Motorcycle riding can be an enjoyable and exciting way to explore and experience Florida’s panhandle. Unfortunately, motorcycle riding can be dangerous, even when you are riding safely.
If someone’s negligence injured you in a motorcycle accident, the Santa Rosa Beach motorcycle accident attorneys of The Bruner Law Firm could help you recover compensation. Contact us today at (850) 608-8715 for your free case evaluation about how we can help hold the at-fault party responsible.
What Are Different Types of Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries?
The number of annual motorcycle fatalities in Florida has doubled in the past twenty years. The average in recent years is 550 fatalities per year. On average, more than 160 people are seriously injured in Florida motorcycle accidents each month.
Motorcycle accidents can occur for many different reasons. The only thing typical about motorcycle accidents is that they are violent. More than 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes result in an injury or fatality. Further, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to other drivers’ actions. Approximately one-third of multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents occur when another motorist turns into the motorcycle’s path.
Motorcycle riders lack many protections found in cars, such as seat belts and airbags. Motorcycles don’t have the structural protections of a roll cage. Florida law does not require motorcycle riders over 21 to wear a helmet so long as the rider carries at least $10,000 in medical insurance. Helmets can prevent catastrophic injuries. But, even with helmets, injuries from motorcycle accidents can be awful and life-changing.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash or other abrasion injuries
- Broken bones
- Ligament, muscle, or tendon injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, or paralysis
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Degloving injuries
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Data from a couple of recent years shows that of non-fatal injuries requiring hospitalization, injuries to the lower extremities occurred 32 percent of the time, torso injuries occurred 20 percent of the time, and traumatic brain injury occurred 20 percent of the time.
Who Can Be Sued After a Motorcycle Accident?
To recover compensation for your motorcycle accident, you must prove that someone’s negligence other than your own caused the accident. This negligent party could be the other driver, the operator of the motorcycle you were riding on if you were a passenger, the motorcycle manufacturer or retailer, or even governmental entities. The Florida motorcycle accident attorneys of The Bruner Law Firm can help identify the negligent parties responsible for your injuries.
To claim negligence against any party, you must establish the following four elements:
- Duty of care – The negligent party owed you a duty of care and was supposed to act responsibly.
- Breach of duty of care – The negligent party breached that duty of care by acting negligently.
- Causation – The negligent party’s acts caused your injuries.
- Losses – The accident injured you and caused actual losses.
We can seek recovery when another driver’s negligence causes your accident. The motorcycle manufacturer, part manufacturer, or retailer could be liable if a motorcycle or part defect caused or contributed to the accident. If a motorcycle operator was negligent, that operator could be liable for the accident. Performing stunts or wheelies, impaired driving, speeding, or otherwise unsafely operating a motorcycle are reasons to argue that a motorcycle operator should be held responsible for your injuries.
What Compensation Types Are Available If I Am Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
In Florida, an injured person must file a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault parties within four years of the date of the injury. This time limit is set by the statute of limitations for personal injury cases founded on negligence. After that deadline passes, you can no longer file a lawsuit.
When you seek financial compensation after an accident, the compensation is intended to make you financially whole again. The law categorizes damages into economic, non-economic, and punitive categories.
Economic damages are compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage: out-of-pocket losses you incurred because of the accident. Non-economic damages are compensation for pain and suffering: the real but intangible injuries the law believes you should be paid for. Punitive damages are only available in a lawsuit, as they must be awarded by a judge or jury. This money may be available if you can show clear and convincing evidence of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Punitive damages are meant to deter the public at large from engaging in similar behaviors.
Furthermore, Florida does not have a cap on economic damages. You can recover money for all your past or future medical bills, past or future lost or reduced income, and even damage to your motorcycle. In a recent year, the average hospital charge for a motorcyclist admitted to the hospital for accident-related injuries was approximately $134,000.
Florida also does not cap non-economic damages. This compensation, which includes money for pain and suffering, can be challenging to quantify. However, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at The Bruner Law Firm can help you assess an appropriate value for your pain. Your testimony, and sometimes testimony from your family or mental health providers, can help you recover compensation for things like mental suffering, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Florida caps punitive damages at three times the compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is larger, unless the at-fault party’s egregious action was motivated by financial gain. Punitive damages are rare.
Call an Experienced Santa Rosa Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now for Your Free Case Evaluation
Suppose someone’s negligence injured you in a motorcycle accident. In that case, the team of experienced Santa Rosa Beach personal injury attorneys at The Bruner Law Firm want to fight for you to get you the compensation you deserve. We have represented personal injury plaintiffs for over thirty years and know how to investigate the accident and identify the at-fault parties. Our team can work with you to document your losses, negotiate a fair settlement from the negligent party, and, if necessary, pursue your case in court.