The data published by the organization showed that the state of Florida reported 567 casualties involving motorcycle accidents in 2021, which is higher than 2017’s 552 motorcycle fatalities.
Motorcycle accidents are notorious for producing the most catastrophic injuries. Unlike cars, motorcycles don’t offer much safety, which could also be a factor in the increasing number of fatalities nationwide.
Understanding what you should do following a motorcycle accident can help you maximize your compensation and minimize the accident’s impact on your life.
Seek Medical Assistance
You should first seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident, even if you think your injuries are minor.
Some injuries, like concussions, may not show symptoms immediately. It’s essential to get a complete evaluation from a medical professional as soon as possible to document your injuries. A medical record is helpful when you need to file a personal injury claim later.
Contact the Local Authorities
Calling the attention of the law enforcement bodies is the next best thing to do. The responding police officer will document your accident, including taking down any witnesses’ names and contact information.
The police report can be used as evidence if you need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
If you can physically move, you must start collecting viable pieces of evidence immediately. You can take photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your motorcycle.
It’s also essential to get the contact information and insurance information of the other driver involved in the accident.
Keep an “Accident Journal”
Keeping an “accident” journal is also a method of documentation. You should write everything you remember about the accident in your diary, including what occurred before the collision and what you went through following the crash.
It would help if you also documented your injuries and how they’ve impacted your life. For example, if you can’t work because of your injuries, note that in your journal.
Talk to a Lawyer
Many legal advisors would include calling the lawyer in the latter parts of your case. However, we advise that you seek and hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will help you navigate the legal system, deal with insurance companies, and protect your rights. Moreover, they can help you solidify your personal injury case for a more favorable outcome. The sooner they can start working, the better.
File an Insurance Claim
Florida is a “no-fault state,” which means that your own insurance company will be the one to shoulder your medical expenses and property damage repairs, regardless of who caused the accident.
However, there are certain circumstances in which you can file a third-party liability claim against the at-fault driver. You can only do this if your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold or if the other driver was driving under the influence.
Refrain From Posting on Social Media
In today’s social media age, it’s tempting to document everything on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. However, if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s best to refrain from posting anything online.
Even something as innocent as a post about your injuries could be used against you by the insurance company. They could argue that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim if they see you moving around and living your life normally on social media.
Understanding Florida’s Personal Injury Laws
Now that you know what you need to do following a motorcycle accident in Florida, it’s also essential to understand how the state’s laws can affect your case.
As a “no-fault” state, Florida follows a personal injury protection system. Under this system, your own insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and property damage repairs, regardless of who caused the accident.
Because of this regulation, Florida drivers are mandated by the law to have a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy under their insurance. Your PIP will cover up to $10,000 in damages.
However, certain situations allow the victim to file a claim to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. According to this rule, you can only file a third-party liability claim against the other driver if you meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold. This threshold includes:
- Sustaining a permanent bodily injury.
- Suffering from permanent scarring or disfigurement of the affected body part.
- Suffering from a limb amputation or a permanent loss of a physical function to the affected part.
As mentioned above, a victim can hold a defendant liable for injuries under severe circumstances. Under this situation, the state’s comparative negligence law will take effect.
According to Florida Statutes Annotated § 768.81(2), Florida employs a pure comparative negligence law. In this statute, the defendant may recover compensation regardless if they were partially at fault for the accident.
However, the court will reduce their compensation to the fraction they contributed for the accident to occur. For instance, if you were involved in an accident where you were 20 percent at fault, the court will reduce your compensation by 20 percent.
Statute of Limitations
Also, in relation to the situation above, filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida has a deadline. Florida Statutes Annotated § 95.11(3) states that victims have four years to file a personal injury claim from the date of the accident. If you fail to do so, the court will most likely dismiss your case.
This rule is called the “statute of limitations.” Once the deadline lapses, victims will no longer have legal recourse against the at-fault driver.
Because of this limited time, it’s essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you gather evidence, evaluate the best legal steps, and ensure that your case is filed before the statute of limitations expires.
Protect Your Rights After an Accident in Florida
When dealing with a motorcycle accident in Florida, you have two goals: protect your right and maximize your claims. To do this, you need to understand the state’s personal injury laws and take the necessary steps to ensure that your case is strong.
The traffic accident laws in Florida may be challenging to understand, but a personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company, file a personal injury lawsuit, and get the best possible outcome for your case.
Our Daytona Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Our personal injury attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet Lawyers have been helping motorcycle accident victims in Daytona Beach for over 40 years. We understand your challenges and will do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve.
The validity of your case is only as strong as your evidence. Make sure to act fast and take the necessary precautions to preserve your rights and compensation.