With year-round sunshine and plenty of beautiful sites to see, Florida regularly ranks among the most popular states to ride a motorcycle.
Pinellas County is a natural draw for many of these riders and frequently lands the county among the most dangerous for motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, when a motorcyclist becomes injured in an accident that someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused, they are often victimized again by the popular opinion in many circles that motorcyclists somehow deserve the injuries because they chose a less-safe method of transportation.
If a motorcycle accident injured you, you will not experience this attitude from the legal team at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys.
Instead, you will receive compassion and genuine interest from us to ensure a Clearwater motorcycle accident lawyer answers your legal questions and provide the legal assistance you need to pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
In Clearwater, motorcycle accidents often result from drivers who are not from the area and don’t know the local roads. These visitors are often on vacation, aren’t careful with their driving, and may attempt to drive while distracted or intoxicated.
Other common causes of Clearwater motorcycle crashes include:
Left-turning drivers who do not have a green arrow. These drivers often fail to see the motorcyclist approaching in the opposing travel lane and turn in the rider’s path.
Inattentional blindness. The reason many left-turning drivers and others involved in accidents with motorcyclists so often state that they did not even see the motorcycle approaching involves the way the brain processes information in chaotic situations such as heavy traffic. The brain will focus on the biggest threats on the roadway, such as commercial vehicles, while ignoring the presence of smaller, less dangerous threats such as an approaching motorcyclist.
Dooring, which occurs when the occupant of a vehicle that is parked on the roadside opens their door into the path of an approaching motorcyclist, causing the rider to collide with the door or swerve into another travel lane to avoid it.
Speeding, which not only reduces the time the driver has to detect a hazard on the roadway and respond to it but also increases the distance needed for the vehicle to stop. Speeding also prevents the rider from being able to accurately gauge a safe gap in traffic in which to cross an intersection, pull into a lane, or complete a left-hand turn.
Poor visibility. In addition to inattentional blindness, which involves the brain’s ability to process information, many motorcycle accidents are also caused because motorcycles are sometimes hard to see due to their slimmer frame and fewer headlights.
The Types of Injuries Sustained in Clearwater Motorcycle Collisions
More than 5,000 people die each year in the U.S. because of injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents, and motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to die as a result of an accident than the occupants of passenger cars due to the lack of protection and stability provided by the motorcycle. Traumatic brain injuries are the most common motorcycle injury to result in death.
Even if the rider survives, this type of injury is known as a catastrophic injury due to its likelihood of producing permanent disabilities that will prevent them from being able to earn an income.
While traumatic brain injuries are the most common fatal injuries to arise from motorcycle accidents, road rash is one of the most common injuries for a rider to suffer. Road rash is a type of skin abrasion that occurs when the skin makes contact with a rough surface such as asphalt and is the reason riders focus on purchasing gear to cover and protect their skin when riding.
Other common injuries suffered in Clearwater motorcycle wrecks include:
Burns resulting from flames, heat, or caustic liquid. Fires are common in motorcycle accidents due to the relative lack of protection of the bike’s gas tank, which will often rupture due to the impact of the accident.
Spinal cord injuries, which are also considered catastrophic injuries as they often lead to paralysis of the body beneath the site of the injury.
Injuries to the spinal vertebrae and discs located in the neck and back.
Internal injuries, which can result in hemorrhaging, organ failure, and death.
Road rash and disfigurement
Choosing the Right Attorney For your Clearwater Motorcycle Accident
Seeking Compensation for Your Motorcycle Injuries
If a motorcycle accident injured you because of someone else’s negligence, you could seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury through a personal injury claim. This process generally begins when your attorney submits a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
The package contains details of the accident, documentation of expenses, and a demand for the value of the motorcycle claim. This generally results in the onset of settlement negotiations, which occur when the insurer admits to the liability of the insured but offers to pay a lesser amount of compensation than was demanded. Your attorney will counter-offer to seek an amount closer to the claim’s value, and this process will continue until both sides come to a place where they can accept the offer on the table or a decision is reached in court.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit must be filed in court within Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which is usually two years from the date on which the accident occurred. While your attorney and the Perenich Law legal team continue settlement negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurer, they will also prepare your court case if an adequate settlement agreement does not arrive before your trial date.
These court preparations include gathering the evidence and witness testimony to prove your claim, creating exhibits, arranging for expert witnesses, and filing motions in your legal claim.
Once an agreement has been reached, your dedicated Clearwater motorcycle accident attorney can assist you in collecting your court award or settlement.
