Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident in Pinellas recently? This type of accident is often life-changing or deadly for those involved. Nearly 80% of motorcycle accidents in Florida result in injury or death. To make matters worse, injured motorcyclists are often not at fault in the accident. Nearly two-thirds of motorcycle accidents in Pinellas occur because other drivers don’t yield the right-of-way. If you have been severely injured, you’ll have a much better shot at recovering the compensation you need if you talk to one of our Pinellas motorcycle accident lawyers.
Our team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys is ready to assist you. We have the skillset needed to get our clients the maximum compensation for their injuries, dispute low settlement offers from insurance companies, and manage the entire legal process so that you can focus on recovering. If you have been injured in a Pinellas County motorcycle accident, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least contact Herman & Wells. We offer free case evaluations and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about what you may be entitled to for your injury claim. If you’d like to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers, then you can call our firm directly at (727) 821-3195 or use our online form to request a free initial consultation with an attorney.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been in a Motorcycle Accident in Pinellas?
Before you file a motorcycle accident injury claim in Pinellas, there are some steps you should take following an accident. It should be noted that someone who is severely injured won’t be able to do some of these. If you are able to, following these steps can help support your case and get you the compensation you need.
Get Someplace Safe If You Can
Stay at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible if it is safe to do so. Move the wrecked motorcycle off the road if you can to prevent additional potential accidents.
Assess For Injuries & Seek Medical Care
As soon as possible after an accident, you and others should be checked for injuries. If you or anyone else appears to be injured, contact 9-1-1 immediately for medical attention. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen if not treated quickly. Especially when it comes to head injuries that may indicate concussions or cause brain damage without immediate treatment.
Collect Personal And Insurance Information
Getting the names and contact information of all motorists involved in an accident is crucial. A list of each driver’s name, insurance information, address, phone number, and license number will be helpful. Even in a hit-and-run case, other evidence may still be able to be used to recover damages. For example, your lawyer might request security camera footage of the incident or other pieces of evidence in order to assemble the information necessary to identify the negligent party and build a case to recover damages.
Contact the Police
After assessing the situation and gathering information from those involved, contact the police. If there has been a serious accident with property damage worth at least $500, this can be particularly important. When possible, police officers should be on the scene as soon as possible to help build a solid legal case. In the event of an accident, the police are required to file a report and will keep records that can be referenced in the future when seeking compensation for injuries sustained in an accident.
Document the Scene of the Motorcycle Accident
It can be very beneficial for your legal case to take note of your location, the time, and your surroundings. Visualize the scene of the accident. Photograph the scene of the accident, including the damage to all vehicles involved, as well as your injuries if you have a smartphone handy. In order to gather and analyze information relevant to your case, even seemingly insignificant details can prove helpful in the end.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Pinellas
After getting into a motorcycle accident, you should call an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. It is crucial to seek legal guidance in order to receive reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and other forms of compensation for less quantifiable damages, such as pain and suffering. A motorcycle accident attorney can be an ally in filing a strong claim against the negligent party by conducting a thorough investigation and gathering evidence of the accident.
File a Motorcycle Accident Claim With Your Insurance Carrier
In order to seek recoverable damages, you must notify your insurance company of your accident. However, because your insurance company may ask for a statement, you should seek legal advice before calling. Before providing an insurance agent with a statement, consult with an attorney. Your choice of language in the immediate aftermath of your accident can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Depending on the circumstances, an attorney may be able to help you describe the accident to your insurance carrier or communicate directly with them on your behalf.
Why Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident in Florida?
In the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, you are more likely to receive the compensation you deserve if you hire an attorney. An experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer gathers evidence in support of your compensation claim, your attorney can help manage your medical records and consult with healthcare experts to assist in determining the full extent of your injuries. Additionally, they’ll gather witness statements, recreate the scene of the accident, collect police reports, and speak to the insurance companies on your behalf. Once your attorney gathers evidence, he or she will talk to the defense about the settlement. In the event that negotiations fail, the personal injury lawyer you hire should be prepared to go to trial and represent you. The two things that insurance companies fear most are a good case and an injury attorney who will maximize that case at trial.
Pinellas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers with Real Trial Experience
Finding an attorney in Pinellas with a track record of securing compensation for injured parties as well as trial experience will be the most beneficial. Recovering compensation after an accident is no easy task. When seeking compensation for accident-related damages, you should work with an attorney who has vast experience navigating the legal complexities that can arise. A wide array of expert resources is a good indicator that a lawyer is capable of building a strong case in consultation with the necessary individuals and entities. Resources can include professional connections, working relationships with other attorneys with experience, and other tools necessary to gather ample evidence for your personal injury case.
