Riding a motorcycle is a popular pastime in Orlando and across Central Florida. However, a leisurely ride on a street bike could suddenly end in severe injury or death. Other drivers on the road do not always see motorcycles, and riders are particularly vulnerable to crashes that may not be serious for people in cars.
Road hazards and defective parts can also contribute to a motorcycle wreck, which is why multiple parties could be liable for a crash. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle wreck, our law firm’s Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers could help you pursue compensation.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics for Florida
In Florida, motorcyclists accounted for over 18% of all traffic fatalities in 2022, though motorcycles were involved in just 2% of crashes, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Of the more than 175 traffic fatalities in 2022 in Orange County, which includes Orlando, 29 were motorcyclists.
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Common Questions For Those Involved in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident
- Where Do Most Orlando Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
- Is it Worth Hiring an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
- How Much Do Orlando Motorcycle Lawyers Charge for Accident Claims?
- What Percentage Do Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Take?
- What Should I Do in the Days Following an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
- What Damages Can I Collect for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
- What Is the Average Settlement for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
- How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Case?
- Do You Have to Go to Court for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
- How Long Does an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Claim Take to Settle?
- What Happens if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?
- Can I Sue Someone Personally After an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
- Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Claim?
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How Are Motorcycle Accidents Different From Auto Accidents in Orlando?
Because motorcycle operators and their passengers are completely exposed, any accident, even a low-speed one, is more dangerous than for those in a car.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), motorcycle deaths are often associated with serious head injuries. Those who survive can have severe brain trauma, which is why it’s so important to wear a helmet.
Though Florida does not require motorcycle riders over age 21 with sufficient insurance coverage to wear helmets, wearing one reduces your risk of dying in an accident. Even if a rider wears a helmet and other protective gear, injuries can be severe.
Common motorcycle injuries include:
- Road rash
- Shoulder or arm fractures
- Leg fractures
- Knee and ankle sprains
- Rib fractures
- Traumatic brain injury
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Insurance Requirements
The other big difference is how motorcycles are treated by state law. Motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles and are excluded from the PIP insurance that state law mandates for car owners.
Following a car accident, each driver’s PIP covers their own medical injuries, and Florida’s no-fault law exempts them from most personal injury lawsuits stemming from the accident. Unless motorcycle operators have purchased a personal injury policy, they will have to cover their own medical expenses.
However, they or their loved ones can pursue a lawsuit when the accident resulted in death, severe or permanent injury, disfigurement, scarring or when the other driver’s negligence caused pain and suffering, mental anguish, or inconvenience.
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Where Do Most Orlando Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
In 2022, Orange County, which includes the city of Orlando and some of its suburbs, saw over 400 motorcycle crashes, according to the FLHSMV. The statewide total was over 8,400.
The truth is motorcycle accidents can happen anywhere. However, looking at nationwide data on fatal crashes gives us a sense of key things for motorcyclists to keep in mind.
When there was a fatal collision, the most common scenario involved a vehicle turning left in front of a motorcycle that could not stop in time. About two-thirds of the time, fatal accidents happened at locations that were not intersections.
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What Lawyer Deals With Orlando Motorcycle Accidents?
In many cases, Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers also handle cases involving automobile accidents. These personal injury lawyers work on a contingent basis instead of charging an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services.
This arrangement means they are paid a percentage of what their client recovers through a settlement or judgment. Their clients do not have to pay attorneys’ fees unless they recover damages, though, depending on their agreement with their lawyer, they may have to pay costs and expenses.
Because these lawyers focus on personal injury cases, they often have experience negotiating claims with insurance companies and taking cases to trial if necessary. They can also help guide their clients through this complicated process and protect their rights each step of the way.
What Does an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney Do?
Simply put, the Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers at our firm work to protect your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
During your initial consultation, our lawyers will evaluate your accident, help you understand what options are available, and give you an idea of how much you might recover.
From there, they will investigate the crash, file claims, negotiate with insurance companies, help schedule appointments, and always be available if you have questions or concerns. And they will not charge you anything unless they recover compensation for you.
Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Crash Lawyer?
If you or your loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, you probably have questions about dealing with insurance companies, managing your medical bills, and repairing or replacing your bike. We can determine how much compensation you are entitled to for physical injuries and property damage.
