St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Florida is one of two states (the other being California) that have the highest number of registered motorcycle riders. The sunny climate, combined with sweeping curves and scenic roads, motivates a lot of people to leave their cars at home and travel by motorcycle.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle operators don’t always share the road safely with motorcyclists. They drive at aggressive speeds, pay more attention to their phones than the road ahead, and disregard traffic laws in general. While this might lead to nothing worse than a fender bender and a ticket for them, for motorcycle riders, the outcome can be catastrophic.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident because someone else was negligent, you deserve a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer who won’t stop advocating for you until you have the settlement or award you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. The Lopez Law Group has helped many clients receive the financial recovery they need to move on after a serious accident, and will give your case the same skilled and dedicated attention.
Motorcycle Accidents Cause Serious Injuries
The NHTSA reports that more than 80% of motorcycle accidents cause injury or death. Most of these crashes result in the rider and passenger being thrown through the air or across the pavement, resulting in injuries that include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Road rash
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are nearly 29 times more likely than car occupants to die in a crash. The most common cause of death is traumatic brain injury. These statistics aren’t surprising: even when wearing a helmet and protective gear, motorcyclists are more exposed than car or truck drivers, which almost guarantees that a collision will leave permanent injuries.
Common Reasons for Florida Motorcycle Accidents
As St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyers, we are aware of the dangers and challenges faced by motorcyclists on the road. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Driver Distraction: When drivers are distracted by their smartphones, electronic devices, or passengers, they can easily miss the sudden appearance of a motorcyclist.
- Driving under the influence: Motorists impaired by drugs or alcohol can’t operate their vehicles safely or react in time to prevent a collision.
- Speeding: When motorcyclists collide with vehicles traveling at excessive speeds, the results can be catastrophic and even fatal.
- Unsafe lane changes: When a driver changes lanes without checking their blind spots or looking carefully for vehicles in other lanes, serious motorcycle accidents may occur.
- Left-turn accidents: These accidents occur when a vehicle makes a left turn and collides with a motorcycle rider or another vehicle trying to pass on the left. According to NHTSA estimates, nearly a third of motorcycle accidents are caused by left-turning vehicles.
Dangerous roadway conditions: Motorcycles are smaller than other motor vehicles, so they have a bigger risk of spinning out of control after encountering fuel spills, potholes, and road debris.
Compensation in Motorcycle Accident Cases
An experienced and assertive St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyer will fight for a settlement that covers your expenses and provides a financial cushion while you recover. At the Lopez Law Group, we combine our own years of experience with expert feedback to assign a value to your claim and can pursue compensation like the following:
- Medical expenses and ongoing treatment
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Punitive damages in cases where the defendant was especially reckless or negligent
As soon as the insurance company for the at-fault driver learns of the accident, you’ll be hearing from a claims adjuster. They’ll sound friendly and concerned, but their sole responsibility is to protect their company’s bottom line. That means paying you as little compensation as possible. Your St. Petersburg motorcycle accident lawyer will handle all negotiations with insurance company representatives.
Liability in Florida Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are almost always caused by negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. While this is often on the part of the driver who struck you, there can be other parties that share liability for the accident. They include but may not be limited to:
- The Manufacturer: Motorcycle manufacturers can be held legally responsible when a manufacturing defect causes or contributes to an accident.
- The Maintenance Shop: If the accident was caused by negligent repair work, the maintenance shop may be liable.
- A Municipality: If poorly-maintained or repaired roadways caused you to lose control of your bike and crash, the municipality may be liable. Suing government agencies can be more complicated, but our attorneys know how to present a valid claim against them.
When accidents are caused by multiple parties, making a personal injury claim is a lot more complicated, but our experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyers won’t leave anything- or anyone out. We know that you need every dollar of compensation available to get your life back on track.
Motorcycle Accident Settlements
At the Lopez Law Group, we pride ourselves on obtaining outstanding results for our clients. Although every case is unique, our goal is always the same: negotiating or litigating for a financial recovery that helps you rebuild your life after a serious accident.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been hit by a motor vehicle while riding your motorcycle, check yourself for visible injuries and move to a safe location if possible. Your next step should be to call 911, report the accident, and request an ambulance, even if you don’t think you were hurt. Not all injuries immediately show symptoms, and you want a medical record of your condition in order to file a personal injury claim later.
While you’re waiting for the police and ambulance to arrive, exchange contact information with the at-fault driver and any witnesses to the accident. You’ll also want to get the driver’s insurance information, as your personal injury attorney will need it to make a claim with the right company.
Whatever you do, don’t admit fault in any way. Comments like “I’m so sorry! I didn’t look where I was going” can be used to deny or minimize your future compensation claim. Exercise similar caution when insurance adjusters call- tell them that you are hiring a personal injury lawyer and provide that lawyer’s information. Until your case concludes, the only party you should discuss the accident with is your attorney.
Who Pays My Medical Bills After a Motorcycle Accident?
When you’re injured by a negligent driver, your first recourse for compensation is to file a claim against their car insurance policy. Your personal injury attorney will value your claim and present a settlement figure to the insurer. If they refuse to settle, your case may go to trial.
It gets more complicated if the driver was uninsured or doesn’t carry sufficient insurance to cover all your damages. In this case, if you have access to an uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), you can approach your own insurance provider. If you have medical payment (Medpay) coverage, it may also compensate you for your medical bills. Your personal injury lawyer can help you identify and act on all options for compensation.
What if the Accident Was Partly My Fault?
When more than one party is at fault in a motorcycle accident, Florida follows a pure comparative fault rule. This means your compensation is reduced by a percentage equal to your share of fault.
For example, let’s assume that your case is valued at $60,000 but, because you were speeding, your percentage of fault is set at 40%. The law states that you may only collect 60% of your total damages, which in this instance would be $36,000.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are notorious for trying to assign a higher degree of blame to accident victims. This strategy minimizes how much they have to pay you. The Lopez Law Group is familiar with this practice and will fight to prevent an insurer from impacting your compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
In Florida, you typically have four years after your motorcycle accident to make a claim against all liable parties. After that time has passed, you tend to lose all right to pursue compensation unless exceptions like the following apply:
- You were legally incapacited at the time of the accident. In this case, the statute of limitations is extended to seven years.
- The defendant left the state before your claim could be filed.
- The defendant intentionally avoided service of process in the lawsuit by changing their identity and otherwise concealing themselves in Florida.
Your personal injury lawyer will protect your rights if an appropriate exception applies.
Questions? Speak to a St. Petersburg Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you receive the settlement you deserve after your accident. At the Lopez Law Group, results are paramount. Our goal is to aggressively pursue justice for you based on your objectives and goals. Furthermore, our clients are not just numbers. We care about your future and we’ll keep you updated at every stage in the case. For a free consultation, call us today at 727-293-5746 or contact us online.
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