Sunny skies and roads filled with tourists, snowbirds and new residents make for dangerous roadways for Florida motorcyclists. Don’t forget to add the growing number of drivers distracted by smartphones, texting, and dashboard entertainment systems before mixing this recipe for serious driving accidents for motorcycle riders throughout the State of Florida.
When a person is involved in a motorcycle accident, the damages suffered can be disabling, sometimes even fatal. That’s why it’s essential to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you recover the compensation you deserve. With over 45 years combined courtroom experience, injury lawyers Zervos & Calta have successfully represented injured motorcycle riders. Motorcycle accident law is a very specialized area that requires the experience and expertise of attorneys with a proven track record.
The majority of Florida motorcycle accidents our attorneys handle involve:
Motorcycle accidents can result in anywhere from mild to catastrophic injury. Because there is no structural protection surrounding a motorcycle rider, the rider is more likely to receive more severe injuries than if he/she had been inside of a car when the accident occurred. The most common injuries include road rash, broken bones, facial fractures and disfigurement, burns, broken teeth, amputation, spinal cord injury, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and wrongful death.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put out statistics in 2006 stating that 72.34 of every 100,000 registered motorcycles had a fatal crash that year, as compared to trucking accidents or auto accidents, with 13.10 cars out of every 100,000.00 being involved in a deadly accident. Overall, bikes are much more likely to be involved in a serious accident resulting in a fatality as compared with a car accident, for the same unit of distance traveled, because the motorcycle rider does not have equal protection afforded a driver of a car in that the car provides a metal structural frame shelter for the driver.
Florida has the dubious honor of leading the nation for the number of motorcycle accident deaths and injuries, as reported by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as The American Automobile Association (AAA). Since the motorcycle laws were changed making helmets no longer mandatory, Florida had a 30% increase in deaths, making 2015 the highest on record. Motorcyclists accounted for 20% of motor vehicle fatalities in the state. In 2015, 606 people died, and 9,045 were injured in motorcycle crashes on Florida roads. Florida’s sunny weather, as well as its popular tourist status, make Florida an ideal place for motorcycle riders to ride.
If you have been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, your first priority should be seeking medical attention. You should also hire an experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney as soon possible so that the law firm can make sure all evidence is protected, witnesses are spoken to, photographs are taken, insurance companies are notified of the loss, and all of your rights are adequately preserved.
An experienced attorney will also make sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. The injury law firm of Zervos & Calta, PLLC has over 40 years of combined experience of handling motor vehicle/motorcycle accident cases and obtaining either through settlement or verdict just compensation for their clients.
A variety of factors must be considered when determining fault for an accident. These factors include the existence of any traffic signals, such as a stop sign or red light; the weather conditions; the speed of the parties; the roadway; the paths of the parties; traffic conditions; and who had the last opportunity to try and avoid the accident. There are times when both parties can be deemed at fault for causing the accident to occur: this is known under Florida law as “comparative negligence.” If you are found a percentage at fault under the theory of comparative negligence, the law provides that any recovery you may obtain would be reduced by your percentage at fault.
It is crucial to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney from the inception of the claim so that all issues regarding liability are timely investigated and all evidence adequately preserved. At Zervos & Calta Personal Injury Law Firm, a motorcycle injury lawyer will thoroughly examine each claim, obtain photographs of the scene of the accident, the property damage to all vehicles and secure witness statements make certain that liability is established early in the claim.
As of July 1, 2000, Florida law was changed to state that a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle with no helmet on, if s/he has insurance coverage that includes at least $10,000.00 in medical benefits for injuries that are incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle. If you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and if being without a helmet contributed to your injuries, you can still recover damages from the other driver. However, you may be held accountable for a percentage of your injuries (as pertains to your failure to wear a helmet), and any recovery you may obtain would be reduced by that percentage.
If you have experienced a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you might recover damages from that person’s insurance carrier, or against the other person directly for injuries sustained.
As a motorcycle accident victim, you may seek reimbursement for property damage – a “property damage claim” which would include:
Property damage is often an important issue in motorcycle accident cases. It is your right to have your motorcycle repaired or have it replaced for its value if it is totaled. You may also be entitled to car rental reimbursement. Insurance carriers often dispute the extent of your property damage claim. We will fight the insurance carriers to resolve your property damage claim.
You may also bring a claim for your injuries, commonly referred to as a “bodily injury claim”, for:
If you need assistance obtaining the proper medical care for your injuries, we can help you. We help clients with all types of serious injuries, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and road rash. Our assistance entails fighting your own health insurance carrier to get authorization for proper medical treatment, or to get a second medical opinion for your injury.
If you don’t have health insurance, we can still obtain immediate medical treatment for you, and you don’t have to pay back the doctors until you receive the money from your settlement.
Much like any claim for negligence, including motor vehicle accidents, you typically have four (4) years from the date of the accident to settle with or file suit against the person who caused the crash to occur. This four (4) year window is known as the Statute of Limitations. Your failure to settle or file suit within the Statute of Limitations will result in you being forever barred from bringing a claim for damages. It is essential to consult with an experienced accident attorney early on in your claim to ensure all of your rights for settlements and verdicts are adequately preserved.
It has been our experience that most motorcycle accidents are caused by the other party involved in the accident. We use investigators, accident reconstruction specialists, accountants, economists, doctors, and other experts in forensics needed to provide the proof of how the motorcycle accident occurred. We will be able to determine when we need to use these experts – how to best utilize them when negotiating with the insurance company to settle the case, or if we need them to testify at trial in order to get the highest possible damages for you.
There are many issues involved in a motorcycle accident such as investigating the accident, dealing with insurance companies, getting proper medical attention, motorcycle repair, unending paperwork, and trying to get a fair settlement. We understand the issues and we can help you secure the compensation you need after an accident.
We are very aware of the great bodily harm a motorcycle accident can cause, and we will do everything possible to get you through the physical, financial, and emotional challenges of your accident. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, let the Florida motorcycle accident lawyers at the law firm of Zervos & Calta, PLLC help you. You will meet personally with a motorcycle accident injury attorney who will listen to your concerns, answer all of your questions, keep you informed throughout your case and protect all of your rights. We are here to make sure the insurance companies do not take advantage of you and that you receive the justice you deserve.
There is no fee for you unless we win your case. Our personal injury lawyers fight hard and smart against the insurance companies for motorcycle accident victims who have suffered serious injury or wrongful death due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness.
Contact us by filling out the form on the right or call 727-937-3171 to schedule a free phone consultation. Visit us in one of our convenient office locations in Spring Hill, Tarpon Springs, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater.