Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable motorists on the roads today. While anyone is at risk of serious injuries in a vehicle crash, bikers don’t have airbags and other safety features to absorb the shock of a collision. For this reason, motorcycle accidents often result in permanent or life-threatening injuries like broken bones, road rash, traumatic brain injuries, neck and spine injuries, and paralysis, among countless others.

If you or a loved one were injured in a Florida motorcycle accident, state law allows victims to file personal injury claims for financial compensation against the responsible party. Successful claims can provide essential funds to assist with medical bills, lost income, temporary and permanent disability, pain and suffering and more.

The best way to find out what type of compensation you may be entitled to be by discussing your case with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. At Brooks Law Group, our Florida attorneys can discuss your legal options in a free consultation.

It’s important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident to protect your rights. But we understand that the immediate aftermath of a crash can be overwhelming. To help you during this difficult time, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about motorcycle accidents below.

If you don’t see the answer to your question here, don’t worry. Contact us for a free consultation today to get more answers about motorcycle accident claims in Florida.

What Should I Do If I Was In a Motorcycle Accident?

If there are serious injuries or damages due to your motorcycle accident, call 911 for help immediately. The top priority is always your health.

If you weren’t seen by a doctor immediately after the crash, seek medical attention as soon as possible to check for any “invisible injuries,” such as concussions, soft tissue injuries or internal bleeding.

Your medical report will be a vital piece of evidence if you decide to file a lawsuit after your motorcycle accident. The record will help prove that you sought medical care swiftly to avoid worsening any unseen injuries. It will also document the severity of your injuries and that the injuries were a result of the wreck.

These steps are important because insurance companies often try to avoid or reduce payment for claims by saying the victims’ injuries weren’t as serious as they claim or were actually caused by something other than the motorcycle accident, like an underlying medical condition. You can usually only fight against the insurance company’s false claims if you have solid evidence to prove them wrong.

Other steps to take after a motorcycle accident include:

  • Move your motorcycle to a safe location if possible. This reduces the chance that you’ll get hit again by other cars driving by.
  • Gather evidence. Take pictures of your injuries and those of your passengers, property damage, road markings (e.g., skid marks) and all traffic signals or signs. Get photos of weather and road conditions, including hazards like unmarked or poorly marked work zones, loose gravel or other obstructions.
  • Get contact information. Get the names and contact information for anyone that witnessed the crash. For anyone directly involved in the crash, obtain their names, contact information, insurance information, license plate number, and driver’s license number.
  • Obtain official reports. If the police were called to the scene, ask them for an official copy of the accident report. Do not admit fault to the officer or anyone at the scene. It could seriously damage your claim for compensation.
  • Keep all accident-related records. Keep a log of the names of everyone you speak to about the accident, along with the date, time and specifics of each conversation. Include details on all medical appointments related to the wreck, including your receipts, the day and time of the appointment, the name of the medical professional you saw, the specific reason (injury or medical condition) for the appointment and any recommended treatment or follow up.

Obtaining this information can go a long way into protecting your rights and strengthening your claim for compensation. But it’s not always enough to satisfy insurance companies, who will try their hardest to lessen your ultimate settlement amount.

The trusted motorcycle accident attorneys at Brooks Law Group know what it takes to build a solid case for compensation. We can collect all of the evidence necessary to show why you deserve maximum compensation for your losses. We can also handle all negotiations on your behalf with insurance companies and in court if needed.

I Am Partly At Fault. Can I Get Compensation?

You might think you were at fault for a motorcycle accident, but it is difficult to truly know who is liable without a full investigation. All motorists are responsible for driving safely and doing their best to protect other vehicles on the road.

In addition, vehicle manufacturers and government entities are responsible for providing safe equipment and road conditions. Any of these factors could have contributed to your motorcycle accident, and only a thorough investigation can help reveal which parties are responsible.

If police are called to the scene, cooperate with them, but do not admit fault to anyone. In addition, do not downplay property damages or your injuries, and do not sign anything unless required to do so by the police. Even saying “I’m sorry” to another driver can be perceived as you saying you were responsible for the crash, which can be used against you.

Even if it is determined that you were partly at fault, you still might be able to obtain compensation. Florida follows the pure comparative fault rule for accident liability, which means that as long as you are not 100 percent at fault for the motorcycle accident, you could still be entitled to compensation. However, the total amount of compensation possible would be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the wreck.

Additionally, although it is recommended that all motorcycle drivers and riders wear helmets, most motorcyclists are not required to do so in Florida. If you are over 21 years old and have an insurance policy with at least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage, you are not legally obligated to wear a helmet.

Even in times where helmet use is legally required, motorcyclists can usually get compensation if they can prove that the crash was someone else’s fault. However, failure to wear a helmet might reduce the amount of money a person can recover after a crash.

Compensation might cover damages such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Disability accommodations
  • Property damages
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced ability to earn a living
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering

Should I Speak With The At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company?

Do not speak with the at-fault party’s insurance company, provide them with a written or verbal statement or sign any paperwork without first consulting with an attorney.

Insurance companies have an incentive to try to pay you as little as possible. Their agents might show up at the accident scene or contact you shortly after the crash to try to talk you into an unfair settlement. They might take advantage of the fact that you’re still in shock after the accident (or even medicated) and try to convince you that they have your best interests in mind. However, after you accept a low offer, it is usually impossible to renegotiate for more money.

Insurance adjusters will also do everything they can to shift blame. Even if you refuse their settlement, they might manipulate you into saying something they can use against you. They will look for things they can use to say that you contributed to the accident in an effort to reduce the amount you’re owed or avoid paying you altogether.

The dedicated motorcycle accident attorneys at Brooks Law Group can help protect you from such sneaky insurance tactics. We have spent years fighting for fair compensation for accident victims. Whether we’re at the settlement table or at trial, you can rest assured that we won’t let your needs and rights go unrecognized.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?

Florida law sets a time limit, or statute of limitations, on how long accident victims have to file claims against negligent parties. In general, you have four years from the date of the motorcycle accident to file a claim. If you miss the deadline, it is usually impossible to pursue compensation.

A knowledgeable Florida attorney will evaluate your case, help you understand your legal rights and work with you through every step of the process to ensure your lawsuit is filed at the right time and for the correct amount. Injuries from motor vehicle accidents aren’t always obvious, and longer-term effects can appear years after the statute of limitations has expired. If you only sue for injuries you know about now, you might not have the compensation you need to cover future medical bills and other expenses.

Attorneys experienced in filing motorcycle accident lawsuits understand these complications and will help fight to get you the compensation to cover all current and future expenses.

How Much Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Cost?

Between medical bills and other expenses, the aftermath of motorcycle crashes is expensive. With all these costs, you might think you can’t afford to hire an attorney. But that’s not true.

At Brooks Law Group, our knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid if we help you recover compensation.

It also means that you pay no upfront expenses for us to get started on your case. That should be encouraging to you because our lawyers only invest our time and resources into cases that we believe in.

Our lawyers also believe that everyone deserves to be informed of their legal rights regardless of their ability to pay. That’s why we offer free, no-obligation consultations to potential clients in Tampa, Winter Haven, Lakeland, and Auburndale.