Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Tallahassee, Florida
According to statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Florida lags behind only California in the number of registered motorcycles in the state as of March 2021. Both statewide and nationwide, motorcycling is increasing in popularity year by year. The thrill of riding in the open air is something nearly impossible to duplicate in a four-wheel vehicle. But with an increase in ridership comes an increase in accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident—or worse, lost a life—in or around Tallahassee, Florida, contact Larry K White, LLC. Our motorcycle accident attorneys can help you recover the compensation you deserve. We also proudly serve clients throughout Quincy/Gadsden County, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and Monticello/Jefferson County.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
Your first duty after a motorcycle accident is to seek medical care for yourself and for any passenger who may be riding with you. Since Florida requires that you report any accident in which someone is injured, you should call 911 both for medical assistance and to report the accident to the police. If the police do come and investigate, try to get a copy of their accident report when it becomes available. This will help bolster your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
At the scene of the accident, f you are able, take cell phone photographs of everything, including any visible injuries you have. If there are witnesses, try to get their statements and contact information. Of course, obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information.
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Then, seek the aid and guidance of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
Florida Motorcycle Laws
Motorcyclists must abide by the rules of the road. If you’re under 21 and operating a vehicle in Florida, you must wear a helmet—but if you’re 21 or older, a helmet is optional. If you choose not to wear a helmet as an adult, you must carry an insurance policy providing at least $10,000 in medical benefits.
Lane splitting is not legal in Florida. Lane splitting refers to passing between two vehicles operating in adjoining traffic lanes. Motorcycle lane sharing is permitted, but only if two are abreast, not more.
If you wish to carry a passenger, there must be a seat for the passenger or a main seat that accommodates two persons. There must also be footrests for the passenger.
Florida law requires certain equipment for motorcycles. Both wheels, front and back, must have brakes. Handlebars cannot rise higher than the top of the shoulders of the person operating the cycle. Horns, mirrors, headlights, turn signals, stop lamps, tail lights, and rear red reflectors are all required. In fact, headlights are required to be on whenever operating the motorcycle, day or night.
How to Recover Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Other than insurance for helmetless riders, motorcyclists in Florida do not need to purchase insurance to operate their cycles. However, Florida law does require that anyone operating a vehicle must be able to show proof of financial responsibility. Thus, it is always better to have insurance.
Although Florida's auto insurance laws are “no fault,” this does not totally apply to motorcycles in at least one sense:
Four-wheel vehicle operators when injured must first turn to their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) rider in the auto insurance policy. For motorcyclists, though, even if they have full PIP coverage for another vehicle, it will not apply to any injuries sustained while operating their motorcycle. PIP is not available for motorcycles, only four-wheel vehicles.
This means that a motorcyclist, unless they have purchased some sort of insurance for medical reimbursement, must turn to the other driver’s insurance company and/or file a personal injury lawsuit to recover medical expenses and lost wages—which requires showing the other driver to be at fault.
Florida’s Use of Comparative Negligence
If you do seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance or file a lawsuit, you and the other driver will be subject to what is known as Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule.
This rule is used to assign a portion of fault to each party involved in an accident. If you as the motorcyclist did something that contributed to an ensuing accident—say you didn’t indicate a turn—you can be assigned a portion of the fault. For example, if your fault is deemed to be 30% and the compensation, through settlement or jury award, is $20,000, you would receive only $14,000, or $20,000 minus your 30% contributing share of fault.
Filing a Claim for a Loved One
In Florida, a family member can certainly file a claim if the motorcyclist is incapacitated and unable to personally do so. A wrongful death lawsuit can also be brought if a loved one suffers a fatality.
However, Florida law requires the estate of the deceased to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This means that the personal representative named in the person’s will must be the one to take the legal action, though any award of compensation would go to family members.
If the deceased left no will, the court will appoint a personal representative, or executor, to manage the estate and thus file the lawsuit. The appointee will most likely be a family member.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
in Tallahassee, Florida
If you or a loved one has been injured while out motorcycling in or around Tallahassee, contact a personal injury lawyer at Larry K White, LLC. We can investigate the accident and deal with the insurance claims adjusters on your behalf so you can avoid the tactics and trickery they may try on you to lowball your settlement. If necessary, we can also take the matter to court. We’re proud to help individuals in Tallahassee, Gainesville, Jacksonville, and the rest of Florida.