How Motorcycle Accident Claims Differ from Car Accident Claims in Florida
Despite following the same laws of the road as automobile drivers, motorcyclists also need to possess certain safety equipment and licensing, which can vary from state to state. For motorcycle accident compensation claims, a motorcycle rider must prove his or her right to compensation under an entirely different set of criteria. Bias or a failure to collect enough evidence could be the cause of a failed motorcycle injury claim. In contrast to automobiles, motorcyclists are completely exposed to the elements. Consequently, motorcycle accidents are more likely than car accidents to cause severe physical harm, including spinal cord injuries, second and third-degree burns, and muscle damage. In turn, the cost of treating these injuries is likely to be higher than that of treating auto accident injuries, which can impact the way insurance companies respond to claims.
For motorcycle drivers to receive compensation, they must prove without a doubt that they were not at fault for the accident. Motorcyclists have a harder time proving this than automobile drivers. In order for another party to be held liable in motorcycle accidents, the driver must prove that they are in compliance with state safety laws while on the road.
Motorcyclists in Florida, for example, must wear eye protection and cannot exceed the muffler noise level or handlebar height regulation on their bikes. In the event that you are injured while driving a motorcycle that does not comply with all laws, even if you weren’t the cause of the accident, you may be held responsible.
The laws of negligence often determine who is at fault in a personal injury case. The term “negligence” describes when one party fails to observe traffic laws and regulations or fails to use common sense when driving. The rider must prove that he or she was not negligent and that a defect in the motorcycle was not the cause of an accident in order for a motorcycle injury claim to be granted. There must be evidence proving this, whether through witness observation, the helmet worn at the time of impact or video footage from surveillance cameras. Motorcycles react differently in accidents than automobiles, and even witnesses may find it difficult to know who is to blame.
Pinellas Motorcyclists Face Some Dangerous Conditions on the Road
Pinellas motorcyclists encounter many more hazards on the road than a driver of a car does. Those who drive cars for years shouldn’t assume that they know what could potentially be dangerous. You’d be surprised at how common some motorcycle hazards are, such as leaves. Frequent riders should be aware of the following dangerous conditions that can impact roads in Pinellas County:
Roads that are in Rough Shape
Uneven or bumpy roads can cause motorcycle accidents, whether they are in disrepair or are being resurfaced.
Loose Gravel on the Pavement
Gravel can be a challenge for motorcyclists. It’s especially dangerous when it’s encountered during cornering. There’s a tendency for gravel to accumulate on pavement on winding roads -which are popular with bikers and have lots of corners. Gravel accidents almost always involve motorcycle riders who are going too fast, and some of whom aren’t skilled enough to ride a bike in such conditions.
Significant Edge Breaks
The edge of a road is the difference in height between two traffic lanes. If you drive a car, this is not a problem, but when you are riding a motorcycle on the freeway at high speeds, it can create safety concerns.
A road expansion joint connects two sections of a road together, or a road section to a bridge. They allow for expansion and contraction of the road without cracking. Motorcycle riders can crash due to the uneven surface, and it can become slippery in wet weather.
Open Bridge Joints
Bridge sections are held together by open bridge joints. Many of these joints can be wide, making navigating them difficult for motorcycles.
Animals in the Road
Motorcycles can be thrown off balance when they hit a small animal. A swerving maneuver to avoid a live animal running into the road can also cause an accident. The presence of large animals, such as deer, can pose a serious risk to people who live in regions where there is a dense population of them. A motorcycle rider can be killed by hitting a deer.
There are many objects and surfaces that are slippery or are capable of becoming slippery. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to slippery surfaces than cars. Due to the inherently unstable nature of the two-wheeled bike and its smaller, lighter size, it can easily slide on the road and cause a crash. Turning on slick surfaces can be even more dangerous. You should avoid driving on the following debris and road surfaces, especially wet leaves, crosswalk lines, trolley tracks, and other painted surfaces. Rain after a dry spell is also a hazard for bikers. Even cars find it difficult to drive on a dry road after the first rain. The water and mud on the road eventually combine to form a slippery slope. During the first half hour of a rainstorm, riding on the road can be extremely dangerous.
While driving in a puddle of water, some motorcycle tires can cause hydroplaning. Especially during the summer months, the frequent rains in Pinellas can create very dangerous road conditions for motorcyclists and drivers.
Railway Tracks and Crossings
Getting a motorcycle tire caught in a railway track can cause a crash. The metal or wood between the tracks at some railway crossings can be extremely slippery when wet.