We can also deal with the insurance company on your behalf. In Florida, the laws regarding accidents and insurance can be complicated, particularly when it comes to motorcycles. We can help you navigate this unfamiliar terrain and protect your rights.
By hiring a lawyer, you will have an advocate in your corner, fighting to help you recover compensation. Our motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you will not pay anything until we recover compensation on your behalf.
When Should You Get a Lawyer for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
It is a good idea to consult with an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible. That is the best way to ensure that you are protecting your rights.
During your consultation, your attorney will review your case and discuss what you can expect and what compensation you might be able to recover. And you want someone in your corner before you file a personal injury claim or discuss a settlement offer with an insurance company.
The first few days and weeks after an accident can be crucial to building your case. We can gather evidence, speak to witnesses, connect you with doctors who will examine your injuries, and fight to help you recover fair compensation. We want you to focus on recovering from your accident.
Let us take care of the rest.
Should I Hire an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident?
You might believe an accident left you with only a scratch or a bruise and be more concerned about the damage to your bike. But medical problems stemming from the accident are not always immediately apparent.
An Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand your case’s full value and protect your rights. On average, accident victims represented by an attorney achieve higher settlements than those who handle their claims alone.
When our experienced team goes to work for you, we deal with the headaches and hassles that often accompany minor accidents. If you are injured, we want you to get checked out by a doctor and focus on healing. We’ll take care of everything else.
What Should I Do at the Scene of a Florida Motorcycle Accident?
If the accident caused a death, injury, estimated vehicle or property damage over $500, required a wrecker, was a hit and run, or involved an intoxicated driver, Florida Statute 316.065 requires you to call 911 and wait at the scene until law enforcement arrives to fill out a crash report.
Keep a copy of the police report for your records and your insurance company. On that note, if you have property damage or personal injury insurance, notify your insurance company of the accident, regardless of how minor it appears.
If you can, take pictures of the scene, including damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle, gather contact information for witnesses, and seek medical attention as quickly as possible, even if you do not notice any injuries. Then contact an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer.
What Should I Do in the Days Following an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
Your priority following a motorcycle accident is to make sure you are okay. Hopefully, you immediately sought medical attention, collected names and contact information from the other parties, and called the police.
Seek Medical Attention
If you did not get medical care after the accident, you must get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, even if your injuries appear minor. Sometimes, serious injuries do not show symptoms right away. Catching an injury now will also allow you to begin treatment early.
In addition, should you later pursue legal action, your motorcycle accident lawyer will have documentation connecting your injury to the accident.
Ideally, someone also took photos of the accident scene, including the damage to your motorcycle and any skid marks or other evidence indicating what happened. If not, take pictures of your motorcycle and any bruises or obvious injuries on your body.
Contact Your Insurance Company or a Lawyer
If you have personal injury insurance, your policy may require you to notify your insurer of the accident immediately; make sure you do so. If the other party’s insurance company contacts you about a settlement, we suggest you don’t speak with them before consulting with an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer.
If you plan to file a claim with the other party’s insurance company, consulting an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer will help you understand how much your case is worth. An experienced attorney can manage the hassle of dealing with the insurance company for you and push for maximum compensation.
How Do I Find a Good Orlando Motorcycle Crash Lawyer?
Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers have years of experience representing people who have experienced due to another motorist’s negligence. As we’ve said, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable in collisions, so receiving representation from an experienced attorney can be essential.
Here are some key items to consider when searching for an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer.
Recommendations and Reviews
First, ask for recommendations. You probably have friends who ride motorcycles. Have any of them needed legal help? Ask who they used and whether they were happy with the outcome.
It can be helpful to read online reviews about firms you might use. But it is even better to see how knowledgeable they are about the area you need help with (in this case, motorcycle accidents). That may be how you ended up here.
Get To Know Your Lawyer During a Free Consultation
The most important thing when hiring a lawyer is finding someone you are comfortable with. As the American Bar Association points out, your lawyer will be helping you make crucial decisions about your future.
If you do not trust them enough to be completely honest with them or are not sure they are looking out for your interests, they might not be right for you. Ask questions about their experience: How many cases like yours have they had? How many have gone to trial? How much will they charge you?
You can ask our lawyers anything, and we are confident you will be satisfied with their answers.
