You can sue someone personally after a motorcycle accident, though you may choose to speak with a lawyer before deciding to do so. Suing someone may ultimately be the decision you make, but you might first consider other options, such as completing an insurance claim.
Whether you decide to push for compensation through insurance or a lawsuit filed in civil court, a lawyer will be able to make your case. They will oversee either process until it is complete, and the resolution could lead to you receiving compensation for your losses.
You May Be Eligible to File a Lawsuit if the Other Person Is At-Fault
The term “fault” means more when it pertains to a motorcycle accident. Any party that causes a motorcycle accident could be responsible for:
- Damage to the victim’s motorcycle
- Physical injuries suffered by the victim
- The victim’s mental trauma
- Any other losses that come from the accident
When a motorist is one of the parties responsible for an accident, the lawyer representing the victim—who may be you or a loved one—can identify how the motorist caused the collision.
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Losses That May Lead to a Lawsuit
The Insurance Information Institute (III) explains that motorcycles are less protective than a car, truck, or SUV is. A motorcyclist may be more likely than other types of motorists to suffer losses when an accident happens, as they may be at greater risk of injury or death.
The most significant loss that one may experience is the loss of a loved one from a motorcycle accident. Other losses that could lead an accident victim or their loved ones to bring a lawsuit are:
- Injuries that require a cost of care beyond what insurance covers
- Lost income
- The cost of repairing or replacing a motorcycle
- Pain and suffering
- A decline in the victim’s earning power
The losses that each motorcycle accident victim suffers are unique. They must be reviewed, assigned value, and compared to the amount of coverage that any applicable insurance provides. A lawyer will do each of these things and work with their client to fight for the justice that they deserve.
Insurance Will Play a Part in Your Eligibility to File
You may sue someone personally after an Orlando motorcycle accident if the amount of insurance coverage they have does not cover your losses. This may be the case if:
- The driver who caused your accident only has the minimum amount of insurance required by law
- The driver who caused your accident has no insurance
- Your injuries are severe and require expensive care
- Your injury-related losses are significant
- You lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) notes that Florida drivers are generally required to carry $10,000 in coverage for injury and $10,000 in coverage for property damage to others. If your losses surpass this coverage mark, then you may begin considering a lawsuit.
Damages Can Add Up Quickly
$10,000 may seem like a reasonable insurance minimum to require of drivers in Florida, but those who have been involved in serious accidents may find that it is not enough to cover their losses. Some medical costs that could lead your damages to surpass $10,000 include:
- Emergency transportation from the scene of your accident
- Care in the emergency department of a hospital
- Tests and other procedures to diagnose your injury
- Any period of hospitalization that you require
- Medications for pain
- A part- or full-time caregiver during your recovery period
- Physical therapy
You may also experience property damage as a result of your accident. Your motorcycle could be totaled, and property that you had on your motorcycle or body may also be damaged. Additionally, you may experience noneconomic damages that also could be factored into your lawsuit. Those may include:
- Psychological trauma from the accident
- Specific conditions such as depression or anxiety
- Loss of physical abilities
- Loss of cognitive abilities
- Changes in your personality
- Loss of independence
Non-economic losses could be more difficult to calculate than economic damages, but your lawyer will assign them a value and determine if your total damages outpace the coverage that insurance could provide. If they do, then your lawyer may be able to determine who is responsible for your losses and help you seek fair awards through a lawsuit.
Recoverable Damages in an Orlando Wrongful Death Case
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, we hope to express how sorry we are for your loss. We know how losses like these can affect every aspect of your life personally, emotionally, and financially. Under Florida law, you can sue the responsible party if you lost a loved one because of their negligence. Florida Statutes § 768.21 outlines the types of damages you may be able to recover through legal action.
Some of the losses that you could be entitled to collect following your loved one’s passing include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- The decedent’s medical bills
- Loss of financial protection for any of the decedent’s dependents
- Loss of the deceased’s future income
- Funeral expenses
Your Civil Suit Attorney Can Determine Who Is Eligible to File
The types of damages that you are eligible to recover will rest on your relationship with the deceased party. For example, if you are the decedent’s child, you may be able to recover compensation for loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. If you are the decedent’s spouse, you may be able to recover compensation for loss of protection. Who is eligible to collect these damages will depend on the surviving loved ones and the will of the person who has passed away.
