An Orlando motorcycle accident attorney such as myself can be your first ally in the battle for compensation after a serious motorcycle accident. Unless you’ve tried to settle a motorcycle injury claim in the past, you may not be aware of how valuable it is to your financial future and your current health to work with a motorcycle injury lawyer. Settling a motorcycle injury claim can be difficult even with legal help. You don’t want to find out the hard way what it will be like without the help of a
Factors That Increase Risk or Contribute to
Orlando Motorcycle Accidents
The freedom of maneuverability that comes with riding a motorcycle is also one of its greatest downfalls. While cars, buses and trucks have the safety of an enclosed space and features such as seat-belts and airbags, the motorcycle does not provide these same safety features. In fact, most motorcyclists have no more protection during a crash than the clothes on their back.
Visibility is another downfall of motorcycles. Because they are smaller, they tend to fall into the blind spots of nearby vehicles. This can result in serious accidents when a negligent driver fails to check his or her mirrors before changing lanes or making a turn.
A lesser known reason motorcycle crashes occur is due to manufacturer defects and mechanical failures. Many motorcycle models have been recalled over the years due to design or production flaws. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes the occurrence of several serious or fatal accidents before these flaws are discovered and resolved.
Cuts, bruises, road rash, burns, broken bones, and head trauma are possible consequences of these accidents. All of this can add up to substantial medical expenses, loss of work, and other damages. That is why you need a skilled personal injury attorney handling your case who will work zealously on your behalf to get the financial compensation for damages that you need and deserve.
Injuries Suffered In Florida Motorcycle Accidents Can Be Catastrophic
Because motorcyclists lack the extra protection of a car body around them, they often suffer from serious internal motorcycle injuries. Any Orlando motorcycle accident attorney can attest to the severity of motorcycle injuries. According to the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT), for fatal accidents the most common motorcycle injuries are brain injuries or injuries to multiple body regions. For non-fatal crashes, fractures, especially to the lower extremities, and internal organ injuries were among the chief reasons motorcyclists were hospitalized after an accident.
Aside from the physical toll a motorcycle accident can take on a person, the financial burdens are a concern as well. As you heal from your injuries, the medical bills are sure to accumulate, which can create unexpected stress in an already stressful situation.
Your motorcycle crash lawyer is there to help put your mind at ease by taking up the task of negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries. The basis of a motorcycle accident case is that another negligent party, whether it be another driver or a motorcycle manufacturer, was responsible for causing your accident and injuries.
The liability in any motorcycle or other traffic accident depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. Florida state laws govern financial liability proportionate to fault. Such factors as speed, driver inattentiveness, disobeying traffic signals and signs, drug or alcohol influence, weather, road conditions, and more may play in part in determining fault in any accident.
An Orlando motorcycle accident attorney can also help examine the possibility that a defect with a part or the bike itself was the cause of the accident. In this case, a lawsuit may be filed against the part or bike manufacturer to recover damages.
How an Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Can Help Your Case
The Florida DOT reports that in 2010 the median hospital charge for motorcyclists involved in a crash was $55,748. Even a simple in-and-out emergency room visit cost a median $3,101. The point is – motorcycle injuries are NOT cheap.
As you recover from your injuries you’re most likely unable to work and are therefore losing regular income. Unexpected medical bills and unexpected lost wages can result in unexpected stress – a motorcycle injury lawyer can help alleviate some of that stress.
The main benefit of working with a motorcycle crash lawyer is the familiarity of handling motorcycle accident claims. Most motorcyclists have never been in an accident before and once the phone begins to ring with messages from your insurance adjuster, things can become frustrating.
In 2009, about half of the hospitalizations and emergency room visits due to motorcycle crashes were paid for by commercial insurance policies. This means it is highly likely you will have to deal with an insurance company in the course of your settlement.
Your Orlando motorcycle accident attorney can become your voice when dealing with the insurance adjusters, which can save you time and money. You can focus on recovery while your motorcycle injury lawyer focuses on negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company.
Many insurance adjusters will try to pressure claimants into accepting a quick settlement in order to downplay the serious costs a motorcycle accident can rack up. They know you are most likely desperate for relief from your medical bills, and if their initial settlement compensates for your current bills, you may be more likely to take it. Before you accept this settlement, have it reviewed by a motorcycle crash lawyer – I will point out that your settlement should cover not only your current losses, but also account for your future medical costs and lost wages.
Orange County Florida Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) Traffic Safety Office there were 7,484 motorcycle crashes and 6,686 with injuries reported in 2010. Of these crashes, 350 resulted in fatalities which accounted for 14.3 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state.
A motorcycle injury lawyer may see hundreds of cases in their career and each one is unique. While there are some common factors among motorcycle injury cases, it is important to note that even extremely similar cases can have drastically different outcomes due to a variety of factors.
The majority of motorcycle accidents in Florida in 2010 occurred with male motorcyclists between the ages of 45 and 54.
The most motorcycle accidents in 2010 occurred in Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Volusia, Hillsbobough, Palm Beach, Broward, Duval, Orange, Pasco and Brevard counties.
