South Florida’s spectacular weather and beautiful scenery make it a great place for motorcyclists to ride. However, that enjoyable outing can turn into tragedy in seconds if you are a victim of a Palm Bay motorcycle accident. In 2021, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 288 motorcycle accidents in Brevard County.
Consider yourself fortunate if you survived the collision since many motorcyclists succumb to their injuries after getting hit by a much larger vehicle. A Palm Bay motorcycle accident lawyer at Kogan & DiSalvo will help you during this difficult time and fight so that you may receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Motorcycle Accidents
The shell of a car or truck offers some protection to occupants when an accident occurs. That is not the case when a motorcycle is involved. Motorcyclists are just far more vulnerable.
The four most common types of motorcycle accidents include:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Side swipes
- T-bone collisions
Any one of these motorcycle accident types can result in severe injury or death.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding –Excessive speed is a factor in many motorcycle accidents, especially those involving fatalities.
- Left-Hand turns –More motorcycle accidents happen when cars make left-hand turns than any other type of road situation. The turning car usually hits the motorcycle when the bike is heading straight through the intersection, or passing or attempting to overtake the car.
- Dooring–This occurs when the driver or passenger in a vehicle parked on the side of the road opens their door into the motorcyclist’s path.
- Lane-splitting –When stuck in a traffic jam, the motorcyclist might not want to wait, and choose to lane-split. This kind of motorcycle maneuver is a common cause of accidents because automobile drivers are not looking for motorcyclists to pass them when the lane is moving slowly. When lane-splitting, there is very little room to move the bike. It does not take much for a car to knock the motorcycle into oncoming traffic. Dooring often happens to motorcyclists who are lane-splitting. While legal in some states, lane-splitting is illegal in Florida.
- Dangerous conditions–As motorcycles are far less stable than other types of motor vehicles, bad road conditions particularly affect them. Uneven pavement or roadway debris may not cause much trouble for a car or truck but can prove deadly to motorcyclists.
- Blind spot collisions–Unfortunately, many automobile and motorcycle collisions occur because the car driver simply did not see the rider. These accidents often occur at intersections. Vigilance is the best way to avoid blind spot collisions.
- Defective vehicle–Sometimes, a defect in the motorcycle or its parts is the direct cause of the accident. In such cases, the manufacturer, dealer, or repair service may prove liable.
Of course, drunk or distracted driving on the part of motorists contributes to many motorcycle accidents in Palm Bay. Driver inexperience also plays a role in some collisions.
For many motorcycle accident victims, a serious injury may bring about the end of their lives as normal, functioning human beings. Catastrophic motorcycle accident injuries are often of such magnitude that supportive care, wheelchairs, or other necessities are required for the rest of their lives. Even those who do recover fully from a devastating injury have a long road to recovery.
Common motorcycle injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
How Motorcycle Accidents Differ From Other Personal Injury Cases
In Florida, automobile drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Because Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents, a driver’s PIP pays the medical bills no matter who was at fault for the crash. Only those suffering certain severe injuries may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
That’s not the situation when it comes to Florida motorcyclists. The state does not require motorcyclists to carry PIP and there is no injury threshold to meet to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in a motorcycle accident.
Florida Comparative Negligence Laws
What if you are partially at fault for the accident? That is not uncommon, but under Florida’s comparative negligence laws you can still receive compensation even if you are partly responsible for the collision.
However, any compensation is reduced by your degree of fault. For instance, if a jury finds that you were 20 percent at fault for the collision, a $100,000 award is reduced by that percentage to $80,000.
Proving a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Proving a motorcycle accident claim requires gathering as much evidence as possible. Such proof must show that another driver or entity is at fault. Multiple parties may bear liability for a motorcycle accident. For instance, the motorist may have been distracted, either by talking on a cell phone or putting their attention elsewhere than on the road. A malfunctioning car or motorcycle can put the onus on the manufacturer.
Your attorney conducts a thorough investigation of the accident. The investigation includes:
- Identifying any potential at-fault parties
- Obtaining insurance information for all parties involved
- Reviewing the police accident report
- Interviewing witnesses
- If necessary, retaining a traffic reconstruction expert
- Determining present and future medical costs
Your attorney negotiates with the insurance company so that you can receive the maximum compensation. Based on your circumstances, the attorney knows a reasonable settlement amount for your claim. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the defendants.
It is critical to note that you should always consult a personal injury lawyer after a motorcycle accident rather than accept an insurance settlement offer. Insurance companies want to settle for as little as possible as fast as possible. Once you agree to a settlement, you cannot go back and reopen the claim. An attorney protects your interests and negotiates aggressively with insurance companies on your behalf.
Compensation, or damages, in a motorcycle accident case may include:
- Medical expenses, current and future
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Statute of Limitations
Generally, the statute of limitations in Florida for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. However, it is crucial that you engage a Palm Bay motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting too long to obtain legal counsel can mean that valuable evidence can vanish.
For instance, nearby homes or businesses may have surveillance videos documenting the motorcycle crash. Such videos are usually available for only a short window, depending on the system. A video of the crash scene may prove the case but obtaining it involves swift action by your attorney.
Contact a Palm Bay Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
You need legal counsel deeply familiar with Florida motorcycle law. If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident because of another party’s negligence or recklessness, contact an experienced Palm Bay personal injury attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.