If you are an avid motorcyclist, you know the thrill of riding the open road. You also know that Florida is one of the best states to ride in because of its perfect weather year-round and beautiful beach highways.
Due to their low profile and the fact that Florida repealed its helmet law in 2000, motorcyclists in Florida often suffer severe injuries that result in a lifetime of disability, pain, and suffering.
If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, our law firm is here to help. At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, our Port Richey motorcycle accident attorneys offer free initial consultations so that you can review all your legal options. We want to meet with you to discuss your case, so we can learn how to best assist you during this difficult time.
After a motorcycle accident in Port Richey, you need a law firm on your side that understands the long and arduous battle motorcyclists face. Insurers and adjusters often have biases against motorcyclists. These biases may make it even harder for you to get the compensation you deserve and need. At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, we know how to level the playing field when dealing with insurance companies. We successfully represented numerous motorcycle accident survivors in Port Richey and helped them obtain the money they needed after a devastating accident.
Here are just a few of the injured Port Richey accident survivors we helped.
Our track record of success in Port Richey motorcycle accidents is one reason why so many injured bikers call us to represent them.
While past results do not guarantee future success, our lawyers have the resources and experience you need to tackle even the toughest motorcycle accident case. We know that injured motorcyclists need extraordinary compensation to help them recover and put their lives back together again. That is why we fight aggressively from the start for our injured clients.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report, more than 10,000 motorcycle crashes occur in Florida every year. These accidents result in over 500 fatalities and more than 8,000 injuries. Unhelmeted riders accounted for nearly fifty percent of motorcycling fatalities in the state.
Over half of a million residents own motorcycles in the Sunshine State. Motorcyclist magazine even crowned some of Florida’s roads as the best in the country. From breathtaking ocean views to sugar cane fields and swamps, Florida offers motorcyclists spectacular scenery.
Unfortunately, this incredible riding comes at a cost. Florida is also the worst state for motorcycle accidents, according to a National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration study. Here, motorcyclists are at an increased risk for suffering serious and sometimes fatal injuries in crashes.
More than 300 motorcycle crashes occur every year in Pasco County. These result in over 20 fatalities and over 270 injuries ranging from minor abrasions to more serious traumatic brain injuries.
Some of the most dangerous highways and roads in the state and throughout Pasco County for motorcyclists include:
Passenger car drivers who simply do not see or recognize the motorcyclist on the road cause the majority of motorcycle accidents. A study by the Florida Department of Transportation found that cars and truck drivers often fail to yield the right of way to motorcyclists. In fact, 60 percent of the time, motorists in the other vehicles are to blame for the crash.
Why do other motorists cause motorcycle accidents? There are numerous reasons why motorcycle accidents occur in Port Richey and throughout Pasco County, including:
In 2000, Florida repealed its universal helmet law. Now, if you are over the age of 21, you do not have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. However, you must carry $10,000 in PIP insurance to protect you if you suffer an injury.
In the years after legislators repealed Florida’s helmet law, motorcycle deaths rose. That is because helmets are the most effective piece of safety gear a motorcyclist can wear. Studies continue to show that wearing a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of death by 42 percent. It also reduces the risk of suffering a significant head injury by 69 percent.
Sadly, many injured motorcyclists in Florida do not routinely wear a helmet when riding. As such, half of all motorcycle fatalities and half of all serious injuries occurred to riders who were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Even when motorcyclists wear a helmet, there is little protecting them from the violent forces in an accident. When an accident occurs, motorcyclists often suffer the majority of the injuries. These injuries are often life-threatening. Even when motorcyclists survive their injuries, they are often left with significant impairment, as well as pain and suffering.
Some of the most common motorcycle injuries include, but are not limited to:
In Florida, you must first turn to your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy to pay for your medical expenses and damages. This is because Florida is a no-fault state. Under Florida law, motorcyclists with PIP policies can obtain up to $10,000 in immediate medical coverage without ever needing to establish fault.
Unfortunately, injured motorcyclists quickly realize that their policies do not provide enough money to pay for their expenses and damages. When this occurs, they must file an injury lawsuit against the negligent driver to recover additional compensation.
At Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers, our Port Richey motorcycle accident lawyers can help you explore your legal options after an accident. Once you exhaust your PIP policy, we can help you file the necessary claims against the “at-fault” driver. To do this, we will investigate your accident closely. This often involves examining police reports and visiting the crash site.
We will work with your medical team to identify how your injuries will impact your future and your overall quality of life. Will you be able to return to work? How will your injuries affect your ability to care for yourself or enjoy an active lifestyle? These are just some of the questions we will answer when building your case.
After we work with medical teams, we will employ accident reconstruction and forensic experts if necessary. While every case is different, we leave no stone unturned when we investigate your case. We work tirelessly to help establish all negligent parties and hold them accountable for your injuries and the damages you suffered.
When you file a claim after a motorcycle accident, you can seek to collect compensation for the damages you incurred, as well as the pain and suffering you endured.
