With its moderate climate, Florida has become a famous place for motorcycle enthusiasts. It is only natural to see thousands of bike riders all year round. While it may be exciting to ride a motorcycle, it also exposes you to the risk of getting an injury every time you use one.
No matter where you are, the possibility of getting into an accident is there. It can range from minor injuries to life-altering and life-threatening incidents. Reports say that Florida is among the states with the most number of motorcycle-related fatalities. Despite this, many riders still do not wear the proper protective gear.
The first thing you have to do before getting on a motorcycle is to understand what the law says about it. Generally, the state expects motorcyclists to follow road rules that other drivers follow, so you have to know the traffic rules in the area. However, motorcycle riders cannot split lanes or weave between the lanes of traffic in case they see cars clogging.
Additionally, Florida also requires you to take a Basic Rider Course. You also need to get a proper license or an endorsement to add to your existing driver’s license. As a rider, you need to have eye protection at all times as well.
One of the main differences between two-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles is insurance coverage. In Florida, all car owners need to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. For motorcycles, the law is different. The state repealed the universal helmet law back in 2000, so those who are over 21 years old do not have to wear a helmet. However, you need to have at least $10,000 worth of medical payment insurance.
If you get into an accident, the duty of care or legal obligation will be the same as other negligence cases. You have to prove that the incident occurred because of the careless actions of the other party. For this, you may need the help of a motorcycle attorney. You need to establish the following:
• The defendant owes you a duty of care.
• The defendant breached the said duty.
• The breach is the reason for your injuries.
• There is damage or injury involved.
When establishing a case, you need to take into consideration the conditions of the road where the accident happened. Many factors can affect a claim. Heavy rains can lead to accidents.
You also need to demonstrate that your motorcycle was in good condition and well maintained. An inspection can show if there is a consistent history of proper maintenance. The inspector may also check if you replaced the tires before they could wear out.
The lighting on the streets can be an important factor too. The conditions at night may make it more difficult for drivers to see the road clearly. Even though this will not change the duty of care, it can affect the impact on the liability.
After getting involved in an accident, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Once you get proper treatment for all your injuries, you may be wondering if you have a legal claim. Generally, a victim of personal injury can file a case with the help of a motorcycle attorney.
The state allows you to recover compensatory damages. These refer to the money that can help you deal with the consequences of the accident. The amount has to help restore your situation before sustaining the injury. It may include both economic and non-economic damage.
o Medical expenses, including estimated future expenditures
o Lost income
o Lost earning capacity
o Out-of-pocket costs
o Pain or suffering
o Emotional and mental distress
o Loss of consortium or enjoyment of life
In rare cases, the court may also award punitive damages to punish the party at fault. Getting this verdict may require additional work. The victim and their motorcycle attorney have to show that the other party was reckless or malicious.
Based on Florida law, punitive damages can either be a maximum amount of $500,000 or three times the cost of the compensatory damages. The greater between the two will be deemed the amount of punitive damages.
The state also implements a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The victim has to file a case within four years. However, if the motorcyclist ends up dying because of the accident, the window will be shortened to two years. If you need more information about Florida law, consider consulting with a lawyer.