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How Does Comparative Fault Affect My Motorcycle Accident Claim In Florida?

Riding a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience, offering freedom, adventure, and efficiency on the open roads of Miami and across Florida. However, motorcycle riders also face serious risks, as they lack the protection of a car or truck in the event of an accident. Even a minor collision can lead to catastrophic injuries for motorcyclists.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Florida motorcycle crash, you may be eligible for significant compensation. However, successfully obtaining damages often depends heavily on demonstrating exactly where the fault lies through the legal principle of comparative negligence. An experienced Miami motorcycle attorney can make all the difference.

The Soffer Firm has been voted Super Lawyers “Rising Star” and “National Trial Lawyers – Top 40 Under 40” multiple years because of how hard we work for our clients. We don’t get paid unless you get paid, and we have recovered millions for our clients.

Our Florida personal injury lawyers help you navigate the complexities of your legal case. Call us today at (786) 788-7344.


What is Modified Comparative Negligence?


Florida recently overhauled its system for handling fault in personal injury claims with a switch to modified comparative negligence. This significant change, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in March 2023, replaces the state’s prior “pure contributory negligence” rule.


Previously, Florida followed a strict “pure contributory negligence” system. This meant that if you were even 1% at fault for an accident like a motorcycle rider making a minor mistake, you couldn’t recover any compensation for your injuries. This was seen as overly harsh, especially for minor infractions.


Now, the percentage of fault you share in an accident will directly affect the amount of compensation you can receive. If you’re found 50% or less responsible (as in the example of a 10% at-fault motorcycle rider), you can still recover damages, but they will be reduced according to your share of the blame.  However, it’s important to note that this does not apply to medical malpractice claims that are subject to different rules.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Miami


Motorcycle crashes occur for many reasons, but some mistakes and oversights tend to recur frequently on Miami roads and across Florida:

Distracted Drivers

Drivers preoccupied with cell phones, onboard infotainment systems, or other passengers often fail to notice motorcycles changing lanes or entering intersections. Their distracted state delays reactions to avoid collisions.

Failure to Yield Right-of-Way

Drivers turning left at intersections or changing highway lanes often misjudge the distance and speed of rapidly approaching motorcycles. Or they simply need help to spot bikes amid other traffic.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Excessive speed reduces reaction times while increasing crash severity. Drivers and motorcyclists alike endanger themselves and others when pushing roadway speed limits.

Impaired Drivers

Motorists under the influence of alcohol or drugs have dulled faculties, slower reflexes, and blurred vision. Their intoxication state makes accidents with more vulnerable road users like motorcyclists all the more likely.

Road Hazards and Poor Maintenance

Potholes, uneven pavement, lack of barricades, poor lane markings, and other road defects can prove treacherous. Motorcycle riders may lose control striking such hazards, especially amid heavy traffic with little room to maneuver.


Of course, motorcyclists themselves can also contribute to accidents through excessive speed, impairment, or other improper actions. However, under comparative negligence rules, they would still recover reduced damages proportional to how much they were at fault.


Proving Fault to Maximize Compensation


Successfully obtaining maximum motorcycle accident injury compensation thus depends heavily on evidence of where the fault lies.


Police crash reports, eyewitness testimony, video surveillance footage, and even data from vehicle event recorders can all help establish liability percentages. Skilled personal injury lawyers know how to secure and present such evidence persuasively in demand letters, settlement negotiations, mediation, and trial arguments.


An adept Miami motorcycle attorney can demonstrate a motorist’s apparent causative negligence and any partial liability by a rider in exceeding speed limits, lacking defensive roadway skills, or other accident factors under their control. Verified specifics indicate fair damage reductions under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine.


Precisely fixing fault percentages strengthens the negotiating stance of injured riders in pursuing damage awards from insurance policies. Documented evidence allows for compelling demand letters backed by facts. Credible liability appraisals apply vital leverage if settlement talks reach structured mediation or proceed toward courtroom litigation.


The Vital Role of Preserving Evidence


Preserving motorcycle accident physical evidence and early witness recollections is thus essential for later substantiating liability claims. Crucial proof can quickly become lost over time, jeopardizing fair outcomes.


It is vital to photograph visible injuries at the collision scene promptly. Detailed images document bike and vehicle damage while capturing environmental factors like weather, road surface conditions, obstruction sight lines, and any notable impairments possibly affecting motorists or riders.


Written statements should promptly be secured from eyewitnesses to establish recollections while fresh firmly. Video files must be preserved from any nearby surveillance or traffic cameras that may have captured the accident sequence.


Event data recorders aboard recent model cars and trucks can also indicate speeds, brakes, accelerator inputs, and other operational specifics pointing to negligence like distraction or impairment. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to secure critical recorder evidence.