How Much Will It Cost To Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Our personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they are paid a percentage of the compensation they recover for you. While we are working on your case, we will take care of everything you need so that you can focus on recovering from your accident.
The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct cap the percentage that lawyers can charge in personal injury and property damage cases as follows:
- Recovery of 33%, up to $1 million, if you settle before the other party files an answer to your complaint or a demand for the appointment of arbitrators.
- Recovery of 40%, up to $1 million if you settle after that or win your case.
- An additional 30% of recovery between $1 million and $2 million.
- An additional 20% of recovery over $2 million.
You may also be responsible for the costs and expenses associated with your lawsuit.
That said, you won’t pay upfront for our services. Any fees or expenses will come from your settlement or court award; if your case is unsuccessful, you won’t owe us anything.
What Damages Can I Collect for an Orlando Motorcycle Crash?
Each accident is different, making it difficult to estimate the compensation to which the injured motorcyclist may be entitled. The amount will depend on the severity of damage to your motorcycle and whether you suffered any serious or long-term injuries.
You can file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company to pay for your injury, repairs to your motorcycle, and other losses. If your damages add up to more than their insurance covers, you can file a lawsuit against the individual driver.
If someone else caused your accident, you might be eligible for the following damages:
- Medical costs (past, present, and future)
- Loss of earnings
- Reduced earning capacity
- Other financial losses associated with your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death expenses (if a loved one was killed)
What Is the Average Settlement for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
Most motorcycle accident cases are settled before trial, and most settlement amounts are not publicly reported. That makes it difficult to pinpoint an “average” settlement.
Also, our experienced attorneys know that no accident is really “average,” and we always go above and beyond to protect the rights of our clients.
The settlement amount will depend on factors unique to your case, including:
- The other party’s insurance coverage.
- The extent of your injuries and medical treatment.
- The damage to your motorcycle.
- The availability of evidence.
- Whether you were partly at fault.
As defined in Florida Statute § 768.81, Florida is a “comparative fault” state, which means that the amount of compensation you are entitled to can be reduced to the degree to which you are assigned blame for the accident.
In other words, if an insurance company believes you are 20% at fault for the accident, it will seek to reduce your settlement by 20%.
How Much Should You Settle for After an Orlando Motorcycle Collision?
Because many factors unique to each accident help determine a settlement, it is impossible to generalize.
In many cases, the amount will depend on the extent of injuries, whether the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, whether there is evidence that the other party was to blame, and how much insurance coverage the other party carries, as well as the amount of damage to the motorcycle.
Generally, the more severe the injuries, the larger the settlement. But there are potential caveats: If the other party says they were not at fault, or not entirely at fault, and there is no evidence refuting their claim, their insurance company might seek a lower settlement.
When Insurance Isn’t Enough
Sometimes, it is impossible to negotiate a settlement that fully compensates you for your damages. Florida does not require most drivers to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance, and some drivers who have BIL do not have much coverage.
If you are negotiating with an insurance company, you can only settle for as much as the policy covers. If that isn’t enough, the alternative is suing the other party individually.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Claim Take To Settle?
There is no simple answer regarding how long a case might take to settle. Still, there are a few rules of thumb: Cases where factual or liability issues are in dispute tend to take longer, as do cases that involve large sums of money.
If you seek compensation for medical expenses, you must complete your treatments or have a full prognosis, which can take time.
And negotiating a settlement is often like any other kind of negotiation. While you are free to accept any offer you are comfortable with, if you are patient and demonstrate a willingness to go to trial, there is a chance the insurance company will increase its offer.
After a Settlement is Reached
Once you and the other party’s insurance company reach an agreement, Florida Statute § 627.4265 says the company has no more than 20 days to tender payment. If the insurance company does not pay you within that timeframe, the payment will begin accruing interest at 12% per year.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Motorcycle Accident?
Under Florida’s no-fault law, personal injury protection (PIP) plans only cover drivers’ injuries, not those of others, even if they are at fault. Meanwhile, the state does not require most motorists to carry BIL insurance, which covers death and serious injuries sustained by others.
That means the driver at fault might not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you adequately. In 2019, Florida had the sixth-highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the country, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC). About an eighth of all U.S. motorists did not have insurance.
When the Other Party Is Uninsured
In these situations, you have the option to sue the driver individually. But even if you win a judgment against them, recovering compensation can prove challenging.
