Orlando, FL Motorcycle Accidents Attorney
Motorcycles: they offer incredible fun, a rush of adrenaline…and absolutely no protection from other vehicles that share the road with you. The same thrill that allows for the rush of wind around you as you ride can also leave you in significant danger during a motorcycle accident.
Motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries—an average of 10,000 a year in Florida, including 8,000 injuries and 525 deaths. Orange County, home to Orlando, averages 631 crashes, the vast majority of which resulted in injuries and 24 of which caused fatalities.
Other vehicles have far greater mass, and other drivers may not pay as much attention as they should on the road. If you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may need legal assistance to go after the compensation you deserve. Contact The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins today at (407) 287-6757 to learn more about how qualified, compassionate legal service can help you get the compensation you deserve.
The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins: Compassionate Legal Care
When you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer who provides a high level of compassion alongside a deep understanding of exactly what legal recourse you have for your injuries. Motorcycle accidents can leave you struggling to return to your normal, everyday life—and you need a lawyer who understands what ordinary people need when they face the consequences of an accident. Jerry Jenkins devotes his life and his practice to helping people after extraordinary events requiring legal counsel. When you partner with The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins, you get:
- An attorney dedicated to communication. You do not want to have to wait around when you need to talk to your lawyer. Instead, you want a lawyer who offers availability when, where, and how you need it most. Jerry Jenkins offers legal services 24/7, which means you can get answers when you need them. Not only that, he will meet you in a location convenient for you and offers many ways to get in touch,
- Comprehensive legal advice. If you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you need a lawyer who understands the system: both what the insurance company owes you, legally speaking, and how the company will attempt to avoid that payout. Jerry Jenkins understands the Florida legal system and will work to help Orange County, Kissimmee, and Clermont victims seek the compensation they deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries: The Potential for Lifelong Consequences
A motorcycle accident often brings with it substantial injuries. Motorcycles offer little protection from other vehicles or the pavement. In some cases, your motorcycle may even cause further damage when it lands on top of you during an accident. In many cases, those injuries can cause lifelong consequences that leave you unable to return to the activities or lifestyle you once enjoyed.
- Spinal cord damage or paralysis. Spinal cord damage can leave you permanently paralyzed or restrict your movements on a long-term basis. Damage may occur at any point along the spine; however, some victims suffer damage higher on the spinal cord than others. The higher the damage, the more it restricts your movements. Some people suffer paralysis from the waist down, while others may find themselves living with paralysis from the neck down.
- Traumatic brain injury. Your motorcycle helmet protects your head and reduces the risk of brain damage in a motorcycle accident, but it does not erase that possibility completely. All too often, motorcycle accidents include serious head trauma and brain damage. Traumatic brain injury may cause symptoms of confusion that resolve relatively quickly, or victims may have long-term problems with memory, emotional control, self-regulation, and comprehension.
- Amputations. As you fly from your motorcycle, you may suffer crushing damage when the motorcycle lands on you, when you strike the pavement or another object, or when the car hits you. In some cases, doctors may deem the damage too substantial to save the impacted limb. In other cases, you may suffer amputation during the accident itself.
- Organ damage. Many motorcycle riders find, after accidents, that they suffer substantial organ damage. Motorcycle accidents may cause immediate internal bleeding or long-term damage. In some cases, you may lose your spleen or appendix after the accident. Organ damage may leave you unable to return to your previous lifestyle for a long time after the accident, if at all.
- Broken bones. Often, in motorcycle accidents, victims suffer breaks in the limbs: their legs and feet, arms, or hands. Broken bones make it difficult to get around and complete common tasks, especially for victims who work in very active jobs or who perform manual labor on a regular basis. Broken bones may also have complications that cause long-term loss of mobility or ongoing pain that can prevent the victim from enjoying activities that once brought them pleasure.
- Soft tissue damage. While sprains, strains, and bruises may seem to cause fewer limitations than broken bones, in many cases, soft tissue damage can cause long-term difficulty with mobility or a lifelong struggle with pain. Limbs with soft tissue damage may never fully return to their former strength, or the victim may suffer pain from the injury for the rest of his life.
Is the Other Driver Always at Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may not care who caused the accident—but when it comes to seeking compensation, it matters. Who caused your motorcycle accident? In a crash with another vehicle, you hope that the other driver’s insurance company will pay your medical bills and offer compensation for your financial losses from the accident. Determining fault, however, may require the help of an attorney.
