Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits in Florida
When you are riding a motorcycle on any type of road, there is potential for injury. These injuries include injuries to your person, such as broken bones, head injuries, or road rash. They also include property damages such as damage to your motorcycle or damage to the location where the accident occurred. Lastly, these damages include subjective damages such as pain and suffering or the emotional loss of a loved one. This is why there are motorcycle accident lawsuits in Florida.
Things to Know About Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits in Florida
The first thing to understand when considering a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Florida is the term, negligence. Negligence is commonly referred to the cause of a preventable accident. It means that the person could have done something to prevent the accident but did not, and the accident happened. While this seems to be an easy enough concept, negligence actually has 4 parts:
- Duty to act: A duty to act means a person had a responsibility and failed to act on that responsibility. This may mean a person had a responsibility to keep an area safe for patrons. It may mean a person had a duty to keep the road clear. Some duties are more obvious than others. Less obvious duties may be the duty to drive at a safe speed or the duty to yield to oncoming traffic.
- Failure to act: If a person had a duty and did not act on that duty, they may be negligent. This too is fairly simple but can get complex when people feel they didn’t have the duty or feel like they did the best they could. The courts decide whether or not the duty is legitimate and whether the defendant failed to meet that duty.
- Damages: It doesn’t matter if there was a duty and a failure to act if no harm was done. There must be damages, or there can be no compensation.
- Failure to act caused damages: Lastly, the damages must result from the failure to act. A person can be negligent, but the courts will not hold him or her liable if it wasn’t the cause of the harm. For instance, maybe a drunk driver was the witness to the accident. Their negligence and criminal activity in driving under the influence has nothing to do with liability in your case unless they caused part of the harm.
Comparative Negligence in Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
The next thing you should know about motorcycle accident lawsuits in Florida is that Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means that a court will not hold a person fully responsible for an accident unless it was fully their fault.
In a lot of instances, a defendant may have been the person to pull out in traffic or make a left turn across lanes of traffic. However, the plaintiff’s high speed also contributed to the fault. It made him or her unable to respond to the erratic driving. This may not seem fair, if the other person made an illegal move, but it is fair when you consider the flip side.
If there wasn’t comparative negligence, then the defendant may not be held liable at all if the plaintiff was found to be somewhat at fault. The courts would eliminate any compensation. Comparative fault allows plaintiffs to collect the amount of damages that the courts determine was the fault of another party.
Collecting Evidence in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
One way to increase your chances of having a successful motorcycle accident lawsuit is to collect as much evidence as possible on your own before leaving the scene. Of course, this is not always possible if injuries are significant, but a person should do the best he or she can.
The first thing you should do when in an accident is make sure that you are safe followed by anyone else involved. This is paramount. It’s no use getting a license plate number if you aren’t going to ever be able to give it to anyone else. However, once you are out of further harm’s way, any observations can be immensely helpful.
Collecting evidence can mean many things. Common evidence in a motorcycle accident lawsuit include:
- Dash cams
- Individual photographs
- CCTV and surveillance cameras
- Witness testimony
- Physical/forensic evidence at the scene
Evidence does not only get created at the scene. There are other forms of evidence that can be created after a motorcycle accident. They are:
- Medical bills
- Repair bills
- Journal entries
- Further witness testimony
- Expert testimony (physicians, therapists)
You should give anything that you feel is relevant to your lawyer. Sometimes the smallest piece of evidence can be all the judge or jury needs to make a decision. Don’t throw any paperwork away that you receive from health care professionals, body shops, or any other involved parties. Paperwork trails are more difficult to argue than witness testimony.
Understand the Mental Strain of Lawsuits in General
One thing to understand about any lawsuit is that it can be very stressful. Simply coming up with evidence for your cases is one stressor. You may have to do this while trying to heal physically and mentally from your injuries. Additionally, it takes time to file a lawsuit and for the courts to deliver a judgement. During this time, you may receive medical bills. They could already be in collection by the time you file a suit. The financial stress of lawsuits in general can be something to expect.
In order to mitigate the mental stress of lawsuits in general, it is important to have good support. Friends and family may be interested in helping with the case. If they tend to increase stress rather than help with coping, you may not want to share too much with them. Speaking to a therapist or even a support group may help you through the process. Finally, your lawyer should be someone whom you trust and in whom you can confide.
Finding Good Attorneys for Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
When you start to look into filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit, which generally falls under the title of personal injury, it can seem overwhelming. There are many law offices from which to choose, and the quality of each firm varies. That is why the initial consultation is essential in determining your feelings about your representation.
A reputable law firm will have experience in personal injury law but also in motorcycle accident lawsuits. The lawyer himself (or herself) should be compassionate to the injuries you have suffered. He or she should be ready to ask the right questions and represent you in a way that takes away some of the stress of getting back to where you were before the wreck. If you don’t feel some sort of relief after your initial consultation, you may not have the right law firm.
Instead, you should feel comfortable with your choice in representation. You should feel confident in your attorney’s knowledge and ability to handle your case in a way that lessens stress, hastens the process, and gets you the judgement you deserve.
At the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz, we pride ourselves in our experience and knowledge. We also have compassion for your set of circumstances and look forward to creating a fair end to your hardship. Contact us today for a no obligation about your case.