Most motorcyclists are aware of the increased danger of serious injuries or death from accidents. In 2014, motorcycle crashes accounted for only 2.9% of all crashes and 3.6% of injuries in Florida, but caused 17.1% of the fatalities on the roads, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Dangers particular to motorcycles can make riding a bike more hazardous, and different insurance requirements and laws can make the aftermath of an accident more complicated.
For Florida automobile drivers, no-fault, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory. For Florida motorcyclists, this insurance, which covers 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages for the insured regardless of who is at fault for the accident, is not required or available to buy. This means the motorcyclist is responsible for the full amount of medical expenses out-of-pocket, which often causes financial hardships after an accident if the injured rider does not have other health or disability insurance.
Another aspect of Florida law that treats motorcycle accidents differently from auto-related wrecks is tort threshold requirements. While someone hurt in a car accident must suffer a permanent injury in order to recover monetary damages for pain and suffering, an injured motorcyclist or passenger does not. West Palm Beach and state regulations do not restrict the hurt rider from seeking compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life.
Florida's laws of comparative negligence and contributory negligence – or fault – which means that each party's degree of blame is assessed. If the court determines the plaintiff is partially at fault for the accident or injuries, any monetary damages awarded are proportionally reduced by that share of blame. Motorcyclists injured in West Palm Beach or Jupiter should strongly consider retaining a motorcycle accident attorney at the law offices of David M. Piccolo, P.A. to craft the best possible case.
Florida safety laws require that motorcyclists wear protective headgear, unless the rider has at least $10,000 of insurance that covers medical benefits. If a motorcyclist is in an accident while not wearing a helmet and suffers a neck or head injury, then any award for damages is likely to be reduced or eliminated. In many cases, failure to wear protective headgear is considered automatic "comparative negligence," which means the plaintiff is blamed for the injuries and thus not eligible for any compensation or damages. In such scenarios, your motorcycle accident attorney must demonstrate that the plaintiff's injuries could have been possible even while wearing a helmet. Regardless, it's always recommended that all motorcyclists wear proper gear when riding.
West Palm Beach motorcycle accident lawyer David M. Piccolo stands ready to fight for your rights. He will carefully listen to the circumstances of each case and can advise the parties about possible actions to pursue. Experienced in personal injury claims, we can help navigate the multiple layers of insurance regulations and civil laws that pertain to riding a bike in Florida.