Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
When you’re involved in a devastating motorcycle accident and you aren’t sure where to turn, get help figuring out what your next step should be by contacting a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney in Tampa.
Few accidents can cause injuries as serious as those of a motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists simply don’t have the surrounding protection that other motorists to do in the event of an accident. As such, they are automatically at an increased risk for suffering devastating injuries when involved in an accident.
With injuries this severe, it is not uncommon for individuals to be out of work for an extended period of time. Without the ability to earn an income, many injury victims find themselves struggling to support themselves and their families during this tumultuous time in their lives.
Fortunately, with the assistance of a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson, you could be one step closer to financial freedom. Our team of highly trained lawyers will stop at nothing to obtain full compensation for your losses so that you can put this traumatic motorcycle accident behind you and move on with your life.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
For many Florida residents, nothing compares to the thrill of feeling the wind in your hair as you ride a motorcycle on a warm day. While a motorcycle ride can be an exciting experience, it can also be a dangerous one if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Motorcycle accidents can happen in various ways. Because motorcycles have two wheels instead of four, they are prone to balance issues that aren’t a concern when driving a car. If you ride a motorcycle, you need to know how to operate it properly. Otherwise, you could end up in a catastrophic accident. Here are some common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Motorists often find it hard to judge the space needed to make a left turn. This is due to the fact that motorcycles are much smaller than passenger vehicles. As such, many drivers do not account for motorcycles. This leads to serious accidents when the car collides with a motorcycle.
Unsafe Lane Changes
While a motorcycle rider or a motorist could be guilty of unsafe lane changes, it is typically the motorist who is at fault. They may not see a motorcycle in their blind spot, causing them to sideswipe the motorcycle. This can cause the rider to be ejected and suffer serious injuries.
Motorcycles can go very fast—sometimes 200 miles per hour or more. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for motorcycle riders to speed. Speeding is dangerous, though, as it makes it harder to slow down to avoid an accident.
Motorcycles are more prone to accidents caused by road conditions, since these conditions can cause a bike to lose control. Potholes, debris, ice, puddles, oil slicks, and animals in the road can all cause a motorcycle to get into an accident.
Driving Under the Influence
Anyone on the road can be accused of driving under the influence. Those who intend to operate a vehicle on the road with other vehicles should not be drinking alcohol beforehand. Not only is it illegal, but it can also impair judgment and reduce reaction times, making deadly crashes more likely to occur.
Whether a motorcycle rider or other driver is following another vehicle too closely, it can lead to a serious crash. Motorists should avoid tailgating. If the vehicle in front makes a sudden stop, you could end up rear-ending them and then you would be at fault for the accident.
A motorcycle can have a defective part, such as a brake, cylinder, or headlight. These broken or malfunctioning parts can cause an accident. In these cases, the manufacturer can be held liable.
Common Injuries Associated with Motorcycle Accidents
Since motorcyclists aren’t protected by thousands of pounds of steel, the injuries they endure are often catastrophic. It is more common than you might think for a motorcyclist to be diagnosed with disabling conditions, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Full-thickness burns
- Spinal cord damage/paralysis
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
In some cases, it can take years before an injured motorcyclist is able to regain full function of their affected limbs, if at all. If you are one of the unlucky ones who has suffered a permanent injury, you need a skilled accident lawyer in your corner who will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Florida Helmet Laws and How They Can Impact Your Motorcycle Accident Case
Motorcyclists over the age of 21 with a minimum of $10,000 medical insurance protection are under no legal obligation to wear a helmet. Those under the age of 21 are required by law to wear a helmet when traveling on or operating a motorcycle.
But just because you aren’t mandated by law to wear a helmet doesn’t mean you won’t be held accountable if you are injured in an accident while not wearing one. Florida’s comparative negligence law allows you to pursue claims against the culpable party, but your award will be reduced based on your own percentage of fault.
Not wearing a helmet gives the defense the opportunity to argue that you had no regard for your own safety. This means that if you were not wearing a helmet when you were injured in the accident, it is possible that your final award will reflect a comparative fault deduction.
Overcoming Motorcyclist Stereotypes When Dealing with the Insurer
Insurance companies want you to trust that they will protect you financially if you are ever in an accident. What they don’t tell you is that this is sometimes just a façade. The insurance company is almost always looking out for their best interests, and many will prioritize their needs above your own.
Keeping this in mind, motorcyclists are particularly prone to unscrupulous tactics by some insurance companies. Insurers can take advantage of bikers by making them appear as though they are reckless, irresponsible motorists who have little care for their own safety or those who share the road with them.
The fact of the matter is that nearly all motorcyclists are just like your average motorist—except they travel on two wheels instead of four. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will never allow the insurance adjuster working on your case to settle your claim for less than you are entitled to. We will handle all of the negotiations on your behalf so you can put all of your energy into your recovery.
How to Achieve Maximum Compensation for Your Losses after a Motorcycle Accident
By now you are probably wondering just how much you can expect to be awarded if your case goes to court. Because every injury victim’s damages vary, there is no set amount that can be awarded in a motorcycle accident case.
However, the more extensive and impactful your injuries were on your life, the more you can expect to win. Below we have gone into further detail about some of the most commonly sought damages in a motorcycle accident claim.
Compensatory Damages for Motorcycle Accidents
Compensatory damages are awarded for ways your life has been negatively impacted by the accident. Economic losses include your financial costs, such as your damaged earning potential, property losses, loss of income, and the total amount of your medical treatment and care.
