Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Most bikers love the feeling of the open road beneath their wheels, and there’s a reason why motorcycles are such a popular form of transport in and around Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident can take the fun out of the experience, and leave even the most experienced motorcyclist struggling to recover. Motorcycle accident victims may suffer severe injuries in the accident. A motorcycle cannot protect the rider in an accident the same way an automobile can.
If you suffered serious injuries in a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident, an experienced Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact The Levin Firm today to learn more about your right to compensation following a serious accident.
How Can The Levin Firm Help After a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident?
Did you suffer a motorcycle accident in Fort Lauderdale? The Levin Firm can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We have successfully helped numerous Fort Lauderdale clients pursue compensation for their injuries. Many of our clients find that we can increase the compensation they receive after a severe accident, even once they consider their legal expenses. An attorney can offer several important services as you pursue a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim.
An attorney can collect evidence regarding your accident.
“He just came out of nowhere!” “He came around that corner way too fast. I’m sure he was speeding.” Sound familiar? Often, the driver that struck you will try to blame you for the events that led up to your motorcycle accident. An attorney can fully investigate your claim and get a better idea of all of the factors that contributed to your accident.
This may include:
- Reviewing any video footage of the accident. Sometimes, you or the other driver might have a dashcam that will provide footage of the accident. In other cases, an attorney may access traffic camera footage or footage from nearby security cameras that may clearly display exactly what happened to cause your accident.
- Looking over the police report. The police will evaluate the accident when they arrive at the scene. Sometimes, the police report provides an accurate assessment of how the accident occurred. In other cases, the police report may have inaccurate information. An attorney can help review the police report and provide a more accurate assessment of exactly what happened at the scene.
- Talking to witnesses. Witnesses can provide an impartial look at the events that led to the accident. Witness statements can prove particularly beneficial if, for example, you suffered an accident at a traffic light without a camera, where it can prove difficult to assess which vehicle had right of way, or in the case of a drunk or distracted driver behaving erratically. Ideally, an attorney should review witness statements as soon as possible, since memories may fade or grow less accurate as time passes after the accident.
- Bringing in an expert witness, if needed. Sometimes, you may need an expert witness to come in and take a look at your accident. An expert witness can help piece together the events that led to the accident based on the evidence at hand: the scene of the accident, the damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle, and photos of the scene of the accident, for example.
An attorney can help review your injuries and your medical expenses.
If you do not keep track of all of your medical bills following the accident, it can prove difficult to collect them after the fact. These bills, however, will form the foundation of your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim after a motorcycle accident. An attorney can help give a better assessment of what your medical care has cost throughout your recovery period. In some cases, your attorney may go over your injuries and how they limit your everyday life, including the things you have missed out on as a result of your injuries.
An attorney can give you a better idea of the compensation you deserve after the accident.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney cannot tell you exactly how much compensation you will ultimately receive for your injuries, since that may depend on a variety of factors, many of which are unique to your case. Even people who have similar accidents with very similar injuries may receive different levels of compensation for their injuries. However, an attorney can provide you with a better idea of how much compensation you can ultimately expect for your injuries.
Not only does knowing how much compensation you can expect allow you to make better plans for your recovery and your spending, it can also help you avoid accepting a too-low compensation offer from an insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company will issue a settlement offer soon after your motorcycle accident. The insurance company may pressure you to accept an offer quickly, even giving you the impression that the offer will disappear if you do not accept on the spot.
You should not accept this offer. Instead, consult with an attorney to learn whether the offer reflects the compensation you really deserve for your injuries, rather than the insurance company simply trying to limit its financial liability.
An attorney can take over negotiation and communication with insurance companies on your behalf.
Many motorcycle accident victims find dealing with the insurance company incredibly stressful. Some may suffer from traumatic brain injury, which can make it very difficult to focus or to make effective decisions about the legal process. Others may simply prefer to focus on recovery, rather than having to deal with regular communication with the insurance company. Often, dealing with an insurance company raises stress levels, especially if the insurance company refuses to accept the other driver’s liability or tries to decrease the compensation you ultimately receive. An attorney can take over many of those communications, ultimately reducing your stress levels and making it easier for you to deal with the vital challenges in front of you.
Determining the Liable Party in a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Claim
Ultimately, the driver who caused an accident bears liability for any decision that he or she makes behind the wheel. This includes, for example, a driver that chose to drive while distracted, or a drunk driver. In addition, however, other factors can contribute to the accident, leaving other parties sharing liability for those injuries.
Did a mechanical failure cause your accident?
Mechanical failures, including tire blowouts and brake failures, can lead to severe injuries in an accident. In the case of extreme mechanical failure, the driver may have no recourse for stopping the vehicle or steering it away from your motorcycle. As a result, many accident victims can have more severe injuries.
In the case of mechanical failure, several entities may share liability for the accident.
- The owner of the car, if he failed to take care of basic, routine maintenance tasks. Routine maintenance, including replacing brakes, changing the oil, and taking care of any problems that arise with the vehicle, can keep a car running safely and prevent accidents due to mechanical failures. If the owner does not take care of that maintenance on time, on the other hand, the owner may bear partial liability for accidents suffered as a result of that negligence. The owner of the vehicle may include corporate owners, as in the case of delivery drivers.
- A mechanic who recently performed maintenance on the car. Did a mechanic perform maintenance on the vehicle—either the other car or your motorcycle—and certify it as road safe? Did the mechanic fail to properly repair broken parts of the vehicle? If so, the mechanic may share liability for the accident. A mechanic may also share liability if he misses damage to the vehicle that he should have seen during a routine inspection. In some cases, the mechanic may even cause damage to the vehicle while attempting repairs on another area, leading to increased liability for the accident.
- The manufacturer of the vehicle. Sometimes, manufacturers know that a certain line of vehicles or a certain vehicle part has a problem. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not always recall these damaged or dangerous vehicles immediately. These vehicles can then cause accidents, including motorcycle accidents, that result in serious injury. An attorney can evaluate how much liability the manufacturer of a vehicle, including both your motorcycle and the other vehicle involved in the accident, may bear for the accident.
Was the driver who caused your accident on the clock at the time of the accident?
A driver on the clock at the time of the accident may share liability with his or her employer. When an employer sends drivers out on the road to complete daily work responsibilities, the employer bears liability for the driver’s actions out on the road. Many commercial drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers as well as truck drivers, carry substantial insurance policies designed to provide a high level of protection in the event of an accident.
The driver’s employer may share liability for the accident under several circumstances.
The company continued to employ a driver with a known accident history. Instead of firing or retraining a driver who has accidents, especially drinking and driving accidents or distracted driving accidents, regularly, the company continued to employ that driver and allow him normal responsibilities and tasks on the road.
The company failed to keep up with maintenance on the vehicle. When the company owns the vehicle, the company must also provide maintenance for that vehicle. Most trucking companies, for example, require their drivers to evaluate the truck after each trip and provide an assessment of any challenges the driver faced with the vehicle. The company must then schedule maintenance on the vehicle as needed.
The company required the driver to exceed the federal maximum number of hours he can drive. Truck drivers can only drive for 11 hours out of a fourteen-hour shift, after which they must spend a reasonable time off the clock before returning to work. Some companies, however, may encourage the falsification of records to avoid regulations and meet deadlines.
The company required the driver to drive in unsafe conditions. Unsafe conditions can include:
- Asking the driver to drive while ill
- Insisting that the driver get behind the wheel while inebriated
- Requiring the driver to drive in unsafe weather, including heavy rain or snow
- Asking the driver to break the law, including speeding, to meet tight deadlines
In some cases, including failure on the part of the employer to provide a safe experience for both the company’s drivers and others who share the road with them, you may have the right to compensation from the driver’s employer after a motorcycle accident.
The Compensation You Might Expect From a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Fort Lauderdale
Following a motorcycle accident, talk to an experienced Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney to learn more about your legal right to compensation, including how much compensation you should expect as a result of your injuries. Typically, Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claims, contain the same basic elements.
Compensation for Your Medical Expenses
Motorcycle accident injuries can cause substantial medical bills beginning immediately after the accident. Ambulance transport alone can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on how much time you spend in the ambulance and what company responds. Typically, your medical expenses will form the foundation of your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim. Track all of your medical expenses, including follow-up visits or therapy appointments, so that you can provide an accurate assessment of the expenses you faced due to your accident.
