You’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident and, in need of compensation, you are facing an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay or has offered to pay much less than you need. You are considering filing a personal injury claim. As you think about this possibility, it can be helpful to know a few Florida laws that can have an impact on your potential claim.
One of the most important questions in a motorcycle injury case is how much fault you, the injured rider, bear for the accident. In Florida, fault is assigned under a system called pure comparative negligence. A plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of his or her fault. So if a jury awards you $200,000 in damages but also finds that you were 25 percent to blame for the crash, your damages award will be reduced to $150,000.
The jury will hear arguments from your lawyer and the opposing lawyer on the issue of fault. Here are some Florida laws that could affect the jury’s determination of your negligence and so your compensation:
- No motorcycle license/endorsement — You can recover compensation even if you did not have a motorcycle license or an endorsement on your standard driver’s license, but the jury will likely assign more fault to you if they hear that you were unlicensed.
- No daytime running lights — Florida requires motorcycles to have functioning daytime headlights. If you did not have or use them, that may have reduced the visibility of your bike.
- Helmet use — Riders over the age of 21 who have at least $10,000 in medical insurance benefits do not need to wear a helmet in Florida. However, if you choose not to wear a helmet, this can be considered negligence on your part. The cases in our state are inconsistent on this issue.
- Use of earphones — Florida prohibits motorcyclists from using any listening devices other than hearing aids while operating their vehicles.
- Street-legal bikes — Motorcycles must have footrests, handlebars and working stop lights and turn signals.
- Red lights — Some states allow motorcyclists to go through red lights if they are sitting at an intersection and the light stays red for a long time because it doesn’t detect the motorcycle. Florida, however, does not allow this. So if you went through a red light and got into a crash, some of the fault will be assigned to you.
Other facts and circumstances may also affect your motorcycle accident injury claim. Your attorney will be able to give you a full explanation and assess the strength of your case.
With offices in Tavares, Inverness and Clermont, Largey Law Firm represents injured motorcyclists throughout Central Florida. Contact us online to schedule a free attorney consultation.