Common Mistakes After a Motorcycle Accident
One of the most common questions we’re asked is what kind of things clients should avoid or what mistakes are commonly made in motorcycle accident injury cases. The first issue that we find is that most motorcycle accident cases involve the injured victim going to the hospital and then loved ones talk to the insurance company of the at-fault driver and give them information rather than seeking the input of an attorney first. You do not want your family to talk to the at-fault insurance company. You want your family to be looking for a lawyer who can make sure that your medical bills are paid, to make sure that you receive appropriate evaluation.
We represent a motorcycle driver right now, and we talk to our clients regularly. We were able to find out that our motorcycle driver, who a truck driver turned in front of and catastrophically injured, was still having pain in areas that hadn’t been evaluated while he was in the hospital for two weeks. We were able to obtain the services of an orthopedic surgeon who discovered that our client had two additional fractures up in his shoulder area – in his collarbone and in his shoulder blade – that weren’t evaluated by the surgeons either while he was in the hospital or afterwards when they followed up with him.
In fact, great doctors, but trauma surgeons, so they kept telling our client that’s normal. You’re going to have aches and pains in various areas. Instead, we were able to have our client evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon who got new x-rays, and those fractures were discovered. Those fractures are being treated, and now those fractures are part of his compensation, so don’t make the mistake of just relying on the hospital physicians. Seek the advice and the input of an attorney so that you can be fully compensated for your motorcycle accident injuries.
Motorcycle Passenger Injury Claims
We have a client now who was riding on the back of a motorcycle. She was a passenger and the motorcycle driver was partially at fault. The person who was also involved in the collision in another vehicle was also at fault. The passenger has a claim, if she wants to bring it, against the driver of the motorcycle and the driver of the vehicle.Being a passenger on the back of a motorcycle in no way prevents you from bringing a claim for your injuries because you can’t possibly be at fault unless you’re hanging off the motorcycle, or hiding the eyes of the driver, or something that we certainly hope no one would ever do.
Motorcycle Accidents Without A Helmet
In the state of Florida, if you’re a motorcycle rider, you’re not required to wear a helmet. There’s no prerequisites that you do so, and you’re not prohibited from filing a claim or bringing a lawsuit if you’re injured due to the fault of someone else while you’re riding your motorcycle. The problem is, there are certain injuries that you could sustain for which the failure to wear a helmet could be used against you.For example, if you get a head injury, the defense insurance company can take the position that your damages would’ve been less if you had that helmet on. It works for and against you because there are also neck injuries that can be made worse by wearing a helmet, which is one of the things that, when we handle motorcycle cases here at Morgenstern & Herd, we use against a carrier who wants to assert that your head injury wasn’t caused by the accident, but it instead was caused by your failure to wear the helmet.
Differences Between a Car and a Motorcycle Accident
One of the big differences between an automobile accident and a motorcycle accident is if you are riding on a motorcycle, you will generally not have personal injury protection coverage. Contrarily, if you’re involved in an automobile accident, either a pedestrian hit by a car or in a car struck by another car, personal injury protection coverage which we shorthand call PIP coverage. Generally, PIP covers 80% of the allowable amount of your medical bills and 60% of your gross wage loss up to a maximum of $10,000. In terms of PIP, there are a couple of important rules to remember, and that is you have to get treatment within 14 days of an accident, and if you do not have an emergency medical condition, then your PIP coverage will be reduced from $10,000 down to $2,500.
One of the big differences between handling a motorcycle case and an automobile accident will be who’s going to pay for your medical bills and your wage loss because in a motorcycle case where you were riding a motorcycle either as the driver or as a passenger, there will likely not be any PIP coverage.
- If you are riding a motorcycle, usually, you will not have personal injury protection coverage
- If you are involved in a car accident you will generally have personal injury protection coverage
Run Off the Road Motorcycle Accident
Recently, someone contacted us because they were forced off the road by a driver who wasn’t paying attention. They came from behind and almost came right up onto the driver, so our client moved off the road, and doing so caused injuries.If not for the actions of the driver who forced them off the road, our client would never have been injured. In that scenario, it’s certainly permissible to bring a claim against the driver who forced you off the road.
After a Motorcycle Accident
We have handled, at Morgenstern & Herd, a number of motorcycle injury cases. We’re often asked, what should I do if I’m injured in a motorcycle accident? You need to make sure that you get immediate emergent care at the hospital right away, even if you think you’re not injured other than road rash. You don’t know initially what injuries you may have. It’s stunning to be hit on a motorcycle. We often find that the at fault driver tries to put partial blame on the motorcycle victim. You want to make sure that you seek the advice of an attorney, that you get evaluated for all of your injures, that you talk to an attorney who can find out what coverages are available to compensate you for any of your motorcycle accident injuries and for all of your motorcycle accident injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Case Timeline
We’re often asked how long it will take to resolve a motorcycle injury claim in the state of Florida. Generally, with motorcycle accident cases, unfortunately, because of the lack of protection, the injuries are far more serious. Those claims in and of themselves take much longer because the claim is always about you as the injured victim. You need to complete your treatment in order to – for us to understand what the full value and the full extent of all of your injuries are. Just because you fracture a bone and have a surgery to repair that bone with rods and instrumentation doesn’t mean that you’re not going to need future treatment for that fracture. Motorcycle injury cases generally take much longer.
Once we can get an idea from your treating surgeons, trauma surgeons, what the extent of your injuries are, we can know what the coverage of the at-fault party is and can begin to evaluate the extent of compensation that you’re going to need to cover any expenses in the future. The other issue involving motorcycle injury cases is that we don’t have personal injury protection benefits unless you pay extra to have medical payments coverage on your motorcycle to pay your medical bills. We generally are in a position where we either have to rely upon your health insurance, which we try to do if you have it, or on surgeons and specialists who will wait to be paid from the proceeds of your compensation.
Depending on the extent of your injuries, motorcycle accident cases can take much longer. They are generally resolved short of trial because insurance companies know that juries are going to see catastrophic type injuries, but there’s no specific answer. We can’t give you even a range of time for how long your motorcycle accident injury case will take because they’re dependent on you, the extent of your injuries, the available coverage, and your recovery time.
Hazardous Road Motorcycle Accident
We’ve had a couple of clients in the past five years who have sustained injuries because the road was not properly maintained. In the example with our client, the road wasn’t maintained and it was allowed to build up furrows or indentation marks that retained water, so that when it rained it made it more difficult for a driver to stop.In those circumstances, you have a cause of action against the county or the government. There are limitations in damages that you can recover from the county, and also the driver has to be observant of those conditions on the roadway and take appropriate action for them.
Were you or a loved one injured in a crash? Check out these 8 motorcycle accident tips. Then, contact our Florida motorcycle accident lawyer.