Motorcycles can be an enjoyable way to travel the roads and highways of the Sunshine State. When you are involved in an accident, however, you are at higher risk for injury and death. If someone else is to blame for your crash, you and your family need guidance from a skilled Florida motorcycle accident lawyer to understand what comes next.
At Howell & Thornhill P.A., our team of dedicated attorneys will investigate your situation, identify who is at fault, and develop a personalized strategy to obtain the justice and compensation you deserve. During your free case evaluation, we will advise you on your options and how to proceed. Contact us to schedule a meeting today and learn more.
After a motorcycle accident, you are likely suffering and need rest. Trying to file an insurance claim or lawsuit is more than you can handle. When we handle your case, we manage all the frustrating paperwork and details on your behalf.
You can trust our motorcycle accident attorneys to understand your circumstances and protect your rights. The team at Howell & Thornhill will fight for you using our knowledge, experience, and integrity.
Thousands of clients have chosen our firm since 1975. Here are just a few reasons why:
It is no secret that motorcycle riders are at greater risk of injury and death than automobile drivers. Motorcycles are only 3% of registered vehicles in Florida but account for 17% of traffic crash fatalities, according to Ride Safe Florida. In 2021, there were nearly 4,000 deaths from bike accidents.
Because motorcycles are smaller, drivers in other vehicles often overlook them in traffic or fail to see them when exiting a driveway. Bikes are faster and can seem to appear out of nowhere, leading to accidents. Finally, motorcycle crashes are dangerous because riders lack the safety features of a larger vehicle, such as an enclosed cabin, airbags, and reinforced internal cages.
The most common type of injury in motorcycle crashes is head trauma. Florida law is unusual when it comes to requiring a motorcycle helmet. If a rider is under the age of 21, they must use a helmet at all times. However, if an over-21 operator purchases motorcycle insurance, they are not required to wear protective headgear. Florida Statute 316.211 provides:
(1) A person may not operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head which complies with Federal Motorcycle Vehicle Safety Standard 218 promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt this standard by agency rule.
(2) A person may not operate a motorcycle unless the person is wearing an eye-protective device over his or her eyes of a type approved by the department.
(3)(a) This section does not apply to persons riding within an enclosed cab or to any person 16 years of age or older who is operating or riding upon a motorcycle powered by a motor with a displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less or is rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and which is not capable of propelling such motorcycle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head if such person is covered by an insurance policy providing for at least $10,000 in medical benefits for injuries incurred as a result of a crash while operating or riding on a motorcycle.
Driver inattention, whether by the motorcycle rider or other motorists, is a frequent factor in bike accidents. However, other contributors include weather conditions, vehicle problems, and road hazards.
Drivers in cars, trucks, and SUVs are accustomed to having the rule of the road. They may not look out for motorcycles, or they may feel they deserve more space than a biker. Florida highways are often full of out-of-state visitors who are unfamiliar with where they are going, causing them to focus on their GPS devices instead of the road.
Drivers can also be intoxicated, drive aggressively, speed excessively, or ignore traffic signs. They may also swerve in front of a motorcycle or fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes. Many times, drivers might underestimate how fast a motorcycle is approaching them and turn out in front of the bike, leading to a devastating crash.
Florida regularly experiences extreme weather. Heavy winds, torrential rain, and even the rare ice storm can turn our roads into danger zones for all motorists. Most motorcycle riders avoid traveling in these conditions, but when caught off guard by a strong summer thunderstorm, they may be unable to take a rest stop.
Other drivers often do not adjust their driving behaviors to account for these changes and how they affect the roads. When a car is speeding on wet roads, it takes longer for them to stop. Suddenly changing lanes to avoid a motorcycle can cause the larger vehicle to hydroplane, creating a deadly situation for everyone involved.
Bumpy roads or those scattered with gravel or other debris are a huge risk for motorcycle riders. Oil, pooled water, or other items in the road can cause a biker to slide and suffer severe injuries. When road construction or government agencies fail to maintain the highways or clean up hazards, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover financial relief for your damages.
When a motorcycle accident happens, riders are often either hit directly or thrown from their bikes. Even if the crash only involves the motorcyclist and no one else, victims may slide, bang into guardrails, or be run over by other vehicles. The injuries resulting from these accidents are often extremely serious.
There are three kinds of trauma that cause motorcycle-related injuries:
This trauma involves either an object striking you or your body being thrown against something else. The sheer force of impact can cause damage to your internal organs, spine, neck, head, muscles, and bones. Even with a helmet, blunt force trauma to the head can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Without a helmet, the rider is likely to die on impact.
Even if you do not leave the bike, the effect of stopping suddenly from hitting another vehicle or object can be devastating to the body. Your brain can hit the inside of your skull and be bumped backward (a coup-contrecoup injury), or your organs can be compressed by each other. Your muscles can be torn from the force of being sheared in different directions.
