When Should I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
You can file a motorcycle accident claim when an accident resulted from the negligence of one or more other drivers, and you suffered an injury that requires treatment. It would be unfair for you to bear the cost of your injuries when someone else caused them. The purpose of an accident claim is to place the burden where it belongs — on the drivers who caused the accident and their insurance company.
To obtain compensation for your injuries, your motorcycle accident lawyers must prove the negligence of another driver in the accident. Negligence has four elements:
- Duty Every driver must drive in a reasonably prudent manner to keep other drivers and motorcyclists safe.
- Breach If a driver fails to exercise reasonable care while driving, the driver has breached their duty of care. An accident report, your recollections, and witness testimony will help to prove a breach. If you saw a driver make an illegal or dangerous maneuver that led to the accident, that driver may have breached their duty of care. For example, most motorcycle accidents happen when a driver that is turning left fails to yield to an oncoming motorcycle. Turning across oncoming traffic without watching carefully is illegal and dangerous. Keep in mind that a driver can be found to have acted negligently even if the police did not cite the driver.
- Damage To legally seek compensation for negligence, you must suffer damages of some sort. Your injuries and their associated costs qualify as damages.
- Causation A breach must directly cause damage. To establish causation, your lawyer must show that a negligent act was a cause-in-fact and a proximate cause of the injury. “Cause-in-fact” simply means that the negligent act occurred in the sequence of events that led to your injury. “Proximate cause” means that your injury was a foreseeable result of the negligent act. In most cases, causation is clear. For example, a driver who turns in front of you and causes you to swerve to avoid a collision would have caused the injuries you received from your evasive maneuver.
In Florida, you can recover compensation even if you are partially to blame for the accident. Under a doctrine called “contributory negligence,” your damages will be reduced by your share of the fault. But Florida law does not bar you from recovering compensation simply because you contributed to an accident.
For example, if you bear 10% of the fault for an accident, you can still recover 90% of your damages.