A judge can order money taken from the person’s bank account or their wages garnished to pay the debt unless they are their family’s primary supporter and earn no more than $750 a week. And garnishment can never exceed 25% of a person’s wages.
You may also seize their personal or real property to sell at auction. However, there are certain restrictions. The most important is that if the person has a homestead exemption on their house, it cannot be touched. You can collect on the debt for up to 20 years.
Who Can Be Sued In an Orlando Motorcycle Injury Case?
Florida Statute § 627.737 spells out who can be sued following a motorcycle accident: the owner of the at-fault vehicle; the person to whom the vehicle is registered; the driver; an occupant to whom the insurance policy is issued; or any person or organization that might be held responsible.
The last clause can be significant. The employer might be liable if the driver was working or the vehicle belonged to their company. And if the company engaged in negligent behavior that affected the driver’s ability to operate the car safely, that can strengthen your case.
If your motorcycle was struck by a drunk driver who had recently left a bar, suing the establishment is difficult, though not impossible. Florida Statute § 768.125, the “dram shop law,” says a bar cannot be held responsible for a patron’s action unless the bar “willfully” furnishes alcohol to a minor or an alcoholic.
According to CNN, in 2019, the family of a bartender at golfer Tiger Woods’ Jupiter restaurant who died in a car accident sued Woods and his girlfriend, a restaurant manager. They claimed the accident was caused by the fact that the bartender was allowed to stay on-site and drink after his shift ended, despite being an alcoholic.
Can You Sue For Wrongful Death in a Florida Motorcycle Accident Claim?
If your loved one died in a motorcycle accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the other driver. However, Florida’s statute of limitations in wrongful death cases expires just two years from the accident date.
Florida Statute § 768.21 lays out who can collect in a wrongful death suit: Beneficiaries of the estate can seek the support and services they expect to have lost from the date of the deceased’s death until their own.
The surviving spouse can sue for loss of companionship and pain and suffering, and minor children (and also adult children if there is no surviving spouse) can sue for lost parental companionship and guidance, as well as pain and suffering.
How Are Pain and Suffering Calculated in a Florida Motorcycle Accident Case?
Florida law does not cap the amount of money you can recover for pain and suffering following a motorcycle accident unless you are suing the state or a local government.
In that case, you are limited to $200,000. However, there are a few methods commonly used to determine how much your pain and suffering are worth:
The first is the multiplier method, which works as the name implies. Take a hard number, such as the total cost of your medical bills, and multiply it by a number between one and five, depending on the severity of the crash.
If your motorcycle accident has led to a permanent injury such as severe brain damage, the multiplier might be higher than five. If your medical bills amounted to $20,000, and the severity of your injury warranted a multiplier of four, that would come to $80,000.
Per Diem Method
The second is the per diem method, which gives a monetary value to each day you suffer from your injuries. This method might not be the best if you have a long-term or permanent injury, as is sometimes the case following a motorcycle accident.
Data Input Method
The final method employs a computer software program used by insurance companies, most commonly “Colossus.” A claims handler inputs data, then the program evaluates the claim and spits out a value.
How Is Negligence Established in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
The Florida Standard Jury Instructions for Civil Cases defines negligence as “the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonable person would use under like circumstances.”
Motorcycle accident cases typically cite negligence as a cause of action. To establish negligence in Florida, you have to prove four separate elements.
- The first is that the other party owed you a “duty of care.” In other words, the party was responsible for acting a certain way toward you. In a motorcycle accident case involving an automobile, this would mean that the car or truck driver owed the motorcyclist a duty to drive responsibly and safely.
- The second element is that the defendant breached this duty of care, meaning they did not drive safely or responsibly.
- Third, the plaintiff must show that this breach of care caused damage or injury. In this case, the driver’s unsafe and irresponsible driving caused the motorcycle accident that led to property damage and the motorcyclist’s injury.
- Finally, the plaintiff must prove that they were injured in some way: physically, financially, or otherwise, because of this breach of care.
Will My Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Deal With the Insurance Companies for Me?
From filing claims, dealing with insurance handlers, and finalizing a settlement (or, if need be, taking your case to trial), we will be in your corner at every step. We are committed to helping you recover the compensation you deserve after a devastating accident.