This can be one of the worst kinds of trauma since it involves foreign objects entering the body. Even if you wear full motorcycle leathers, large objects can impale you, leading to injured organs and heavy bleeding. A crushed rib cage can cause your bones to puncture your internal organs. Penetrative wounds to your head or abdomen can be instantly fatal or require emergency surgery.
Riders can be sideswiped, hit directly, or bumped from behind and tossed onto the car in front of them. Regardless of how a crash happens, there are multiple wounds you can suffer including:
Florida requires Personal Injury Protection insurance to register a vehicle, but this law does not apply to motorcycles. As mentioned earlier, there is no legal requirement for riders to purchase insurance if they ride with a helmet. When they choose not to use headgear, they must have coverage that equates to the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance that automobile drivers must carry.
If you have motorcycle insurance, you can use that to pay for your medical bills and property damages after a crash, but most people purchase only the minimum amount of $10,000. This is unlikely to cover your bills since your injuries could be extensive. If it is not enough or if you have no insurance, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your accident.
If you file a claim against your insurance policy, do not expect they will be eager to pay your damages. In our opinion, insurance providers are more interested in holding on to their profits than taking care of your medical bills. They may try every trick possible to deny or minimize your settlement. In our opinion, motorcycle bias is very real in the insurance industry, and they will often claim that you are to blame for your crash. With a tenacious motorcycle accident attorney from Howell & Thornhill at your side, you can fight for what is rightfully yours.
If you have no insurance to rely on as a motorcycle rider, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible for your crash. It is important to have someone who understands how the law works and how to present your case so you receive the justice you deserve. Our team will listen to your story and build the strongest case possible based on your circumstances.
At Howell & Thornhill, our in-house nurse will ensure your injuries are fully accounted for and diagnosed. We rely on a network of medical and other expert specialists to collect materials such as treatment projections and motorcycle repair estimates. Our investigator can help take witness statements on how your wreck happened and help us determine who is at fault.
Our team puts together a full and fair estimate of all your past, present, and expected future expenses. Our goal is to prevent unwelcome financial burdens on you and your family as a consequence of someone else’s wrongful actions. We manage all the paperwork, investigation, negotiation, and litigation to secure the compensation you need to fully recover.
There are numerous damages you can claim in a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your injuries. Most fall into the category of economic (financial) losses, but you are also entitled to seek non-economic (pain and suffering) damages to address your pain and suffering.
After a motorcycle crash, your medical bills will probably be the biggest part of your financial damages. Many riders require emergency transport and treatment, with large ER and ICU expenses that can include special equipment and surgery. Your recovery and rehabilitative bills may be substantial.
If you lose a limb or are otherwise disabled, you can seek relief for the costs of lengthy treatment, lifelong care, prosthetic or mobility devices, and renovations to your living spaces. All your records and receipts can be used to support your claim for these economic damages.
You can request your lost wages and other benefits as part of your compensation. You can also seek repayment for lost bonuses, time accrued for vacation, retirement benefits, and reduced earning capacity.
Suffering a motorcycle accident can be physically damaging, but many riders also experience severe psychological injury. Losing the ability to enjoy your life as you have come to expect can be just as impactful as bodily trauma.
Common non-economic damages our clients have sought include compensation for:
Because they can be so debilitating, a jury award for a motorcycle accident lawsuit could be worth millions of dollars. Suppose the rider was someone in their 20s with a valuable career ahead of them and a family to support. If they are left permanently and severely disabled after the crash from a drunk driver’s actions, they need compensation to care for themselves and their family for the rest of their life.
Although every case is unique and has specific circumstances, our motorcycle accident attorneys fight for every penny of financial relief you deserve. We will review your case and estimate its value so you know what to expect.
Many riders do not survive their accidents, leaving their families facing grief, uncertainty, and the loss of their loved one’s contributions to the household. When your family member dies from a crash, you can seek compensation for any medical or other bills they incurred, along with other critical expenses, such as:
Our attorneys and staff are dedicated to investigating and pursuing every motorcycle accident case with the client’s best interests in mind. We examine all the evidence and identify all liable parties, which helps us maximize your avenues for compensation. Our office works as a family, and we focus on helping clients feel like part of our family as we manage their cases.
Your Howell & Thornhill attorney will perform essential actions for your case, such as:
Although motorcyclists sometimes take risks when they drive, the majority of crashes can be attributed to other drivers failing to look out for these smaller vehicles. However, to successfully recover your damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit, you and your lawyer must provide evidence demonstrating the other party was liable.
This involves proving the four elements of negligence:
We will gather evidence to support these elements from sources such as:
Instead of trying to manage your case while you recover from life-changing injuries, turn your legal concerns over to a trusted Florida motorcycle accident lawyer from Howell & Thornhill. We work hard to get the compensation and justice you are entitled to receive. Let us handle the complex details so you can rest easy. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with no risk and no obligation today.