Recovering the compensation you need after a motorcycle accident is often much more difficult than it should be. You will need to prove your case to the other party’s insurer, all while coping with your injuries and defending against biases that many drivers and insurers have against motorcycle riders.
The Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine has experience helping victims navigate the difficult issues that come with motorcycle accidents. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule 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?
While your lawyer will handle most of your case for you, there are a few things you need to do to protect your health and your right to compensation:
Getting Medical Attention
The first step in recovering for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident is to make sure that you received medical attention and are continuing to attend appointments and follow your doctor’s orders. We often see clients who stop medical treatment too early, or who think that they are not seriously injured, only to have an injury later become more serious than they thought.
If you do not receive (and continue) medical attention, the insurer can claim that you are falsifying, exaggerating, or contributing to your injuries.
Decline to Give a Recorded Statement
You can expect to receive 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.
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 very 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 it turns out your injuries are worse than you first thought, if you are out of work longer than you thought you would be, or if your injuries do not heal the way you expected them to.
Could I be at fault for the accident?
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 Sun Sentinel article, the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that car drivers are responsible for motorcycle accidents 60 percent of the time.
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 — sometimes 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 accident?
This is where we come in. We will gather the information needed to prove that another driver behaved negligently and caused your accident. 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 a danger to motorcyclists, who drivers might not see until it is too late. This can lead to merging into a motorcyclist’s lane, crossing the center lane and hitting a motorcycle head-on, or rear-ending 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 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, resulted from the driver’s negligent behavior, or by 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 very severe, often fatal, injuries. A report by the American Automobile Association (AAA) showed that Florida led the nation in motorcycle deaths in 2015.
Victims of motorcycle accidents can recover compensation for anything your injuries cost you. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Funeral/burial costs, loss of consortium, loss of guidance, mental anguish (in wrongful death cases)
Our accident attorneys use experts, medical records, paystubs and W-2s, and testimony from your doctors, friends, and family to show how an accident has affected your life.
Schedule a FREE consultation with a Port St. Lucie motorcycle accident lawyer.
The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine will fight for your right to receive full compensation for injuries you sustain in an accident. We take no fee unless you recover, and your consultation with our firm is free.
Contact us today at 800-747-3733 for a full explanation of how we can help you if you have been in an accident involving a motorcycle.