Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle Accidents, Personal Injury Claims & Compensation
Motorcycle riders are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. They have very little protection beyond a helmet and other riding gear, and riders are often unseen by other motorists. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Tampa, you may be dealing with serious injuries, a mountain of medical bills, an inability to work, and much more. If you’re injured in this type of wreck, you have legal options.
At Darrigo & Diaz, our Tampa motorcycle accident lawyers have the skills, knowledge, and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve. We can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf against the at-fault party to hold them accountable for your injuries. Give us a call today at (813) 774-3341 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Have questions about your rights? Call (813) 774-3341 for a FREE consultation!
Why Choose Darrigo & Diaz?
- We’ve recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients.
- Award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers in Tampa with more than 75 years of combined experience.
- Senior Partner Nadine Diaz is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar.
- 24/7 Availability & FREE consultations.
Our team works on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no fees associated with hiring our firm and that we only recover a fee when we are successful with your claim. We know victims and families experience tremendous burdens in the wake of accidents, and we strive to make their legal journeys as smooth, swift, and successful as possible.
Recovering Damages After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa
After a motorcycle accident, there are a variety of damages you may be entitled to. These damages are typically divided into two different categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages pertain to the real money you lost as a result of the accident. This can include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.
Noneconomic damages cover more intangible losses you suffered. These can include pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent disability, and more. Because many of the damages that are considered non-economic are harder to prove, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys will employ the help of doctors, psychologists, and other experts to prove you deserve compensation.
In rare instances, punitive damages may also be assessed. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and are only assessed if said defendant acted with “intentional misconduct” or “gross negligence.” These are high standards, and therefore punitive damages are rarely assessed. However, when they are, they are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Motorcycle Accident FAQ
After a motorcycle accident, you probably have many questions running through your mind. At Darrigo and Diaz, we want to provide you with the best legal services and information possible.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions to help you get the information you need to make informed decisions both before and after a motorcycle accident.
What are the Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents?
Motorcycle accidents are statistically less common than other types of accidents, but the various types of motorcycle accidents can include:
- Head-on collision
- Left turn by another driver
- Lane splitting
- Hitting fixed objects
- Hazards in the road
- Hubris with high-performance motorcycles
What are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Despite a common typecast that surrounds motorcyclists as careless, accidents caused by motorcycle drivers are far less common than one may imagine. Though some reckless motorcyclists may be observed weaving in and out of traffic, the vast majority of motorcyclists are responsible drivers.
While motorcycle accidents can happen because of an error the rider made, they most often happen because other drivers make a mistake — or, in rare instances, drivers intentionally try to hurt motorcyclists. Drivers may get aggravated that bikers can move so easily through traffic, or just have a personal gripe with motorcyclists in general. However, collisions intentionally caused by drivers are rare. Even the most cautious riders can find themselves injured by these common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Inattentive drivers that change lanes or pull out without looking. Nationwide, 42% of all motorcycle accidents were caused by another driver turning left while the motorcyclist was going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles.
- Debris in the roadway.
- Poor weather or visibility.
- Road construction causing uneven roads or defective road design.
- Distracted driving.
- Poorly maintained motorcycle components such as tires.
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reckless driving such as speeding.
Sometimes the actions of the motorcyclist do cause the accident. But even in these cases, you may still be entitled to compensation. Florida follows a comparative negligence law. This means that even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you can still seek compensation. However, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by the percentage at which you are at fault.
What is “Comparative Negligence” in Determining Liability for a Motorcycle Accident?
When determining liability, each driver is ascribed a degree of carelessness. For example, if the other driver made an illegal left turn in front of you, they would be deemed to be liable for a higher degree of negligence. But, if you were speeding at the time, even though their left turn was illegal, you both were breaking the law and liable for more equal degrees of carelessness.
Proving Negligence After a Motorcycle Accident in Tampa
In order to seek compensation, you have to prove that the other driver either caused the collision intentionally, or that they acted negligently. Negligence is a legal term that applies when someone acts in a way that a “reasonable person” wouldn’t, and therefore causes injury. There are a lot of nuances within this legal theory, but negligence is often shown by proving four general criteria:
Duty of care: Every driver on the road has a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to not cause a collision. This includes following all traffic laws and, in general, driving safely.
Breach of duty of care: If a driver causes a wreck because they didn’t take all reasonable steps to avoid it, they are said to have breached their duty of care. However, if the accident was caused by an unforeseeable incident, the other driver may not be at fault.
Causation: Your injuries must have been directly caused by the wreck. For incident, if you have an existing arm injury, and it isn’t worsened by the wreck, you can’t claim compensation for that injury.
Real damages: Finally, you must have suffered real, compensable damages. This is generally easy to prove. Medical bills, property damage, or lost wages all show real, compensable damages.
Again, you can still recover compensation, even if you are partially at fault for the wreck. But in order to seek compensation at all, you must prove that these elements are true (or that the other driver caused the collision intentionally). A motorcycle lawyer in Tampa can help prove these elements and build a strong case on your behalf.
How do I Prove I am not Responsible for my Motorcycle Accident?