Medical expenses may include:
- Emergency transport
- Emergency room bills
- Surgeries and procedures
- Durable medical equipment
- Psychological, physical, and occupational therapy to help you regain independence after the accident
- Your hospital stay
- Long-term care, including in-home care
Consult an attorney to learn more about how to calculate your medical expenses due to your accident. You may also include some home modification expenses, including installing wheelchair ramps and widening doorways, if needed to help you maintain your independence after the accident.
Compensation for Wages Lost Due to Inability to Work
Many types of injuries can prevent you from returning to your normal employment responsibilities immediately after the accident. For example, if you work in a factory, broken bones can prevent you from standing on the line or moving heavy objects. If you suffer from traumatic brain injury, it could prevent you from taking on tasks that require you to work with heavy machinery, or that require a great deal of focus and concentration.
Some employers will work to get you back to work as soon as possible after the accident. Others, however, may lack the resources or the capability to make that possible. If you work in an office job, your employer might bring in a special chair or purchase dictation software to make it easier for you to complete your job. If you work in construction, on the other hand, a special chair and a dictation system will not make it possible for you to climb up on a roof and hammer in shingles. Some employers may also not want to accept liability for bringing you back to work when you still have severe injuries.
In addition, you may have to miss work immediately after the accident, when you cannot focus because of the pain. You may need to miss work when you have to have additional procedures, including surgeries, to help you recover from your accident. You may also go through a great deal of personal and sick leave while attending appointments or going to therapy sessions related to your accident. An attorney can help you fully evaluate how much time you missed at work as a result of your motorcycle accident.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering can vary from one individual to another. Unfortunately, it does not offer a tangible, financial loss that you can calculate and put on a spreadsheet. Typically, pain and suffering gets calculated as a percentage of your medical expenses. However, the individual pain and suffering that you faced as a result of your injuries can change the compensation you ultimately receive.
Consult an attorney to learn more about how to include factors like:
- The amount of social isolation you felt as a result of your injuries. Many people, while recovering from serious injuries after a motorcycle accident, feel an extreme sense of social isolation. They may hear less from friends and loved ones, especially as weeks go by after the accident and recovery drags on. Traumatic brain injury victims, in particular, often suffer from severe isolation, especially if they suffer notable personality changes or disruption as a result of their injuries.
- The physical pain you suffered as a result of your injuries. Some injuries, including burns, can cause more severe physical pain than other types of injuries. Talk to your attorney about how to calculate and include the physical pain you suffered during your recovery.
- Emotional anguish related to your injuries. Often, you may suffer extreme emotional anguish related to your loss of independence or the other losses you faced due to your injuries. Discuss those losses with your attorney to learn more about how to include them. For example, burn victims may suffer extreme emotional anguish at their changed appearance and scarring related to the accident.
- Missed opportunities and activities. Severe injuries can prevent you from engaging in the activities that usually bring you joy. Injuries may keep you in the hospital through family events, birthdays, and parties. You may miss seminars and events that you typically attend every year, or miss out on a much-anticipated upcoming activity due to your injuries. Discuss those losses with your attorney to learn more about how they fit into your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim.
Common Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Many injuries can result from severe motorcycle accidents. Several common types of injuries, however, often occur after a motorcycle accident.
Traumatic Brain Injury
In the movies, traumatic brain injury primarily impacts the victim’s long-term memories. The victim might, for example, wake up after the accident with no memory of the people he loves, what led to the accident, or even his children.
In reality, however, traumatic brain injury can prove much more difficult to manage and navigate. While many victims certainly do lose chunks of their long-term memories, a traumatic brain injury may also have a substantial impact on the victim’s short-term memory.
A victim of traumatic brain injury might regularly forget why he walked into a room, the name of the person he started talking to just moments before, or which cabinet he has already opened in his search for a favorite snack. He might discover his ability to focus on the task at hand severely altered: many victims struggle to keep focus and concentration for more than a few seconds at a time, especially in the case of severe traumatic brain injury.
Traumatic brain injury also causes emotional challenges. Many victims with traumatic brain injury suffer from an increased risk of anxiety and depression. They may also suffer from severe mood swings. Most frustratingly, many victims of traumatic brain injury note struggling with extreme emotional responses, often with little to no relation to the stimulus that caused the response. Victims may fly off the handle over relatively minor stimuli, or they might burst into tears over something that does not usually upset them.