Bringing a wrongful death lawsuit may be a way for you to seek justice after an immense loss. A lawyer can be your advocate throughout the legal process. They can handle as much of your case as possible so that you may focus on spending time with your loved ones.
You Typically Have Two Years to File a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s passing, you may not have a long time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Per Florida Statutes § 95.11, you typically have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit.
You may be granted additional time to act based on the facts of your case. However, to safeguard your legal interests, you should get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible. You do not want to miss out on your chance to seek justice and compensation for your losses.
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Assigning Liability For a Motorcycle Accident
The American Bar Association (ABA) notes that there may be three general standards for liability in a personal injury case. They are:
- Strict liability
- Intentional harm
Assuming that the person who caused your accident did not do so on purpose, the standards of negligence and strict liability could most likely apply to your accident. Someone may be negligent if they fail to act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances, and motorist negligence includes a number of careless or risky driving behaviors.
Others besides the driver who caused your accident may also be responsible for your losses under the principle of strict liability. A lawyer will review the facts of your accident to determine who holds responsibility for your losses.
Potentially Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Per Florida Statutes § 627.737, parties who may be sued in an Orlando motorcycle accident case include:
- The driver of the vehicle that caused your accident
- The owner of the vehicle whose driver caused your accident
- The person whose name is on the at-fault vehicle’s registration
- The person who holds the insurance policy for the vehicle that caused your accident
- Other parties deemed liable for the accident
The issue of liability is somewhat open-ended, as the circumstances of each accident may present unique issues of fault. A lawyer may be able to help you determine who is at fault for your accident, injuries, and related losses.
Motorists May Be the Clearest Source of Negligence
The person driving the vehicle that caused your motorcycle accident may be the first party you assess for negligence. Some acts that may make a motorist liable for an accident include:
- Driving beyond the post speed limit
- Driving too closely to a vehicle in front
- Driving too closely to a vehicle on the sides
- Being drunk or under the influence of drugs
- Making dangerous turns
- Merging lanes dangerously
- Disobeying stop signs, red lights, yield signs, and other traffic safety indicators
- Driving a vehicle that is not safe for the road
- Having unsecured items in the vehicle while windows are open
- Having items improperly secured to the outside of the vehicle
Distracted Driving is a Deadly Form of Negligence
Distracted driving is another form of potential negligence that is a major problem on roadways across America, Orlando included. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that distracted driving caused 3,142 deaths in 2020 alone and that the practice can affect other motorists, pedestrians, passengers, and bicyclists.
Some forms of distracted driving are:
- Writing, sending, and reading text messages
- Monitoring or posting on social media
- Eating or drinking
- Taking photographs or videos
- Changing the vehicle’s stereo
- Engaging with applications on your phone
- Speaking on the phone
- Turning your attention away from the road for any reason
A distracted driver may allow their vehicle to veer out of their lane, drift into oncoming traffic, or slam into the rear of a vehicle in front of them. Any motorist whose behaviors or failures to act with care contributed to your accident may be sued in your Orlando motorcycle accident case.
Your Lawyer Will Try Your Case
In a conversation with your lawyer or their team, you may decide if you want to sue someone personally after an Orlando motorcycle accident. It may be more appropriate for you to first pursue an insurance claim, and your lawyer may be able to help you in either case.
Your lawyer will outline your strategy for seeking compensation and then execute the strategy while defending your rights. They will protect you from efforts by insurance representatives, attorneys, and any other party who wishes to violate your rights for their own benefit.
Your lawyer may be able to help you seek compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and any other losses related to your accident while you work toward recovery.
Services a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Provide
Whatever motivates your decision to hire a lawyer, you can expect your legal team to handle as much of the legal process as they possibly can. Your lawyer will create and file your lawsuit, then take every step necessary to complete your case.
Some of their specific responsibilities may include:
- Assigning liability for your loved one’s accident to all responsible parties
- Building your wrongful death case
- Gathering evidence that supports your case
- Calculating the value of your losses
- Collecting medical records and other evidence of how your loved one’s death occurred
- Negotiating a settlement with the involved parties
- Completing a trial, if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached
Your legal team’s goal is to bring about a fair resolution to your Orlando wrongful death case.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today
Do not wait to call a lawyer, as Florida law generally limits the time that you have to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. You should call a lawyer regardless of the time that has passed since your accident or loved one’s passing, as there may be exceptions to statutes of limitation.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation.
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