It is important to know that you should be compensated for every single medical expense that relates to your injuries. These medical costs may consist of:
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Ambulance fees
- Cost of MRIs, x-rays, or other diagnostic imaging
- Prescription medications
- Hospital bills
- Other costs of treatment or care
The other ways that your life has been influenced by the injuries you sustained in your motorcycle accident are considered non-economic damages. Some commonly sought non-economic losses include:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disfigurement and/or scarring
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of support and household services
- Pain and suffering
Punitive Damages for Motorcycle Accidents
Punitive damages are unlike other types of damages in that they can only be awarded by a judge, at their discretion. Punitive damages are designed to make an example of the liable party, as well as to send a message to future wrongdoers that similar actions will not be tolerated by the Florida court system.
The only time punitive damages will be awarded is if the judge finds that the actions of the defendant were egregious in nature or if the at-fault party was intentionally trying to cause you or someone else harm.
Florida Motorcycle Laws
Riding a motorcycle can be fun and exciting, but these vehicles can be dangerous. Motorcycles have just two wheels instead of four, so they are more prone to crashes. Plus, they can cause a variety of injuries, including road rash, broken bones, head trauma, back and neck injuries, mutations, and paralysis.
That’s why Florida has laws in place to protect riders. Make sure you understand them to ensure safety and compliance.
Florida law states that if you are riding a two- or three-wheeled motorcycle with a 50cc or greater engine, you will either need a motorcycle endorsement or a motorcycle-only license. New residents of Florida will need to have a driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement. To get an endorsement, you will first need to take a 15-hour Basic Rider Course.
To get a motorcycle-only license, you need to be at least 16 years of age and have a Class E driver’s license. You must also complete the Basic Rider Course.
Under Florida law, a rider is not legally required to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle if they are over the age of 21 and covered by an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries caused by a crash. Those who are under the age of 21 must wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle at all times.
Headsets, headphones, and other listening devices are not allowed while riding a motorcycle. Eye protection is required at all times and must be state-approved. Exhaust systems are not allowed to be modified. A working horn, mirrors, a stop lamp, tail lamp, turn signals, and red rear reflectors are required on all motorcycles. One or two headlights are required and must be on at all times. Also, brakes are required on all wheels.
Lane splitting or riding between lanes is not legal in Florida. Motorcycles cannot ride more than two abreast in the same lane. Drag racing and speed competitions are illegal on public roadways, as is stunting, Both wheels must be on the ground at all times. Also, both hands must be on the handlebars at all times. Riders cannot hold anything in their hands while riding.
If carrying passengers, the motorcycle must have a seat for the passenger or else the seat must be meant for two people. Footrests are required for each passenger.
Tampa Motorcycle Accident FAQ
Are suffering from devastating injuries after a Tampa motorcycle crash? If so, you may have the opportunity to bring the culpable party to justice when you file a civil lawsuit against them.
We understand that the thought of going to court may unnerve you, which is why we have included the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding bike accident claims below. If you have additional questions or would like personalized answers in regard to your case, come in to our office for a free claim review.
What if I wasn’t wearing a helmet?
Florida helmet laws do not require bikers to wear a helmet if they are 21 years of age or older and carry a minimum of $10,000 in health insurance coverage. However, it is possible that your award will be reduced if you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, given the fact that you made the decision to ride your bike without wearing a helmet.
Should I give the insurer a statement?
Usually it’s unwise to provide the insurer with a statement. Many insurance companies care about one thing: their profits. Every time they settle a claim, they lose money, and you’d be surprised to learn some of the unscrupulous things insurance adjusters have done to deny even the most deserving insurance claims.
How long do I have to decide if I want to file an injury claim?
When considering the pursuit of a personal injury claim in Tampa, Florida, you will have four years to officially file your claim in court. However, keep in mind that building a personal injury claim can be time-consuming, and the sooner you act, the stronger your case will ultimately be.
Motorcycle Accident And Death Statistics
Tampa’s law firm of Anderson & Anderson offers helpful information and statistics regarding motorcycle accidents and motorcycle accident deaths.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis, “In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes — an increase of 7 percent from the 4,630 motorcyclists killed in 2011. There were 93,000 motorcyclists injured during 2012, a 15 percent increase from 81,000 in 2011.”
Motorcycle riders are fully exposed to the environment around them, not having the protection afforded to the driver of a car, therefore when an accident occurs involving a motorcycle the likelihood and severity of personal injury is high. Even though this is the case, studies have shown that the rate of motorcycle fatalities has been on the rise for more than a decade. Statistics tracking auto and motorcycle accidents show us that:
- NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,699 motorcyclists in 2012. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 781 lives could have been saved.
- Helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders and 41 percent for motorcycle passengers. In other words, for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing helmets, 37 of them could have been saved had all 100 worn helmets.
- In 2012, motorcyclists accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, 18 percent of all occupant (driver and passenger) fatalities and 4 percent of all occupants injured.
- Per vehicle mile traveled in 2012, motorcyclists were more than 26 times likely than passenger car occupants to die in motor vehicle traffic crashes and five times more likely to be injured.
- In 2012, 2,624 of all motorcycles (52 percent) involved in fatal crashes collided with another type of motor vehicle in transport. Only 7 percent were struck in the rear.
- In two-vehicle crashes, 75 percent of the motorcycles involved in motor vehicle traffic crashes collided with the vehicles in front of them. Source:http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812035.pdf
If you or a family member has been the victim of a motorcycle accident, and you would like additional information about statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in the U.S., our Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys can help you.
Get Help from a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Tampa
When you are trying to recuperate from your injuries, you shouldn’t have to concern yourself with insurer negotiations and personal injury laws. A regarded Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson can make all the difference in the success of your motorcycle accident case. We’ll work around the clock building your case so that the judge, jury, and/or insurers have little choice but to award you the compensation that is rightfully yours.
We are proud to offer injury victims in the Tampa FL area a free consultation for motorcycle accidents, where we can potentially get started on your case. Take advantage of this opportunity by completing the brief contact form below or calling our office directly at 813-251-0072.