Gainesville Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Motorcycle Accidents in Florida
Although most motorcyclists are experienced riders, no one can predict the behavior of others on the road. All too often, the carelessness and recklessness of fellow drivers cause motorcyclists to become involved in serious accidents. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are at a heightened risk of catastrophic injury and death in accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are about four times more likely to be injured and 28 times more likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents than occupants of passenger vehicles.
If you were injured or if someone you love tragically passed away due to a motorcycle accident, we at Schackow & Mercadante want to help. We understand the devastating experience you have been through, as well as the many challenges that still lie ahead. Most importantly, we know how to help you navigate this difficult time in your life and fight for the justice you and your family deserve.
After a serious crash, contact the Gainesville motorcycle accident attorneys at Schackow & Mercadante for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (352) 261-6767 to get started.
Florida Motorcycle Accident Laws at a Glance
Anyone who owns or operates a motorcycle in Florida should be aware of—and follow—all applicable state laws and regulations.
Here, we have provided a brief overview of some of Florida’s motorcycle laws you should know:
- Motorcycle Helmets: Anyone under the age of 21 must always wear an approved motorcycle helmet when riding or operating a motorcycle in Florida. To lawfully not wear a helmet, riders 21 and over must carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance.
- Motorcycle Insurance: Motorcyclists in Florida are required to have special insurance. If you are 21 years old or older and wish to ride without a helmet, you must have at least $10,000 in medical insurance. Additionally, all motorcyclists must carry minimum liability coverage.
- Motorcycle Endorsements: You must undergo special training and receive a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to operate a motorcycle in Florida. You may also obtain a motorcycle-only license if you are 16 years old or older.
- Lane Usage: Motorcyclists must obey all traffic laws and may not weave in and out of traffic. They may use a full lane or share a lane with one other motorcyclist, riding no more than two abreast. Motorcyclists are not allowed to ride between lanes (known as “lane-splitting”).
- Headlights: In Florida, all motorcycles must be equipped with one working headlight (in addition to other mandatory equipment). All motorcyclists must ride with their headlights on, regardless of the time of day.
These are just some of the basic motorcycle laws you should know if you plan to ride a motorcycle in Florida. Make sure that you always obey all applicable traffic laws and regulations every time you ride, not only to keep yourself safe but also to keep others safe on the road.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcycle accidents are the result of negligence. Sometimes, motorcyclists themselves make mistakes but, more often, it is the negligence of other drivers on the road that leads to devastating and even deadly motorcycle accidents.
Specifically, some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless and aggressive driving
- Traffic law violations
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Failure to obey traffic control devices
- Failure to keep a lookout
- Unsafe turns, lane changes, and passing
- Vehicle defects, including defect design
- Defective or poorly maintained roadways
The cause of the crash is a critical element of a motorcycle accident claim. At Schackow & Mercadante, our attorneys work with accident reconstructionists and other experts to identify how our clients’ accidents occurred and, most importantly, who is responsible for their damages.
Are Motorcycle Accidents Covered by No-Fault Insurance in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that most accident victims can turn to their own auto insurance providers and receive compensation for certain covered losses through their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, Florida’s no-fault insurance laws do not apply to motorcycles. This means that your motorcycle accident is not covered by no-fault insurance.
Instead, you will need to prove that someone else—whether it’s another motorist, a vehicle manufacturer, or a negligent municipal entity—was responsible for the crash that caused your injuries or the death of your loved one. Once you have established liability, you and your attorney can then pursue legal action directly against the at-fault party.
Common Motorcycle Accident-Related Injuries
Unlike with other types of car accident claims, you do not need to prove that your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold in order to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit after a motorcycle accident. However, most motorcycle accident victims do suffer severe injuries that would qualify, regardless.
Some of the most common motorcycle accident-related injuries include:
- Broken bones/fractures
- Brain injuries
- Cuts, scrapes, and abrasions
- Face injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Road rash
- Soft tissue damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic amputation
Sadly, a disproportionate number of traffic-related fatalities involve motorcycle accident victims. Even with the proper protection—such as a securely fastened motorcycle helmet and heavy, leather gear—motorcyclists simply lack the protections occupants of passenger vehicles have, such as seatbelts, airbags, and steel vehicle frames.
Compensation Available to Motorcycle Accident Victims
Because motorcycle accident victims tend to sustain such severe, life-altering injuries, they often face numerous physical, emotional, and financial challenges in the wake of these accidents. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you can seek fair financial compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.
Some examples of economic and non-economic damages in motorcycle accident claims include:
- Emergency medical care
- Ambulance fees
- Surgery and other procedures
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Physical therapy
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income/wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Diminished earning ability
- Lost quality/enjoyment of life
- Home modifications
- In-home assistance and care
If your loved one tragically passed away due to a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. While nothing can ever compensate you for such an immense loss, a fair settlement or verdict can allow you to manage unexpected financial hardships and obtain a much-needed sense of justice on behalf of your loved one.
Contact the Gainesville motorcycle accident lawyers at Schackow & Mercadante to learn more about how we can help you. Call (352) 261-6767 today!
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Helping You Heal
At Schackow & Mercadante, we are here to help you heal. Our Gainesville motorcycle accident attorneys provide personal attention and one-on-one support throughout the legal process. We are aggressive when it comes to seeking maximum compensation for our clients, and we are ready to fight for you and the fair recovery you are owed.
Call us today at (352) 261-6767 or contact us online using our secure submission form to request a free initial case evaluation.
“I am a UF student who got injured on campus and Schackhow and Mercadante handled my case extremely well. Everything was settled in about a year and I highly recommend them for any personal injury case in which you are a victim in any capacity.”