Statistics prove that Florida is the state with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities. If you reside in Florida or you go there often, there are more chances that you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident. You might be wondering whether you should take legal action against the other driver, how insurance can intervene, and lots of other questions that cross your mind. This article will answer those questions.
Moving with a motorcycle is like a sacrifice of passage. You are cool and hardcore. The traffic-jammed highways in Florida may not be perfect for motorcycles, but there are some good roads in the state for bike fans.
This state also has a unique record of motorcycle related mortalities. One-fifth of all automobile fatalities in Florida are associated with motorcycles. In spite of this, only a rider out of seven riders put on a helmet, and a single rider out of five riders does not have motorcycle insurance.
You might think that being on an automobile that has little between you and the hard roadway would encourage you to place something in between, but these are the real statistics of Florida riders that use the following equipment:
- Helmet: 86%
- Gloves: 63%
- Glasses or Face shield: 81%
- Jacket: 55%
- Boots: 64%
The most recent year for which data is available is 2013, and 2,494 individuals died in automobile accidents in the state. 18 percent of the total number of deaths (449 of them) were bikers. Meanwhile, the data source of Florida stated that one-third of motorcyclists in Florida don’t believe that wearing a helmet should be mandatory for them.
The duty of care in Florida motorcycle accidents
Motorcycle riders are expected to abide by the same road guidelines that are applicable to drivers of other vehicles in the state. This means the same road traffic rules, but it also means they get the whole lane to themselves, which many vehicle drivers like to overlook.
What the earlier statement doesn’t mean is that a motorcycle rider can divide lanes or move between lanes of traffic when the road becomes blocked with cars. Although, some states allow that, while some states prohibit it.
Florida wants motorcyclists to take a Basic Rider Course and to acquire a normal license, or an authorization joined with their current driver’s license.
Concerning insurance coverage, are you aware that PIP insurance, which is also known as a personal injury protection, is only needed for four-wheeled vehicles in the state of Florida? In addition, helmets are not even compulsory for motorcyclists who are older than twenty-one years old and have an insurance scheme that covers at least $10,000 in medical requirements. Nevertheless, eye protection is mandatory by law.
If a motorcycle rider was involved in an accident, the duty of care case is just like any other law of negligence. This implies that the accident happened as a result of somebody’s careless actions, and the person affected must establish that:
- The defendant owed the accuser a duty of care;
- The defendant one way or another breached that obligation;
- The breach caused the complainant’s injuries; and
- It led to damages.
Road conditions and motorcycle accidents
The condition of the road where a vehicle accident happened can very much influence the circumstances, and this can happen in situations involving motorcycles. Florida has several hazardous roads that are risky for cars and motorcycles the same way.
Other situations, for instance, rain can turn out to be a big influence in accidents, particularly when a motorbike slips out. In these situations, a biker should be able to show his or her own level of care. A dependable detail of maintaining the bike can be presented through an inspection record. Other imperative factors, for example, changing tires before they are damaged, can also be checked.
Since a bike is so much smaller than a vehicle, it may not be easy to see under some circumstances, for instance at night or when the sun has gone down. Another driver’s duty of care is the same under these conditions, but these issues can have an influence on another’s responsibility.
Damages in a Florida motorcycle case
If someone is a victim of an accident and the dust is stable, one of the normal queries that come subsequently is, “Do I have a legal claim?” Usually, if somebody has wounded you and there are damages involved, the response is “yes.”
The subsequent query is, “What is the amount of money for the claim?”
In the state of Florida, anyone can recover compensatory damages. This is term is used to denote the sum of money that is intended to bring you back to your former state before the injury. These may include non-economic damages and economic damages.
Economic damages typically include:
- Lost income
- Out of pocket costs
- Medical expenses
- Predictable upcoming medical expenses
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
On the other hand, non-economic damages include the following:
- Discomfort and suffering
- Emotional pain
- Loss of consortium (the loss of a relationship with a companion)
- Mental suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In addition, there are punitive damages, which are included to discipline the person that was at fault. But punitive damages are not often granted in Florida personal injury cases. Before punitive damages are awarded in a case, the respondent’s conduct must have been cruel, deliberate, reckless or spiteful. Even then, the law in the state confines punitive damages to a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars or three times the sum of money paid as compensatory damages, or whichever is more.
The law of limitations in Florida for these personal injury cases is four years. Nevertheless, if the worst were to happen and the biker passed away because of his or her accident, that period would reduce to two years.
Determining fault in a Florida motorcycle accident
Determining who is at fault and the damages are not always easy to work out, particularly when every state has dissimilar laws. After the occurrence of an accident in Florida, drivers are expected to go to their personal vehicle insurance for coverage. This means Florida is a no-fault state.
Furthermore, Bikers are not expected to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but Florida does require motorcyclists to carry $30,000 single-limit liability, and $20,000 of the whole physical injury or $10,000 per-person physical injury.
This no-fault system was created to dismiss minor cases that an insurance adjuster can manage. But, if injuries/damages are considered permanent, the affected individual can bypass this system and prosecute the other motorist for compensation.
A “permanent injury” is clarified under section 627.737(2) as:
(a) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
(b) Permanent damage within a rational degree of medical possibility, other than damaging or deformity.
(c) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
The pure comparative negligence system is used in Florida, which means that even when the biker is 99 percent responsible for his/her own accident, he/she might still recover for that 1 percent remaining.
What to do after your motorcycle accident in Florida
If you are involved in an accident, you are required to take certain steps that can influence your case. It is important to recollect these steps after an accident. These steps or activities include the following:
- Don’t leave the scene: Except you are moved away from the scene by ambulance, stay with your motorcycle or car and wait for the law enforcement agency. You can complete the accident report appropriately when you do that.
- Gather information: Know the other individual’s insurance information, contact information, name, license plate number, driver’s license number, vehicle brand and model, eyewitness contact information, and record any details about the accident. In situations that you’re not fit enough to get this done, get somebody else to get it done.
- Don’t make small talk: Avoid discussing any other thing apart from to exchanging information from other victims. Don’t make an apology, don’t converse about the incident and don’t talk about anything pointless. It can be used to manipulate the case in the future.
- Get checked out: Visit the hospital to get details of your health from a doctor, even if you think it is not needed. Your insurance company will be aware if there is space in between the treatment date and the hospital visit, and this will make them ask questions. If your wounds take a while to become obvious, they might not understand and reject treatment.
If you’re incapable to do all these because of your injuries, do not fear. Attempt all you can. There is an Accident Report which you can download online and put in your glove compartment in case of emergencies, print it out and present it, hopefully, you won’t need it.