In addition, many victims with traumatic brain injury have ongoing physical symptoms related to their injuries. Victims may note ongoing ringing in the ears or have trouble with blurred vision or tunnel vision. They may struggle with changed physical sensations, including notable changes in the sense of taste and smell. Things the victim enjoyed before the accident may no longer taste enjoyable. Sleep disturbances also occur commonly in victims with traumatic brain injury: while some sleep more than usual, as the brain tries to heal itself, others may struggle to sleep at all.
While wearing a helmet can significantly decrease your risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a motorcycle accident, it does not eliminate it. If you have any symptoms of traumatic brain injury, including disorientation or vomiting, following a motorcycle accident, you should receive medical attention as soon as possible. You should also seek medical attention if you lose consciousness even briefly after your accident.
Spinal Cord Injuries
In a motorcycle accident, the spinal cord has relatively little protection. Unlike a car, you do not have a metal cage protecting you from force and trauma, nor do you have a seat belt to help hold you against a relatively padded seat. As a result, your risk of spinal cord injury increases substantially.
In the case of complete spinal cord injuries, when the spinal cord severs completely during your motorcycle accident, you may suffer full paralysis below the site of the injury. Spinal cord injury victims usually cannot move the affected area at all. They must relearn how to perform many common activities, and many use assistive devices to make it easier for them to maintain their independence.
Victims with complete spinal cord injury often use wheelchairs to get around after the accident. The extent of the paralysis usually depends on where on the spinal cord the injury took place. The lower the injury, the more movement the victim usually has. The higher on the spinal cord the injury occurs, on the other hand, the more extensive the paralysis.
Complete spinal cord injury does not just impact the limbs, decreasing movement. It may also impact organs below the site of the injury. Many spinal cord injury victims, for example, may suffer decreased bladder and bowel control. Others may suffer from sexual dysfunction as a result of their injuries.
Sometimes, the spinal cord does not sever completely in a motorcycle accident. Incomplete spinal cord injury victims may still have some mobility below the site of the injury, depending on its severity. Incomplete spinal cord injury can make it difficult for the victim to move and decrease mobility considerably, but may not stop it completely.
Some incomplete spinal cord injury victims can get around with the aid of a cane or crutches and braces, for example, rather than needing a wheelchair. Incomplete spinal cord injury may also cause decreased organ function, but may cause fewer challenges than a full spinal cord injury.
Incomplete spinal cord injury victims can also show more promising chances of recovery than victims with complete spinal cord injuries. Most of the time, doctors can predict the patient’s prognosis within six months of the accident.
Motorcycle accidents typically cause a great deal of trauma and involve a great deal of force. As a result, victims may suffer amputation during the accident itself, with the amputated limb torn from the body. Other times, amputation occurs at the hospital after the accident. The victim may, for example, suffer such severe crushing damage to the limb that doctors cannot repair it, or may suffer such extreme damage that it cuts off blood flow to the affected limb. When the limb does not receive adequate blood flow, the muscle and tissue die. Doctors then must remove the limb before sepsis sets in. Sepsis can threaten a patient’s life.
After limb amputation, most amputees must relearn how to perform common activities. Victims with leg amputations, for example, may need to relearn how to walk with the aid of a prosthesis. The victim may also prefer to get around in a wheelchair part or all of the time, or to use crutches for improved mobility.
Often, amputees choose to use prosthetic devices to increase independence and function. Prosthetic limb development has improved considerably over the last several years, so amputees have plenty of options to choose from. Some simple prosthetic arms simply restore normal appearance, so that others become less likely to notice the missing limb.
More complex prosthetics, on the other hand, can mimic the human hand, allowing for more independence and function. While these prosthetics offer freedom, they can also pose a substantial expense. Victims often need to replace their prosthetics every three to five years. They can also expect to replace the limb in the first year after the accident, since the shape of the stump may change considerably during that time.
Not only can motorcycle accidents lead to severe road rash, a severe friction burn that can cause extreme scarring and has a high risk of infection, the victim may suffer burns if the motorcycle or the other vehicle catches on fire before the victim can escape the scene of the accident. Burns cause extreme pain and frequently lead to extreme scarring.
A burn strips away the skin: the body’s vital protective covering. As a result, they have a high rate of infection. Burn victims, especially victims with extensive burns, may stay in a special unit of the hospital. Doctors keep this unit sterile to help avoid contamination and reduce the risk of infection. Unfortunately, especially in the case of friction burns, an infection may occur anyway.