Did the other driver cause the accident? Often, drivers fail to take note of motorcycles on the road with them or to share the road appropriately. They may:
- Try to use your lane to pass another vehicle in spite of the fact that you still need space in it
- Fail to notice you, especially when changing lanes or making a turn
- Become distracted on the road
- Fail to adhere to the rules of the road
Did you contribute to the accident? You, too, may bear responsibility for the conditions of your motorcycle accident. You might, for example, have lost control of your motorcycle in a tight turn, or you might have ignored traffic regulations. When you ride your motorcycle, you must follow the same rules of the road that you would follow in a car, including stopping at stop signs and traffic lights, signaling before changing lanes or turning, and maintaining a reasonable speed. You should also use your lane to drive, rather than trying to drive between two cars. If you failed to follow those basic rules, you may bear partial responsibility for your accident.
In some cases, you and the other driver may share responsibility for your motorcycle accident. If you bear more than 40 percent of that responsibility, you may not receive funds from the other driver’s insurance company. If you bear any responsibility for the accident, your compensation may drop by the percentage of the responsibility you bear.
Did outside factors contribute to the accident? In some cases, neither you nor the other driver may bear full responsibility for the accident. Other factors can also contribute—a driver under the influence who consumed too much at a bar or restaurant, for example. If mechanical failure caused your accident, the mechanic who last serviced the vehicle or the vehicle’s manufacturer may also share responsibility. Working closely with a lawyer will help you more effectively determine who shares responsibility in your accident, allowing you to more effectively seek the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
How Much Can You Get from Your Motorcycle Accident?
The funds you can recover following a motorcycle accident will vary. The extent of your injuries, how much they limit your life, and even the other party’s insurance policy and its limits can all impact the full compensation you receive. However, most accident victims ask for several common forms of compensation in a claim.
Medical expenses. If you suffered serious injuries, you may find yourself dealing with equally serious medical bills. As you add up your medical expenses, include:
- Ambulance transport
- Emergency room bills
- Physician bills, including ongoing visits
- Durable medical equipment
- Your hospital stay
- Alterations to your home for permanent or long-term injuries
- Physical therapy
Pain and suffering. Often, insurance companies use a scale to determine pain and suffering based on your medical expenses and other financial losses associated with the accident. An attorney, however, can help explain the full extent of your pain and suffering to the insurance company. You might, for example, miss out on much-anticipated activities or find yourself severely limited in what you can do as well as suffering from the physical pain associated with your injury.
Lost work. Injuries do not just leave you hurting. They may also limit your ability to work, both short-term and long term. You may need to miss work for a variety of reasons during your recovery:
- Inability to complete your job responsibilities, either due to pain or weakness or due to inability to focus from traumatic brain injury
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy
In addition to missed time at work in the immediate aftermath of the accident, you may struggle to return to your job in its former capacity even after you make a recovery. In this case, you can seek lost income potential as part of the compensation provided by the insurance company after your motorcycle accident.
Will the Insurance Company Fight My Claim?
Many people assume that after an accident, the insurance company will automatically pay out the maximum amount of the claim or the maximum amount allowed by any specific injuries and expenses. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not work that way. They may, instead, try to limit their financial liability for your accident by:
- Offering a fast, low settlement soon after your motorcycle accident. You may not even have the chance to fully evaluate your injuries—or what they will cost—before the insurance company offers a settlement. While the early settlement will get money in your hands fast, it likely does not reflect the full amount you deserve for your injuries. You may find yourself struggling to pay your medical bills or to deal with your financial responsibilities after the accident, but by accepting that initial settlement offer, you may absolve the insurance company of future financial responsibility.
- Blaming you for the accident. If you caused the accident, the insurance company can decrease its financial liability. The company may look for evidence that you performed illegal actions on the road or that your actions contributed to the accident in some way.
- Denying your injuries. “Your injuries didn’t happen in the accident.” “You didn’t get hurt that badly.” On the surface, these do not seem like things an insurance company would say. In many cases, however, insurance companies will try to avoid financial ability by insisting that your injuries occurred at another time or trying to prove that you did not suffer the limitations you claim.
Can I Afford a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Your bills are high. You cannot return to work. Can you afford a motorcycle accident attorney after your motorcycle accident?
Many people find that hiring a motorcycle accident attorney, rather than adding to their expenses, actually increases the compensation they receive. Not only that, an attorney with experience in personal injury law can help prevent you from making key mistakes as you seek compensation, reducing the odds that you will jeopardize your claim.
At The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins, we start with a free consultation to better understand your needs. We offer a wide range of payment options that make it easier for our clients to get the legal support they need during a difficult, trying time in their lives.
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
Weather conditions in Orlando, Florida, make it an ideal location for motorcycle enthusiasts. With average low temperatures seldom dropping below the high 40s, motorcycle riding is possible nearly year-round. Motorcycle operators often have several questions pertaining to the legal operation of a motorcycle, as well as what to expect after being involved in a motorcycle accident on Orlando roadways. Here are some of the most common questions and the answers you need to ride safely.
How will I afford an attorney if I am out of work following my accident?
