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Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

What You Need to Know About Florida Motorcycle Accident Injury Laws

While driving any vehicle carries risk, bikers do not have airbags and other safety features to absorb the shock of a collision. These serious accident injuries can put riders in a vulnerable position with insurance companies. Most Florida motorcycle crash victims do not understand their rights after an accident. If you have been injured, consider the following ways you can recover your losses under Florida motorcycle accident injury laws:

Does Florida No-Fault PIP Coverage Apply to Motorcycles?

In Florida, motorcycle owners cannot purchase personal injury protection, also known as PIP or no-fault insurance. This means that you are not entitled to medical and wage-loss benefits after a motorcycle crash.

While Florida also does not mandate any insurance coverage for motorcycle owners, riders who are found liable for an accident and do not have existing coverage may be required to purchase and keep bodily injury and property damage liability protection for three years after an accident. Otherwise, they may risk losing their registration and right to operate a motorcycle.

Not having health insurance or disability insurance can present a financial challenge and a barrier to quality medical treatment after a crash. Frequently, Pinellas County victims of accidents hire a Clearwater motorcycle crash attorney to help find solutions to bridge this gap until a settlement is reached.

Can You Get Compensation If You Are Partly At Fault for a Motorcycle Crash?

You might think you were at fault for a motorcycle accident, but it is difficult to truly know
who is liable without a full investigation. In addition, vehicle manufacturers and government entities are responsible for providing safe equipment and road conditions. Any of these factors could have contributed to your motorcycle accident.

Even if it is determined that you are partially at fault, Florida follows the pure comparative fault rule. This means that as long as you were not 100% at fault for the motorcycle accident, you could still be compensated, even if that amount may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the motorcycle crash in Clearwater.

Motorcycle owners also have the option of obtaining uninsured motorist coverage (UM). This would protect you in the case of a motorcycle crash with a driver who does not carry liability insurance.

How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Injury Claim in Florida?

While the time for reporting an accident varies from policy to policy, it is a good idea to report an accident to your insurer as soon as possible. Considering that injuries to motorcycle riders are more likely to be of greater severity and long-term cost, Clearwater motorcycle accident victims are allowed to step outside of the no-fault system and file an injury lawsuit.

The statute of limitations on Florida motorcycle injury cases depends on whether a victim sustained the following:

  • Injuries. Any motorcycle rider is required to file a lawsuit within four years of the date of the accident to be eligible for compensation. This compensation deadline applies for injury costs in addition to vehicle or personal property damage to your motorcycle.
  • Death. If a motorcycle rider was killed as a result of the crash, family members have two years to bring a wrongful death case against the at-fault party. The two years may start on the date of the motorcycle accident or the date of the person’s death.

Despite having several years to pursue a lawsuit in court, evidence such as witness testimony, photographic evidence, and medical records can be more difficult to obtain or even lost over time. For this reason, it is best to speak to an experienced Clearwater motorcycle crash attorney about your options as soon as possible.

Not Using a Turn Signal

This seemingly minor offense can play a major role when a Clearwater car accident lawyer
works to determine negligence and fault. Without a turn signal, other drivers cannot anticipate a driver’s next move. This is particularly dangerous in auto accidents that involve motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists when reaction time and abilities are slowed.

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) report on turn signal usage rates, 1 in 5 of all crashes in the United States can be attributed to neglected turn signals. The most common accidents following failure to use a turn signal are rear-end accidents.

Failure to Yield Right of Way

The FLHSMV reports that nearly 15,000 injuries and almost 400 fatalities were a direct result of failing to yield the right of way. The simple safe-driving technique is the culprit behind the majority of intersection accidents.
A driver’s failure to wait to turn left against oncoming traffic, to yield to the driver on the right at a 4-way stop, or to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely is considered negligent and unsafe driving.

If you have sustained injuries in a car crash that you believe might not have been your fault, contact a Clearwater car accident lawyer who regularly represents car accident injury victims. An experienced auto attorney will be able to investigate your case and help you seek compensation.

Case Results and Settlements in Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Injury Cases

The Fran Haasch Law Group has earned a reputation as injury attorneys who fight for maximum financial compensation for our clients. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County or Pasco County, our Clearwater motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to provide aggressive and proven representation. The following are clients we have helped to recover significant damages:

  • $4 Million – Pinellas County, FL – A 44-year-old male was riding his motorcycle when the defendant initiated a left turn across the pathway of the client. This caused a collision that ejected him off of the motorcycle and resulted in a leg amputation.
  • $3.01 Million – Pinellas County, FL – A male motorcycle driver was severely injured when the defendant made an illegal U-turn in front of him. His recovery amount reflects the total available insurance.
  • $1.5 – Pinellas County, FL – A 37-year-old female was a passenger on a motorcycle when the defendant impeded on the client’s right of way, causing a collision. The client was thrown from the motorcycle and sustained facial fractures, a spine injury, and the loss of an eye.
  • $775,000 – Pinellas County, FL – A 36-year-old male was riding his motorcycle when the defendant pulled out in front of him and the client was unable to avoid the collision. He was thrown from his motorcycle and had multiple fractures that required surgery.

Learn more about the successful cases we have handled and view more case results here.

How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Clearwater?

In analyzing 10 years of Florida motorcycle crashes in Clearwater and across the state, a senior researcher at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, found that 60% of the time, motorists are at fault in motorcycle collisions.