Many burn victims go through several skin grafts to help speed healing, decrease pain, and improve recovery. Others may require plastic surgery. Victims with scarring on the face, in particular, often choose plastic surgery to help restore their appearances. Unfortunately, even the best efforts of doctors cannot always restore normal appearance after the accident.
Broken bones often have long-term consequences for the victim. Motorcycle accident victims may break their hands and arms, ribs, or legs due to the force of the accident. Some victims even get trapped under the weight of the motorcycle, which can lead to additional damage.
Victims with broken bones may require surgical treatment to set the affected limb. Surgery lengthens recovery time and increases the victim’s pain. In addition, surgery can bring with it complications, including raising the risk of infection.
Breaking bones can cause a victim to lose the ability to work, either short-term or long-term after the accident.
Broken bones in the hands or arms, for example, can make it very difficult for the victim to sit behind a desk and type on a keyboard, while broken bones in the legs could prove very difficult for a patient who works in construction or at a factory. Broken bones may also interfere with leisure activities. A very active individual, for example, may struggle with the restrictions imposed after a broken bone.
FAQ About Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accidents
You may have considerable questions after your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident. If you have specific questions about your claim or your right to compensation, contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. If you have general questions about Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claims, this guide could provide some of the answers you need.
1. I wasn’t wearing a helmet during my motorcycle accident, and I suffered a traumatic brain injury. Will this change my right to compensation?
Florida law does not require motorcycle riders over the age of 21 to wear protective headgear while they ride. It does, however, require them to carry medical insurance that will provide compensation in the event of serious injury, including traumatic brain injury. You still have the right to compensation after a severe motorcycle accident caused by another party, even if you did not wear a helmet.
Keep in mind, however, that helmet use can substantially reduce the risk of TBI and decrease the likelihood that the victim will suffer injuries to the face and neck. You should always wear protective headgear and any other necessary protective equipment when riding your motorcycle in Florida, even when you pass your twenty-first birthday and have the legal right to ride without a helmet. Passengers under the age of 21 must always wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle.
2. What is the average compensation for a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim?
If the person that caused your accident carries minimum auto insurance, you can expect up to $10,000 in compensation for bodily injury resulting from a motorcycle accident. However, the compensation you receive after a motorcycle accident will depend on it.
Who caused your accident? The average private driver in Florida may carry only $10,000 in bodily injury liability insurance, but other drivers may carry far more. Uber and Lyft drivers, for example, have $1 million insurance policies that cover them while they have an active ride. Truck drivers also typically carry high-value policies, so if a truck driver caused your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident, you may receive additional compensation for your injuries.
An attorney may also evaluate your claim to determine whether any other parties contributed to your injuries. When you can identify other parties that contributed to your accident, you can file a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim against each liable party, which may increase the compensation you can ultimately receive for your accident.
What did your medical bills look like? Severe medical bills mean that you have the right to substantial compensation for your injuries. On the other hand, if you suffered relatively minor injuries and did not have severe medical bills, you may have the right to less compensation. Under Florida’s no fault law, you can also only file for compensation for your injuries under a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim once the cost of those injuries exceeds $10,000, or the limits of your motorcycle medical coverage.
Consult an attorney for more information about how much compensation you should expect after your motorcycle accident, including how the elements of your accident could impact your claim.
3. How should I handle my medical bills after my motorcycle accident?
To operate a motorcycle without a helmet in Florida, you must carry a minimum of $10,000 in medical coverage. You may choose to use your health insurance provider for this coverage, or you might ask your auto insurance carrier to provide it.
You should make arrangements to pay your medical bills using this insurance and your personal resources. As the victim, you will need to take responsibility for all medical expenses related to your accident. However, you can often use your health insurance to pay for a percentage of your claim. A motorcycle accident claim can also provide much-needed compensation that will cover many of your medical expenses.
4. How long does a motorcycle accident lawsuit take in Fort Lauderdale?
Like the compensation you may receive for your motorcycle accident, the time it takes to settle or litigate your claim may vary. You cannot expect your claim to look exactly like anyone else’s, even if you have very similar injuries or even must deal with the same insurance company. You should, however, expect it to take time to settle your motorcycle accident claim.