In 2011, helmet use was reported at 49.3 percent, and 37 percent of the victims of fatal crashes were not wearing a helmet according to the 2010 crash data.
These facts are part of the sad truth about motorcycle hazards – the Florida highways are still a dangerous place for motorcyclists to share the road.
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Do you have serious questions following an Orlando motorcycle accident? During this difficult time, you may have questions about everything from the value of your claim to the length of time it will take to settle. If you have specific questions relating to your claim, contact an attorney to get a better idea of how the law can influence your specific claim and/or the funds that you ultimately receive for your injuries.
1. How much compensation do I deserve after a motorcycle accident in Orlando?
The compensation you receive for your injuries in an Orlando motorcycle accident will depend on the extent of your injuries and how they impact you financially. Consult with an attorney to get a better idea of exactly how much compensation you deserve for the specific injuries you faced in your motorcycle accident. Consider the following: Your personal injury protection insurance will provide the first coverage after your motorcycle accident. If you do not suffer injuries that exceed the coverage of your personal injury protection insurance, you may still need help from us if your PIP coverage refuses to cover your costs. Your medical expenses may form the bulk of your personal injury claim. Usually, a personal injury claim will cover both the economic and non-economic losses associated with a severe injury in an accident.
– Your medical expenses
– Your lost wages due to lost time at work after your injuries
– Your pain and suffering
An attorney can help you quantify those losses and help you identify and collect all the bills associated with your accident.The insurance carried by the driver who caused your accident may limit your compensation. Florida drivers must carry a minimum of $10,000 of coverage to help pay medical bills for another driver injured in an accident that they caused. Sometimes, however, the cost of your injuries may exceed the coverage you have for those injuries.
2. What happens if the medical bills from my motorcycle accident exceed the coverage offered by the liable driver’s insurance policy?
Many types of injuries lead to substantial medical bills. In some cases, those medical bills may continue for years after your accident, especially if you suffer severe, life-altering injuries. As your medical bills accumulate, you may find yourself worrying about how you will pay. Bodily injury coverage from the other driver’s policy can help, but it may not fully cover your medical expenses, especially not your long-term medical expenses.
Consider some of these options:
– An attorney may help identify other parties that contributed to your injuries. Sometimes, multiple entities contribute to motorcycle accidents: not just other drivers, but other parties who share liability for the accident. These other parties may include: The driver’s employer, if the driver was taking care of work responsibilities at the time of the accident The vehicle manufacturer, if mechanical errors led to an accident A mechanic who failed to properly repair the vehicle Identifying these other parties that may have contributed to the accident can help you seek additional compensation for your injuries. Often, these other parties may carry substantially higher insurance policies, which may provide higher degrees of protection following your accident.
– Your medical insurance will help cover many of your bills. Your medical insurance company may require you to use any settlement that you receive to help cover your medical bills first. Once your medical bills exceed that provision, however, medical insurance can help pay many of your medical expenses. Contact your medical insurance company to ask what coverage you can expect following an accident caused by another party, including what proof you need to submit regarding your personal injury claim.
– Many hospitals will assist with payment arrangements. Hospitals usually work with patients to help provide them with a high quality of care in spite of an inability to pay immediately. Contact the hospital or your doctors to learn what aid they can provide as you work to pay for your medical bills and receive the treatment you need for your injuries.
3. If I did not wear a helmet at the time of my accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, can I still pursue compensation for my injuries?
Florida law does not require drivers and riders over the age of 21 to wear a helmet while riding their motorcycles as long as they can provide proof that they carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection coverage. Regardless of whether you chose to wear a helmet at the time of your accident, you can still file for compensation from the driver or another party that caused your accident.
Wearing a helmet, however, can offer many vital protections in a motorcycle accident, significantly decreasing the risk of head and neck injury. Wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of severe head injury in a motorcycle accident by as much as 69 percent, and the risk of death by 42 percent.
Ideally, you should always wear protective gear when riding your motorcycle to help provide as much protection as possible if you do have an accident. The lack of protective gear, however, will not prohibit you from seeking compensation for any injuries, including head injuries, suffered as a result of a motorcycle accident.
4. What should I do to protect myself after a motorcycle accident?
You may take many steps to protect yourself before a motorcycle accident, including wearing appropriate protective gear, paying careful attention to other drivers around you on the road, and following the rules of the road whenever you ride. After an accident, you should take the necessary precautions to protect your finances.
These are the steps:
1. Do not accept responsibility, even partial responsibility, for the accident. A police officer may approach you at the scene of the accident or in the hospital after your accident, depending on the severity of your injuries and whether you can answer questions immediately or require immediate medical attention. Do not accept responsibility for the accident or make any statement that may indicate that you accept responsibility for the injuries. You should answer the officer’s questions honestly but without implying fault. Provide as much detail as you remember from the accident.
