At Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh, we have fought for those harmed by negligence all over the state of Florida for more than a decade. Our firm’s experience when it comes to taking our client’s case’s to trial gives us an edge in the negotiations process and the advantage when it comes to securing a fair settlement for Floridians involved in motorcycle accidents.
If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a Tampa motorcycle accident, you’ll need a lawyer who understands the intricacies of negotiating a motorcycle accident settlement. We’ll work to ensure the insurance company accounts for all your medical bills, lost wages, the cost of replacing/repairing your motorcycle, and the emotional toll associated with rehabilitating your health after a devastating accident.
You can contact Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh at any time to initiate your free strategy session with our expert legal team. We’ll discuss your options and how we can help you recover compensation for damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit to get you back on your feet.
Common Causes of Tampa Motorcycle Accidents
Tampa’s mild climate makes it an ideal place for motorcyclists to enjoy the open road, but a drunk trucker, a negligent driver who fails to check their blind spots, or a motorist distracted by a text message can turn an enjoyable afternoon into a tragedy.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles records, in 2021 Hillsborough County saw 583 motorcycle accidents, leaving 514 people injured and 37 dead. Motorcycle fatalities make up almost 15% of all crash fatalities in Hillsborough County in 2021.
Just as drivers should be cognizant of the threat they pose to the safety of motorcyclists, Florida motorcyclists should do everything in their power to mitigate the risk of a serious motorcycle accident. This includes driving sober, following traffic laws, and wearing protective gear.
Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Driving Under the Influence
According to the NHTSA, alcohol was a factor in a quarter of fatal motorcycle accidents, and at nighttime, that number jumps to 40%. When the effects of alcohol physically impair the body of a driver, their motor control becomes sloppy and they lose the ability to handle maneuvers like lane changes or turns, resulting in severe injuries. Additionally, alcohol degrades mental faculties, vision, and prevents drivers from making sound judgments about when to stop, yield, or slow down.
Motorcycle Accidents Caused by Reckless Turns or Lane Changes
On March 5th, a Tampa motorcyclist was killed when an SUV suddenly entered his lane and he was forced to swerve out of the way. When negligent drivers fail to check their mirrors and blind spots for motorcyclists before turning or changing lanes, they can cause a t-bone accident or side-swipe a motorcycle under their car.
Speeding is a Major Cause of Motorcycle Accidents
The NSC reports that speeding contributed to over a quarter of traffic fatalities in 2019 alone. Speeding leads to an inability to control the wheel, a harsher force of impact, and decreased space to maneuver around road hazards or traffic. Neglecting to observe the speed limit causes drivers to have less time to avoid collisions and generally puts everyone on the road in danger.
Dooring Motorcycle Accidents
Drivers who exit their parked car before checking that traffic is clear may cause a dooring accident, where the motorcyclist and their bike smash into a car door that was opened unexpectedly. Motorcyclists may not have enough warning to reduce their speed or swerve, resulting in more extensive injuries. They can also be launched from their bikes and into traffic, the pavement, or through the car door. The glass of the car window may shatter, cutting the motorcyclist or even the driver.
Distracted Driving is the Top Cause of Accidents
The number one cause of motor vehicle accidents is driver distraction. Texting while driving or smartphone use in general while behind the wheel is the most common form of distraction that leads to accidents. Other behaviors as well like rubbernecking or eating while driving can also lead to collisions with motorcyclists.
Distracted drivers are much less likely to see motorcyclists and therefore more likely to collide with them. Distracted drivers may become involved in a conversation with a passenger or send a text, diverting their attention away from the road. Motorcyclists can be hurt or killed when distracted drivers fail to brake or allow a bike to merge.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents pose a significant risk of death or injury, due in large part to the lack of safety restraints or protective frames offered by motorcycles. Even more minor injuries, like road rash, should be examined by a medical professional.
If you forgo treatment, a straightforward skin abrasion could become seriously infected and land you in the hospital, but an insurance company would deny responsibility for the subsequent damages because you failed to seek treatment.
Examples of Motorcycle Accident Injuries:
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Road Rash
- Crush Injuries
- Internal Injuries
- Disfigurement and Paralysis
Motorcyclists can also be crushed underneath their own bikes or other cars, inflicting soft tissue damage or harming internal organs. Head and back trauma are also common because motorcyclists can easily be thrown from their bikes and some riders fail to wear helmets. Glass, road debris, or even motorcycle wreckage may damage the spine or skull. The resulting traumatic brain injury may impair speech, memory, and vision, cause seizures, or result in a coma.
Wearing a Helmet Reduces Motorcycle Fatalities
Motorcyclists and their passengers may pay a heavy price financially and physically for failing to wear a helmet, even if another party was at fault. The NSCL reports that in states like Florida, which lack a helmet requirement for all ages, almost 60% of motorcycle fatalities occur among those who weren’t wearing a helmet.
Florida bikers over the age of 21 can be exempt from the helmet requirement provided that they complete a safety course and carry medical insurance up to a certain level of coverage, but this leaves them vulnerable to incurring heft out-of-pocket costs.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Insurance companies may attempt to leverage the inherent risk of motorcycle riding to suggest you deserve less compensation, when in fact you often need more than just the cost of hospital bills, lost wages, or permanent disability accommodations. Special damages, which compensate victims for economic losses with a standard value, are often insufficient.
