Is It Worth Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer for a motorcycle or other accident claim is worthwhile for many reasons. Some people who file their insurance claims may receive a payout without issue, but many face difficulties. Insurance companies are notorious for doing whatever they can to avoid paying a claim. Sometimes claimants try to convince the insurance adjuster to reconsider, but this rarely works. In some cases, the insurance rep may use something the accident victim says against them as another excuse not to pay their claim.
When you’re up against a system designed to put as many obstacles as possible between you and the compensation you deserve, you need the help of a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer. Additionally, “hiring” a lawyer does not mean you have to pay anything upfront. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay anything until they successfully achieve a settlement for you.
The Darrigo & Diaz law firm has been helping clients with motorcycle and other accident claims since 1999. We know all the challenges that may occur with motorcycle accidents and the best ways to navigate these issues. If you or someone you love has been hurt in a bike crash, please contact us for a free consultation. There’s no obligation, and we’re happy to answer your questions and explain the options in your situation. There are no fees until we win your case.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
Yes. A lawyer can help protect you from insurance companies that don’t want to pay your claim. Additionally, they can assist you if it becomes necessary to pursue the other driver in a lawsuit. Let’s take a look at Florida laws and insurance requirements and how an attorney can help with your situation:
Insurance and Bike Accidents in Florida
Under Florida law, all motorists in four-wheel vehicles must carry $10,000 each in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL). Motorcycle riders are exempt from this requirement because bikes are not four-wheel vehicles. In fact, motorcyclists are not required to have any kind of insurance in Florida. However, we strongly recommend that you purchase a robust policy anyway. This will help protect you if you’re injured by an uninsured driver, a motorist whose insurance doesn’t fully cover your damages, or someone with no personal assets to pay for damages.
Because of these insurance requirements, if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, we usually start by looking at the other driver’s insurance coverage. PDL should cover damages to your bike up to the policy limit of $10,000. Liability insurance is not required under Florida law, but if the other driver has it, this may provide coverage for your injuries up to the policy limit. If you’re denied available insurance by the other party’s insurer for any reason, we will work to get the insurance carrier to reconsider and pay your claim.
Unfortunately, motorcycle riders are at high risk of serious injury due to the lack of safety features like seat belts and airbags. As a result, we sometimes see cases where the injured biker has tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in medical bills. Once the other driver’s insurance is exhausted, you have two options: Pursue a claim with your insurance if you have appropriate coverage or file a lawsuit against the other driver. Which of these is the better option depends on your particular case and coverage. In some circumstances, it makes more sense to seek compensation from your insurer, especially if the other driver doesn’t have enough assets to cover a judgment against them. But if your insurance doesn’t apply or can’t cover all your damages, seeking compensation from the other driver may be the better solution. Sometimes you may do both. Occasionally a lawsuit against a third party may also be possible.
What if the Accident Was My Fault?
First, you should know that many people are mistaken when they think an accident was their fault. You may not have the full picture of everything that happened, and often crashes are caused by both parties. We strongly recommend that you do not tell anyone you think the crash was your fault, as this may complicate your claim.
However, if you have motorcycle insurance that includes collision coverage and medical payments (MedPay) coverage, you can still make a claim on your own policy regardless of fault. Once any available no-fault insurance is exhausted, fault becomes very important to an accident claim. Florida uses comparative negligence statutes, which dictate that each person is assigned a percentage of fault in a collision. Regardless of the percentage of responsibility, each party can collect damages from the other, but the final award will be reduced by the amount they are at fault. As a result, the other party will likely claim little to no responsibility and will try to point the finger at you.
Your attorney can also help demonstrate how little you contributed to the accident relative to the other driver. They may be able to refute claims, present evidence to show how the other party caused the accident, present testimony from witnesses, and so on. The less fault you are found to have, the larger the settlement you’ll be able to receive. To protect your legal rights, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Darrigo & Diaz Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has suffered a motorcycle accident, your medical costs and property damages may be overwhelming. At the same time, you may be in physical or emotional pain and looking at a long recovery, possibly involving lost time at work. You deserve to get compensation for these losses, and a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer can help find the best ways to secure compensation. Please contact us for a free consultation to learn the possibilities for your claim. As always, there is no fee until we win your case. Call us at 813-734-7397.