Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
While the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association has recently seen a 5% decrease in the number of motorcycle fatalities, there were still almost 5,000 fatalities throughout the nation in 2018. Combine Florida’s warm weather with its relaxed helmet laws, and it’s not surprising that the Governors Highway Safety Association  ranked Florida as the seventh state with the most motorcycle accident deaths as a percentage of total motor vehicle deaths.
If you were involved in an accident in Fort Lauderdale, compensation for your injuries may be available. Be sure to contact a lawyer with Schlacter Law as soon as possible following a crash to see if we can assist in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Accidents
There are numerous reasons why motorcycles are involved in such a large percentage of traffic accidents. Being small and fast, motorcycles are harder to see and provide far less protection when a crash occurs. Additionally, when a motorcyclist is forced to decelerate quickly, there is a good chance that the motorcycle can lose traction and fall over. With fewer safety protections come more severe injuries.
In addition to their small size, several additional factors contribute to motorcycle crash injuries, including:
- Speeding – With a power-to-weight ratio far greater than the average car, motorcycles can easily travel at a rate beyond a rider’s skill level
- Lane splitting – A motorcyclist may contribute to a crash by riding between two lanes of traffic. This type of riding is illegal in Florida
- Emergency Stopping – When a vehicle breaks quickly and a motorcyclist is forced to do the same, their vehicle is more prone to falling over. Additionally, a motorcycle generally has stronger braking capabilities and when forced to stop quickly is more prone to be rear-ended by another vehicle
- Inexperienced drivers – Inexperienced and new drivers are more likely to make poor decisions while driving which could put a motorcyclist more at risk for injury
- Defects in manufacturing – When a motorcycle is poorly manufactured or designed, any failure can result in injuries that are more severe for a motorcyclist due to the general lack of safety features
- Left turn incidents – Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries occur when a vehicle makes a left turn in front of the path of a motorcyclist. Due to its small size and speed, automobile drivers oftentimes misjudge the distance between their vehicle and an oncoming motorcycle and pull out into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist
Alcohol is also a significant factor in motorcycle accidents. The NHTSA’s  2016 statistics found that 25% of all crashes resulting in fatalities had the rider “alcohol-impaired with a BAC of .08 or higher”, and that “motorcycle riders involved… in fatal crashes… had higher percentages of alcohol impairment than any other type of motor vehicle driver.”
Riding comes with its own unique set of dangers and hazards. When a crash occurs, seeking assistance from a motorcycle lawyer could be the difference between adequate and inadequate compensation. A motorcycle attorney in Fort Lauderdale has the experience needed to understand the issues that are unique to motorcyclists.
Due to a motorcycle’s size and lack of safety equipment, motorcycle accidents tend to result in more severe injuries. Some common motorcycle injuries could include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Broken bones and fractures
- Internal injuries
- Damaged knees
- Road rash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head trauma
Head trauma is a particularly prominent injury in Florida. Florida law only requires riders under the age of 16 to wear protective helmets regardless of the conditions. Under Florida Statutes §316.211, “a person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear… 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.”
In its most recent report, the CDC  found that over 1,800 lives were saved in 2016 because a rider was wearing a helmet at the time of a motorbike injury. Additionally, more than 800 people would have survived a crash had they been wearing a helmet, and helmets “reduce the risk of death by 37%… and reduce the risk of head injuries by 69%”.
Head injuries are some of the most debilitating injuries, sometimes requiring lifetime care and ongoing complications. If you suffered a head injury, or any other type of injury as a result of a motorcycle accident, a Fort Lauderdale accident lawyer can help. An accident lawyer can evaluate the circumstances at the time of the accident, help evaluate the extent of the motorcycle injuries, and counsel you on who might best be able to provide compensation.
How much reimbursement is available?
The amount of compensation available following a crash would vary based on the circumstances at the time of the accident. Often if more than one automobile was involved in the accident, a claim could be filed with one or more of the insurance carriers that covered an involved vehicle.
There are two types of compensation generally available following a motorbike injury claim. Economic damages are the types of damages that are easier to calculate. These might include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Long term medical care
- Lost income
Another type of compensation available following an accident would be non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate, and might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Non-economic crash injuries could be present for the rest of a victim’s life, and determining their value is not as straightforward as with economic damages. Consulting an accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help you find out what types, and amounts of compensation might be available following your motorcycle accident.
