Couture Law fights for injured bikers throughout Florida
With year-round warm, sunny weather, Florida is an excellent place for motorcycle enthusiasts. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are far more likely to be seriously injured or killed in accidents, especially in densely populated areas like Tampa.
If you or someone you love has been injured while riding a motorcycle in Hillsborough County, there’s a good chance it happened because of someone else’s negligence. If so, it’s crucial to line up qualified legal representation as soon as possible. Motorcycles are not subject to Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, so it can be challenging to obtain fair and just compensation for any losses or injuries you incurred.
Motorcyclists are at greater risk
People operating motorcycles are more likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or be killed for many reasons, including the fact that they have far less protection than drivers of passenger vehicles. Because motorcycles have two wheels instead of four, they’re less stable and more vulnerable to road hazards like potholes. Other drivers often fail to notice motorcyclists, further increasing the risks.
Some U.S. motorcycle accident statistics for 2019 from the Insurance Information Institute include the following:
- 5,014 motorcyclists died in crashes
- 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in crashes
- For every 100,000 registered vehicles, 58 fatalities involving motorcycles occurred versus 9.4 for passenger vehicles and 6.8 for light trucks.
- Motorcyclists were almost 29 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile driven.
Here are some statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles regarding motorcycle accidents across the Sunshine State in 2021:
- 8,631 accidents involving motorcycles
- 7,413 injuries sustained by motorcyclists
- 588 motorcyclist fatalities
The vast majority of motorcycle crashes in Florida occur in just a handful of the most populated counties. Here are statistics regarding motorcycle accidents in Hillsborough County for 2021:
- 584 accidents involving motorcycles
- 515 injuries sustained by motorcyclists
- 37 motorcyclist fatalities
As you can see, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Florida, you’re not alone. Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys at Couture Law P.A. are here to help.
Top causes of motorcycle accidents in Tampa
As a motorcyclist in Tampa, you probably love the feeling of freedom and adventure you get from navigating local roads on your bike. The last thing you expect is to be involved in an accident. Unfortunately, many drivers' negligent driving habits create serious hazards for motorcycle enthusiasts, putting their well-being and lives on the line.
Some of the most common causes and scenarios of motorcycle accidents in the Tampa Bay area include the following:
- improper lane changing – One of the top causes of motorcycle accidents happens when passenger vehicles drift out of their lanes or fail to look before changing lanes, crashing into bikes.
- speeding – Speeding drivers are less likely to notice motorcycles, increasing the odds of causing an accident.
- failure to rield – Passenger vehicle drivers often fail to yield to motorcycles when they should, causing T-bone accidents and other incidents.
- failure to maintain a safe driving distance – When a passenger vehicle operator follows too closely behind a motorcycle, rear-end accidents are far more likely to occur.
- distracted driving – Using a smartphone while driving or otherwise being distracted while behind the wheel is a common factor in serious motorcycle accidents in Florida.
- aggressive driving and road rage – In crowded areas like Hillsborough County, motorcyclists are more likely to encounter aggressive drivers or become the victims of road rage.
- driving while impaired – Sadly, many motorcycle accidents occur when someone gets behind the wheel while intoxicated from drugs or alcohol.
- drowsy driving – Motorists who drive while sleepy endanger everyone else on the road, including motorcyclists.
In addition to the scenarios above, which involve the negligent actions of passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists may also be injured or killed in accidents caused by hazards on the road, defective equipment or their own actions. For example, lane splitting, also known as white lining – driving between lanes to get around slower traffic – is a risky maneuver that increases the odds of an accident.
Common Types of injuries from Tampa motorcycle accidents
Because motorcycles offer less protection than passenger vehicles, motorcyclists are far more likely to incur serious injuries or be killed. The average cost of an emergency room visit and hospitalization following a motorcycle accident is more than $50,000, so it’s easy to see why victims seek the help of qualified motorcycle accident attorneys in Tampa.
Some of the most common types of injuries sustained by motorcyclists invoved in car accidents include the following:
- traumatic brain injuries
- broken bones and fractures
- serious burns
- internal injuries
- injuries to the neck
- dental injuries
- road rash
- loss of limbs
- facial damage
- spinal cord injuries
Florida’s no-fault insurance laws don’t apply to motorcycles
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. All motorists with four-wheel vehicles must carry $10,000 worth of personal injury protection coverage, otherwise known as PIP coverage, and $10,000 worth of property damage liability coverage. Florida Statute 627.736 covers these and other aspects of the state’s no-fault insurance laws.
Because of Florida’s no-fault laws, car accident victims must work with their own insurance companies following accidents regardless of fault. However, since motorcycles have two wheels – not four, as specified in the statute – no-fault laws don’t extend to them. As a result, getting compensation after being injured in such an accident due to someone else’s negligence can be difficult.
