Motorcycle accidents are very often some of the most tragic accidents that occur on our roadways. Unfortunately, drivers of other vehicles often do not take needed precautions to save the motorcycle driver from needless pain, suffering or even death in some horrific cases. Motorcycle accidents may also involve hit-and-run drivers, which further complicates the legal issues. Oftentimes these accidents happen so quickly, or in such a small space, that there may be few if any witnesses. So any Orlando motorcycle accident attorney will need to carefully and quickly investigate the facts, including seeking potential any and all witnesses, preserving necessary evidence, and advising the injured driver about how to handle their ongoing medical treatment care to best posture themselves for their motorcycle accident lawsuit. Your Orlando car accident lawyer should work closely with you, providing highly personalized service, to put you in the best position possible to maximize your potential recovery against any at-fault drivers and their insurance companies.
Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney Explains How She First Evaluates Accident Fault
When you are injured on your bike, we first want to hear why you think the other car was at-fault. Your version of the accident is our starting point for our collection of evidence, and determination of accident fault. Whether that other driver will be financially responsible for your injuries can be very complicated, requiring a detailed analysis (sometimes even by experts in accident reconstruction), or quite simple. After your statement, the next thing is to determine whether there are any independent witnesses to the accident. We also might consider the damage to your bike, your body, your helmet, your clothing, your passengers, the other driver’s vehicle, or the roadway.
Motorcycle Specific Rules Of The Road Might Help Your Case
Either way, in motorcycle accident cases, Orlando motorcycle accident lawyers often must present evidence about the rules of the road that are unique to motorcycle riders. This might include educating any jury on things like the fact that motorcyclists often can’t lock their brakes, or stop between two vehicles, or easily ride over sand, wet leaves, pebbles, potholes, bumps, railroad tracks, or gravel. Plus, motorcycle riders often must employ evasive emergency procedures that are very different than what car and truck drivers must do.
Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney Explains The Burden Of Proof
To recover money after a motorcycle accident, the injured person must prove that the other party caused their damages and their injuries. You would be amazed at the amount of work that goes into every serious motorcycle injury or death lawsuit when there is any debate about who caused the accident OR the seriousness of the injuries (and there usually are big fights about both). These legal battles can be more difficult in motorcycle accidents for a variety of reasons. This is particularly true if the driver of the bike was not conscious right after of the accident, or even died.
Regardless of how easy or difficult it is to get the needed evidence, you must prove three things: (1) who caused the accident; (2) that the accident caused your injuries; and (3) that your injuries are as serious as you say they are. (Technically, the legal burden of proof in motorcycle accident lawsuits is “more probable than not.” That means, to recover any money for your injuries, you must prove that there is a greater than 50% likelihood that your version of the accident and injuries is the truth.)
Orlando Motorcycle Accident Attorney Explains A Big Challenge With Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Cases
One big legal problem when a motorcycle rider tragically dies in an accident is that he or she is not around to tell his side of the story. So the at-fault driver can lie about how the accident happened. In those cases, we use things like common sense (for example, likelihood that a person would drive in the direction the other person claims), damage to the bike, damage to the car or truck that hit the bike (such as angle of impact, or severity of vehicle damage), independent witness statements, helmet damage, clothing damage, skid marks (if any), and other clues that help us prove that the at-fault driver is lying.
As an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney, my key mission upon first contact would be, working closely with you or your loved ones, to determine what evidence most critically had to be preserved and/or developed right away. I cannot understate the importance of this essential element of motorcycle crash lawsuits. Evidence proves cases. So you need an attorney who will help you uncover and develop any and all helpful evidence to prove what caused the accident, and the extent of the injuries.
Other Parties That Could Be Responsible For Orlando Motorcycle Accidents
In addition to whatever happened on the roadway, there may be others (in addition to the at-fault driver) partly to blame for your injuries, such as those who developed, manufactured or sold the motorcycle itself, motorcycle parts and/or motorcycle helmet (product defects), roadway design issues, defective repair issues, rental companies if you were renting your motorcycle or moped, and motorcycle safety equipment manufacturers or sellers. However, unless the injuries are extremely catastrophic (like amputation, paralysis, blindness, severe burn injuries, or death), then usually it is only financially practical to seek recovery against that at-fault driver. Only an Orlando motorcycle crash lawyer can properly evaluate whether anyone else might be held accountable for your accident.
Why Motorcycle Accident Cases Might Be Complicated
Motorcycle accidents often involve complicated legal questions for many reasons. Your Orlando motorcycle accident attorney will need to determine which drivers might have fault, then determine whether any insurance policy might provide coverage. Sometimes this is a complicated task.