FDOT’s campaign—Look Twice for Motorcycles—hinges on the fact that if people are aware of something, they see it more often. Unfortunately, drivers may breach their duty to drive safely and cause serious harm. With an estimated 65,000 motorcycles in Pinellas County and Hillsborough County, alone, these motorists may be liable for the following negligent actions:

Failure to See Motorcycles

Motorcycles have smaller profiles. Because people perceive something’s speed relative to its size, a car or truck driving at 45 mph may be more intimidating than a motorcycle operating at the same speed. As a result, many drivers may yield for larger vehicles but may not yield the right of way to motorcycles. They might also misjudge a motorcycle as being farther away.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can lead to motorcycle accidents involving head-on collisions. These
are especially dangerous because another vehicle’s full speed is amplified by the additional forces caused by the motorcycle’s speed. The intensity can cause the rider to be ejected from their motorcycle onto the road, into a static object, or even into another vehicle.

Cars Making Left-Hand Turns

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that one-third of all multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes (those involving a motorcycle and at least one other vehicle) occur when a driver makes a left-hand turn into the path of a motorcycle. Many drivers later report that they did not see the motorcycle when they made the turn.

Unsafe Lane Changes

Drivers and riders must be vigilant and aware of all vehicles by checking rear-view and side-view mirrors or blind spots when changing lanes. Unsafe lane changes may also involve failing to use a turn signal to share their intent. In these situations, motorcycle riders may swerve into another vehicle in order to avoid the incoming car.

Drunk Drivers

There were more than 5,000 confirmed alcohol-related crashes on Florida roads in 2016. Of those incidents, there were 461 alcohol-confirmed fatalities. The sobering fact is that drunk driving impairs a driver’s ability to judge both speed and distance from a motorcycle’s slim profile. Under the influence of alcohol, drunk drivers also often ignore traffic signals, stop lights, and speed limits. DUI evidence is not always readily available to the victim of a motorcycle accident, but a motorcycle crash lawyer can help you obtain the proper records.

Types of Motorcycle Crash Injuries

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of motorcycle accidents will end up in injury or death. A motorcyclist can sustain anything from cuts and abrasions to broken bones or catastrophic injuries. The most common serious injuries in motorcycle accidents include:

Bone Fractures

Lower-extremity injuries such as foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip and pelvic fractures are the most common motorcycle accident injuries. Riders may sustain injuries from forceful impact after being thrown from their bike against another vehicle or to the ground. Riders may even sustain impact injuries from their own bike falling on top of them.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Wearing a helmet is the best way to guard against a motorcycle crash traumatic brain injury. The NHTSA found that helmet use could reduce the risk of brain injury by 67%, though motorcycle accidents still cost nearly 12.5 times more, on average, than all motor vehicle accidents due to the serious injuries that often result. Despite the lack of universal helmet laws in Clearwater and across the state, even helmets cannot always prevent head injuries from the impact of a motorcycle crash. Proving a motorcycle accident TBI in Florida requires the knowledge and expertise of a medical expert—often a healthcare provider—who can testify that you sustained a serious brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. A Clearwater motorcycle crash attorney can use these expert accounts to connect your TBI to the accident to help you recover monetary compensation in the form of damages.

Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries

A blow to the neck or back that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more vertebrae can cause a traumatic spinal cord injury or paralysis. According to the Mayo Clinic, motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for more than 40% of new cases each year.

Internal Organ Injuries

The impact trauma from a crash can cause sharp ends from broken and dislodged ribs to damage a rider’s internal organs after a motorcycle accident. If not diagnosed and treated immediately, internal organ damage, including damage to muscles, nerves and other soft tissue in the chest and abdomen, can lead to life-threatening infection.

Reasons Why People File Motorcycle Accident Claims in Clearwater

After you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, you may choose to file a claim against the at-fault driver. There are a variety of benefits and motivations for filing a motorcycle accident claim in Pinellas County, including:

You Need Compensation for Expenses to Help You Recover

To hold someone liable for your injuries and losses following a motorcycle accident, you must identify which parties may be legally liable.

Economic Damages. Special, or economic, damages account for past, present, and future financial losses that you have suffered as a result of a motorcycle crash, including:

  • Medical expenses related to your injury-related treatment you have already paid Compensation for future estimated medical expenses
  • Lost wages from time off from work
  • Lost or diminished earnings as a result of a motorcycle accident-related disability

You Need to Recover for Intangible Losses That Have Changed Your Life

In addition to financial losses, you may experience a decline in your quality of life after your motorcycle accident. When previously-enjoyed hobbies are impacted or your relationships suffer, these changes to your life have the potential to add to your settlement amount.

Non-Economic Damages. Non-economic damages are more subjective losses such as emotional and physical pain and suffering. Because they are not based on exact dollar amounts, the following non-economic damages are less easily calculated but no less important to recovering from the effects of trauma:

  • Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma experienced during and after the motorcycle accident
  • Compensation for a decline in your quality of life
  • Punitive damages to punish the defendant for their negligence or malicious actions

Although motorcycle riders do not apply for no-fault insurance benefits, this also means they do not have to prove a permanent injury in order to be compensated for pain and suffering. As a result, if you are injured while occupying a motorcycle, you do not have to pass a “serious injury threshold” for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A Clearwater motorcycle crash attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible for damages.

You Hold the Negligent Driver Responsible

A successful personal injury claim against the at-fault driver can hold them responsible for your motorcycle accident injuries and force them to face the consequences of their negligence. This process can provide a sense of closure as a victim and help prevent incidents by potentially deterring reckless driving behaviors in the future.


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