ Hillsborough County Assault and Battery Lawyer
Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. today for a consultation about your motorcycle accident injury in Florida, including Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando, Polk, Sumter counties, and surrounding areas.
Michael Germain of Germain Law Group, P.A. is an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, who will examine the facts of your motorcycle accident and help you determine the best course for recovering damages.
Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. at (813) 835-8888 or submitting an online form to schedule a confidential consultation.