2. Seek medical care as soon as possible. Many motorcycle riders may feel tempted to avoid the hospital after an accident, especially if they can walk around the scene of the accident. Any time you suffer an accident, however, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Seeking medical attention can:
– Identify the full extent of your injuries. Often, adrenaline and endorphins can combine to prevent you from feeling injuries immediately after the accident. You may not realize the severity of your injuries until that adrenaline has time to fade.
– Prevent you from mistakenly worsening injuries. If you walk around without medical care, you can accidentally cause your injuries to get worse. Often, accident victims worsen their injuries unintentionally because they do not recognize the full severity of those injuries or know what to do to prevent further problems.
– Provide clear evidence of when your injuries occurred. If you need to seek compensation for medical expenses associated with your injuries, you may need to provide evidence about when the injuries occurred and how the accident happened. If you do not visit the hospital, the insurance company’s attorney may attempt to claim that your injuries occurred elsewhere and that, therefore, the company does not have to pay you for your injuries.
3. Follow the recommendations of your doctors. Your doctors and physical therapists may provide lengthy recommendations about your recovery. Some people might ignore those recommendations and attempt to return to their normal activities as soon as they feel able. You might try to forego therapy due to lack of time. Failure to follow those recommendations, however, could cause you to inadvertently worsen your injuries. If you worsen your injuries yourself, it could reduce the total amount of compensation that you ultimately receive for your injuries.
4. Write down or record your statement of events as soon as possible. Your memory may fade quickly after an accident. While the feelings from the accident may remain, or you may have flashbacks about the accident, you may not remember all the details that contributed to your accident. Those details may blur, or you may find your memories impacted by other people’s statements about the accident. Record your statement of events as soon as possible, whether you create a written report or use an audio recorder to give a verbal report about the accident. Ideally, you want your statement and your memory as clear as possible.
5. Contact an attorney as soon after the accident as you can. Do not wait to get in touch with an attorney, even if you feel you may need to wait to file your personal injury claim. An attorney can provide valuable advice and assistance at every stage after your motorcycle accident, and having that attorney on your side can help provide peace of mind, reduce stress, and prevent you from missing out on compensation.
5. The other driver’s insurance company contacted me and offered a settlement a few days after my accident. I need the money. Should I accept?
Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement offer after a motorcycle accident. Often, insurance companies will attempt to minimize their financial liability by issuing low settlement offers. These offers frequently arrive soon after the accident itself, when you have not yet determined what the aftereffects of that accident will look like in regards to your finances or your overall health and recovery. Consulting with an attorney will give you a better idea of exactly how much compensation you should expect and when to accept a settlement offer—as well as when you should continue to negotiate.
6. Should I file a personal injury claim immediately after my motorcycle accident?
You should contact an attorney immediately after your motorcycle accident. In some cases, that attorney may advise waiting to file your personal injury claim. Filing your claim soon after your accident can help get much-needed funds in your hands sooner. However, in some cases, while you will need to seek medical treatment and a lawyer’s advice immediately, you may want to wait to file your personal injury claim.
You suffered severe injuries and need to let your healing progress before filing a claim. Many injuries may take six months or even a year to heal before a doctor can fully evaluate how much of a recovery you will make. If your injuries have a long-term impact, it can impact both the medical bills you will face and the overall value of your claim. Some types of injuries, including burns, may also have a high likelihood of severe complications that can add to your medical costs and your overall recovery. Your attorney may advise waiting until you have a better idea of how your healing will progress and how much ground you can expect to gain back before filing your personal injury claim.
You do not know all the factors that contributed to your accident. In some motorcycle accidents, multiple entities contribute to the accident: not just other drivers, but the driver’s employer, the manufacturer of a driver’s vehicle, or a mechanic that recently worked on that vehicle. Your attorney may need time to investigate your accident and determine all of the factors that contributed to it before filing your personal injury claim.
7. How long should I expect my personal injury claim to take after an Orlando motorcycle accident?
It can take time to file a personal injury claim and secure compensation after a motorcycle accident. Your attorney may need time to investigate your accident and get a better idea of all the factors that contributed to your accident. If you need to ask for significant compensation due to high medical bills and severe injuries, it can take longer to settle your claim. While the funds you receive in compensation can provide vital financial aid that makes it possible for you to pay your medical bills and cover your regular bills during your recovery, you should prepare for it to take time to settle your motorcycle accident claim.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Orlando
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident in the greater Orlando area or in the surrounding counties of Seminole, Orange, Lake, Osceola, or Volusia, call us today at 407-422-4529 or use the form found on this page to schedule your free Orlando Motorcycle Accident Consultation. We are here to help and want to get the best possible results for your Motorcycle Accident. Our Orlando Motorcycle Accident team and I are familiar with Florida motorcycle laws, and can help by giving tips for choosing motorcycle accident insurance, and we can review and evaluate your case under personal injury laws.
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“The attorneys Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney are very professional. They are a great team that take you by the hand during the whole process. It was a very comfortable experience for me, they treat you with a lot of respect and make you feel like family. They are the best. Thanks to everyone, they got a great result for me much more than I thought. Thank you so much.” -Wanda C.