Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Clearwater
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Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Attorney
While motorcycles are an increasingly popular mode of transportation in Clearwater, Florida, they still come with some commonly known risks. In 2019, Florida law enforcement agencies reported almost 9,000 motorcycle accidents. Although just two percent of all motor vehicle collisions in Florida involve a motorcycle, motorcycle fatalities represent nearly 17 percent of all traffic crash deaths in the state as reported between 2016 and 2021.
While motorcycles can be statistically more dangerous to ride, it’s no excuse for getting hurt due to another driver’s negligence on the road. If you sustained one or more injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages—and an experienced Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney could help.
A lawyer conducts an exhaustive investigation that entails gathering physical evidence and conducting interviews with the witnesses that saw what transpired before, during, and after the motorcycle crash. In addition, a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney ensures you file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations.
In 1988, Morgan and Morgan opened its first office in Florida, and since then, our law firm has recovered more than $15 billion in compensation for our clients involved in litigating every type of personal injury case. Because of the increase in the number of motorcycle accidents in Florida, Morgan and Morgan has experienced a significant increase in the number of motorcycle cases litigated by the state’s judicial system.
But even while handling a high volume of cases as the country’s largest personal injury law firm, our Clearwater motorcycle accident attorneys treat each unique case with special attention and care. Morgan and Morgan proudly offers a compassionate approach to our clients while addressing the sensitive issue of litigation during what could be a challenging time for injury victims.
Don’t hesitate to get help; schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about how a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney from Morgan and Morgan can help recover your financial losses.
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What Are the Four Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
When you meet with a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney from Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation, one of the first items on the agenda involves determining the cause of your injuries. Your lawyer reviews the official police report, as well as examines the physical evidence collected by the law enforcement agency handling the investigation.
With more than three decades of litigation experience, our personal injury lawyers have come up with a short list of the four most common causes of motorcycle accidents.
Operating a motorcycle requires a rider to follow the same traffic laws that apply to the operators of automobiles. Unfortunately, many motorcyclists disregard common safety tips by violating state law. Although speeding and running traffic signals represent the most common types of reckless driving, motorcycle operators bring additional safety concerns to the table. Acts such as lane splitting and performing stunts while on Florida roads and highways cause far too many motorcycle accidents in the Sunshine State.
Florida's statutes allow law enforcement personnel to issue traffic citations to motorcycle operators who text and operate a bike. However, the state law banning texting and driving has done little to prevent motorcycle operators from violating the intent of the statute. Texting and operating a motorcycle is just as dangerous of an act as texting and driving an automobile. Other types of distractions that cause motorcycle crashes include consuming a meal and adjusting the radio dial.
Operating While Intoxicated
Like most states, Florida has established a maximum blood alcohol content (BAC) level for motor vehicle operators of 0.08 percent. Operating a motorcycle while intoxicated reduces reaction times, which can lead to a rider failing to stop a bike in time to avoid a crash. Alcohol also lowers inhibitions, which can cause a motorist to take dangerous risks while operating a vehicle. To prove another operator of a motor vehicle exceeded the BAC maximum of 0.08 percent, your Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney requests a copy of the toxicology report, as well as a copy of the official police report.
Clearwater, as well as the rest of the Florida Gulf Coast, is vulnerable to the carnage left behind by a powerful tropical storm. Driving a motor vehicle during a strong storm is difficult to do, but operating a motorcycle while the wind howls and the rain pounds from all angles is impossible to accomplish. Although you can sue for negligence in cases involving reckless operating, distractions, and operating under the influence, you cannot take Mother Nature to court. However, you still can file an insurance claim to recover financial losses.
What Do I Need to Know About Florida Motorcycle Laws?
Because Florida is known as a comparative negligence state, you might have to assume some of the legal liability for causing a motorcycle collision. To avoid assuming some of the blame for a crash, you should understand the Florida motorcycle laws that are most commonly cited during personal injury cases.