There is a stigma that surrounds motorcycle riders as people who often disobey the laws while weaving in and out of traffic. While there are many who do behave in this manner, it is not fair to you or insurance companies to assume you fall into the reckless rider category. Unfortunately, though, they will assuredly try to paint you in that light.
With this in mind, if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, the most important thing for you to do is to gather as much evidence as you can to prove the other driver is at fault. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, document your injuries, and the damage to your motorcycle. Also, be sure to write down as much information as you can about your version of the events while they are still fresh in your mind. These steps are vital to proving your case.
Another Driver Turned Left in Front of Me. Am I at Fault for my Motorcycle Accident?
In almost every circumstance, the driver who made the unsafe left-turn resulting in an accident is at fault. The only exception to this is if you were speeding or ran a red light. However, if you did neither of these things, then it’s the other driver who breached their duty of care.
What Types of Injuries are Common in Motorcycle Accidents?
Depending on the accident’s circumstances, the fact that motorcyclists are not in an enclosed vehicle can significantly impact the severity of injuries sustained in an accident. Road rash and biker’s arm derive their names specifically since they are more common injuries with motorcycle accidents and can include:
- Muscle and soft tissue damage
- Foot and leg injuries
- Burns, cuts, scrapes, peeling skin, and bruises
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injury
- Spinal injuries
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), between 2016 and 2018, there were nearly 30,000 accidents involving motorcycles, which resulted in more than 1,600 fatalities. Tampa and Hillsborough county accounted for almost 7% of all motorcycle accidents in the state of Florida.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Wants to Speak with Me. Should I Talk to Them?
No. If the other driver’s insurance company is trying to get in touch with you, contact us immediately. If they insist on speaking with you, politely inform them that they should contact your attorney and give them our information. Insurance companies will do everything they can to persuade you into admitting fault or settling your claim for a fraction of what they believe it is worth. You need an attorney on your side to negotiate for you to get the best compensation possible.
What are the Laws in Florida for Motorcycle Helmets?
- 21 years of age or older;
- At least $10,000 in medical insurance coverage
However, just because a rider is exempt from wearing a helmet, it’s strongly recommended that they wear one for their safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. Despite laws around the country requiring helmets, the Department of Transportation surveys show that 29% of riders still do not wear a helmet, putting them at a much higher risk of traumatic brain injury or death from accidents.
I Wasn’t Wearing a Helmet When the Accident Occurred. Can I Still Claim Damages?
Florida state law requires that motorcycle riders wear a helmet unless they are eligible for a helmet exemption. However, even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time, if the other driver is deemed liable for the accident, you can still usually seek compensation for injuries. Keep in mind that if your injuries were made worse by not wearing a helmet, it may significantly affect your claim. It’s best to discuss this with an expert motorcycle accident attorney.
My Motorcycle Accident Injuries are Minor. Should I Still Seek Medical Attention?
Yes. Trauma and shock from an accident can fool your senses as dozens of chemicals flow through your body. Symptoms of severe injuries may take hours, days, weeks, or even months to become apparent. You should always seek medical attention after a motorcycle accident and hold on to all documentation from medical visits.
Can I Recover Damages From a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to bring a claim for damages and seek compensation for these and other damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Cost of modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate a disability
- Pain and suffering
- Repairs to your motorcycle and costs for temporary transportation
What do I do if I am a Passenger in a Motorcycle Accident?
As a passenger in a motorcycle accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for injuries the same as the rider does. If the motorcycle driver is found to be liable for the accident, you can file a claim against them, as well. Typically, a passenger cannot be held responsible for causing the accident unless the passenger actively contributed to it.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Motorcycle Accident Case?
The length of time for your motorcycle accident case to be resolved depends on a few different factors. If your injuries were not very severe and liability is clearly established, you can expect your case to settle in approximately 5-8 months. However, in cases with more severe injuries, questionable liability, or when complex factors are involved, your case may go to trial which could hold it up for months or even years.
How Much Money is My Motorcycle Accident Worth?
Each case is unique and you need to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to determine the amount of compensation you are entitled to. Some settlements may result in a few thousand dollars to cover property damages while others may result in 6-figure settlements to cover medical bills, damages, pain and suffering, and more.
Your settlement amount will depend on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, amount of lost wages, and the extent of property damage. Gather as much information about the accident as you can, such as taking pictures or videos of the scene, getting information from witnesses, and documenting your injuries.
How Can I Learn More About Motorcycle Safety?
There are a growing number of local and national associations dedicated to training bikers on safety and raising awareness for drivers to look for motorcycles in their blind spots. For more information on these training programs, visit their sites:
- Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition
- NHTSA Motorcycle Safety Program
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA)
Remember the acronym ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) to help keep your body protected from injuries in the event of an accident.
Speak to a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in Tampa, you have legal options. At Darrigo & Diaz, our experienced lawyers know what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. We will try to settle your case out of court so you get your money faster. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we’re not afraid to take your case to court.
You deserve to have someone in your corner who is fighting for your rights. Call us at (813) 774-3341 for a free, no-obligation consultation today from the convenience of your home. Or, you can also contact us online with any questions you may have.