How Are Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits Different From Any Other Accidents?
As I discussed in Part 1 of this article, there is some lawyer marketing online suggesting that motorcycle accident cases are very different from other types of auto accidents. That simply is not true. However, there are a few subtle differences.
Given the increase of bikers coming to our state, such as those who visit my favorite beach and frequent stomping grounds, Daytona Beach, each year for Daytona Beach Bike Week and Biketoberfest, I thought clarifying the differences might be helpful.
Prejudice Against Riders Is The Most Important Distinction
The sad statistics are that motorcyclists are three times more likely to be seriously injured, and fourteen times more likely to be killed, than a person injured during another vehicle crash. Also,although many motorcycle riders are very cautious, other negligent drivers can still seriously injure or kill them. These other vehicle drivers may not be cautious enough to see motorcycle riders. In those cases, the motorcycle accident victim, or his family, needs a lawyer who understands how to tell the story in a way that combats the widespread prejudice against motorcycle accident riders.
You Do Not Need A “Biker” Attorney; That’s Absurd
Incidentally, there are a few law firms that market themselves as “biker attorneys.” But there is no special way of handling motorcycle, versus car, bicycle or trucking accident cases. Although there are some unique laws that apply in motorcycle accident cases, they are they are relatively simple variations. They are not complex differences requiring a lots of special knowledge. On the other hand, motorcycle accident cases absolutely can involve the most complex legal issues — so your best bet is to make sure you hire a smart Orlando motorcycle accident attorney.
Do You Need To Hire A Fellow Biker To Be Your Attorney?
My personal favorite are those law firms who explain the motorcycle riding credentials of the particular attorney. I really hope everyone understands there is no link whatsoever between the ability to ride a motorcycle, and the ability to practice law. If were true, then maybe those attorneys who drive cars are the best Orlando car accident attorneys? And you had better find a boater to handle your boating accident case. Don’t even get me started on buses; maybe former bus drivers are missing out on promising second careers as bus accident lawyers?
Many Jurors Will Assume You Were Driving Dangerously
With motorcycle accident cases, probably the most important case difference is that your attorney must combat prejudice. This can be done by describing your level of cautiousness, as well as utilizing all sorts of methods to tell the jury how the accident happened, such as accident reconstruction experts, careful analysis of motorcycle crash scene photos, evaluation of the location and severity of injuries (which can tell the story of who hit whom, where, and how hard). Overall, they really just need to believe in YOU, and then fight like heck! Otherwise, proving fault, and damages, is very similar, in all types of accidents, including motorcycle accidents.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Riders Can’t Purchase PIP, Making Payment For Medical Treatment Slightly More Complicated
One slight legal distinction is that motorcycle riders are not able to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, since that is only available to vehicles with four or more wheels. That can make recovery of compensation for medical bills slightly more difficult, without the assistance of an Orlando motorcycle accident attorney. To be more specific, if you are uninsured, we will need to find you a doctor who treats motorcycle accident victims on credit (because you can’t get anything for medical bills if you receive no treatment). The reason is that often doctors treat other auto accident victims using their PIP insurance. If fault is clear, and there is available coverage, this is usually not a problem.
Also, you may have purchased medical payment coverage for you motorcycle. But that coverage is not regulated by the state of Florida. So what your insurance company must pay would require review of your insurance policy.
No Injury Threshold For Filing Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
Another distinction is that motorcycle accident victims do not have to reach an injury threshold to file a lawsuit because they are not bound by the PIP law restrictions. That means that injured riders don’t have to have a permanent injury, nor even any significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, to file suit. Further, even if they don’t have a permanent injury, they can still seek pain and suffering damages. In other words, they can get pain and suffering damages based on temporary injuries. (Those things are not true in 4 wheeled auto accidents.) But those are not complicated legal concepts; they are actually just advantages that are free for the taking, in any and all Orlando motorcycle accident cases.
Motorcycle Helmets Are Not Always Required
Some believe that Florida doesn’t require motorcycle helmets. But that’s often not true. If you are over 21, and have at least 10K in medical insurance coverage, then you do not need one. Also, riders of the least powerful motorbikes (as technically defined by statute) don’t need them. Still, not wearing your helmet could impact your case value, and your life.
Comparative Negligence Possibilities
An insurance company defense attorney may argue that you share some blame for the degree of your injuries, if you were not wearing your helmet, or even that your chosen helmet did not provide the degree of protection that it should have. This may or may not make sense. Certainly, if you injured your knee, then whether you were wearing a helmet shouldn’t matter. But, if you have a traumatic brain injury, or any other serious injury based on a head blow, then there would be a medical expert level battle regarding whether the helmet would have lessened the degree of your injury.
If you had one of the rare cases that didn’t settle before trial, this would be a factual issue decided by the jury. They could decide that you were some percentage responsible, depending on the facts. Also, during settlement discussions, your not wearing your helmet would likely be an important factor to your attorneys’ recommendation regarding a fair settlement amount. The reason is that both defense and plaintiff attorneys try to predict what a jury would conclude.
Your Health Insurance May Not Cover Your Injuries
Depending on your health insurance policy, there may be an exclusion for “dangerous activities,” such as motorcycle riding. The only way to know is to review the policy.
Those are the main differences. There are a few others. But, overall, the law for all accidents is very similar.
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