North Port borders the Myakka River State Park and is close to Gasparilla Sound, Cape Haze Aquatic Preserve, and Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, making it a great place to ride a motorcycle and take in Florida’s beautiful scenery.
However, like pedestrians and bicyclists, motorcycles are more susceptible to catastrophic or deadly crashes. Many people who hit motorcycles say they just didn’t see the biker. Additionally, Florida law does not require bikers to wear a motorcycle helmet if they are at least 21 years old and if they have an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 in medical benefits. If someone hit you while you were riding, contact Boohoff Law’s personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.
Although Florida does not require you to wear a helmet, a brain bucket could save your life. In 2018, motorcycle deaths in the state dropped 5 percent from 2017 to 4,985. While that is a significant drop, fatalities in motorcycle accidents are still over-represented, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Wearing the proper protective clothing, such as leathers, also reduces the risk of severe injuries. While it’s nice to be able to ride in shorts with the wind in your hair, you can’t rely on other drivers to be safe around you.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Even when bikers do not die in an accident, motorcycle accident injuries are usually catastrophic, especially when the rider wasn’t wearing protective gear. Injuries can include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): TBI is a catch-all phrase for damage to the brain. Usually, penetrating trauma, such as a bullet, or a jolt or blow to the head causes a TBI. Brain injuries include mild to severe concussions, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries, traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhages, and hematomas. Recovery time ranges from a few hours to never, depending on the TBI.
- Head, neck, back, and spinal cord injuries: These types of injuries are almost always catastrophic, especially spinal cord injuries. Because the spinal cord contains a central bundle of nerves that transmit information from the brain to the rest of the body, spinal cord damage can cause paralysis. Even a neck or shoulder injury that causes compression on the spine can cause neuropathy, paralysis, and other serious problems.
- Broken bones: A motorcycle accident can cause a simple fracture where the bone does not go through the skin, or a compound fracture where the bone breaks the skin. Like any open wound, a compound fracture can become infected.
- Soft tissue injuries: Sprained, strained, and pulled muscles usually take several weeks to heal with little to no use and rest. However, some pulled muscles may require surgery, which presents a risk of infection. If a soft tissue injury requires surgery, recovery usually involves keeping the injured area supported or partially immobile for up to three months.
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises: With proper care so that the area doesn’t get infected, most cuts, scrapes, and bruises heal within a few weeks.
When you have additional health issues, such as diabetes, or you are on medications that compromise your immune system, such as chemotherapy, your body heals more slowly. Because you heal slowly, you have a higher risk of contracting an infection. And, because you heal slowly, you might be out of work for a longer period of time. Always let your motorcycle accident attorney know if you have a pre-existing medical condition that may compromise your ability to heal, so that your attorney can adjust the amount of compensation you request for your injuries.
Retaining a Motorcycle Crash Attorney
Since Florida is a no-fault state, you might be tempted to settle with your insurance company yourself. However, insurance companies—even your own—are in business to make money, which means that they will pay you the least amount possible. When you retain an attorney, insurance companies usually make offers that are more reasonable because they know that the attorney will not hesitate to take the case to court.
Even then, you might have to go to court because your policy and the other person’s policy are not enough to cover the costs of your injuries, especially long-term or permanent injuries. Retaining an attorney makes the process of settling with an insurance company smoother, and, should you have to go to court, the transition from settlement negotiations to filing a lawsuit is much easier.
Types of Damages
When you settle with or sue an insurance company, you can receive three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are costs with a specific dollar amount and are often called “special” damages. Non-economic damages are costs for which a dollar amount is not straightforward to assign, and are often called “general” damages.
Economic or special damages include any medical expenses you incurred because of the accident plus medical expenses you are likely to incur in the future. These expenses cover hospital stays, surgery, doctor’s appointments, follow-up appointments, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, psychological therapy, and medical aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.
Economic damages also include vehicle replacement or repair, replacement of personal property damaged in the accident, and, in the case of a loved one’s death in a motorcycle accident, funeral and burial expenses.
You generally receive non-economic or general damages for long-term issues including pain and suffering, loss of consortium if you are no longer able to have a physical relationship with your spouse, loss of companionship if you can no longer take part in family activities, loss of use the accident damages a limb or other body part permanently, and inconvenience if you must hire someone to do the tasks you would normally do yourself, including mowing, home maintenance, cleaning, and even shopping.
The court only orders punitive damages if it finds that the defendant was grossly negligent or their actions were intentionally harmful. Grossly negligent behaviors might include driving under the influence, distracted driving, or, in some cases, speeding, such as if the defendant was fleeing from police.
Contact Boohoff Law’s Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at Boohoff Law in North Port at (877) 999-9999 as soon as possible to handle your case from the negotiation stage through the trial stage, if necessary. Keep in mind that some insurance companies require you to file a claim as soon as 30 days after the accident, so contact us as soon as possible after the accident.
Boohoff Law North Port
14900 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287