Wearing a Helmet
Florida requires all riders younger than 21 years old to wear an approved safety helmet. The reasoning behind the age restriction concerns the limited experience level achieved by younger operators. Riders 21 years of age and older that wear a helmet must wear one that is approved by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). If a motorcycle operator 21 years of age or older decides not to wear a state-approved safety helmet, Florida law requires the operator to purchase at least $10,000 in health insurance coverage to pay for the costs associated with a head injury sustained while riding a motorbike.
Lane splitting represents the dangerous operating maneuver performed by far too many motorcyclists when traffic stalls on a Clearwater road or highway. To navigate through stalled traffic, some motorcyclists ride their machines between other motor vehicles. This places a motorcyclist in danger of getting hit by a car door that opens or a motorist who decides to switch lanes. Florida law prohibits lane splitting, even during government-mandated evacuations before the landfall made by a tropical storm.
Florida law requires motorcycle operators to acquire a state driver’s license. Moreover, motorcycle operators also have to obtain an endorsement, which requires motorcycle operators to take a basic rider class. After the class ends, motorcycle operators must pass a test that is administered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. When a motorcycle operator fulfills the legal obligations, Florida adds a motorcycle endorsement on the driver’s license.
Headlights and Mirrors
Motorcycle operators in Florida must turn on their vehicle headlights throughout the day, even when the sun shines brightly. Florida law requires motorcycle operators to buy bikes that automatically turn on the headlights every time a bike’s engine generates power. Since motorcycle operators cannot install a rearview mirror. Florida law requires them to install a mirror in a position that provides a clear view of at least 200 feet behind the motorcycle.
What Are the Four Elements of Proving Negligence?
We have discussed the three common causes of motorcycle accidents that can result in filing a lawsuit due to an act or acts of negligence. To prove another party committed at least one act of negligence, your Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney must prove the presence of four legal elements.
Duty of Care
The duty of care doctrine means another party assumes the legal responsibility to protect you against harm. For a motorist, this means taking steps to protect another motorist from sustaining injuries as the result of a motor vehicle collision. All motorists owe a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely.
Violating the Duty of Care Doctrine
Demonstrating the presence of the second element of negligence requires your personal injury lawyer to present evidence that another party committed one or more acts that caused you harm. Proving the second element of negligence involves submitting compelling physical evidence such as photographs of the crash scene, as well as presenting the statements given by credible witnesses.
It is not enough to prove another party committed one or more acts of negligence. Your lawyer also must link the negligent acts to the development of your injuries. The attorney representing the other party might claim you sustained your injuries as the result of another event. To prove this element of negligence, your Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney submits copies of medical records and a copy of the official police report.
The injuries that you sustained as the result of a motorcycle accident must have generated financial losses. Your personal injury lawyer submits copies of bank statements and employer timekeeping records to prove the presence of the fourth element of negligence.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
One of the most important reasons to hire a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney concerns filing a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages before the expiration of the statute of limitations. Every state has established a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit, with a majority of states setting the deadline for taking legal action between two and four years. However, you might one day live in a state that has established a statute of limitations as long as six years or as short as one year. Florida grants plaintiffs four years to file a personal injury lawsuit, with the clock typically starting to tick on the date of the incident. However, you might receive an extension if you sustained one or more injuries that developed delayed symptoms.
Although four years can seem like enough time to take legal action, you should act with a sense of urgency for two reasons. First, the longer you wait to take legal action, the less reliable witness statements become due to the passage of time. Secondly, you can fall into a deep financial hole unless you take swift legal action. Unless you agree to a medical lien arrangement with your healthcare providers, you must pay off your medical bills when they come due. If you fail to file a personal injury lawsuit before the deadline, the court clerk processing your lawsuit reserves the right to remove it from the judicial docket.
Contact Morgan and Morgan to Get Help
You shouldn’t be made to suffer the consequences for an accident that wasn’t your fault. Pursuing compensation can help you acquire the funds you need and deserve to move forward with your life, including money needed for medical bills or motorcycle repairs.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Take action today by scheduling a free case evaluation with Morgan and Morgan and learn more about how a Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney can assist your case.