Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers at Chalik & Chalik Law Offices understand that motorcycling is an extremely popular activity in Fort Lauderdale and they know that motorcyclists are thirty times more likely to be in a deadly crash than a driver or passenger in a car. With hundreds of miles of coastlines, scenic rural drives, and fair weather year round, motorcyclists find ample time to hit the open road in the Sunshine State. Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for local and traveling motorcyclists in the state. Unfortunately, this can mean high rates of motorcycle accidents in Broward County. The legal team at the Law Offices of Chalik & Chalik want to extend its help if you find yourself in such an accident. A Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney at Chalik & Chalik is dedicated to helping injured victims seek compensation for their injuries and get them back on their feet again.
How a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Injury Lawyer Can Help
It is worthwhile to speak to a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys at Chalik & Chalik about how much your civil claim could be worth. If you suffered a catastrophic injury or a loved one’s wrongful death in a motorcycle accident, a civil suit could be well worth the time and expense. Don’t let someone else’s negligent act go without legal consequences. Our team of motorcycle crash experts can help you receive maximum compensation under Florida law. Motorcycling should be as safe as driving, and, when we hold negligent parties accountable, our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys can work to achieve that goal.
How to Pursue Financial Compensation After a Motorcycle Crash
Pursuing financial compensation after a motorcycle accident begins with determining fault for the crash. Since Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, this only applies if the injured party wants to file a personal injury claim with the civil courts. If recovery is enough through an insurance company, the driver doesn’t have to assign fault. The injured motorcyclist simply has to file a claim with his/her own insurer.
If, however, the other driver doesn’t have insurance or someone else’s negligence had something to do with your crash, consider pursuing reimbursement through the civil court system instead of a simple insurance claim. A personal injury lawsuit can result in much greater compensation than an insurance claim in Fort Lauderdale. A civil claim is one way to fight for pain and suffering damages, mental anguish, lost capacity to earn, and lost enjoyment of life. An insurance settlement award will typically only pay for medical bills and lost income from missed work after a motorcycle crash.
Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Motorcycle Accident Injury Case
- Failing to seek medical attention: If you do not go the emergency room after a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle wreck or at least see your doctor, the insurance companies will be able to shed doubt on just how severe your injuries are. It is crucial that you follow all instructions from your doctor to show that you are committed to healing and not just looking for a handout.
- Not documenting the accident: Memories fade and scars heal. It is important that you write down everything you remember about your accident as soon as it happens, to ensure your account of the wreck is on paper and there are no discrepancies in your testimony later. Your lawyer can also help you document the accident with pictures and expert investigation.
- Signing anything from the insurance companies: Insurance adjusters talk a big game, often telling you they are on your side or looking out for your best interest. Do not believe them. As soon as you turn your back, they will lie and cheat to save as much money as possible. Never sign anything from the insurance companies and politely direct all inquiries to your attorney.
Time Limits on Claims in Motorcycle Accidents
When you or someone has been injured or even killed in a motorcycle accident by a negligent driver, you have the legal right to collect damages. In these cases, the financial compensation may include:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing care
- Funeral costs
- Lost wages
- And more
Common Motorcycle Accident Causes in Florida
Driver error is one of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes. Passenger vehicle drivers might not look carefully enough for motorcycles before changing lanes or pulling out into traffic – especially when making left-hand turns. In other cases, drivers may be texting and driving or otherwise distracted at the time of the crash. Drivers who speed, drink and drive, or ignore the rules of the road can easily cause deadly motorcycle accidents. In these cases, injured motorcyclists may have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Some motorcycle accidents stem not from driver error, but from bike part failure or dangerous roadways. If a component of the motorcycle failed and caused the accident, the product manufacturer may be liable for damages. In the event of a dangerous obstacle in the road, such as a pothole or fallen tree, the entity responsible for roadway maintenance – the city of Fort Lauderdale – may have to pay for victims’ losses. You may need help from a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney to assign fault and pursue compensation in Broward County.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Claims
A motorcycle accident can lead to many different types of legal claims. Florida follows a no-fault rule for insurance, so most injured riders would simply file claims against their own insurance policies if the recovery amount is enough to cover their damages. However, other factors may lead to different types of lawsuits.
If a motorcycle manufacturer released a defective vehicle, or a parts manufacturer sold defective parts, these situations could lead to accidents and subsequent product liability claims against the manufacturer. Once a manufacturer becomes aware of a product defect they must take adequate steps to recall affected products and offer replacements to customers.
In some cases, the manufacturer may simply stop production of the affected product until a fix is available. However, if the defects cause harm to customers, those customers can file product liability claims against the manufacturer to recoup their losses.