How long do your doctors need to fully assess your odds of recovery? If you suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, your doctors may need time before they can determine how much you will recover. In the case of traumatic brain injury or incomplete spinal cord injury, for example, your doctors may need as much as six months to determine how much ground you will gain during your recovery. Likewise, if you suffered severe burns in your accident, your doctors may not know what your recovery will precisely look like, since multiple complications, including infection, can increase your recovery time.
Your attorney may recommend waiting to file your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim. At that time, you may have a more accurate assessment of your medical expenses related to the accident and, just as important, a better idea of how much your injuries will limit you throughout the rest of your life.
How much compensation did you ask for? Insurance companies often prove more difficult to negotiate with when you need to ask for considerable compensation in your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim. That does not mean that you should ask for less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries, but it does mean that if you suffered severe injuries, it may take longer to settle your claim. The insurance company may seek more evidence, including an independent medical evaluation, or take longer to approve the compensation you deserve.
How much must you negotiate? After talking to an attorney, you will have a reasonable idea of how much compensation you deserve for your motorcycle accident injuries. The insurance company will also have an idea of how much it wants to offer you. The difference between those two amounts may have a substantial bearing on the amount of negotiation you must go through to arrive at a settlement agreement. Sometimes, you and the insurance company can meet in the middle with relatively little issue. Other times, you may go through multiple rounds of negotiation before reaching an acceptable agreement.
Sometimes, you may not reach an agreement with the insurance company or the liable party. In that case, you may need to proceed to mediation: a meeting with a court-appointed mediator who will listen to both sides of the case and try to help you reach an agreement. If the mediator cannot help you reach an acceptable agreement, you may need to go to court to settle your claim.
Most motorcycle accident lawsuits settle out of court. The insurance company usually does not want to put out the expense of a court battle, since this usually significantly increases its costs. However, you should prepare to go to court if needed. An attorney can provide vital support and advice throughout that process.
5. Do I have to have an attorney to file a motorcycle accident claim in Fort Lauderdale?
An attorney provides numerous advantages after you have suffered a motorcycle accident. You should always at least speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale to help you better understand the law and how much compensation you really deserve as a result of a motorcycle accident.
6. What happens if the driver that hit me was drunk? Does it change my claim after a motorcycle accident?
You have the right to compensation after a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident whether the other driver chose to drink and drive or not. You will still likely file a claim through the other driver’s insurance and work with an attorney to collect evidence related to the claim. However, a drunk driving conviction may serve as powerful evidence regarding the other driver’s liability in an accident, so you should discuss any evidence of drunk driving or a drunk driving conviction with your attorney.
If the other driver does not get criminally convicted of driving while intoxicated, even if you feel that intoxication contributed to the accident, you still have grounds for a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim; a lack of criminal prosecution or conviction does not bar a civil lawsuit. You can also present evidence regarding the other driver’s intoxication if you have it.
7. How usual is it to suffer serious injury in a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle accident victims often suffer more severe injuries than other vehicle accident victims. A motorcycle does not offer the same structure to protect its rider in an accident and, in fact, the motorcycle can cause additional injury to the driver if it falls. As a result, motorcycle accident victims may have more severe injuries and, therefore, a greater need for compensation following an accident.
8. Shortly after my motorcycle accident, I got a call from the other driver’s insurance company, offering a settlement for my injuries. Should I take it?
Many insurance companies will get in touch with accident victims as soon as they can after a serious accident and offer them a settlement. To the victim, this seems ideal: money in hand immediately to help pay for your injuries. To the insurance company, a quick acceptance of their offer lets them off the hook immediately.
You may, as you continue down the road to recovery, uncover injuries that you did not notice immediately after your accident. You may also discover that your medical expenses or lost wages mount far higher than you initially thought. Accepting that offer from the insurance company could actually prevent you from getting the full compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Instead, get in touch with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale before accepting any offer. Ask about the compensation you should expect, considering your injuries, and how you should proceed with your claim. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation, which will help them decide whether to accept your case and help you determine how to move forward with your claim.
9. I did not go to the hospital immediately after my accident, but later discovered that I had suffered severe injuries. Do I still have the right to a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim?
Even if you did not go to the hospital immediately after a motorcycle accident, you still have grounds for a motorcycle injury claim if you suffered serious injuries in the accident. However, you may have a harder time proving when your injuries took place. The insurance company may attempt to claim that your injuries occurred at another time, and that you simply want to pin them on the driver that caused your accident. Talk to an attorney as soon as you discover your injuries to learn more about your legal rights after an accident and how you should handle it if you did not discover your injuries immediately.
