If you are seeking financial compensation after experiencing a motorcycle accident, you need to prove the other driver was at fault for the crash. Although Florida is considered a no-fault state, you may still need to file a lawsuit against the other driver to pursue compensation. If your claim is viable, you could recover funds to pay for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of consortium.
Since most motorcycle crashes require a thorough investigation by a legal professional, you might want to consult with a licensed lawyer who has experience working with cases like yours. A good lawyer can help protect your legal rights so you can seek the compensation you may need for a full recovery.
At the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our attorneys offer motorcycle accident victims a free initial consultation without obligation to retain our services. Our goal is to help injury victims pursue the compensation they need by helping victims hold negligent parties liable for their mistakes.
Read on to learn more about the legal process and how liability is determined in a motorcycle crash case in Florida. There may be some important steps you could take that may help improve the outcome of your claim.
What Role Do Insurance Companies Play?
When it comes to insurance laws in Florida, motorcycle accidents are not treated like a normal car crash. For accidents involving four-wheeled motor vehicles in Florida, the no-fault law means drivers are required to use their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for injuries. However, the rules are different for motorcyclists. Since motorcycles are not required to carry this coverage, the injured biker may need to sue the other driver if he or she does not have enough coverage of their own. If the crash was caused by a defective motorcycle or faulty bike part, you or your lawyer may need to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the bike or its parts.
Most motorcycle accident cases are commonly settled before going to court; however, you and your lawyer must provide enough evidence to the defendant’s insurance carrier. If this is the case, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf until a settlement is reached. Once you accept a settlement, you can no longer file a lawsuit in court for the same accident.
Be careful when speaking to insurers because they are always looking for ways to save money. In other words, they will use anything you say or do against you to reduce your compensation award. For example, if you tell an insurance adjuster you are “feeling better,” he or she may try to say your injuries have improved so you will not need the full amount of compensation.
Conceding liability in a motorcycle crash case is never a good idea without speaking to a licensed lawyer first. It is always best to let a skilled attorney handle all communication with the insurance companies involved. An experienced attorney can protect the value of your claim and give you the opportunity to seek the full amount of compensation you may deserve.
Proving Your Case in Court
If the insurance company denies or devalues your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit and let the courts decide. Keep in mind there are no guarantees that you will win compensation when you file a lawsuit. To obtain the compensation you need, you and your lawyer will need to build a strong case against the defendant and prove the four elements of negligence existed:
- The defendant had a duty of care to uphold – This means the other driver did not uphold his or her legal duty to drive safely and prevent harm to others on the road. Some examples may include disobeying traffic laws such as speeding, running a red light, unsafe lane changing, driving recklessly, distracted driving, and driving while intoxicated.
- The other driver breached his or her duty of care – When the defendant fails to uphold his or her duty of care, it is considered a breach of duty. In other words, the defendant failed to act as another reasonable individual would in a similar situation. For example, a drunk driver that runs a red light and causes a motorcycle crash as a result would be considered a breach of duty of care.
- A causal link exists – You and your attorney must prove that there is a direct link between the breach of duty and your injuries. This means you must establish that your injuries would not have occurred if the other driver upheld his or her duty of care.
- Damages were created – The plaintiff must provide proof of damages created as a result of the motorcycle accident. This is commonly in the form of medical bills, diagnostic reports, lost income statements, and property damage assessments.
After the documents mentioned above are submitted, witness statements can also play an important role in the outcome of the case. Your attorney can interview the witnesses and ask them to testify in court, if needed. Our attorneys may also hire an expert witness to further investigate a complex case. For example, an accident reconstructionist can help prove the cause for the crash by rebuilding a model of the accident scene.
If no agreement is reached between the two parties at this point, the case may go to mediation, where a neutral party appointed by the court can help the two sides come together on a settlement. If the two sides cannot come to a compromise, the case will then go to trial for the court to decide.
Let a Licensed Lawyer Guide You Through the Process
If you or someone you care for was injured or killed in a motorcycle crash, you could be eligible for funds to cover medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, repairs to the bike, and more. Allowing a licensed lawyer review your claim in a no-cost consultation may be vital to obtain the full amount of compensation you may deserve.
The accomplished attorneys at the law firm of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers are prepared to hear the details of your motorcycle accident claim in a free evaluation. Our attorneys have more than four decades of combined legal experience helping our clients hold negligent parties liable for damages that they have sustained.
At the law office of Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our lawyers take pride in serving the community of West Palm Beach and many other areas throughout the state of Florida (by appointment only). Let our compassionate attorneys help guide you through the legal process so you can pursue the compensation needed for a healthy recovery.
Our legal team is available 24/7 by phone at (561) 800-8000, online chat, or you can fill out a free online form.