Recovering the financial compensation you need after a motorcycle accident is often more challenging than it needs to be. While coping with your injuries, you will need to prove your personal injury claim to the at-fault party’s insurer. Plus, defend against biases many drivers and insurance firms have against motorcycle riders.
Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience handling motorcycle accident claims and helping accident victims navigate the difficult circumstances that accompany them. Call us for a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Port St. Lucie today.
What Are the First Steps I Need to Take After a Motorcycle Accident in Port St. Lucie?
While your personal injury lawyer will handle most of your case, there are a few things you need to do to protect your health and your right to compensatory damages:
Getting Medical Attentio R n
The first step in recovering compensation from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident is ensuring you receive medical attention and continue to attend appointments, and follow your doctor’s orders.
We often see clients who stop medical treatment too early or think they are not seriously injured, only to have an injury later become more serious than they thought.
This is a crucial step because if you do not receive (and continue) medical attention, the insurer can claim you are falsifying, exaggerating, or contributing to your injuries.
Decline to Give a Recorded Statement
You can expect a call from the negligent driver’s insurance company soon after the accident. While this is normal, what you say during this call can jeopardize your entire case.
The insurance adjuster who calls you will likely request a recorded statement in which you discuss what happened in the accident. The adjuster will use anything you say in this statement against you.
The adjuster can twist even something as innocent as saying, “I’m sorry” or “I’m okay,” and claim you admitted you caused the accident or confirmed you were uninjured.
If the adjuster asks for a recorded statement, politely decline and direct any questions to us. Despite what they say, you have a right to take time to process your motorcycle crash and consult our attorneys before committing to an official statement.
Do Not Sign Anything
After a motorcycle accident, you may find people trying to settle your case with you. Insurance companies, or even the driver who negligently caused the accident, may offer you money quickly after the accident. It may seem tempting to take these offers at first.
However, taking a settlement now may prevent you from ever recovering additional compensation later. This can be a problem if your injuries are worse than you first thought, if you are out of work longer than you thought, or if your injuries do not heal the way you expected them to.
Could I Be At Fault for the Motorcycle Accident in Port St. Lucie?
In most cases, drivers in other cars will try to blame you for causing the accident. This can be especially problematic because there is a widespread notion that motorcycle riders are reckless and disobey laws. However, just because you were riding a motorcycle does not make you responsible for an accident.
In fact, according to a 2013 article, the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research attributed 60% of motorcycle accidents to automobile drivers.
However, even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still recover compensation. It is important to note that your fault will decrease the settlement you can recover.
How Are Car Accident and Motorcycle Accident Laws Different?
Although cars and motorcycles follow the same traffic laws, one area where they differ is with insurance.
Florida law requires all car owners to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance — called “no-fault” insurance. PIP insurance compensates policyholders for medical bills and lost wages, no matter who was at fault.
The requirement to have PIP insurance does not apply to motorcycle riders. This means that, in most cases, riders must file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to recover compensation.
How Do I Prove the Other Party Is Responsible for My Port St. Lucie Motorcycle Accident?
This is where we come in. We will gather the information needed to prove that another driver behaved negligently and caused your accident. That information will need to demonstrate that:
- As a motorcyclist sharing the road, you were owed a duty of care by other drivers.
- Someone’s careless action violated that duty of care, such as driving drunk or changing lanes without looking.
- Their careless action caused an accident that injured you.
- Your injuries entitle you to compensation for accident-related expenses.
We compile evidence that will draw a direct line between all four points, showing the relationship between the other party’s negligence, your injuries, and your right to damages.
Evidence We Can Use in Your Port St. Lucie Motorcycle Case
Evidence can vary based on each case, but some typical pieces of information we use are:
- Photos from the accident scene
- Traffic and bystander video
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Blood alcohol and drug testing
- Witness testimony
- Expert analysis
- Accident reconstruction
- Debris and physical evidence
You can provide some of this evidence while we gather other types. While we appreciate the help you can provide, our priority is taking over the work of your case to decrease your stress and responsibility.
What Forms of Negligence Can Cause Motorcycle Accidents?
Given the negligence parameters above, many actions or even inactions could be grounds for pursuing legal action after a motorcycle crash in St. Lucie County. From a driver distracted by their radio to a property owner who failed to correct a dangerous roadway defect, negligence depends on each case.
That being said, the following are a few common ways other drivers cause motorcycle accidents:
Failure to Observe
Because motorcycles are smaller vehicles, car drivers may sometimes fail to observe them. This can lead to improper lane changes or turning in front of a motorcycle at an intersection.
Distracted driving is dangerous to motorcyclists, who drivers might not see until it is too late. Distractions can lead a driver to merge into a motorcyclist’s lane, cross the center lane and hit a motorcycle head-on, or rear-end a rider.
Depending on how the accident occurred, we might gather evidence such as eyewitness testimony, surveillance video, photos, cell phone records, expert testimony, and red-light camera footage to prove the other driver was at fault.
Do Port St. Lucie Motorcyclists Need to Wear Helmets?
While we suggest all riders wear a helmet at all times, Florida motorcycle riders can legally drive without helmets if they are over the age of 21 (and have the minimum amount of first-party insurance required by law).
However, when motorcycle riders get into accidents without wearing helmets, legal disputes can arise over whether the rider’s injuries, especially head and neck injuries, resulting from the driver’s negligent behavior or the rider’s failure to wear a helmet.
We have argued against this defense countless times. We can retain experts to testify that your injury resulted from the other driver’s negligence, not your decision to forgo a helmet.
What Motorcycle Accident Injuries Can I Receive Compensation For?
Unfortunately, many motorcycle riders suffer severe injuries that can be fatal. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 5,500 motorcycle riders were killed in the United States in 2020.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can file a claim for compensation covering their injury-related expenses. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral and burial costs, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, mental anguish (in wrongful death cases)
Our motorcycle accident attorneys work with you to evaluate your life in Port St. Lucie before and after the crash. Any differences between the two could be acknowledged through economic and non-economic damages—costs, changes to your personal life, and income losses that you would not have encountered otherwise could be eligible.
For families who lost loved ones, we consider your relationship with the deceased to pursue damages that reflect the unique emotional and financial support you lost.
We can also fight for the maximum compensation that will help you honor your lost family member appropriately according to their last wishes.
How We Determine Damages You Could Receive
Some of your damages will be rooted in specific expenses and evidence. For instance, our accident attorneys use the following:
- Experts like doctors and actuaries
- Medical records
- Pay stubs and W-2s
- Testimony from your doctors, friends, and family
- Out-of-pocket expense receipts for property damage
We Consider Factors Other Than Your Job
Don’t worry if, for example, you don’t work a traditional job with pay stubs. We can help you compile evidence of income from freelance or gig work. Even side jobs could be eligible for compensation.
Our motorcycle collision team compiles evidence based on your unique situation to show how an accident has affected your life. That includes taking into account your:
For instance, the Insurance Information Institute (III) points out that older motorcyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries in accidents. Age could affect how badly you were hurt, how well you recovered, and the amount you need to pay for your expenses.
By paying attention to these personal details, we work to ensure you aren’t treated generically by insurance companies and liable parties, but as the individual you are.
Schedule a FREE Consultation With a Port St. Lucie Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The motorcycle accident legal team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will fight for your right to receive full compensation for injuries sustained in an accident. We take no fee unless you recover, and your consultation with our firm is free.
Contact us today for a full explanation of how we can help you if you have been in a motorcycle accident.
We Can Help.