A motorcycle accident, just like any sort of vehicular accident, can have life-altering consequences, for not only the rider but everyone else involved. While other types of accidents can be complex, a motorcycle wreck can be even harder to navigate. Inherent biases against riders, as well as many other factors, can make it extremely difficult for a rider to obtain fair compensation.
At The Eberst Law Firm, we know how to handle those complexities. Our attorneys have years of experience helping motorcycle riders get the money they deserve for injuries suffered in accidents that were no fault of their own. If you would like to learn more, or you’ve been hurt and you need legal representation, schedule a free case review by contacting us online or calling 888-CALL-JON as soon as you can.
Here are five critically important considerations to keep in mind if you’re in the process of filing an insurance claim as the result of a motorcycle accident.
1. Motorcyclists in Florida Aren’t Required by Law to Wear Helmets
You might be surprised to know this if you’re a new rider, but if you’re 21 or older you’re not required to wear a helmet while on your motorcycle in the state of Florida.
However, with this freedom comes some significant responsibility.
If you choose to go helmetless when on your bike, you’ll have to have a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance. Your choice to ride without a helmet could also have a major impact on your case if you’re involved in an accident.
The reason is that there’s some confusion as to whether or not riding without a helmet will jeopardize a rider’s ability to obtain compensation after an accident – even if it’s clear the accident wasn’t the rider’s fault.
Courts have ruled in the past that insurance companies could use the fact that a motorist didn’t wear a seat belt as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. The rationale is that seat belts are proven to save lives. If someone fails to wear a seat belt, and is severely injured or killed as a result, they might not be entitled to full compensation.
When it comes to motorcycles, however, helmets aren’t required to be worn – seat belts are. Also, seat belts are standard equipment in cars, while helmets obviously standard on bikes.
So, if you decide not to wear a helmet and you’re hurt in a wreck that’s not your fault, there’s a chance you might find it very hard to obtain fair compensation.
2. Serious Injuries are Common in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Motorcyclists are obviously at a major disadvantage when it comes to a collision with a car or a truck. Not only are bikes much, much lighter, riders are much more exposed. It’s not surprising, then, to realize that severe injuries are a lot more common, even during what would seem to be relatively minor accidents. These injuries range from road rash to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and others.
3. Motorcycle Bias is Real, but a Talented Attorney Will Know How to Handle it
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve ridden for years, you’re already well aware that stereotypes regarding motorcycle riders still exist. A lot of people just look at you differently when you tell them you ride.
Why is this still the case? Why do so many people have these strange, preconceived notions about motorcyclists? A lot of it has to do with television and movies. They portray bikers as reckless menaces to society, not to be trusted – daredevils who are only out there for the adrenaline rush.
This is silly, but it’s definitely real. When it comes to a rider who’s in an accident, that bias can really be damaging. Police officers will oftentimes simply assume the motorcyclist is to blame, going so far to state exactly that in the police report. When a case involving a biker’s accident claim goes to court, juries will often assume the same thing. Either they believe the stereotypes, or they have no idea how a motorcycle actually works.
Defeating motorcycle bias is just one of the many reasons you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney. Your legal representative will be able to produce the hard evidence needed to convince an insurance company or a jury, if need be, that you deserve every penny you’re asking for.
4. Insurance Companies Will Try to Offer You a Low First Settlement
Largely because of this bias, but mostly because that’s just the way they operate, any insurance companies involved in your case will try to low-ball you with a ridiculous settlement offer. Unfortunately, far too many people assume that’s the best they will get, and will agree.
Please don’t do this. If you accept an initial offer from an insurance company, you’ll be setting yourself up for years – possibly even decades – of financial misery. It might seem like you’re getting a lot of money, but it won’t come close to paying for your extensive medical bills, and it won’t make up for all of your lost wages and the other damages you’ve incurred.
Your best option is to avoid talking to any insurance adjusters, or, for that matter, anyone else representing the defendant in your case. Your attorney will shield you from all of that harassment, and work to convince the insurance company that you deserve much, much more than its offering.
5. Hiring an Experienced and Talented Attorney is Incredibly Important
Hopefully, you already realize just how critical it will be to hire a skilled, experienced attorney as soon as possible. Choosing an attorney will actually be one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, so take your time and be very, very careful.
The attorneys with The Eberst Law Firm not only have that skill and experience, but also a well-documented track record of success in helping motorcyclists who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. If you would like a free consultation, use our online form or call 888-CALL-JON.