What Happens If I Was Partially at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident in Florida?

Often in motorcycle crashes, each party may play some role in causing the accident. In Florida, motorcycle riders are not barred from recovery if they were partially at fault for the accident. Florida is a comparative negligence state, in which the blame or negligence for an accident is distributed among the responsible parties. In each case, the court or mediator will determine what percentage of fault the parties held, and reduce a party's recovery by this amount. For example, if damages amounted to $100K and the automobile driver was 80% at fault, while the motorcycle rider was 20% at fault, the motorcycle rider would receive $80K.

The motorcyclist’s fault often is an issue in accidents. A personal injury lawyer can thoroughly investigate your motorcycle crash case to discover the proper apportioning of fault and work hard to protect your right to recover full and fair compensation.

Most motorcycle crashes are not single-vehicle crashes, about 42% of motorcycle accidents involve only a single vehicle, and 58% are multivehicle collisions. Unfortunately, automobile drivers not giving motorcycles the respect they're due leads to serious injuries, and even the loss of life.

Do I Still Have a Case Even If I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet?

Florida requires helmets only for motorcyclists who are 20 or younger. Riders who are 21 and older, and who carry motorcycle insurance, are not required by law to wear a helmet.

Whether you were wearing a helmet at the time of injury may come into play in your Florida motorcycle accident personal injury case. However, in Miami, you are not completely barred from recovery, even if the defendant successfully argues that had you been wearing a helmet, the injuries would not have been as severe.

If you were injured in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, you might recover compensation for your injuries, even if you weren’t wearing a helmet. However, in some instances, you may receive a smaller amount if your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the injuries.

If I Was Speeding at the Time of My Motorcycle Accident, Can I Still Collect Compensation?

The fact that you were speeding does not help your motorcycle accident claim, but it does not necessarily rule out compensation for your losses. It may be up to the court to decide how much your speed contributed to the accident. Under Florida law, your recovery may be decreased in proportion to your degree of fault. To maximize your chance of a full recovery, simplify the process, and put yourself in the best position for success, you require the assistance of a knowledgeable Miami motorcycle accident attorney. Motorcycle accident victims often suffer a serious injury, leading to piles of medical bills, prolonged time off work, and potentially lifelong effects. Sean M. Cleary, motorcycle accident attorney, will assess the circumstances of your case and pursue all damage claims to the fullest extent.

What Are the Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?

Here, we explain the main causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida. Left-hand turns into motorcyclists and driver's negligence top the list. Riders are vulnerable in crashes for many reasons: motorcycles are lighter than other vehicles and more easily pushed around in big crashes due to the differences in momentum; riders enjoy less physical protection from the elements, and car and truck drivers often have a hard time even perceiving motorcycles on the road. A motorcycle rider should always assume that the other drivers might not see him. He or she must also be aware of road surfaces and conditions and adjust riding accordingly.

  1. Left-hand turns into motorcyclists. Almost half of all accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles occur when cars make a left-hand turn in front of riders who have the right of way. Drivers of cars and trucks frequently fail to check their mirrors, observe stop signs or stop lights, or yield the right of way. This can leave the motorcyclist with no time to react before he or she pummels into the side of the vehicle. These accidents are especially prevalent at intersections and when riders try to overtake passenger vehicles. This results in the motorcyclist being hit from the side. Cars aren’t designed perfectly, and one of their most significant flaws is the blind spot. Because motorcycles are smaller than passenger vehicles, it is easy for them to disappear in other vehicles’ blind spots. Riders should be aware of this fact and make an effort to stay visible. While a side collision can be minor when it involves two cars, a lane change accident involving a motorcycle can be fatal. If the driver failed to use the turn signal or switched lanes recklessly, he or she could be at fault for an accident claim. Motorcyclists injured in this manner will have a strong personal injury claim based on the motor vehicle driver's negligence.
  2. Driver negligence. Negligence can take many forms including speeding, driving while texting, driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications, racing, and reckless driving. The leading cause of negligence involving motorcycle accidents is speeding. Because motorcycles are less visible than cars, a speeding driver may have a harder time stopping when they do see them. South Florida has a thriving tourist industry and is home to many businesses. Drivers throughout the Miami-Dade area notoriously drive distracted. Distraction can include: texting, talking on the phone, emailing, surfing the web, eating, looking for a business or restaurant, grooming, and the like. Distracted driving is dangerous to all drivers, but mainly to the less visible and less protected motorcyclists. Distracted drivers can run red lights or roll through stop signs and pull in front of a motorcycle hitting the vehicle and launching over it, or laying the bike down to avoid the crash. Either way, the rider could sustain significant injuries. Impaired driving is a leading cause of accidents for all vehicle types, but statistics show that motorcycles are involved in an unreasonably high number of drunk-driving collisions.
  3. Mechanical problems. Mechanical problems can occur with both a motorcycle and a car. Either the vehicle that hit you or your bike may have issues, such as deflated or ill-fitting tires, faulty brakes, damaged steering systems, or a defective computer system. A poorly designed or maintained bike can spin out, struggle to stop, lead to rollover crashes, and cause injuries or fatalities. When this happens, the manufacturer or mechanic may be at fault and can be held liable if there is enough evidence.
  4. Dangerous road conditions. Due to their two-wheeled structure, motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles. Potholes, slippery surfaces, and uneven pavement can be deadly for riders. To reduce your risk, avoid riding in adverse weather, and stick to familiar routes, especially when riding at night.
  5. Lane splitting. Lane splitting is the act of riding between two lanes, usually to bypass traffic congestion. It goes without saying that this is incredibly risky since other drivers are not expecting the rider to approach at a speed faster than the flow of traffic. It’s tempting to skirt through gridlock when you’re stopped in the Florida heat, but doing so will increase your risk of crashing.

If you’ve been hurt in a Miami motorcycle accident, Sean M. Cleary is committed to helping you and can advise you about your rights to get compensation and protect your interests. Call us today to schedule a free, thorough consultation about your crash.

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Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.