​Top Factors in Tampa Motorcycle Accidents

If there is one place that motorcycle riders love to live and ride, it is Florida. After all, it is one of the states where the weather remains warm year-round. Motorcycle riders never have to worry about putting up their bikes for several months due to ice or snow. There are miles of gorgeous coastline to enjoy and plenty of motorcycle clubs to join.

However, there are other concerns that motorcycle riders do have to worry about, particularly if they live in Tampa. The number of Tampa motorcycle accidents has increased over the years for various reasons.

If you suffered injuries in the Tampa area or anywhere in Florida because of another driver, you should speak with a motorcycle accident attorney right away. The right lawyer will understand that someone else should be liable for your crash and help you seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Tampa

Because the state of Florida is attractive for in-state and out-of-state motorcycle riders, it is one of the top three states with fatal motorcycle accidents. According to the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 8,644 motorcycle accidents happened in a recent year, resulting in 623 fatalities and many more injuries. Hillsborough County saw 584 motorcycle crashes and 37 fatalities.

Although motorcycle riders have a reputation for being troublesome, it is actually quite the opposite. The negligent actions of other motorists are most often responsible for causing harm to motorcycle riders.

Some of the common causes of Tampa motorcycle accidents include:

  • Speeding. Drivers who speed cannot safely react to the changes in traffic, including the maneuvers of a motorcycle rider.
  • Unsafe lane changes. Drivers can also strike a motorcycle rider when they abruptly switch lanes or cut another driver off. It is already difficult for drivers to notice the presence of motorcycle riders due to their small physical appearance on the road. When drivers do not adequately check their blind spots before switching lanes, they can easily strike a motorcycle rider.
  • Distracted driving. Drivers can also hit motorcycle riders when they pay attention to something besides the road. Drivers can quickly become so wrapped up in their cell phones or what is happening in their vehicles that they fail to notice the presence of a motorcycle rider coming up behind or next to them.
  • Crashing into car doors. Another way drivers can seriously injure motorcycle riders is by unexpectedly hitting them with their car doors. This collision can happen when drivers open their doors without paying attention to oncoming traffic. Motorcycle riders traveling on a busy street can easily slam into a driver’s car door.
  • Impaired driving. People do not always follow the law in Tampa, and many drivers get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. An impaired driver can easily swerve out of the lane or fail to notice a motorcyclist, crashing into them. Intoxication can cause accidents in many ways, and motorcyclists are often victims of these preventable incidents.
  • Road maintenance. Another factor that plays a crucial role in motorcycle accidents is road maintenance. If the conditions of the roads are poor, they can contribute to a severe motorcycle accident. These poor conditions include potholes, construction debris, poorly designed intersections, and loose gravel. When motorcycle riders try to ride through these road conditions, it can cause severe damage to their tires and cause them to lose control. Agencies and companies responsible for maintenance should always ensure the roads are safe for all vehicles – including motorcycles.
  • Tourists. The high number of tourists in Tampa also contributes to the risks that motorcycle riders face. Whether summer or wintertime, Florida is a hotspot destination for tourists. This constant flow of tourists means that motorcycle riders have to navigate the roads with drivers who may not be familiar with the area and are prone to making some dangerous maneuvers while driving. Tourists may decide to make illegal turns, for example, to avoid missing an exit. This carelessness can cause drivers to strike motorcycle riders unexpectedly.

Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists have little protection when a car hits them, so they often suffer severe traumatic injuries.

Some common injuries from motorcycle accidents include:

All of these injuries are costly, as they require immediate and ongoing medical attention. They can also prevent a victim from working and cause serious pain and suffering. Some injuries result in permanent disfigurement or disabilities, and a victim’s life will never be the same again.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim

When another driver’s negligence causes your motorcycle accident, you have the right to file an injury claim and receive compensation for your injuries. Despite what many people believe about motorcycle riders, they are usually not the at-fault drivers in their accidents. Other motorists’ negligent actions can contribute to a motorcycle accident, and those motorists should be liable for any resulting harm. Motorcyclists must take proper action to seek compensation for their losses, which can include filing insurance claims or even a personal injury lawsuit in some situations.

Because each motorcycle accident is different, the worth of each motorcycle accident claim is different. The damages a motorcycle rider can collect from their claim depend on several factors.

Some of these factors are the:

  • Severity of the rider’s injuries and losses
  • Rider’s ability to prove the other party’s liability
  • Rider’s ability to recover fully from their injuries
  • Impact that the rider’s injuries will have on the rest of their life

After assessing these factors, a motorcycle accident lawyer will calculate the rider’s damages and seek total compensation from the insurance company.

How Do You Establish Liability?

