Florida Motorcycle Laws
Motorcycles in Florida are afforded the same right to the lane of the roadway as other vehicles. Two motorcycles may travel abreast in a single lane, but no more than two. They are confined to using traffic lanes just like vehicles and are not allowed to split lanes of traffic.
Motorcycle operators are required to wear helmets and eye protection. Operators over the age of 21, however, may ride without a helmet if they carry an insurance policy with benefits of at least $10,000 in medical payment coverage.
Motorcycles must also be driven with the headlights on at all times, day or night.
If You Were in a Motorcycle Accident
Florida is a no-fault state for motorcycle accidents. This means your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays for your damages. If your injuries are severe, disfiguring, or cause death, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury insurance coverage.
Florida is also a pure comparative fault state, which means any recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault awarded to you. For example, say you are found to be 10% at fault for an auto crash and the other driver is 90% at fault. The other driver has bodily injury liability limits of $100,000. If you are awarded the full amount of that policy, you would collect $90,000 (90%).
The insurer of a negligent driver will attempt to prove comparative fault to lower the amount of any settlement. In their investigation of your claim, the insurer will attempt to document anything to establish fault on your part. Lane splitting, for example, could be used to prove fault.
If Your Loved One Was Injured
If your spouse or loved one was incapacitated in a motorcycle crash, you can file a personal injury claim on their behalf. If your loved one was killed, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate (named in their will or estate plan) may file a wrongful death claim in Florida. If there is no personal representative, the court can appoint one.
If your spouse suffered a serious head injury in the crash that renders them incapable of making decisions, holding a job, or even participating in normal daily activities, your attorney can file a personal injury claim. You would seek not only compensation for property damage and immediate medical expenses, but compensation for what could be a significant amount of future medical care, for your spouse’s loss of income throughout their lifetime, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and your loss of consortium.
Establishing the negligence of the other party is critical to your ability to recover damages on behalf of your loved one. To prove liability, you must prove that the driver owed a duty of care, that the driver failed to provide that duty of care, and that their failure resulted in your loved one’s injuries or death.
Why You Need an Attorney
Establishing fault is vital to asserting a claim and receiving compensation. You need an experienced personal injury attorney who can fully investigate the claim, hire crash reconstruction and medical experts, if necessary, and negotiate with the opposing party’s insurers from a position of strength. If you are unable to settle with the insurer and proceed to trial, you need a litigator with a record of arguing cases successfully in front of a jury.
I spent part of my career representing insurers against personal injury claims. Now, I put that inside knowledge to work for clients who have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence.