Insurance Issues in Motorcycle Accident Cases

January 12, 2017 | Category: Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury | Share

Motorcyclists – in Florida and in the rest of the country – face a number of unique difficulties when dealing with the legal and insurance ramifications of an accident.

Statistically speaking, motorcycle riding is relatively unsafe when compared to driving a car or a truck.  Motorcycle accidents contribute significantly to motor vehicle fatalities in Florida (19% of the total, even though motorcyclists make up a very small percentage of total vehicles on the road).  Motorcycle accidents also have a tendency to lead to more severe injuries.

Thus, adequate insurance coverage is particularly valuable to motorcyclists seeking to manage their accident risks, as, in the event of an accident, they have to account for the real possibility of significant injuries and medical expenses.  If the accident was caused by a third-party, litigation should be considered in order to recover damages in full.

No-Fault Insurance Rules for Motorcyclists

Whereas Florida law requires all car and truck drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) no-fault insurance coverage, it prohibits motorcycles from doing the same.

PIP insurance coverage pays out to the covered person regardless of fault.  As such, even if a motorcyclist did not wear a helmet or other safety gear (thus contributing to their own injuries), PIP coverage would have to pay out.

Though Florida motorcyclists cannot take advantage of PIP coverage, they have access to many other paths for recovery.  Motorcyclists should purchase alternative insurance coverage and – in the event of an accident caused by a third-party – should file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Florida roads are populated by a lot of uninsured and underinsured motorists.  In fact, a study by the Insurance Research Council estimated that 23.8% of Florida drivers are uninsured.

Uninsured drivers can present a significant danger to other motorists on the road, especially motorcyclists (who are at higher risk of suffering more severe injuries in an accident scenario).

Suppose that you get into an accident with an uninsured driver.  You suffer various injuries and estimate that your total damages are in excess of $100k.  As the defendant-driver has no insurance, you have two options for recovering those damages: pursuing litigation against the defendant-driver to access their personal assets directly or being compensated by your uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.

Given that nearly 1 in every 4 motorists on Florida roads is uninsured, adequate UM coverage is vital to ensuring that you are able to recover for your injuries in the event of an accident.

Pursue Litigation

Generally speaking, if you have been in a motorcycle accident in Florida and suffered injuries that were caused by a third-party (i.e., a negligent motorist or a poorly maintained roadway), you will want to file a lawsuit against the defendant to recover damages.  Litigation should be considered, particularly by those who have sustained substantial injuries, as the case outcome could result in substantial damage awards that will cover your losses.

Even if some of the fault for the accident is your own, Florida law still allows you to recover damages from defendants who substantially contributed to the accident.

Successfully litigating your motorcycle accident case will require the efforts of an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to build a strong overall case in your favor.

If you are a Florida motorcyclist who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Randall Spivey to speak with a skilled Fort Myers personal injury lawyer at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. today. 

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