Florida Motorcycle Accidents: What You Need to Know

Florida Motorcycle Accidents: What You Need to Know

There’s something special about feeling the wind on your face as you ride on the open road. Sadly, that sense of freedom comes with a lot of risk. Motorcyclists are significantly more likely to be injured or killed in a crash than their four-wheeled counterparts. That rarely dissuades people from riding, and it’s a statistic that drivers don’t take seriously enough. Every near-miss, you count your lucky stars, but when someone’s negligence causes injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. However, recent updates to tort law in Florida have complicated the personal injury claims process, and it’s important to understand how that impacts motorcyclists and drivers. 

Comparative Negligence

Like many states, Florida follows the principle of comparative negligence when determining fault in personal injury cases. This essentially means that the percentage of fault for which each party is responsible will be considered when determining the amount of compensation they’re entitled to. In other words, if you’re found to be 20% at fault for an accident, your total compensation will be reduced by 20%. 

Tort reform in Florida changed to a modified comparative negligence state. Although the percentage of fault is still a factor in compensation, now the party whose degree of fault exceeds 50% will not be eligible for compensation. This is a huge change that could impact many case outcomes. This means that every driver and motorcyclist needs to make sure they’re following traffic and safety laws as closely as possible. Every minor “mistake” could count against you after an accident investigation and possibly prevent you from obtaining the damages compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How Safety Impacts Your Case

Florida law requires anyone riding a motorcycle under the age of 21 to wear a helmet and eye safety gear that complies with federal safety standards . Riders over the age of 21 are allowed to ride without a helmet if they have the appropriate insurance coverage. People all over the world visit Florida and take advantage of the opportunity to ride without a helmet in spite of the inherent danger. It’s understandable to want to feel the wind on your hair and relief from the warm temperatures. However, it’s strongly recommended that motorcyclists wear a helmet at all times. 

As a motorcyclist, you undoubtedly already understand the potential consequences of not wearing a helmet. We’re not here to judge. As a personal injury law firm, however, we want you to be aware that if you get into an accident and experience severe injuries as a result of not wearing a helmet, the other party may attempt to use this against you. The defendant, and possibly your own insurance company, may argue that your choice not to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries, therefore making you at least partially at fault. Depending on the circumstances, this could put you over the 50% compensation threshold. 

Getting Compensation

Even if you follow every safety precaution motorists have available, there’s a chance that someone’s negligence could lead to your injury. If you’ve been in a road accident, whether you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, the very first thing you need to do is get medical assistance. Even if you’re able to get up and walk away from the accident, you must get medical attention. Receiving medical care is a requirement to file a personal injury claim. You may not fully know the scope of your injuries at the time, so having your doctor’s visit on record will help your case if you have persistent pain in the near future.

The next thing you need to do is call your attorney as soon as you’re able. An attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options and provide guidance on the appropriate next steps. At Feldman Legal Group, we’re passionate about protecting the rights of motorcyclists. Everyone deserves the freedom to travel safely and live life to the fullest. If you or someone you love has been in an accident, call our office at 1-877-946-8293 to schedule your free consultation.