You are understandably concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney after an accident, particularly if you are unable to return to work immediately. The good news is that you can contact a motorcycle accident attorney for a free consultation, and you can likely work out a payment plan. Keep in mind, the chances of getting a larger settlement often outweigh the expenses of hiring an attorney to represent you.
Furthermore, most motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, and only collect a percentage of whatever settlement or judgment they help you secure. You pay nothing, and they only get paid if they successfully recover compensation for you.
What should I do if the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls me?
Before speaking with an insurance adjuster for either your own insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurer, you should speak with a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer. Generally, the insurance company adjuster is going to attempt to deflect blame, try to trick you into agreeing that you are not seriously injured, or otherwise undermine your claim.
Once you have agreed to work with a lawyer, you can tell the insurance company that it should contact your attorney with any questions. This step is important, because it can help protect your rights and make sure that the insurance company is not taking advantage of you.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company offered me a settlement shortly after the motorcycle accident; should I accept the settlement?
No. Most of the time following an accident, the insurance company will offer you a low settlement just to make the claim go away. When you are injured, it takes time to recover from the injury, and the insurance company knows that the longer it takes you to recover, the more your claim may cost it. That is why it will make an early settlement offer. Keep in mind, once you accept a settlement, the insurer will ask you to sign a waiver that waives your right to seek compensation for any future expenses you incur as a result of your injuries, including time lost from work and future medical bills.
Is there a time limit on filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident?
Yes. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims will apply to any claim that you file stemming from a motorcycle accident. Remember, unlike auto accidents, no-fault insurance rules do not apply in motorcycle accident claims. In general, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury accident claim. However, you should always consult an experienced attorney to determine the statute of limitations that applies to your claim.
What types of compensation can I recover following an Orlando motorcycle accident?
Several factors will determine the type and amount of compensation you can seek following a motorcycle accident. In general, you can recover financial losses, including medical bills, prescription drug costs associated with managing pain or treating infection, and test costs, including for X-rays, MRIs, or other tests intended to diagnose an injury or to monitor your recovery.
You may also be entitled to reimbursement for other health-related expenses, including travel to and from doctors’ offices, any specialized medical devices that you may require following a motorcycle accident, etc.
You should also claim lost wages, any costs associated with additional home help that you need because you are unable to do certain chores after a motorcycle accident, and other out-of-pocket costs. In some cases, you may also be eligible to file a claim for pain and suffering and other non-monetary damages. An experienced attorney can help you understand the types of compensation you may claim when filing a personal injury lawsuit.
What steps should I take following a motorcycle accident?
The first thing you should do following a motorcycle accident is to get out of the roadway and get to a safe location along the side of the road. This is important to avoid the risk of sustaining additional injuries. This, of course, assumes your injuries are not serious enough that you should avoid moving at all. Once you are in a safe location, you should take the following steps:
- Check everyone for injuries: Regardless of whether you think you are hurt or not, you should check yourself and everyone involved for any potential injuries.
- Obtain information at the scene: Share information with other drivers and passengers involved, including driver’s license and insurance information. In addition, obtain contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the accident. This could be helpful to you later.
- Take photos if possible: Pictures really do tell stories. If possible, take photos of the damage to your motorcycle as well as the car or truck involved. In addition, document street signs, traffic signals, road conditions, and if warranted, any visible injuries.
- Contact your insurance company: After a motorcycle accident, notify your insurance company immediately. This is important because the company will likely be contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurer, and you want to make sure that your insurance provider has the right information.
- See a doctor immediately: Even if you think your injuries are minor, you need to see a doctor as soon after a motorcycle accident as possible. You want to document that you sought medical attention and can present an accurate record of any symptoms or signs of trauma or injury.
After you are at home, you should keep track of how you are feeling, whether you are missing any time from work, and keep track of expenses like medical bills, prescription drugs, and mileage to and from doctor visits resulting from your motorcycle accident. This information may be necessary to prove your claim later. You should also consider consulting a motorcycle accident attorney to get advice about what steps you should take next.
What do I need to legally operate a motorcycle in Florida?
Motorcyclists who wish to obtain a license to operate a motorcycle should be aware of the following rules:
Operators must be at least 16 years old, and if under 18, they must have a learner’s license, which they must hold for a full year. During that time, the potential licensee cannot have a traffic violation conviction.
- Pass a knowledge test required for a Class E operator’s license.
- Complete one of the following courses: Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or the Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu), with an authorized Sponsor.
- Once you’ve completed the required course, go to the local licensing office or tax collector’s office and provide proof of completion, pay the required fees, and obtain a “Motorcycle Only” license.
Keep in mind, this will not allow you to operate a motor vehicle legally, only a motorcycle. Motorcyclists who also have a driver’s license are required to obtain a motorcycle endorsement. This can be done by taking specific courses required by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
What should I know about Florida helmet laws?