10. How long do I have to file a claim after a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident?
You must file a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim before Florida’s statute of limitations runs out. However, several exceptions exist that can help extend the statute of limitations and give you more time to seek compensation. You need not necessarily arrive at a settlement for your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim in that time frame, but rather must start the process. If some time has passed since your motorcycle accident, consult an attorney to learn more about your legal right to compensation and what you should do next.
Seven Steps to Take After Your Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle accident can leave you confused, disoriented, and unsure of what to do next. The steps you take immediately after your accident, however, can have a substantial bearing on both your future health and your future finances. Follow these steps carefully to help protect yourself after a motorcycle accident.
Step One: Report the Accident Immediately.
Do not leave the scene of a motorcycle accident, even if you believe that you did not suffer a serious injury, without reporting it. You can only leave the scene of an accident if you do not feel safe at the scene of the accident or need to seek immediate medical attention. If you do leave the scene of the accident, report your location to dispatch and speak to the police as soon as possible.
You may need to answer questions about your accident when the police arrive. Do not say anything that could incriminate you in the accident. You should not brush off your injuries or try to “tough it out.” Instead, provide an accurate assessment of what you feel led to the accident and your current physical health.
Step Two: See a Doctor.
Many motorcyclists, after an accident, feel that they do not need a doctor. A “minor” cut, however, can quickly become more severe when foreign matter from the street leads to an infection. Likewise, you may not realize the full extent of your injuries immediately. Adrenaline from the accident can work against you, concealing more serious injuries until later. Victims may end up walking around on broken bones after the accident because they failed to recognize the severity of the injury.
When you call 911 to report an accident, they should dispatch an ambulance along with the police. Follow all instructions given to you by emergency medical personnel. Visit the hospital for a full medical evaluation if needed. Even if you do not have adequate medical insurance, this visit can help protect your physical health. A doctor can identify injuries you might miss on your own, allowing you to receive treatment and increasing your odds of making a full recovery.
Your trip to a hospital or urgent care center also serves another purpose: it provides evidence of exactly when your injuries occurred. Many insurance companies will attempt to prove that your injuries occurred at another time—that is, that the driver who caused your motorcycle accident does not actually bear liability for those injuries. If the driver does not bear liability for your injuries, the insurance company can avoid having to pay for them, which may reduce its overall financial liability for the accident.
Step Three: Work With Your Doctor to Develop a Care Plan.
In the case of severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, you may need an ongoing care plan that spans months or even years. That plan may adapt throughout your care. Developing a plan soon after your injuries, however, can help give you a better idea of what comes next. What can you expect your medical expenses to look like? How much can you expect to recover following your accident?
Keep in mind that a doctor may not provide you with a full assessment of exactly what you can expect every step of the way immediately after your accident. It may take time to fully understand your limitations and your prognosis, especially in the case of severe injuries. A doctor can, however, offer you an assessment of what that process will look like.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Listen to the limitations placed on you by your doctor, whether that means you cannot participate in certain activities or that you need to avoid bearing weight on an injured limb. Your commitment to following your doctor’s instructions can help increase your odds of making a full recovery and, just as importantly, help support your motorcycle injury claim. If you do not follow your doctor’s recommendations, the insurance company may try to prove that you worsened your own injuries due to that failure to follow instructions, and it could interfere with your case.
Step Four: Get in Touch With an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale.
After your motorcycle accident, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney: one who knows how to navigate the court system and will help you maximize the compensation you can receive through a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim. Ideally, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. After the accident, evidence may disappear quickly. Not only do witness memories fade quickly after an accident, making them less likely to remember the exact events that led to the accident, but your attorney may also have more trouble finding critical evidence related to your claim.
Many attorneys will start with a free consultation to evaluate your claim and get a better idea of your injuries and who caused your accident. After that, the attorney may accept your claim on a contingent fee basis: that is, you will only pay a percentage of any successful settlement or award for attorney fees, rather than needing to pay for your attorney’s services upfront. Consult an experienced Fort Lauderdale attorney to learn more about what you can expect to pay for an attorney to handle your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim.
Step Five: Consider Your Insurance Company.
