Any automobile accident can lead to serious injuries for any person involved. However, certain scenarios greatly increase the risk of severe damage. For those on motorcycles, any collision could cause a range of injuries or even death. With well over 5,000 motorcycle crashes per year in Florida, these types of incidents are common, leaving thousands across Florida with injuries caused by vehicle accidents involving a motorcycle.
With very little to protect drivers from the impact of a collision, motorcycles carry a higher risk of injury in the event of an accident. Florida law does not require motorcycle drivers to wear helmets unless he or she is age 16 to 20, and riding in this condition greatly increases the risk of serious head trauma in a collision. An accident could easily lead to a wide range of injuries, varying from cuts and bruises to broken bones or internal bleeding. Some of the more common injuries that occur during motorcycle accidents include:
- Arm or leg fractures
- Broken bones – arms, legs, shoulders, hands, pelvis, hips, nose jaw, ribs, or other bones
- Knee injuries
- Brain injury / Head trauma
- Road rash or skin abrasions
- Spinal cord / Neck / Back Injury
The wide range in severity of these possible injuries leads to a vast difference in required treatment. Even for a simple broken bone, you may face expensive hospital visits, physical therapy, and lost wages as you take time off work to recover and set medical appointments. For more severe trauma, such as brain injuries, your entire life could be altered.
Victims who have suffered due to a motorcycle accident that was caused due to another’s negligence may be able to seek compensation for their injuries and costs. In a motorcycle accident, severe injuries can easily lead to thousands of dollars in medical costs, which could threaten a person’s financial security for years.
An injury in a motorcycle accident could lead to a frustrating battle with insurance companies. Victims may have to consult with both their insurance carrier and that of the negligent party, which can lead to confusing quotes and negotiations. An attorney can greatly ease this process by handling all of the negotiations with insurance adjusters and ensuring that all paperwork is properly processed. They can also ensure that the amount paid to the injured party will fully cover the damages that they have suffered. These damages can include:
- Hospital bills
- Medication costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Physical therapy
- Damages to personal property
It is important that victims seek compensation that will truly cover the full extent of the damage incurred. However, Florida law places a statute of limitation on claims, meaning that a personal injury claim must be filed within four years of the incident. Many injuries can lead to long-term care, and the amount recovered for injuries parties should compensate them for all treatment. Insurance companies will often try to cover immediate costs while downplaying future issues, such as physical therapy that will be needed to truly restore a patient to full functionality. A claim after a motorcycle accident in Florida should seek to cover the true costs caused by the collision.
Motorcycle Accident Claim – How to Ensure You Are Compensated for Your Harms and Losses
Motorcycle accidents are some of the most serious accidents any motorcycle operator or passenger will face in their lives. In Florida, a motorcycle accident is treated in law in the same manner as any other type of motor vehicle accident.
In order to ensure that compensation for your damages, or harms and losses, after a motorcycle accident, following these steps will help ensure that the adverse driver and his or her insurance company pay for all your damages, including pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, among others.
1. Obtain a Crash Report: If you are involved in a crash, it is imperative that you contact the local police, usually the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) or a local police or sheriff’s office. If you require medical assistance, request an ambulance when contacting 911. Explain to the officer how the crash occurred and any pain you are experiencing. If you do not advise the investigating officer of any pain you are experiencing, he or she will indicate in the report that you advised that you were not injured. If you are hurt, even if you are not transported to a hospital, advise the officer if you feel any pain or discomfort. Before leaving the scene, request that the officer provide you with a driver’s exchange of information or a short form of the crash report.
2. Photograph the Damage to your Motorcycle, the other Vehicle and the scene of the Crash: It is critical that your motorcycle is examined by an attorney and possibly an accident reconstruction specialist. If for some reason, you must repair your motorcycle prior to hiring an attorney; have someone take many photographs of your motorcycle. Also, if possible, take photographs of the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle and the scene of the crash Also, take photographs of any bruises, abrasions, etc. you may have sustained.
3. Copy Down the Names, Addresses and Telephone Numbers of Witnesses to the Crash: Don’t rely on the crash report to list all witnesses. If possible, speak with the witnesses at the scene of the crash, or have a family member or friend speak with the witness(es) and obtain their contact information.
4. Seek Medical Attention Without Delay: If you are not transported to a hospital right after the crash, seek an evaluation with a medical doctor as soon as possible, even if the pain or discomfort you are feeling is not debilitating. You may either seek treatment at a hospital’s emergency room, at an urgent care facility or with your family doctor. If you delay medical treatment for several weeks, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will make an issue of it during the claim process or during litigation.
Be honest with your physician and make sure you follow his or her medical advice. If he or she prescribes physical therapy, attend every scheduled session. If for some reason you cannot make an appointment, make sure to call your medical provider or physical therapist as early as you can. “No show” entries are always commented upon by insurance company attorneys during litigation.
5. Report the Crash to your Insurance Company: It is preferable that you first speak with an accident attorney. Remember, that you have an obligation to cooperate with your insurance company. However, do not give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This will not help your case but will be used against you during the litigation of your claim.
6. Keep a Diary or Journal: You should document the pain and suffering you experience, dates of medical and physical therapy appointments, how the crash has affected your life, and any other facts regarding your crash.
7. Hire a Reputable Personal Injury Lawyer: Research and ask friends or relatives for the name of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Knowledge is power and knowing what you should, or should not do, following a motorcycle crash will help make sure that you are fairly compensated for your harms and losses.