Spoliation letters requesting video, data, and other liability documentation preservation should immediately be dispatched to all potentially involved parties. These urgent notifications stress retaining critical materials that are often quickly overwritten in regular usage.


Miami motorcycle attorney legal teams understand these swift evidence gathering protocols are vital for later extracts from often reluctant insurance adjusters and motorist counsel during settlement procedures or court proceedings.


Why Insurers Resist Max Motorcycle Injury Payouts


Insurance carriers reflexively seek to minimize claim costs to protect corporate profits. So accident liability adjusters scrutinize motorcycle crash injury filings, looking for plausible grounds to discount requested damage totals.


Insurers seize upon the prior motorcycle riding risk assumptions riders take. Adjuster arguments categorize the embrace of bikes’ inherent operational instability during speed maneuvers or emergency braking as acceptance of heightened peril. Specifically targeted are claims around single-vehicle accident injuries involving excessive speed or alcohol usage.


Allegations of improper motorcycle certification licensing, registration, or mandated insurance coverage also draw insurer reactions. Lack of endorsed safety training receives heavy scrutiny regarding purported negligence.

But skilled personal injury lawyers anticipate these standard arguments. Detailed accident forensics and medical harm substantiations counteract overly aggressive insurer positions during motorcycle accident claim negotiations and settlements. Adroit case preparation establishes liability facts and damages that adjusters cannot dismiss through spurious or inaccurate contentions.


Significant courtroom jury awards also pause insurers from blanketly resisting valid motorcycle injury claims. Multi-million dollar verdicts for apparent driver negligence provide leverage in negotiating fair out-of-court settlements.


Insurers cannot escape legal responsibility through dubious technical arguments or by assigning cause mainly upon motorcyclists braving road conditions that drivers themselves have some duty to accommodate. An assertive Miami motorcycle accident attorney presses for just outcomes aligning damages with actual negligence percentages, not insurer biases.

Why Post-Injury Legal Help Matters

Navigating the unfamiliar complexities of traffic incident liability claims and injury law can bewilder motorcycle accident victims. Insurance company representatives speak another language amid strange legal terminology as medical bills pile up. Desperation for income replacement and treatment funding tempts fast settlements for minimal sums that fail to account for long-term harm costs.


Knowledgeable personal injury attorneys provide essential advocacy. An adept Miami motorcycle attorney understands motorcycle physics, roadway dynamics, applicable statutes, insurance company negotiation tactics, injury care options, and courtroom litigation practices. Retaining strong legal counsel from the start minimizes the risks of unfavorable actions.


Invested legal guidance maximizes compensation aligned with actual negligence percentages. Structured settlement consultations also stretch payouts over the years to fully cover ongoing medical expenses plus lasting vocational impacts.


Riders injured by negligent Florida motorists deserve accountability and damages covering all associated costs. Dedicated Miami motorcycle attorney support delivers on that justified expectation.


Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Accidents

  1. Should I Provide A Statement To Insurers After A Motorcycle Accident?

No. Any immediate recorded or written statement will be used against you during later claim proceedings. A polite refusal is wise until retaining counsel can interface with adjusters on your behalf.

  1. Can I Still Recover Damages If I Was Partially At Fault For A Motorcycle Crash?

Yes. Under comparative negligence rules now governing Florida accident cases, responsibility percentages dictate proportional compensation. So even though motorcyclists bear some accident blame, they still receive reduced damages from liable motorists.
  1. What If A Vehicle Driver Contests Liability For Motorcycle Collision Injuries?

Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to secure evidence substantiating where fault lies. Police reports, eyewitness statements, video footage, and crash forensics can rebut spurious defenses, disputing valid legal claims.
  1. Should I Accept An Initial Low Offer From Insurers After Sustaining Motorcycle Wounds?

No. Severe injuries like traumatic brain damage or spinal fractures worsen over time, accumulating costs exceeding early assumptions. Retaining legal counsel prevents rush settlements from accounting for long-term medical and vocational harms.
  1. Can Lingering Health Problems Increase My Eventual Motorcycle Accident Settlement?

Yes. Unresolved symptoms requiring extended treatments or permanent impairments justify more significant damages. Miami motorcycle attorney guidance documents total costs for substantiating higher compensation.


Contact a Florida Motorcycle Injury Lawyer Today


Suffering long-term harm from another motorist’s negligence inflicts not only physical distress but also emotional pain, family disruption, and financial loss. Florida’s updated comparative negligence law finally allows fairer accountability.

Our Florida personal injury lawyers help you navigate the complexities of your legal case. Call us today at (786) 788-7344.