Who provides your medical insurance? In Florida, many drivers have medical insurance just for use if they suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident. You must also carry at least $10,000 in medical coverage if you choose to ride your motorcycle through Florida’s streets without a helmet. If you plan to use your health insurance to cover your initial medical expenses, you may also want to ask questions about the extent of your coverage.
You may need to know:
Your deductible. How much can you expect to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in? For some people, this can represent a substantial expense, especially if you have a high deductible plan. You may need to plan accordingly for the expenses you will face as a result of the accident.
Your in-network providers. After talking with your doctor, you may have an idea of what different providers you may need as you manage your recovery. Your insurance company can provide you with a list of the providers you can use that have an agreement that puts them in the top tier for your insurance company. Keep in mind that your insurance company may have multiple tiers for providers, and you may have different copays and deductibles for each one.
Your out-of-pocket maximum. If you have severe injuries, you may expect to hit your out-of-pocket maximum for the year. Severe injuries, including spinal cord injury, may leave you expecting to meet those maximums for several years. Talk to your insurance provider about when you will hit your out-of-pocket maximum and what, if any, costs you can expect to have after that point.
Costs for specific items that you may need during your recovery. Your insurance coverage may vary for several types of service or equipment during your recovery. Some things, you may need to have approved before you receive them.
Other things, your insurance may limit how much you can have of that particular service. Consider:
- Durable medical equipment. Make sure you ask about what type of products your insurance company will cover. For example, will your insurance cover a hospital bed at home, if you need one? What about a knee walker, if you have an ankle or foot injury? If you do need those types of equipment, do you need a prescription to use your insurance to cover them?
- A stay in a long-term care facility. Most insurance companies have strict limits on how long you can stay in one of those facilities. If you exceed your stay in the facility, you may need to pay for the rest of the stay out of your own pocket. A Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim can help you recover the funds you need to pay for those expenses.
- Physical therapy. Your insurance company may pose limits on how many visits you can have with a physical therapist each year that the company will cover. Talk to your insurance company about how that will impact your recovery.
How your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim will affect insurance coverage. In some cases, your insurance company may seek reimbursement for your medical expenses out of the amount of your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident claim. Make sure you understand how this will impact your coverage and what you can expect. Better yet, let your Fort Lauderdale attorney handle any communication with your insurer; your lawyer can be an invaluable asset while managing treatment, finances, and your case.
Your motorcycle insurance provider. Depending on the coverage you have on your motorcycle and the extent of the damage to it, you may also need to contact your motorcycle insurance provider to discuss your accident. If you have full-coverage or comprehensive insurance, for example, you may use your insurance to cover the cost of repairing your motorcycle, if you intend to repair it. You may also need to contact your motorcycle insurance provider if your motorcycle suffered so much damage that you cannot repair it, you may need to cancel your insurance policy.
Step Six: Contact Your Employer.
You likely got in touch with your employer shortly after your accident to let them know that you could not come in for a little while. Soon, however, you need to have a more in-depth conversation with your employer about your plans.
You may need to consider:
- How long do you need to stay out of work? Consider your doctor’s recommendations. Your doctor may feel that you can return to work quickly with some modifications, or your doctor may suggest that you stay home until you progress further in your recovery.
- What modifications do you need before you can return to work? You may, for example, need to take more breaks, or to sit down instead of standing all day. You may need special equipment to make it possible for you to continue doing your job. You might want to return to work on a more limited basis in the beginning, rather than going back to work full-time immediately after the accident. Discuss the modifications you need with your employer well before your return.
- What do you expect your recovery to look like? It may take time before you know how much you will recover, but you should still provide your employer with an accurate picture of your future capability so that you can make modifications accordingly.
Step Seven: Focus on Your Recovery.
Once you have handed your claim over to a Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney, you should focus on your recovery. Continue to follow all instructions issued by your doctor, even when they seem inconvenient or difficult. Work to maximize your recovery as much as possible. Meanwhile, your Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorney will handle your claim for you, contacting you when you need to provide specific information or answer a question about negotiations concerning your claim.
Talk to your attorney about what you can and cannot do with regards to social media posts and even what you can say to friends about your motorcycle accident. Your attorney may recommend keeping information about your recovery and your activities off of social media during your recovery since, in some cases, those activities or those posts can complicate your case.
Do You Need a Fort Lauderdale Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
If you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, our experienced Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident attorneys can help. Contact The Levin Firm today at (954) 715-3260 to learn more about your legal rights following a motorcycle accident.