If you are injured on a motorcycle in South Florida because of someone else’s carelessness, you will have two immediate priorities. Obviously, obtaining medical treatment is your first and paramount priority after any motorcycle collision. Second, is speaking with a Miami motorcycle accident attorney.
But even if you do not believe that you’ve been hurt, have a medical examination within 24 hours of a collision. This protects you if you have sustained a latent or hard-to-detect injury, and it protects you if, later, you need to file an injury claim and receive compensation.
WHAT IS THE 14-DAY RULE?
Furthermore, in the state of Florida, if you expect to receive compensation for your injuries after a traffic accident, you must be examined by a healthcare provider within 14 days. It’s Florida’s “14-Day Rule.”
Since 2013, if you are injured in traffic in Florida, and you do not obtain medical treatment within 14 days, an insurance company will pay you nothing, and even the best injury lawyer will not be able to help.
Have that medical exam immediately after a motorcycle accident, and if you believe that you were injured because a car, bus, or truck driver or another motorcyclist was negligent, discuss your legal rights and options at once with a personal injury attorney.
AFTER OBTAINING MEDICAL TREATMENT, WHAT’S THE SECOND PRIORITY?
Obtaining legal help promptly is your second priority if you are injured while motorcycling because someone else was careless. Florida is a no-fault insurance state with several restrictions, such as the 14-day rule, on victims of negligence who are seeking compensation.
That is why, if you have been injured while motorcycling, you must have an injury attorney’s advice and representation as early as possible in the legal process.
Another restriction: Although Florida requires you to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP), you are limited to $2,500 of the $10,000 unless you have what Florida law defines as an “Emergency Medical Condition” (EMC).
HOW IS AN “EMC” DETERMINED?
That condition must be diagnosed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, dentist, or advanced nurse practitioner. Only injury victims who are diagnosed with an EMC are eligible for more than $2,500 to cover medical expenses and lost wages.
If you are in fact diagnosed with an EMC, do not even speak to the insurance company. Refer the company to your attorney.
Specifically, you must not make or record any formal statement or sign any insurance document or agreement before you have a lawyer’s advice.
Your personal injury attorney is a trained negotiator who routinely handles negotiations with insurance companies on behalf of the injured victims of negligence.
WHAT ELSE WILL A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER DO FOR YOU?
Most personal injury claims are settled in these out-of-court negotiations, but if you are not offered a reasonable settlement, your attorney can take your case to court and ask a jury to award the compensation you need and deserve.
When it comes to determining who was at-fault in a motorcycle accident, the reality is that a motorcycle accident can be more of a challenge to reconstruct than a car accident.
Motorcycles leave few skid marks on the road – and no broken glass – so it may take some serious investigative effort to determine fault. Witnesses are often forgetful, and police reports often lack precision and specificity.
But the right personal injury lawyer can determine fault, guide an injured motorcyclist through the legal system, and advocate aggressively for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN INJURED, DO YOU REALLY NEED LEGAL HELP?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident but you have not been injured, but your motorcycle has been damaged or destroyed, you probably will not need an attorney’s help. Your health and your future will not be at stake, and it is usually easier and more expedient to “go it alone.”
If you submit a claim for property damage after a motorcycle accident, you’ll probably be contacted – usually in just several days – by a claims adjuster representing the insurance company.
Most South Florida claims adjusters are professional and customer-oriented, so if you have a straightforward property damage claim rather than a complicated injury claim, the claim will probably be paid promptly, and you will get what you need to replace or repair your motorcycle.
HOW DO YOU SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATE A PROPERTY DAMAGE CLAIM?
But how do you prove to an insurance company that the amount you are claiming for damage to your motorcycle is the amount that you need and deserve?
Do not be intimidated by an insurance company. You have the right to negotiate your property damage settlement. If the first offer is not what you genuinely need, negotiate.
Always keep and make copies of the receipts for upgrades and repairs to your motorcycle so that you can present those receipts to the insurance company – in precisely this situation. Before-and-after photographs and estimates from other qualified and certified mechanics are also helpful.
When the facts support your claim – and you have the documentation to prove these facts – you will probably obtain, without a great deal of difficulty, the amount you will need to repair or replace your motorcycle.
WHAT IS INSURANCE BAD FAITH?
However, if the amount you need isn’t offered by the insurance company after you have presented your evidence, and you are instead offered excuses and delays, you may be dealing with a case of insurance bad faith.
You should seek legal advice from a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer if the insurance company seems to be avoiding its responsibility to you when you negotiate a property damage claim for your motorcycle.
That seldom happens, however, and in most cases, a motorcycle owner will have no trouble handling a property damage claim without a lawyer’s help.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOUT MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS?
If you’ve been injured, however, everything changes. Many of the injuries that motorcyclists sustain are catastrophic or disabling.
In South Florida, contact a motorcycle accident attorney immediately if you have been injured by a negligent driver while you were motorcycling. Your future could depend on it.