3 Rights That Every Florida Motorcyclist Needs To Know
We live in a beautiful state for motorcycle riding. The weather is clear and perfect most of the year. Winter especially is a fine time to ride a bike in Florida. You can go from Key West to the Panhandle and find gorgeous shorelines, green farms, mossy treed swamp roads and hills in the northern part of the state. But take care because motorcycling carries with it a definite risk. Every time a biker goes out for a ride they must recognize they are shielded in a cloak of invisibility. That sounds strange, but scientific studies have shown that drivers simply do not perceive motorcyclists as moving objects on the road. There are many visual studies that prove you are literally invisible to many drivers. In every deposition we’ve ever taken of a defendant driver, when questioned about our motorcycle clients, the answer inevitably is “I simply didn’t see him.”
Unfortunately, motorcycles are usually not as big or as safe in a crash as most automobiles. When a motorcycle impacts an automobile or an even larger vehicle the injuries are almost always disproportionately suffered by the motorcycle rider. These damages can be mild to catastrophic. Many of them result in the death or permanent injury of the motorcyclist.
Remember to always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Also wear safety gear like proper jacket and gloves. Make sure you carry adequate insurance. There is no set amount of insurance for motorcycles. You will need to be disciplined and not cheap out on this insurance. Get a significant Medical Payments policy. This will protect you from outrageous medical bills if you are hurt while biking. Also get bodily injury and underinsured motorist coverage. This is an expensive insurance but with the large number of uninsured and underinsured drivers in Florida you must protect yourself and your family from a catastrophic injury.
Remember that motorcyclists have rights.
Right 1: You have the right to RECOVER from the Defendant! Many people think that motorcyclists have no right to recover for their injuries. This is 100% untrue. You have every right to bring an action against the guilty party. Did you know that from 1998 to 2008 motorcycle deaths actually doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control data. This happened at the same time that car accident deaths decreased to an all-time low. Why is that? Because cars are getting safer, with airbags and other safety items, while motorcycles are still very unsafe in a crash. Motorcyclists will simply not fare as well in an accident as a person sitting in the safety cocoon of a late model car. If you are hurt you will be entitled to pursue money damages. Further, motorcyclists have up to 4 years to sue for those damages and 2 years to sue for wrongful death. Keep in mind that a competent Personal Injury attorney could have your claim completed in just a few months.
Right 2: You have the right to recover from your own UM/UIM
Regardless of whether you are hit by a completely uninsured driver or just an underinsured driver, there is nothing more maddening than knowing there is no way to pay for or collect the proper compensation. Further, what happens if you are hit by a driver and they actually run from the accident and are not found? We are all too familiar with hit and run accidents. They happen all the time here in Florida. Recently the law changed making it harder for the State Attorney to prosecute drivers who are involved in hit and run accidents. If you are injured by a hit and run driver you could still get full compensation IF you have the proper insurance in place. The insurance is called Uninsured Motorists coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). You will need this badly and be glad I talked you into getting the insurance coverage if something happens!
Right 3: You avoid the “Thresholds” and get pain and suffering from day one!
In case you are living under a rock, Florida is called a “No Fault” State. What that means is all people in CAR accidents MUST use their own PIP insurance. If you are using PIP then there is a “Threshold” that says you are NOT ALLOWED to sue for any future care or any pain and suffering unless you suffered a permanent injury or significant scarring or death! That is a high standard and motorcyclists are exempt from having to overcome it! That is a huge benefit to you. Purchasing PIP insurance for a motorcycle is a bad idea. Why chance getting stuck in the PIP statute when you can buy Medical Payments(MedPay) insurance instead, for less? That way no “Threshold” applies and the motorcyclist has a great ride here. You get to be compensated for all of your pain and suffering from the moment you get hurt until the day you settle or try the case IF you hire the right attorney who understands the law, understands your particular case, and understands the biking communities’ needs.
Florida loves its motorcycle community. We have designed tort laws to protect motorcyclists from reckless and careless drivers. But just as the law can’t stop a crime, it can’t stop an accident either. Be prepared in case one happens to you or a loved one. Wear a helmet! Wear protective clothes. Drive defensively and pretend as if you are invisible to the other drivers. If anything happens remember to call our firm from anywhere in the state. We handle motorcycle accident cases all over Florida. We want to handle yours!
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