Motorcycle Passenger Rights After an Accident in Miami
February 28, 2023 | Sagi Shaked | Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents are distressingly common on Miami roads. The dangers of riding a motorcycle extend not only to operators but to motorcycle passengers as well. Concerns are perhaps even more acute for motorcycle passengers because they have no direct control over the operators’ decisions. Unfortunately, these decisions can be catastrophic or even tragic. If you are a motorcycle passenger who has suffered an injury caused by someone else, you may have the right to full compensation.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Following are just a handful of the most common forms of motorcycle accident injuries that apply to both operators and passengers:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). TBI can lead to lifelong debilitation.
- Spinal cord injuries. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are common consequences of spinal cord injuries.
- Road rash, which occurs when someone’s skin skids along asphalt or pavement.
- Bone fractures. Some accidents can even crush a bone to powder.
- Amputation injuries that can cause lifelong disability.
- Lacerations, which can kill as well as maim.
Due to the inherent fragility of the human body, many more types of injuries are possible.
Personal Injury Claims and Florida’s Auto Accident Compensation System
If you suffer a motorcycle accident injury caused by the misconduct of someone else, you have the right to file a claim seeking compensation for your economic and non-economic losses. You might even qualify for punitive damages. You will generally file a claim against the appropriate insurance company to begin the process.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
At-fault drivers typically lack the financial resources to pay large accident claims. Since motorcycles offer no frame protection, many motorcycle accidents involve serious injuries and large injury claims that at-fault drivers cannot afford to pay.
It is true that as long as the at-fault driver carries liability insurance, then you can file a third-party claim. Unfortunately, Florida does not absolutely require motorcyclists or automobile drivers to purchase liability insurance. Hopefully, the at-fault driver carries optional insurance or is a tourist from a state that requires liability insurance.
What If You Were Not Wearing a Helmet?
Florida’s motorcycle helmet law requires everyone under 21, including motorcycle passengers, to wear a helmet. If you are 21 or older, you must wear a helmet unless you carry at least $10,000 in insurance. If you suffered a head injury because you weren’t wearing a helmet, you could lose compensation for any amount of losses that you could have avoided by doing so. Such a loss isn’t certain, but it is possible.
Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
You can file a personal injury lawsuit if you suffer injuries in an accident. But if you die in the accident, you cannot file a claim. Nevertheless, the personal representative of your probate estate (your executor) can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your probate estate and your close relatives. If you did not appoint an executor, the judge will appoint one.
Wrongful death claims work much like personal injury claims. Comparative negligence can reduce the amount of damages available, for example. Courts calculate damages somewhat differently, and awards tend to be high.
TV police dramas might have you believe that you can choose whether or not to “press charges” in the event of a motorcycle accident that amounts to a crime. In fact, only the public prosecutor can decide whether to prosecute. They almost always do, however.
Keep in mind that it is a lot more difficult to win a criminal conviction than to win a lawsuit. In a lawsuit, you only have to prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence,” which is a 51% likelihood. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a much higher standard to meet. This disparity raises the possibility that you might win a civil lawsuit even if the defendant wins an acquittal in criminal court.
A Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Sort Things Out
Motorcycle accidents can generate complex claims because of the seriousness of the typical injury. Contact a seasoned Miami motorcycle accident lawyer today to schedule a free initial consultation.