To recover compensation for motorcycle crash injuries, you must prove another party’s liability for the accident. To prove liability, you must demonstrate the driver was negligent, and their negligence caused the collision. In some cases, other parties might share liability, such as the employer of an on-the-job driver. Have an attorney investigate your claim and gather the necessary evidence to prove liability.

To avoid holding their client as the liable party, insurance companies will often argue that you caused or contributed to your motorcycle accident. You need a lawyer who can refute these claims and present sufficient evidence of driver liability.

Motorcycle Rider Bias

Insurance companies, jurors, and judges often hold a particular bias against you because you ride a motorcycle. Many people hold a particularly negative view of motorcycle riders. They believe they are reckless riders who constantly look for trouble and engage in risky activities while riding.

Because of this motorcycle rider bias, they are more likely to view the motorcycle rider as the liable party in the accident. In some cases, insurance companies or jurors will outright ignore the reckless actions of the other driver and scrutinize every action taken by the motorcycle rider. Having a lawyer who regularly represents motorcyclists can help counteract this bias and prove that you deserve compensation as a victim of your crash.

Motorcycle Helmets

One way that insurance companies will try to hold you partially liable for your accident is by claiming you were not wearing a helmet. While helmets are certainly safe and beneficial for motorcyclists, Florida law does not require riders over age 21 with proper insurance to wear a helmet. Insurance companies should never use a lack of a helmet as a way to claim negligence or reduce your injury claim.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim?

The statute of limitations is the period when each personal injury victim must file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent person. In Florida, most injured motorcycle riders have four years to file a motorcycle accident claim from the date of the accident.

Before filing a lawsuit, you generally will pursue a claim directly with the insurance company, which takes time to prepare and negotiate. If you file an insurance claim too close to the statute of limitations, the insurance company knows it has the upper hand, as the possibility of litigation decreases. Over time, evidence fades, and it can be more challenging to prove liability for your accident.

Never assume that because you have four years to file a lawsuit, you should wait years to contact a motorcycle accident attorney. The sooner you consult with a lawyer following your injuries, the better.

Hiring a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident

After a motorcycle accident, you may feel discombobulated. Your injuries may be so severe that they require all of your time and effort for treatment and recovery. You may want to pursue compensation through a motorcycle accident claim but have concerns about the tactics that insurance companies will use against you.

To provide you with the best legal protection possible, you should immediately seek the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer can protect your legal interests and handle the entire process for you. This allows you to remain focused on your treatment, knowing someone is looking out for your rights.

Conducting a Thorough Investigation Into the Crash

Your lawyer can begin by thoroughly investigating the facts of your accident. Lawyers know how to retrieve evidence using resources you will not be privy to. Through these resources, lawyers can access certain information like copies of dispatch calls, medical records, police records, and witness testimony. These pieces of evidence can help strengthen the facts you present in your accident claim.

Filing Your Claim

Your motorcycle accident attorney can help with the many steps necessary to file an accident claim. They can identify liable parties, gather evidence, complete paperwork, and compile a persuasive demand package for the insurance company. If the insurer needs additional information, your attorney will handle it. You should never have to worry about communicating with insurance companies, sending information, or anything else.

Negotiating Fair Settlements

Your lawyer can also assist by negotiating the right settlements on your behalf. Insurance companies will offer to pay a settlement to close your claim, but you need to ensure it is enough to cover your losses. The first settlement offer is often much lower than you need or deserve, as the insurance company considers it a jumping-off point for negotiations. They hope you accept a lowball offer, as it saves the company money. However, doing so can cost you thousands – if not millions of dollars.

A skilled lawyer can prevent you from accepting a lowball offer from an insurance company and negotiate for more significant settlement amounts. They know how insurance companies work and can represent your interests in negotiations.

Court Representation

If an insurance company does not make a fair offer, your attorney can escalate the matter to a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. The litigation process is complex, and you need a skilled litigator to handle every step of the process.

Settlement negotiations can continue during litigation, and many cases settle before going to trial. In many situations, insurance companies suddenly change their tune during litigation and decide to meet your demands in a settlement when it seems your chances of winning are highly successful. Your lawyer can advise when to accept a settlement offer or not.

Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today

The right motorcycle accident attorney can provide top-notch representation for you in every step of your motorcycle accident claim. Whether you decide to settle with an insurance company or contest your claim at trial, you need quality legal representation on your side. An experienced lawyer knows how to protect your legal interests regardless of the route that you take to resolve your claim.

When you have injuries from a Tampa motorcycle accident, it can impact the rest of your life – financially, physically, and emotionally. To prevent yourself from losing out on the compensation you deserve, speak to a qualified lawyer about the worth of your claim as soon as possible. Consultations are always free, so never wait to begin the process.

September 30, 2022
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