After a motorcycle accident where you were thrown from your bike, you may require painful physical rehabilitation for a spinal cord injury, multiple surgeries to repair fractured vertebrae with exhausting recovery periods, and miss out on important family events or a work promotion. You may never regain complete function, requiring you to tailor your future career aspirations. These would fall under the scope of general damages in a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Examples of Motorcycle Accident Damages
- Property Damage
- Totaled Cars
- Damage to Infrastructure or Homes
- Damage from Toxic and Harmful Chemicals Released
- Severe Injuries
- Permanent Disability or Disfigurement
- General Medical Bills
- Hospital Stays
- Emotional Distress and PTSD
- Pain and Suffering
- Mobility Accommodations and Renovations
- Job-Related Losses
- Lost Wages
- Lost Earning Capacity
- Job Retraining
- Missed Promotions
- Wrongful Death
- Loss of Companionship
- Diminished Household Income
- Funeral Expenses
The families of motorcycle accident victims may be able to recover the cost of a funeral or lost income contribution from a negligent driver in a wrongful death lawsuit. In order to do so, as the plaintiff, they would need to directly connect a drunk driver’s failure to yield or a speeding driver’s actions to the death of their loved one and demonstrate the economic and intangible damages their death has created.
Who Pays in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Florida’s no-fault provision means that regardless of who is ultimately held liable for the motorcycle accident, a driver of a car can collect their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance for their injuries and lost wages.
It’s a common misconception that if you have Florida PIP coverage for your car, it simply extends to your motorcycle. Florida only mandates insurance to cover motorcycle injuries if you intend to ride without a helmet. Motorcyclists who don’t want to purchase additional insurance or are unaware of the limitations of PIP coverage may find themselves in a financial black hole if they become injured.
Injured riders lack access to the immediate aid that PIP coverage offers and often struggle to meet the cost of medical expenses out-of-pocket. However, the silver lining is that they are then eligible to sue the negligent party for damages outside of the restrictions of PIP, like compensation for pain and suffering or lost earning potential.
Why Should I Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
When you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may or may not have insurance that covers bodily harm. Either way, an insurance company may balk at the price tag of your medical bills and other ensuing costs like a wheelchair ramp for your home or a daily medication.
Insurance companies may try to convince you that pursuing a motorcycle accident lawsuit would be futile by threatening to invoke the stereotype of motorcyclists being daredevils. This is a ploy to pressure you into accepting a settlement, which is rarely reflective of the range of medical expenses and trauma you have suffered.
To mount a viable motorcycle accident claim, you’ll need the expertise of a skilled negotiator to convince a judge or jury that your accusation of negligence against another party is legitimate and request for compensation is justified.
Understanding Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Negligence describes a behavior or lack of action that is contrary to reasonable expectations for safety and care. Deliberately or accidentally becoming distracted or reckless violates the duty of care that drivers owe to one another and their fellow road users when they share the road.
In a civil lawsuit, a motorcycle accident lawyer will strive to prove that their negligence makes them liable for your damages based on a preponderance of the evidence- meaning it’s more likely than not that their carelessness is responsible for your costs.
Services of a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
After a serious motorcycle accident, your best recourse for compensation of damages may be a motorcycle accident lawsuit. However, attempting to haggle with an insurance company and manage the legal complexities of a motorcycle claim on your own can be draining and risk forfeiting the full value of your settlement.
At KMW Legal, our capable motorcycle accident lawyers will:
- Investigate the accident to identify all liable parties
- Establish damages to be pursued
- Fight to negotiate a fair settlement and refute false narratives
- Represent your interests in mediation or arbitration
- Manage inquiries from bill collectors
- Inspect your motorcycle and health insurance policies
- Fiercely defend your right to compensation at trial
At KMW Legal, you’ll find a highly-motivated group of relentless advocates who are prepared to go to war for your motorcycle accident settlement. We don’t collect our contingent fee until we have successfully litigated your motorcycle accident lawsuit, so you can feel confident that your satisfaction will be our priority.
KMW is Proud to Represent Injured Motorcycle Accident Victims in Tampa, Florida
Tampa is the largest city of Hillsborough County and home to a population of 387,916 people. Our work in the Tampa area for the past decade has given us the opportunity to protect clients from insurance companies that may inadequately compensate them for car accident injuries. .
KMW Law has handled a myriad of cases across the Tampa Bay area where motorcyclists have been injured by everything from reckless truck drivers to faulty motorcycle parts. Our history of success has bless us with experience that we can utilize to help the people of Tampa that have been harmed in motorcycle accidents.
Contact a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to be reimbursed for your Tampa motorcycle accident. We understand that the ultimate value of your motorcycle accident settlement can determine your family’s financial future for years to come.
During the course of our decade in business, KMW Legal has gained a reputation for dedicated service to victims of motorcycle accidents. Our clients frequently recommend our services to their friends, praising our persistence in the pursuit of compensation for their motorcycle accident.
Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh will be trustworthy stewards of your future, and our results-based approach has successfully secured many motorcycle accident victims the compensation they’re entitled to. Our new Tampa location is convenient for your free, no-commitment strategy session with one of our award-winning litigators.