Our team prides itself on always going the distance for our clients. We will not only handle all of the important paperwork and deal with the other party’s insurance company, but we will also work with your health insurance company, as well as hospitals and doctors’ offices.
We want to ensure you are getting all the tests and exams you need to discover any injuries your accident may have caused. Recovering from a motorcycle accident can be a long and challenging journey. But the Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers at our law firm will be there to help you through this.
Do You Have To Go to Court for an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
In Florida, most motorcycle accidents are settled through negotiations between the victim and the at-fault party’s insurance company long before a trial occurs.
There are several advantages to settling out of court. Settlements will consume less of your time and cost less in legal fees. You might also receive compensation quicker while avoiding the anxiety trials can produce.
Filing a Lawsuit
However, a settlement only benefits you if the insurance company treats you fairly. If not, it is best to file a lawsuit. That said, please keep the following in mind:
Per Florida Statute § 768.79, if you reject a settlement offer but lose at trial or obtain a judgment 25% lower than that offer, the insurance company can deduct its costs and legal fees from your award.
Even if you file a lawsuit, you might not have to go to court. Sometimes, the insurance company’s attorneys will make another offer after reviewing the evidence during discovery. And in some cases, mediation is also an option.
We can explain your options during a free case review if you have questions about how best to pursue your case.
What Happens if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If an uninsured driver crashes into your motorcycle, it can be difficult to recover compensation.
While insurance companies can pay claims that reach tens of thousands of dollars, individuals who have not obtained insurance probably don’t have access to that much money. Even so, your best option still might be to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
Collecting on a Judgment
If you prevail in court, a judge will enter a judgment against them, allowing you to collect on the debt for up to 20 years in some circumstances.
The judge may also seize funds from their bank account. Through “execution,” you can seize the person’s real and personal property to sell at auction, though if the person has claimed a homestead exemption on a house they own, it is protected.
A debtor can also protect $4,000 worth of personal property and a vehicle valued at $1,000 or less after a bank lien.
How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit After an Orlando Motorcycle Accident?
Florida Statute § 95.11(3) sets the statute of limitations for negligence claims at four years. That means you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, the court will not allow your case to proceed, and you will not recover any compensation.
Four years might sound like an eternity, but medical treatments or getting a prognosis for injuries suffered during a motorcycle accident can take a long time. You often must complete that process before negotiating a settlement with an insurance company.
That is why it is vital to consult an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately.
Situations With Shorter Time Limits
You have less time to file your complaint if your loved one dies from an accident. Statute 95.11(4)d sets the time limit for wrongful death claims to just two years.
And if you wish to sue the state or a local government, you have just three years to notify the government about your intention, though you cannot file the lawsuit for another six months.
Pitfalls To Look Out for After Getting Hurt in an Orlando Motorcycle Accident
Understandably, you might assume that the monetary value of your motorcycle injury claim is already set in stone. Still, many things can happen after the accident that could change the amount of compensation you could pursue.
Here are a few suggestions of things you might want to be aware of about your claim:
- The at-fault party’s insurance company might try to talk you out of having a lawyer represent you: Without an attorney, the claims adjuster could get away with improper tactics that could hurt the value of your case. The insurance company has lots of lawyers representing them. It would be unfair for you to tackle the multi-billion-dollar insurance corporation yourself.
- The claims adjuster will likely ask you to give a recorded statement: These statements do not help your case but can harm it. The insurer can twist your words to deny liability for your injuries, perhaps even blame you for the collision. The claims adjuster can get all the information they need from other sources, like your attorney.
- Be sure to finish your prescribed medical treatment: We realize that going through months of physical therapy appointments and other procedures is inconvenient and uncomfortable. Still, if you do not do everything your doctor ordered, the insurer might try to pay you less money on the grounds that you could have healed better with all the prescribed medical treatment.
We look out for our clients. When you let us handle your motorcycle accident injury claim, all you need to worry about is getting better. We can deal with the claims adjuster and everything else.
See How An Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Today
We understand that the aftermath of a crash can be confusing. You might be dealing with insurance adjusters and trying to figure out who you can trust. Our goal is to make sure your rights are protected. We will review your case, go over your options, and explain what compensation you might be able to recover.
Choosing an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer means trusting someone to help you make critical choices during a difficult time. At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we provide responsive legal care that goes the extra mile. Let us fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation.
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