PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY – PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Each year, hundreds of thousands of bikers flock to Florida for Bike Week, Biketoberfest, and to visit the country’s largest Harley Davidson dealership. Our roadways become filled with motorcyclists from all over the country seeking to enjoy the many motorcycle-related activities that Florida and Volusia and Flagler Counties have to offer. Unfortunately, hundreds of motorcyclists are injured while they are here, and, even worse, some are killed.
Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious injury from crashes and from collisions with other vehicles. In fact, the vast majority of motorcycle accidents involve collisions with another vehicle. Motorcyclists are exposed to greater dangers than automobile drivers and passengers due to the lack of protection between their bodies and the road. Even the most minor of accidents can have devastating effects for a motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents often result in a multitude of injuries, including broken bones, brain injury, internal injuries, and spinal cord injury, among others. In some cases, the motorcyclist does not survive. In fact, motorcyclists are much more likely to die or suffer serious injury in an accident than passengers in an automobile.
Motorcyclists are also confronted with obstacles, such as road conditions and severe weather, without the benefit of an automobile surrounding them. Some of the many road dangers which can particularly affect motorcyclists are:
- Oil Slicks/Spills
- Uneven Pavement
- Objects in the Road
- Railroad Tracks
- Debris in the Road
Most accidents involving another vehicle occur at intersections and involve violations of the motorcyclist’s right of way. Most of these multiple-vehicle accidents are caused by negligence of the other driver. An automobile driver’s failure to see a motorcycle is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents. Other drivers often have trouble seeing motorcycles because of their size and position on the road, thereby increasing the chances of an accident. When drivers fail to see motorcyclists, they can cause accidents that seriously injure or kill motorcyclists, leaving them with severe injuries, massive medical bills, lost wages, and a damaged motorcycle. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
After a motorcycle accident occurs, many individuals are uncertain about what they should do at the scene and after they get home. If you have been involved in an accident, it is imperative that you take certain steps.
- Do not leave the accident scene.
- Immediately check for injuries. The safety of injured parties should always be the first concern after an accident occurs. Always make certain that the medical needs of injured individuals are addressed right away. If your injuries are serious or require immediate attention, you should go to the emergency room for care. If not, consult your physician after the accident so that you can be examined. Be certain that all of your medical concerns and complaints are addressed and documented.
- Assess the accident scene. Take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
- Call 911. Always contact the police after an accident, even if the accident seems minor. This will allow for an investigation to be conducted at the scene. When the police respond, they will prepare a report documenting what happened, which will provide necessary proof that the accident occurred. Make a record of the date of the accident and the name of the law enforcement agency that responded to, and investigated, your accident.
- Gather the following necessary information from all drivers and passengers involved in the accident: names, addresses, phone numbers, and automobile insurance information of everyone involved; and the make, model, vehicle information number, and license plate number of all vehicles involved.
- Record what happened during the accident to present to your attorney in case you decide to pursue legal action. Gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone at the scene who may have witnessed the accident so that your attorney can contact them while preparing your case.
- Take photographs of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, skid marks, the accident scene, any existing road dangers, and weather conditions at the time of the accident, etc.
- Do not apologize or admit fault to anyone.
- Contact your insurance company. When you speak to your insurance company, they will want to obtain basic information about the accident for their records, and you will be asked about the details of the accident. If you were injured or if you have concerns about insurance coverage, you should consult an attorney. You may also be asked to make a recorded statement which may be used later. You do not have to consent to the recording, and, in most instances, it is best that you not allow your statement to be recorded. Always consult the advice of an experienced automobile accident attorney before you allow your conversation to be recorded.
Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company without first contacting an experienced personal injury attorney. You may unwittingly provide information which could be used against you and could result in the denial or reduction of compensation. For this reason, do not make any type of statement or sign any documents without first consulting an attorney.
- Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Rice will insure that you understand your legal rights and will work diligently to safeguard your interests.
- Take your vehicle to a reputable body shop for repair estimates.
- Compile medical records. If you sought and received medical treatment as a result of a motorcycle accident, keep a record of the doctors who treated you, as well as the time and place of treatment. If you went to the hospital for treatment, document how you were transported. Collect documentation of any relevant medical history to present to your attorney.
- Record lost time from work. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be unable to work. Record all dates and time that you are absent from work. Your attorney will need your employer’s name, your job title, pay rate or salary, and the amount of time missed from work. You may also need to obtain documentation of past earnings to prove lost earnings.
After a motorcycle accident, most people are concerned about payment of their medical bills. Florida laws regarding motorcycle insurance differs from that for automobiles in that motorcycles are not subject to Florida’s No Fault Law. As a result, personal injury protection (PIP) is not available to motorcyclists. Therefore, your medical expenses are typically paid by your health insurance carrier. If you prevail in a personal injury action against the at-fault driver, your health insurance carrier will have a lien against the recovery for all medical expenses they paid out. Collision or property damage liability will often cover damage to your motorcycle.
Because motorcycles are not subject to Florida’s No Fault Law, it is not necessary to meet the “tort threshold” of a permanent injury when bringing a claim against the at-fault party. This makes it less difficult for those injured in motorcycle accidents to collect for their injuries and damages.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you have a limited time to file a claim. The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Rice are well versed in personal injury laws and liability issues. Our attorneys can assist you in your personal injury claim against another driver or a manufacturer. We will work aggressively to determine the legal and medical issues related to your claim and to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact us today for your free consultation.