Unlike a personal injury case, a plaintiff in a product liability lawsuit does not necessarily have to prove the manufacturer was negligent. The plaintiff must simply prove that the product in question was defective and the defect caused the plaintiff’s damages. Products can be defective in three possible ways:
- Defective design. There is an inherent flaw with the design of the product making it unsafe.
- Defective production. There was a flaw during the manufacturing process which may only affect certain items or lots of items.
- Defective marketing. The manufacturer did not accurately represent the product in marketing materials or did not include adequate instructions for use or safety warnings.
Motorcycle accident claims in Fort Lauderdale involving negligent drivers only manifest when insurance coverage is not enough to cover a plaintiff’s damages. Succeeding in a personal injury claim hinges on the plaintiff’s ability to prove the defendant was at fault for the accident.
Some motorcycle accident claims may result from poorly maintained roads or roadway hazards. In these situations, injured motorcyclists may need to file a lawsuit against the government agency responsible for maintaining the location where the accident took place. For example, if a motorcyclist suffers an injury near a roadway construction site because the site workers failed to place warning signs where appropriate, the injured cyclist may file a lawsuit against the state’s Department of Transportation for its employees’ negligence.
Side Impact/Broadside Collisions in Motorcycle Accidents
Side impact collisions are some of the deadliest types of motorcycle accidents. They are unfortunately also some of the most common. When motorists don’t watch for motorcycles before entering intersections or making left-hand turns, they can cause broadside collisions. The vulnerability of motorcyclists in broadside accidents makes it important to understand how and why these collisions happen. The more you know about side impact accidents, the better your chances of avoiding them become.
What Is a Side Impact Accident?
A side impact accident, also called a broadside or T-bone accident, is one in which a vehicle strikes a motorcycle from the side – hitting the motorcycle’s broadside. It can also describe when a vehicle drives out in front of an oncoming motorcycle at a perpendicular angle. Intersections are the most common settings for side-impact motorcycle accidents. They are also common at places where vehicles need to pull out of side streets, driveways, or parking lots, and drivers fail to check for or to see oncoming motorcycles.
Common Causes of Broadside Collisions
Like all accident types, side-impact collisions have common causes and reasons they occur. Understanding these reasons is the first step in preventing these types of accidents in the future. Learning the most common causes can also help you understand who might be liable for your recent motorcycle accident. While many different acts of driver negligence can cause T-bone accidents, the most common are:
- Failing to yield the right of way when making a turn
- Running a red light or stop sign at an intersection
- Distracted driving/texting and driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol
- Making unsafe lane changes or merges
- Lack of visibility
- Bad weather
All broadside motorcycle accidents are preventable. If drivers pay proper attention to the road, yield at stop intersections, look both ways for oncoming motorcycles, follow the speed limit, and obey other roadway rules, they can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Motorcyclists should also be wary of side-impact accident risks, driving through intersections with care and always watching vehicles waiting to pull out or make left-hand turns.
Injuries Related to Side Impact Accidents
Broadside accidents can be deadly for motorcyclists. The crash can eject the motorcyclist off the bike, resulting in injuries at the time of impact and when the motorcyclist’s body strikes the ground or vehicle. The motorcyclist could possibly fall beneath the oncoming vehicle and suffer crush injuries. Almost any type of personal injury is possible in something as serious as a side-impact motorcycle wreck. Some a victim might experience include:
- Cuts and scrapes from broken glass, debris, metal, or asphalt can require stitches and permanently scar motorcycle accident survivors.
- Road rash. This common motorcyclist injury occurs when the rider hits the road and slides before coming to a stop. The asphalt can tear and burn the skin, causing permanent scarring and traumatic tattooing.
- Bone fractures. Breaks can occur when an external force exerts too much pressure on the bones. For example, if the motorcycle pins the rider’s leg beneath it, the pressure could fracture one or more bones. Broken bones are painful and temporarily disabling.
- Head and brain injuries. Motorcyclists over the age of 21 with proper insurance do not legally have to wear helmets in Florida. This greatly increases the risk of serious or fatal head and brain injuries in broadside accidents.
- Spinal cord injuries. If a side-impact crash fractures or damages the delicate spinal cord, the rider could suffer permanent paralysis below the area of impact.
Do your best to avoid serious injuries and accidents through safe, defensive motorcycling. Never assume the driver of a vehicle sees you, is going to stop at an intersection, or will yield the right of way. Instead, assume the opposite and continue with care. If you do end up being the victim of a side-impact motorcycle accident, contact a personal injury lawyer right away.