As an injured motorcyclist, you most likely won’t be able to seek compensation from your own insurance company. Sometimes, you can try to seek it from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Ultimately, however, you will probably have to take action yourself by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
By retaining the skilled Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers of Couture Law P.A., you can get knowledgeable advice about whether or not you have a viable personal injury case. Our attorneys will work to protect your rights and help you obtain all of the compensation owed to you.
Understanding liability in Tampa motorcycle accident cases
To have a viable personal injury claim in Florida after being injured in a motorcycle crash, you must provide evidence establishing that the accident would not have occurred if not for the actions of the at-fault party.
Viable personal injury lawsuits in Florida must demonstrate the following four elements:
- duty of care – The at-fault party must have had a duty of care. In motorcycle accident cases, this is easy to establish because all drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with the safety of others in mind.
- breach of duty – Your lawsuit must also demonstrate that the at-fault party – the defendant – failed to uphold their duty of care. For example, the defendant may have run a red light, endangering other motorists and breaching their duty of care.
- causation – The victim, or plaintiff, must also show that the negligent actions of the defendant directly caused their injuries and other damages.
- damages – Finally, the lawsuit must show that the plaintiff suffered damages, including injury, death or property damage.
Types of damages awarded in Tampa motorcycle accident lawsuits
When you file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida after being injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to various damages. Unlike passenger vehicle occupants and drivers in such accidents, you don’t have to pass an “injury threshold” to qualify for compensation. You are also not limited to only recovering damages not covered by insurance, meaning that you can recover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages in motorcycle accident cases are designed to compensate victims for their financial losses. When someone else is at fault, a motorcyclist shouldn’t be responsible for the ensuing economic damages, including the following:
- present and future medical bills, including for hospitalizations and surgeries
- lost wages
- loss of future earning capacity
- the cost to repair or replace damaged property
- funeral and burial expenses
You may also pursue compensation for non-economic damages in Florida after being injured in a motorcycle accident. Non-economic damages essentially place a monetary value on intangible losses, including the following:
- pain and suffering
- emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
- loss of consortium or companionship
Statutes of limitations for pursuing civil claims in Florida
Under Florida law, you must file your personal injury lawsuit within four years of the incident date. If that timeframe has passed, you will not be able to proceed with your claim.
You may have four years to file a lawsuit to make yourself whole after being injured in a Tampa motorcycle accident, but that doesn’t mean you should hold off on doing so. In fact, the sooner you act, the more likely you are to recoup every penny to which you are entitled.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one because of one, contact Couture Law P.A., motorcycle attorneys in Tampa, right away. Our team will immediately get to work on building a case that will protect your rights and help you receive compensation for the losses you have incurred.
Florida’s comparative negligence rule and motorcycle accident claims
When awarding damages in personal injury claims, Florida juries must consider Florida’s comparative negligence rule. As a result, the court must determine the amount of damages a plaintiff is allowed to pursue based on their own contributions to causing the accident.
In other words, the court will decide if you are partially at fault or not, and it will adjust the resulting damages accordingly. For example, if you pursue a claim for $20,000 and the court finds you to be 10% responsible, you may only pursue up to $18,000 in damages.
What to do after being injured in a Tampa motorcycle accident
No one hops on their motorcycle expecting to end up in a serious accident. If it happens to you, here’s what to do:
- If necessary – and possible – move away from traffic to a safe area.
- Call first responders to get medical attention for yourself and other potential victims.
- Call the police so that they will generate a report.
- Call your own insurance company to report the accident.
- Collect information from the other driver, including their name, driver’s license number and insurance details.
- Collect contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Take photographs of the scene, your injuries and any damage to your motorcycle.
- Contact Tampa motorcycle accident attorneys like Couture Law P.A.
What not to do following a motorcycle accident in Tampa
After being injured in a motorcycle accident, the worst thing you can do is speak to anyone – especially the other driver’s insurance company – without legal representation.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses with access to vast legal resources. Their goal is to pay as little as possible on accident claims, so they will fight tooth and nail to avoid doing so. Never speak to an insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver without first contacting a Tampa motorcycle accident attorney.
The attorneys at Couture Law P.A. will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. We will either negotiate a fair settlement for you or take the case to court, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you receive the total amount of compensation owed to you.
How our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers help
When you hire Couture Law P.A. to represent you in your Tampa motorcycle accident case, our experienced team will take the reins right away. Some of the steps we will take include the following:
- gather evidence, including police reports, accident reports from the insurance company, surveillance videos and photographs.
- interview people who witnessed the accident, obtaining first-hand accounts.
- review your medical records to show that your injuries happened directly from the accident.
- consult with professionals, including accident reconstruction experts and healthcare experts, to highlight how the accident happened and how it has affected your life.
- deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
Contact motorcycle accident attorneys in Tampa today
Have you been injured in a Tampa motorcycle accident because of someone else’s negligence? You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s carelessness, and they should be held accountable to reduce the risk of it happening again. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party may be the only viable way to seek compensation for your losses. The Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers of Couture Law P.A. can help. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.