Motorcycle accidents fall under the category of personal injuries. To establish a prima facie case for personal injury, a plaintiff must show: (1) the existence of a legal duty owed by the defendant, (2) breach of that duty, (3) actual and proximate cause, (4) damages, and (5) no defenses.
Because motorcycles are smaller than cars and other vehicles on the road, and motorcycle riders are exposed when they collide with vehicles, motorcycle riders sustain serious injuries like traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or death. In a motorcycle wreck, damages the injured person may recover include:
• Medical care
• Loss of earnings
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Psychological counseling
• Property damage
To plaintiff has to show the responsible party for the injuries breached of duty act as a reasonable driver would under the circumstances. The breach of duty has to be the cause of the accident, and the plaintiff must show actual damages. In showing damages, the plaintiff may need to establish income with tax returns and paystubs, present medical receipts, and go through an independent medical exam.
In an independent medical exam, the plaintiff gets examined by a doctor retained by the defendant. The doctor asks the plaintiff for a history of his injuries, and if he had injuries prior to the accident. The plaintiff is not the doctor’s patient so should not complete any patient paperwork at the doctor’s office.
Some motorcyclists may know to obtain motorcycle insurance to protect from loss when a crash occurs, but there may not be enough coverage to compensate when the insurance does not cover each loss category such as liability, property, medical, underinsured, uninsured, and collision, or when the insurance limits in each category are not enough to pay for damages.
Motorcycle riders look fearless on the outside, but that does not mean drivers do not need to be alert to them in traffic. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report in March 2008, using 2006 data, motorcycles made up nearly 3% of all registered vehicles in the United States, but were about 35 times more likely than people in cars to die in a vehicle wreck and 8 times more likely injured. Motorcycle wrecks normally happen when:
• Cars do not see riders when changing lanes
• There is poor visibility
• There is a crack in pavement
Often the legal aspects of motorcycle accidents require an experienced Florida personal attorney with compassion and able to fight on behalf of the rider.