Helmet Laws in Florida
In Florida, you must be at least 21 years old and have at least $10,000 worth of medical coverage to be able to ride or operate a motorbike without a helmet. Motorcycle owners should be aware that $10,000 doesn’t cover any pain and suffering, which is just a fraction of the total bill. Riders 21 and under are required to wear a helmet at all times. Wearing a helmet has life-saving properties and our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys always strongly encourage inexperienced riders to wear a helmet even if they are over the age of 21. Helmets can be life-saving in the event of a deadly accident.
Florida’s Insurance Laws for Motorcycle Riders
Motorcycle insurance is not required in Florida, which means if you are pulled over you will not be ticketed, arrested, or your bike impounded. If you should be in an accident, however, you are responsible for any damages caused in an accident where you are at fault, partially or totally. When you do not have liability insurance and you are in an accident, you are charged under Florida’s financial responsibility law.
This means that if you are in a Florida motorcycle accident, it could cost you a lot of money out of your own pocket.
The type of insurance that is recommended in Florida for motorcycle riders includes:
– this insurance is what will cover the expenses if you should injure someone, and it will also cover you under the financial responsibility law.
Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Insurance
– this type of insurance will cover you if you should be injured by a driver that does not have adequate insurance.
With the risks of riding motorcycles and some of the limitations on insurance coverage for motorcycles, it is important to understand the coverage you have, making sure that any injury you would cause to yourself or someone else is well covered. As Florida motorcycle accident lawyers we see a lot of accidents and the problems that come with not being properly insured.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics in Florida
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, indicate that Florida leads the nation in motorcycle accident fatalities. It’s crucial for Florida motorcyclists to understand the risks of riding and take the state’s history of motorcycle safety into account. Consider the following statistics:
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 4,976 deaths from motorcycle accidents in 2016.
- Since 2013, more than 10% of all motorcycle accident fatalities each year occurred in Florida.
- Motorcycle crashes were responsible for 13% of all vehicle deaths in 2016.
- About one of every five fatal motor vehicle crashes in Florida involved a motorcyclist.
- 27% of the fatal motorcycle accidents recorded in 2016 involved a rider who did not have a valid driver’s license.
- 40% of all fatal motorcycle crashes are single vehicle accidents. The other 60% occur in multiple vehicle crashes. This trend has remained constant since the 1980s.
- 91% of fatalities from motorcycle accidents in 2016 were males. 68% of female motorcyclists killed in motorcycle crashes in 2016 were passengers, and females account for 92% of passenger deaths.
- 61% of all riders killed in 2016 were wearing helmets in states with helmet laws requiring helmets for all riders and passengers. Although this seems to indicate that helmets aren’t very effective, IIHS studies indicate that Department of Transportation-approved helmets significantly reduce the chance of head injury and death in a motorcycle accident.
- In states with no helmet laws, only 27% of riders killed were wearing helmets. In states with helmet laws that only cover some drivers, 40% of the fatalities involved helmeted riders.
- 26% of all fatally injured motorcyclists in multiple-vehicle crashes in 2016 had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels over the legal limit of .08%. This number rose to 37% for single vehicle accidents.
However, depending on when your accident occurred and when you decide to file a claim to recover damages, there may a time limit on pursuing these. These time limits are referred to as statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations in Fort Lauderdale for a personal injury claim, which you may file after being injured in a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle wreck, is four (4) years. If you are filing a wrongful death suit, the limit is two (2) years from the time of passing. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases also states that there is a limit on the amount of time after an accident you can wait before starting your claim. It is important that you are timely, or you could end up not being able to seek compensation at all.
Motorcycle Fatalities in the U.S (2005-2016)
Data released by the U.S Department of Transportation Fatality Reporting System (FARS) reported a total of 4,976 motorcyclists deaths in 2016. Since the 1980s, there has been a decline in the number of motorcyclist deaths. However, between 1998 and 2008 motorcycle accidents steadily increased and 2016 saw a peak in fatalities. According to the report, motorcycle deaths accounted for 13% of all motor vehicle deaths in 2016. Of those fatalities, more than 60% of those fatally injured drivers were helmeted.
Riding and Safety Tips
Always wear a helmet and protective clothing.
A helmet can significantly reduce your chances of dangerous and life-threatening head injuries, while protective clothing (such as goggles and a heavy jacket) can prevent eye injuries, cuts, and road burns.
Motorcycle riders should obey all traffic laws on the road, and drive defensively around other cars. Many wrecks are caused by drivers who do not see motorcyclists, so anticipating their mistakes may help you avoid a costly crash.
For more information following an accident in Fort Lauderdale, speak to a car accident lawyer now.
NEVER drink and ride.
Alcohol is involved in nearly 50 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes. Having even a single drink before getting on a motorcycle slows your reactions and makes you unstable, posing a substantial risk to yourself, your passengers, and others around you on the road.