Debris or Objects in the Road
In general, motorcycles are more susceptible to hazards in the road than cars, including tire treads, furniture, tools, boxes, branches, and rocks. They can not only cause a crash, but they can also hit and seriously harm the rider themselves.
Does Florida Have a Motorcycle Helmet Law?
Florida’s motorcycle laws have many facets that can be confusing. In Pinellas, all motorcycle drivers are required to wear helmets that meet all Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standards. If you are over 21, however, you can get away without wearing a helmet as long as you have proof that your insurance policy covers at least $10,000 in medical benefits. According to Florida law, anyone under the age of 21 who operates or rides a motorcycle must wear a helmet.
The passenger on a motorcycle who is under 21 years of age must wear a helmet and eye protection at all times. In the case of a passenger over 21 and with an insurance policy that covers at least $10,000 in medical benefits, they can opt not to wear a helmet. In Florida, all passengers must wear protective eyewear while on public roads.
Helmets are vital safety equipment that could save your life. A car is equipped with airbags, seat belts, sturdy frames, and a host of other safety features to ensure the safety of its occupants in case they are involved in an accident. Motorcyclists have nothing but the clothes on their backs and a helmet. Choosing not to wear a helmet means you’re taking away one of the only safety options you have.
Medical Expenses Incurred from Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The average cost of a fatal motorcycle accident is $1.2 million. Motorcycle accidents can result in non-fatal accident costs that range from $2,500 to $1.4 million, depending on the severity of the injuries sustained. Medical bills, such as emergency care, surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation, contribute to the costs associated with motorcycle accidents.
After a motorcycle accident, motorcycle accident victims may be able to receive coverage for medical bills from multiple sources. Due to Florida’s no-fault insurance, drivers’ insurance policies come with $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits that cover motorcycle accident medical bills. In Florida, according to Florida Statute 627.736, the named insured, members of the same household and persons in or operating insured vehicles are covered under personal injury protection policies. The PIP policy covers 80 percent of medically necessary treatment for accident injuries, up to a policy limit of $10,000.
As part of PIP coverage, x-rays, surgical care, dental care, rehabilitation services, prosthetic devices, ambulance transport, and nursing services are covered. Initially, injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident must have been treated within 14 days after the accident for PIP coverage to apply. Motorcyclists may also be able to recover medical bills from a negligent driver who caused the accident. Upon successful filing of a personal injury claim by the victims, the driver’s liability insurer, if any, will pay for the victims’ losses.
The Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in Pinellas
It can be very helpful for your own understanding of your legal rights and entitlements to learn the laws applicable to your case when you are facing a difficult legal situation. Motorcycle accident laws vary by state, and sometimes even by locality.
As a general rule, a motorcycle accident statute of limitations refers to the amount of time a person has to file a claim after an accident. Motorcycle accident claims are governed by state and local statutes of limitations. In Florida, for instance, injured parties can file motorcycle accident claims up to four years after the incident, and wrongful death claims up to two years after the death.
Evidently, the type of claim and the state in which you reside can both have an influence on the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you need to find out how long you have to file a claim for yourself or a loved one, you should consult your state’s laws or speak to an attorney who is familiar with the local legal requirements.
Why Florida Motorcyclists Should Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage
“I urge all of my friends and relatives that own motorcycles to pay the extra money for UM, uninsured/underinsured motorist, coverage on their motorcycle policy. I firmly believe that UM coverage is worth the money in Florida. Remember, this is coming from a proud Plaintiff attorney who sues insurance companies all day.” – Clifford Wells
The Florida minimum coverage does not include liability coverage, so if you are hit while on your motorcycle, and the person who hit you asked their insurance carrier for the absolute minimum they can buy, your injuries will not be covered by their insurance. When this happens, your motorcycle UM coverage is often the only thing that can cover you for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Get a Free Consultation with One of Our Pinellas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Herman & Wells possess the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to help you pursue a fair settlement for your claim. Get started on your claim as soon as possible. For a free consultation and to locate a motorcycle accident attorney in Pinellas County, contact the offices of Herman & Wells.
Case ResultsSee More Case Results
Rear Ended at a Red Light
Our clients were stopped at a red light when another car hit them from behind. Our clients needed neck surgery after the crash. The other side fought the case, trying to blame our clients for the accident and claiming that the injuries weren’t caused by the accident. We litigated the case and were able to settle the case on our clients’ behalf for $700,000.
Rear end collision
Injury In Motorcycle Accident
A bad driver suddenly pulled in front of our client while he was on his motorcycle. He couldn’t avoid the car, and crashed into it. We sued his uninsured motorist insurance company for his injuries and resolved the lawsuit for him.