Let’s take a look at one common motorcycle accident scenario.
Motorcycle riders are often thrown from their bikes and then run over a second time. In those cases, two different drivers could share some blame (from the first and second hit). But determining whether the first and second drivers had any share of blame, and what percentage, requires a detailed factual analysis.
For example, if a biker was hit by one at-fault driver, then thrown from their bike, in front of a second car that had plenty of time to stop, but the second driver didn’t because he was texting while driving, then both car drivers would have some share of blame. But you would need a lawyer asking questions, and collecting evidence, to prove that the second car probably had time to stop. You might need to request cell phone or other records, or talk to witnesses who saw the other driver not watching the road.
Ejected Motorcycle Rider & Complicated Insurance Policy Question | Case Example
To give you an idea of why the insurance policies might created additional complications, I want to share just one of many published Florida motorcycle accident cases.
In this case, a motorcycle rider was driving through an intersection, when a car came ran a red light, and hit the motorcycle rider. To try to avoid the crash, the motorcycle rider laid his bike on its side. He went down, and broke his wrist. Unfortunately, after he came through the first part of the accident broken but not catastrophically injured, the driver of another vehicle put his car in reverse, and drove over the motorcycle rider’s legs. This caused catastrophic injuries to his legs.
The biker was able to recover $50,000 from the at-fault driver’s policy. But that did not cover all of his injuries (as is often the case). So the motorcycle rider then looked to his own policies. One of the biker’s insurance policies insured his motorcycle with something called uninsured motorists protection (or “UM” coverage). His UM policy also paid him the maximum policy limits of $25,000. So far, so good. But, since $75,000 did not fully compensate him for his catastrophic injuries, he looked to recover from another UM policy with State Farm insurance, which he had purchased to cover other vehicles in his house. This last policy (the one with State Farm) raised a host of very complex legal issues because the State Farm policy had a very technical exclusion in their lengthy policy. This is the exact language of that policy exclusion:
When Coverage Does Not Apply
THERE IS NO COVERAGE:
The policies defined “occupying” to mean “in, on, entering or alighting from.”
Additionally, both his motorcycle policy, and the State Farm policy for other vehicles in his home, contained something called a non-stacking provision, which stated:
3. If an insured sustains bodily injury while not occupying a motor vehicle and other uninsured motor vehicle coverage is available:
b. THIS COVERAGE DOES NOT APPLY IF THE INSURED SELECTS ANY OTHER UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE COVERAGE UNDER WHICH TO MAKE A CLAIM.
This means that if he receives money from one UM policy, for an injury that he sustained while not occupying a motor vehicle, then he cannot recover under this other UM policy (which, by the way, is a good reason to choose stacking policies).
So the lawyers involved in that case had a long complicated court battle over what exactly those policies provisions meant. They argued about the motorcycle rider was really “occupying” his vehicle (as occupying is defined in the policy) when his legs were run over, among other issues. The court of appeals ultimately decided that the driver’s case should continue because the record evidence did not establish, one way or another, how long the motorcycle driver had been laying on the ground before the car ran over his legs. (So whether he was “occupying” the vehicle, as defined in the policy, was factually unclear — which usually means that a jury must decide the issue, not a judge.)
So there was a highly complex legal and factual dispute, involving careful interpretation of the policy language, careful evaluation of the record evidence (which both parties had sought and obtained through a process called “discovery,”) and careful research involving the applicable law. Sometimes, in similar battles, the cases are dismissed entirely by the court and never reach a jury because the judge decides that the injured motorcycle rider cannot possibly establish a case for recovery because of limiting language in the policy (so there would be no need to have a jury evaluate factual disputes). That’s what State Farm was trying to accomplish in that case and it almost worked.
Thankfully the driver in that case was allowed to continue pursuing his lawsuit. But, even after years of fighting that battle through the courts, and an appeal, he still faced the possibility that if facts were established to show that he had only been on the ground for a short period of time before he was run over, under the terms of his particular policy, then State Farm could try again to file another motion to have the case dismissed, and kept from a jury (and all policies vary, so questions related to insurance policy coverage absolutely must be carefully evaluated by an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer).
The good news in that type of case is that usually insurance companies will settle a case when a judge has beaten them down too much. They often do not want to risk going to a jury on a factual dispute.
The bottom line is that this is just one of 1000s of cases in Florida which, together with applicable statutes, and your and other drivers’ insurance policies, determine whether, and to what financial extent, you can recover from any accident. So, if you have been injured, you absolutely must seek the advice of an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer to determine how best to prepare your potential lawsuit given the unique facts of YOUR case.