Contact Perenich Law Injury Attorneys today to get started.
Proving Liability in a Clearwater Motorcycle Accident
Drivers of passenger cars or commercial vehicles are often the sources of liability in motorcycle accidents in Clearwater. Other potential sources of liability include the manufacturer of parts on the motorcycle or other vehicles that were defective and factored into the accident’s cause as well as the entity tasked with maintaining roadways if the accident was a result of a roadway defect.
To prove who was liable for causing your accident, you must be able to prove:
The at-fault party owed you a duty to take reasonable actions to protect your safety or general motorcycle safety. For other drivers, this duty involves driving legally and safely. For road maintenance agencies, this duty includes regularly inspecting road conditions and promptly repairing hazards that could cause injuries. For manufacturers, the duty of care involves ensuring that the parts are safe when used according to labeled instructions.
There was a breach in this duty when the at-fault party took actions that were contrary to the duty that was owed.
This breach caused a motorcycle accident in which you were injured.
The Type of Compensation You Can Receive
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, Florida allows you the right to use its civil court system if necessary to seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury.
Motorcycle crash claims often seek compensation for:
Loss of future earning capacity
Property damage, such as damage to your motorcycle or gear
Physical pain and suffering
Loss of the enjoyment of life resulting from the inability to participate in activities and events you formerly enjoyed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Clearwater Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can be confusing, and our Clearwater motorcycle accident clients often have questions about the process. Here are answers to the general questions we are most often asked about seeking compensation after a motorcycle accident.
I was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Can I still obtain compensation for my injuries?
You could still seek compensation for your injuries. However, your age determines how much not wearing a helmet affects the value of your claim. In Florida, individuals who are under 21 and licensed to operate a motorcycle must wear a helmet. Riders and passengers over the age of 21 must either wear a helmet or provide proof of financial responsibility for injuries incurred. This proof is generally satisfied by the presence of a health insurance policy that can help you afford the expenses.
Because riders under 21 are required to wear a helmet, if you are in this affected age range and suffered injuries to the head that likely would not have occurred if you had been obeying the law, the at-fault party’s insurance provider can be exempt from covering expenses and impacts related to that injury. However, they can still be responsible for other injuries you sustained.
If you are over 21 and have proof of an insurance policy that can provide medical expense benefits, you are not in violation of the law and the at-fault party can be found liable for all expenses and impacts associated with your injury.
My spouse died as a result of a motorcycle accident. Can I file a motorcycle wrongful death claim?
Family members of individuals who have died as a result of someone else’s negligence can seek compensation for the financial and psychological losses they incurred as a result of the death through a wrongful death lawsuit. This legal claim must be filed within two years of the date on which the death occurred.
Family members can seek compensation for expenses and impacts such as:
Medical expenses related to the treatment of the deceased’s final injuries.
Reasonable costs associated with the funeral and burial or cremation.
Loss of support and services the deceased provided to their loved ones.
Loss of prospective net accumulations to the deceased’s estate.
The loss of earnings and benefits the deceased would have likely made during their career if they had survived the motorcycle accident.
Loss of love, companionship, guidance, and care that the deceased provided to their spouse and children.
What should I do after my Clearwater motorcycle accident?
Will I have to pay taxes on the compensation I receive for my Clearwater motorcycle accident?
For the most part, no. The IRS does not consider personal injury settlements and awards income.
If you receive punitive damages, those can be taxed. Punitive damages are awarded based on the reckless behavior of the defendant rather than the injuries of the claimant. Because the compensation is not related to your injury, it is considered income and will be taxed.
If you use your medical expenses as a deduction from your tax burden in one year and then obtain compensation for medical expenses in a subsequent tax year, you must return the deduction you took.
Should I file a motorcycle accident claim myself?
No. Having a motorcycle accident lawyer to assist you is one of the most important things you can do to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome to your claim.
Because having access to legal counsel is so important, the legal team at Perenich Law Injury Attorneys offers:
A free case evaluation, which is time you can spend with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in Clearwater, learning more about motorcycle accident process.
A contingent-fee billing method, which allows you to wait to pay us for our legal services until there is a positive outcome to your claim. This allows us to immediately begin working on your case without waiting for an upfront investment from you.
Contact a Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Let a Clearwater motorcycle accident lawyer from our firm help you understand the process of obtaining compensation for the injuries you incurred in a motorcycle accident. For your free case evaluation, contact us today.
Perenich Law injury Attorneys
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