Can I negotiate with the insurance company myself?
While it is not required to have a lawyer assist with filing a claim with an insurance company, it is certainly recommended that you do so. Insurance companies, and their adjusters, are looking out for the company’s bottom line, and are not putting a crash victim’s compensation needs first. If you haven’t yet filed an insurance claim following an accident, be sure to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer concerning your injuries and any possible compensation.
If you have already filed a claim with an insurance company, a motorcycle accident lawyer can still help. Before finalizing any agreement, a lawyer can assist in negotiating the largest amount of compensation needed to make you whole. Furthermore, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer has the experience needed to understand the long-term care costs involved with motorcycle accident injuries.
Lastly, a motorcycle accident lawyer would be paid through a contingent fee. This would mean you would not be required to pay for the lawyer upfront. The lawyer would get paid only after compensation is paid out by the insurance company, and legal fees might be included in the insurance claim.
For all of these reasons, be sure to contact Schlacter Law, a motorcycle accident lawyer in Fort Lauderdale immediately following an accident. Their experience may be the difference between compensation that adequately covers the costs of an injury and compensation that fails to do so.
What are the deadlines to file a lawsuit if an insurance company refuses to compensate?
If a settlement isn’t reached, a lawyer would be required to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Under Florida’s personal injury law, a crash victim has four years to file a claim in court for negligence. This four-year window begins the day of the negligence and is called the statute of limitations.
Although rarely done, this window may be extended under certain circumstances. For example, if an injury failed to present itself until months or years following the accident, a court may consider extending the statute of limitations beyond the four-year limitation. Do not rely on exceptions.
The four-year statute of limitations would also apply in most situations if a manufacturing defect existed and contributed to the crash. Under these circumstances, a lawyer in Fort Lauderdale would need to file a product liability lawsuit in court.
A Florida Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can Help
Motorcycles can be fun, exciting, and exhilarating. But with this excitement comes added dangers. In a perfect world, automobile drivers would be far more aware of their surroundings, and far more mindful of the threat they pose to motorcyclists. Without seat belts, windshields, or even doors, motorcyclists are far more likely to get injured following a motorcycle accident. And because helmets are optional in the state of Florida, a large number of injuries result from the failure to protect a rider’s head in an accident.
However, if a crash occurred, and you were injured as a result, a motorcycle accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale can help. Schlacter Law has experience working with insurance companies and filing lawsuits on our client’s behalf. You can be sure that we will work hard to ensure that you receive the best compensation available following a motorcycle accident.
How We Handle Cases
- Your attorney will aggressively investigate your case. Schlacter Law will compile all necessary evidence needed to maximize the value of your case. Which includes but is not limited to photographs, police reports, security camera footage, witness statements, medical bills and medical records.
- You will remain in constant contact with Schlacter Law about the progression of your case.
- Your attorney will present your case to the insurance company and will attempt to resolve your case before the case goes to court for maximum compensation.
- Your attorney will make every effort possible to resolve the case as quickly as possible for the most amount of money you may be entitled to. You will be actively involved in the negotiation process with your attorney. Schlacter Law understands that this is your one opportunity to get justice for your loss.
- If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, Schlacter Law will be fully prepared to bring your case to court to fight for the justice you deserve.
- At no cost to you, Schlacter Law will hire any experts and professionals needed to maximize your recovery and present your case in the strongest form possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since Florida is a comparative negligence state, any compensation you would receive in a lawsuit would be reduced by the percentage you were responsible for the accident. For example, if compensation following a successful claim came to $100,000, but the plaintiff was found to be 25% responsible for the accident, the award would be reduced by $25,000.
Lawyers for personal injury negligence claims often work for a contingent fee. In cases of motorcycle accidents, the attorney would only get paid if they successfully get you an award. Their payment would be taken out of the money you win in court. Typically, this fee ranges between 33.33% and 40% of whatever compensation you successfully receive.
There are three types of compensation available in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. Economic damages are the costs associated with the accident that are easy to calculate, such as medical bills. Non-economic are the costs that are not easy to calculate, such as pain and suffering. Punitive damages are rarely given and are levied for a defendant’s reckless behavior as punishment and an attempt to prevent the same time of behavior occurring again.