In Florida, motorcycle accident survivors can seek to collect compensation for:
Collecting compensation after a motorcycle accident is never easy. Insurance companies know that injured motorcyclists typically suffer serious injuries. However, their main goal is to reduce their liabilities and pay out as little as possible. That is why they often offer injured motorcycle accident survivors a low settlement from the start. They know that injured bikers need money fast, and they use this knowledge to their advantage.
Unfortunately, these initial offers are just a fraction of what injured bikers may need to recover and put their lives back together again. Never sign anything without first speaking to a motorcycle accident attorney at the Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys will negotiate with insurance companies and ensure that you have the money you need after a serious accident. We can also litigate your case in court if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement.
Some of the best motorcycle roads are in Florida. Motorcyclists here can ride virtually every weekend and enjoy some of the most perfect motorcycling in the entire country.
For example, Miami to Mile Zero is a beautiful stretch of road winding 174 miles from Miami to Key West. Along the ride enjoy natural preserves, state parks, and quaint seaside towns. Bikers can also choose to ride the 113 miles from Miami to Naples along the Tamiami Trail. This trail takes you through the Everglades where you can see alligators, flamingos, and panthers in their natural habitat.
If you do ride, you need to know how to stay safe at all times. While you cannot prevent every accident from occurring, you may be able to reduce your risk of suffering serious injury when an accident does occur.
Take the following steps, so you can continue to ride safely in Port Richey and throughout Florida for years to come.
Unfortunately, even when you do take all safety precautions, serious motorcycle accidents can still occur. When this happens, you need someone on your side who can protect your rights and fight for your future. To learn more about your rights after a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced Port Richey personal injury attorneys.
After any motorcycle accident, you will likely have questions about your legal rights. It is important to consult with a Port Richey motorcycle accident lawyer to protect these rights. Remember, the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side. They might pressure you to make a quick settlement before you have the opportunity to fully investigate your claim or try to convince you that your claim is not worth very much. Only a motorcycle injury attorney who is on your side can give you a fair estimate of your legal right to compensation.
The experienced Port Richey motorcycle injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers have prepared this guide to answer some of the most common questions we receive about motorcycle accidents. Of course, your case is unique, so it is important to consult with a motorcycle lawyer about your specific situation. Call (727) 845-5972 for your free consultation.
Every driver on the roads has a legal obligation to operate their vehicle with due care. Drivers who fail to do so are negligent and have a legal obligation to compensate injury victims for all the losses that are caused by this negligence.
So what care is due? Drivers must abide by the standard of the “reasonably prudent driver.” If a driver fails to yield, speeds, or is not watching for motorcycles on the roadway, this can constitute negligence. Motorcycles are often more difficult to see on the road because they are smaller than passenger vehicles. Because of this, drivers have a duty to watch more carefully for motorcycles in the roadway. A driver who fails to yield to a motorcycle or simply isn’t paying enough attention can be found at fault (“liable”) for causing a motorcycle accident.
Helmets save lives. Time and again, studies have shown that riders who are wearing helmets sustain less serious injuries in accidents than riders who are not. Insurance companies like to use this fact as a weapon. The claims adjuster might claim that your injuries were due to your lack of helmet use or that a jury will not “give you any money.” Do not believe these statements. A negligent driver is still responsible for your injuries, regardless of whether you were wearing a helmet. Protect your legal rights and consult your motorcycle accident lawyer.
A negligent driver is liable for both your personal injuries and your property damage. You should receive compensation for any losses due to negligence, and not just for physical injuries. The insurance company must make a timely decision about liability to prevent unnecessary delays in handling your claim. You should rent a vehicle for as long as it takes to repair your motorcycle.
If the cost of repairs exceeds the value of your motorcycle, the insurance company might declare your bike a total loss. In this case, you should receive coverage for a rental vehicle (or compensation for the loss of use of your vehicle) from the time of the accident until you receive the full value of your motorcycle.
Get medical treatment as soon as possible after an accident. Early intervention gives you the best possible chance of making the best possible recovery. It also prevents the insurance company from claiming that you made your own injuries worse by delaying treatment.
But of course, there is the very real concern of figuring out how to pay for these medical bills. If you have health insurance, your carrier is responsible for paying for medical bills as they accrue. If you eventually get a Port Richey motorcycle accident settlement that also provides compensation for these bills, your health insurance provider might seek reimbursement for any bills they paid related to the accident, but your injury lawyer will sort this out.
If you do not have health insurance, you can still get emergency treatment at county facilities and clinics. If you need ongoing pain management or chiropractic services, your injury lawyer can help you find providers who will work on a lien. This means that the medical provider takes no upfront payment and, instead, they file a lien against your settlement, which ensures that they receive payment for their services before you get your settlement proceeds. Your accident lawyer will help you handle liens, as well.
In either event, it is important not to delay or forego medical treatment, even if you do not have insurance. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you figure out a way to get the medical treatment you need.
If you miss any time from work due to the accident, you have the right to compensation for the wages you lost. This is another loss that directly stems from the actions of the negligent driver. In simple cases, you can provide documentation from your employer that simply states the number of hours of work that you missed and your hourly rate. Multiplying these numbers produces the total amount of your lost wages.