While motorcyclists should always wear a helmet, operators or passengers who are over the age of 21 may go without a helmet, provided they meet the age requirement and maintain at least $10,000 medical payment insurance or carry health insurance that does not exclude motorcycle accident injuries.
What insurance must a motorcycle operator carry?
Insurance is not required in Florida for motorcycles; however, financial responsibility (FR) laws are in effect for operators. While personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is not a requirement (as it is for automobiles), motorcycle operators do have to maintain sufficient coverage if they are found liable for injuries caused during a motorcycle accident.
The minimum motorcycle insurance that riders must maintain are as follows:
- Bodily injury coverage: $10,000 for one person
- Bodily injury coverage: $20,000 for two or more people
- Property damage liability coverage: $10,000 per crash coverage
If you have an existing auto insurance policy, talk to your insurance agent about getting an add-on policy for your motorcycle coverage, as your existing policy likely will not include your motorcycle required coverage.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
While the freedom of operating a motorcycle is exhilarating, unfortunately, there are constant hazards that operators must remain aware of on Florida roadways. During 2018, Orange County recorded nearly 600 roadway accidents involving motorcycles.
Some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted drivers: Car and truck drivers who are using their cell phones, using their GPS or other electronic devices, or distracted by other passengers in the vehicle may cause an accident with a motorcyclist.
- Weather-related accidents: Rain, fog, and other weather conditions can make it challenging for car or truck drivers to easily see a motorcyclist.
- Road hazard accidents: Unsafe roadways or defects in the road, including potholes, sharp curves, debris in the road, and animals that suddenly dart into the roadway, can be deadly for someone who is operating a motorcycle.
Speeding, driving drunk, and other factors can also result in a motorcycle accident. Operators should always be aware of what is going on around them to ensure safety.
What types of injuries are common in motorcycle accidents?
Unfortunately, motorcycle operators and passengers are likely to suffer more serious injuries than individuals involved in car accidents. Simply put, motorcycles do not offer operators or passengers the same protections that other motor vehicles offer their drivers and passengers. Some injuries that a rider could suffer from a motorcycle accident include:
- Soft tissue damage: Sprains, bruises, and strains can result in a lifetime of pain and may occur after a motorcycle accident. These injuries can result from being thrown off a bike or from the impact of a vehicle striking the rider or passenger directly.
- Head and neck injuries: While a motorcycle helmet will help protect you from some damage, there is still a significant risk of head and brain trauma following a motorcycle accident. Head injuries can range from a mild concussion to traumatic brain injuries, which can have a devastating impact on your life.
- Broken bones or amputations: Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident can mean your bike winds up on top of you when you are tossed off. Such an impact may break your bones, and in a very severe accident, you could even suffer the loss of a limb.
Motorcycle accidents can be deadly, and like any other type of accident, the severity of the injury depends on numerous factors, including speed, the types and number of vehicles involved in the accident, and the type of crash (e.g. front end, rear end, side, etc.).
Must I inform the police if I am involved in a motorcycle accident?
Any time there is a roadway accident involving a motorcycle or car, the individuals involved must report the accident to the police if there are injuries or property damage that totals $500 or more. Chances are high that if you are involved in an accident involving a motorcycle and a car or truck, there will likely be injuries and/or property damage that exceeds $500.
Law enforcement should be called to the scene of the accident so that police may take an accurate report and get the names and vehicle information from the parties involved. This notification is required under Florida statutes.
My motorcycle accident injuries are not serious; do I still need to hire a lawyer?
You should still consult one, at the very least. While you may think that you do not need a lawyer, because your injuries appear minor, this does not mean you should avoid consulting an attorney altogether. Keep in mind, you want someone representing you who has experience negotiating with insurers. An attorney will not only help you understand how Florida laws work, but he or she can also make sure the insurance company treats you fairly and that you recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
How many motorcycle accidents take place here, anyway?
During one recent year, nearly 600,000 motorcycles were registered in Florida. With an average of 600 accidents involving a motorcycle on Florida roadways, this means nearly 10 percent of operators were involved in an accident. If you are one of the victims of a motorcycle accident, or if your loved one lost his or her life in a motorcycle accident, speak with a skilled attorney and find out what rights you have under Florida law.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Orlando?
If you need a motorcycle accident attorney in the Orlando area, contact The Law Office of Jerry Jenkins today at (407) 287-6757. You deserve compassionate, qualified legal support to help you in the aftermath of your accident.
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“I reached out to Jerry to help with a ticket my daughter was issued for an accident she was involved in. As a parent my number one priority is to protect my children. Jerry was very responsive and knowledgeable with all the questions I had. My daughters case was closed in her favor thanks to Jerry Jenkins.”
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