Single Vehicle And Hit-And-Run Motorcycle Accidents
Sometimes victims of motorcycle accidents are either alone when they are injured (no other vehicles involved) or any other vehicle flees the scene (hit-and-run). The very unlucky motorcycle accident drivers might literally be laying the pavement without help for a long time without receiving medical treatment. These cases may be even further complicated if the victim cannot remember what happened. So the injuries may be catastrophic (they often are) and the evidence may be difficult to find. Plus delays in medical treatment or additional injuries caused by laying on pavement can make the case much more complicated.
Sometimes even hit-and-run and single vehicle accident victims, in motorcycle accident cases, can recover without witnesses. It just depends. Your own policy for your motorcycle or other vehicles in your household could provide coverage. And defective equipment or roadways might also have played a role in causing your injuries.
The only way to know for sure is to have your case evaluated by an Orlando motorcycle accident lawyer. My consultations are free, prompt, and thorough. You pay nothing until & unless I help you recover on your potential motorcycle injury claim.
What To Do Immediately After A Motorcycle Accident
Because motorcycle accidents very often involve serious injuries, I cannot understate the critical importance of seeking IMMEDIATE medical attention and then contacting an Orlando biker accident lawyer. Additionally, keep all evidence and take as many photos as you can, of yourself, your injuries, any medical devices given to you after you accident, you sitting in the hospital or ambulance, your motorcycle, any other involved vehicles, and the roadway. You should also seek to get any and all insurance information from the other driver and the police report.
But the two most absolutely critical aspects of preparing to file a claim against your or anyone else’s insurance policy are to get immediate medical help and then contact an attorney. Some of the most important parts of preparing motorcycle accident case for eventual trial (or settlement with an insurance company) happen in the immediate aftermath of the accident (and often do not go well if an attorney is not involved).
Unlike the good old days when insurance companies truly wanted to provide good service, insurance companies these days routinely offer to pay far less than they should on claims, and delay payment as long as possible, as their standard operating procedure. To combat their very under-handed techniques, you absolutely must have an attorney to maximize your claim. You will not get a reasonable settlement offer without an attorney. It’s really just that simple. Even attorneys often do not get reasonable settlement offers without extensive investigation and sometimes filing lawsuits and fighting like heck for a long time for YOUR rights under a policy, even when you paid good money for that policy expecting and deserving coverage! It’s really unbelievable that insurance companies get away with handling claims the way that they do. But the best solution is to have someone who really cares, who will give you highly personalized service, and who will fight these big companies at every stage of potential settlement or litigation.
Common Injuries From Orlando Motorcycle Accidents
One of the most important reasons that you need the help of a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer is that motorcycle accidents often involve serious injuries. Victims of motorcycle accidents and their families do not always immediately realize the life-long ramifications of the accident. But they can be seriously cheated by insurance companies for a variety of reasons, including shock, confusion, misunderstanding, and failure to appreciate the long-term consequences that their injuries are going to cause in their lives. If I accept your case, I will do everything within my power to help you fully maximize the value of your claim so that you can focus on your recovery. Some of the most common motorcycle injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, head trauma, amputations, extreme road rash, severe back and neck injuries, eye injuries, hip, knee, ankle or foot injuries, shoulder injuries, severe burn injuries, soft tissue injuries, and severe scarring.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, please text or call me today at (407) 383-7290. You may also send me an email by using the contact form on this website. I do not charge for an initial consultation. I also try my best to immediately take new case calls (or return calls promptly if I am not available when you first call). If I agree to handle your case, I will work on a contingent fee basis. That means I only get paid when I recover money for you.
Two Common Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, and you call me, one of the first things I will try to determine is who or what caused or contributed to the accident. These are two common causes.
Negligent Drivers Who Violate Bikers’ Right of Way
The reality of riding a motorcycle is that you have to watch out for yourself because many drivers do not respect the rights of motorcycle riders (or just are not nearly as careful as they should be). So other drivers on the road often do not look for motorcycles, and then violate the right of way of the motorcycle rider. As a result, many motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who turn into the path of a motorcycle, when the drivers are making a left-hand turn.
Many of the parts on motorcycles have varying degrees of design defects. Among them are all sorts of design flaws and faulty individual parts, along with poor repair work.
Want To Know How To Get The Most Money From Your Motorcycle Accident Case?
Then you might want to read this article about maximizing the value of car accidents (the same principles apply to motorcycle accident cases). You might also want to read about the importance of medical treatment after any auto accident). Or you could just call or text me, and I will tell you what to do in your case.
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