But many cases are more complicated than this. If you lost out on any overtime, bonuses, or commissions, these too are part of your lost wages. It can be difficult to prove that you definitely would have received these types of compensation but for the accident. Your motorcycle injury lawyer will know how best to establish these losses. If you have more serious injuries that will permanently affect your ability to make a living, then you deserve compensation for the decrease in your future earning potential.
If you do have permanent injuries, you will suffer financial losses long after your case settles. So how do you get compensation for your future losses? Your attorney will work with expert witnesses to project the value of these future losses.
If, for example, you never return to work, your attorney will work with an economist to project the wages you should expect to earn between the time of the accident and the time of your expected retirement. This will also include inflation adjustments and employment benefits (such as health insurance and retirement contributions). If you are limited to part-time work, the economist will calculate the difference in wages you earned before the accident and after the accident. The negligent driver is responsible for compensating you for this difference.
Permanent injuries can also result in lifelong medical expenses. Your attorney can prove these costs by hiring an expert witness (such as a life care planner) to project these costs over your lifetime. These, too, should be adjusted for inflation.
Pain and suffering is a major loss for many motorcycle accident victims. However, unlike medical bills and lost income, pain and suffering is an intangible loss, which makes it more complicated to calculate and prove. Your lawyer will consider many different issues when deciding how much you should demand for pain and suffering, such as:
Your lawyer might request that you keep a pain journal that details the seriousness of your pain each day. You can also present statements from your spouse or others close to you regarding your pain levels and struggles. Medical professionals can testify to the amount of pain that might come with your specific types of injuries.
While pain and suffering might be more complex to prove than economic losses, it is often a significant portion of recovery after severe motorcycle accidents and injuries. You want a lawyer who will not discount or overlook your pain and suffering.
A settlement offer should be fair for your particular case. This depends on your injuries, your pain and suffering, how the accident occurred, where the accident occurred, and how egregious the driver’s conduct was. All of these factors affect the amount of compensation that a jury would be likely to award you at trial. This, in turn, determines what a fair settlement offer is because the insurance company’s incentive to settle your case is to avoid a lawsuit.
If the settlement offer is close to what a jury might award you at trial, then it is likely a fair offer. But if the settlement offer is significantly lower than what you could expect to receive at trial, then it is likely worth the time, expense, and risk of taking your case to a jury. You should never take advice from the insurance company about whether to accept a settlement offer. Only an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who is on your side can give you a fair estimate of what your case is actually worth—and whether you should accept a settlement offer or take your case to trial.
Each motorcycle accident is unique, and so are the claims that arise from accidents. The more complicated your case might be, the longer you might have to wait for your payment. It is worth it to wait it out and ensure that you receive a full settlement instead of rushing to get the case finished and receiving inadequate financial recovery.
Insurance companies know that injured accident victims are eager to receive payment, so they will often offer a low settlement right out of the gate. They are hoping that you accept a lowball offer to have a check in your hands faster. However, rushing through your claim can leave a significant amount of losses uncovered.
Your lawyer should review any settlement offers and if they are insufficient, negotiate for a higher amount. This might involve providing additional evidence to support your claim. Negotiations can go back and forth until the insurer makes a fair offer.
Some insurance companies might not admit liability or make a reasonable offer. This can lead your attorney to file a lawsuit in civil court for your personal injuries. This can extend the legal process, but can give you another chance to receive a full financial recovery.
Tragically, not all motorcycle accident victims survive their injuries. The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows surviving members to sue a negligent driver for causing fatal motorcycle accident injuries. These claims seek compensation for tangible losses, such as the lost wages the victim would have earned between the time of the accident and the estimated time of his or her retirement.
Surviving spouses can also claim damages for “loss of consortium.” This is compensation for the loss of the victim’s company, aid, affection, and sexual relations. This is a very subjective standard, but it is also very powerful. Jurors understand that losing a spouse is a horrific experience that can be invaluable.
You might want to file wrongful death lawsuits against negligent drivers if you lose a close family member in a crash. If you don’t hold negligent drivers accountable for their dangerous driving, these hazards are likely to continue and injure other innocent road users. When negligence is serious enough to cause a victim’s death, it is more important than ever to hold the driver accountable.
Whether you believe you have a Port Richey motorcycle accident claim for your injuries or a wrongful death claim for the loss of a loved one, you should seek the right legal representation from a Port Richey motorcycle accident attorney. Call (727) 845-5972 to schedule your free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers.
If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident in Port Richey or anywhere in the state of Florida, we want to be the first call you make. Our Port Richey motorcycle accident lawyers offer compassionate and aggressive legal assistance throughout the entire legal process. We have a long history of helping injured motorcycle accident survivors in Port Richey put their lives back together after a catastrophic accident.
Call us at (727) 845-5972 or fill out our confidential contact form. We offer free consultations to help you explore all your legal options. We know that you have options when it comes to choosing legal representation. Call us today and let us show you how we can help you!
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