Given the lack of safety features (e.g., crash-resistant frames, airbags, and seat belts), it is no surprise that motorcycle accidents tend to cause significant injuries and have a high fatality rate. In fact, motorcyclists were approximately 27 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and six times as likely to sustain injuries, according to 2014 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When another party causes or contributes to a motorcycle crash, the rider (or their family members in fatal cases) can file a claim against the liable party to pursue compensation for expenses and losses. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine offers free case reviews. You can speak with one of our team representatives about how a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyer can build your case.
Do I Have a Valid Motorcycle Accident Claim?
When determining the validity of a motorcycle claim, the first factor that you must address is who is at fault for the accident. That is, why did the accident occur, and who caused it? Motorcycle accident claims fall under personal injury law, which requires plaintiffs to establish how another party’s negligence caused the accident that led to their injuries.
To establish negligence, you must be able to prove the following points:
- Duty of care: The defendant had a duty to keep you from harm. For example, drivers are prohibited from operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Breach of duty of care: The defendant breached, or violated, their duty of care through their actions or inactions. For example, the driver chose to drive while intoxicated instead of paying for a taxi or walking home.
- Causation: This point requires you to make a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and how the accident occurred, essentially proving why it occurred. For example, the alcohol lowered the driver’s motor skills, judgment, and vision, making them a risk on the road. Because of their intoxication, the driver ran a red light, which caused them to hit your motorcycle in the intersection.
- Damages: You suffered injuries and related damages in the motorcycle accident. The point allows you to list how the accident harmed you physically and emotionally as well as any financial losses you suffered.
These four points build the basic structure of your case argument. However, for many people, not all points will be obvious immediately and may require further investigation to establish each point. Our legal team will investigate your accident for you to collect evidence so that we can prepare your case against the liable party.
For a free legal consultation with a motorcycle accidents lawyer serving Fort Lauderdale, 800-747-3733
Other Ways Negligence Can Factor into Motorcycle Accident Cases
Below are a few other examples of scenarios in which you would probably qualify to file a liability claim:
- The driver was speeding or cut you off.
- Motorcycle defective parts caused you to crash.
- The driver was texting while driving.
- The roads were poorly maintained, e.g., potholes, uneven pavement, road debris, etc.
These examples showcase how further investigation might be necessary, whether it involves having a mechanic inspect your motorcycle for defects or requesting cellphone records from the defendant’s service provider to prove they were actually texting at the time of the accident.
So, if you are unsure about whether you have a solid case against the liable party, feel free to speak with one of our team members. We will listen to your case and discuss what one of our attorneys can do to build your case and represent you in litigation.
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What if I Am Partly at Fault for My Motorcycle Accident?
In negligent motorcycle rider accidents, the fault is shared, so Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule applies. This rule provides that you can still file a claim and recover damages when you are partially responsible for the crash, but your degree of fault will reduce your compensation.
So, if the courts find you 40 percent at fault and your damages total $100,000, you will only recover 60 percent of your award. This means you will only recover $60,000.
What Factors Can Put Partial Fault on the Plaintiff?
Any type of careless or negligent behavior that contributed to the accident may apportion you with partial fault. For example, you may share the fault for:
- Lane splitting
- Riding along the shoulder
- Speeding and swerving in and out of lanes
- Not using proper signals
- Speeding through an intersection
It is also important to note that if you are not wearing a helmet and sustained head injuries, the other party can use that to reduce your award. The defendant can argue that your injuries would have been reduced had you been wearing a helmet, and therefore, you share liability. This argument has been validated by Florida courts.
One of our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers can discuss more about fault and liability in your case and how to proceed with your claim during future consultations.
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What Types of Damages Can I Recover for a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accidents can cause serious, debilitating injuries, such as head trauma, amputation, facial and dental injuries, scarring and burns, fractured bones, and spinal cord damage. Damages tend to be rather high in these cases to compensate victims for all the medical care they need and for short- or long-term disability.
There are two main categories of damages you may be able to obtain in a motorcycle accident case:
Special damages, or economic damages, compensate you for your actual financial losses, such as:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Transportation expenses for medical care
- In-home nursing care costs
- Household services
- Your loss of income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Future financial losses you might expect if your injuries are long-term or permanent (e.g., future income loss)
Our team may collect receipts, invoices, and other financial records to prove the monetary value of your damages. You may also claim other damages not listed here, such as costs for wheelchairs or other mobility devices, if applicable.
General damages, or non-economic damages, compensate you for the intangible harms you sustain, such as:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
- Physical disfigurement
- Diminished quality of life
Courts and insurers typically use a basic formula to estimate and assign a dollar value of non-monetary losses.
There are numerous factors that affect the value of a motorcycle accident claim. The details of the insurance policies, fault, the severity of your injuries, your prognosis, whether the claim goes to court, and the strength of your evidence can all play a role in the final outcome of your case.
Wrongful Death Damages
Unfortunately, many motorcyclists pass away as a result of their accident injuries. Surviving family members may qualify to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, which would allow them to pursue compensation on behalf of their late loved one. Wrongful death damages may include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical debts inherited
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of companionship, love, and affection
- Loss of financial support
Grieving the loss of a loved one can be overwhelming. Allow our team to help you hold the liable party accountable so that you may be able to recover some practical losses. We’ll handle your case to give you and your family space to process your loss.
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I Want to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim. Where do I Begin?
After you have tended to your immediate medical concerns, some proactive steps you can take include:
- Filing a crash report with the local police of where the accident occurred
- Taking photos of the accident scene, involved vehicles, and injuries you sustained
- Calling our law firm to get a free case review
Our team representatives will assess your case, investigate the facts, and counsel you on how to best proceed, given your unique circumstances.
We Know How to Build Your Case
Our negligence lawyers will offer you advice concerning your case’s documentation and evidence, reconstruction with the help of experts, witnesses’ testimonies, and so on. In most cases, our attorneys will perform a thorough research concerning liability. For instance, if your accident also involved a pedestrian, a pedestrian accident attorney from our firm will also investigate your case. The main idea here is to build a solid claim or lawsuit so you can maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
In the meantime, there are several things you can do to improve your chances of having a successful claim. For example:
- Get medical care: Continue with your medical care and stick to your prescribed treatments. If you receive counseling or care from specialists, save copies of those records, too. This will help demonstrate the seriousness of your injuries.
- Gather as much evidence as you can to share with your lawyer: You need evidence to prove fault, as well as to prove the extent of your injuries. For example, items such as the police report, eyewitness information, your personal account of what happened, and photos of the scene and damage to the vehicles might help prove your case.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today for a Free Case Review
Our Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help. We are available to discuss your case in person or via phone. Call now for a free consultation to discuss your motorcycle accident today.
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