Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Fort Walton BeachFort Walton Beach plays host to the annual Emerald Coast Bike Fest Rally. The event, which is sponsored by Harley-Davidson, features hundreds of Harleys on display, numerous other motorcycle-related vendors, a full bar, and countless riders who roll into town to take part in the festivities and camaraderie. Florida’s climate is great for motorcycling, and events like these are held every year throughout the state.
Bikers enjoy the favorable weather and breathtaking scenery that comes with riding a motorcycle in the Sunshine State, but this activity is not without its dangers. Motorcycle accidents have been on the rise in recent years, and motorcyclists are at greater risk of serious injuries than ever before. If you or a loved one suffered injury in a motorcycle crash in Panama City or a nearby community, it is important to have a strong legal advocate by your side who is fighting for your rights and interests.
Insurance companies are always motivated to pay out as little as possible for any accidents that their clients are involved in. There is nothing too unusual about this, it’s simply the way for-profit entities operate. What this means, however, is that the insurer’s interests are not aligned with yours, and no matter how courteous their representatives are, they are not likely to pay you a fair settlement on their own.
Motorcycle accident victims have another hurdle to overcome; the notion that they are reckless drivers who drive too fast and take other unnecessary chances. While there are some riders who might fit this stereotype, on balance, motorcyclists are pretty safe drivers. In fact, the majority of the time, the accidents they are involved in are caused by other vehicle drivers or outside factors.
At Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A., we understand the major physical, emotional, and financial toll motorcycle crashes take on victims and their families, and we are here to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. Our attorneys have over six decades of combined experience representing victims of motorcycle accidents in Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, and communities throughout the Florida Panhandle. We have a successful track record with these types of cases, and we prioritize the needs of our clients above all else.
What Causes Most Motorcycle Crashes in Florida?
Motorcycles are lighter and have smaller profiles than other vehicles. And when a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, they are far more likely to suffer a serious injury or fatality. There are a number of reasons motorcycle accidents occur, here are some of the most common:
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: A lot of collisions with motorcycles happen because of motorists who drive aggressively or recklessly and/or do not respect the rights of motorcyclists on the road. Driving behaviors that can increase the chances of a motorcycle accident include excessive speeding, tailgating, weaving back and forth between lanes, illegal or dangerous passing maneuvers, refusal to yield the right-of-way, and street racing.
- Left Turn Accidents: Making a left turn is statistically far more dangerous for motorists than turning right. The primary reason is that left turns go against the flow of traffic in countries where we drive on the right side of the road. Motorcycles are more difficult to see than regular vehicles as it is, and even more so when a driver is trying to turn left.
- Blind Spot Accidents: A motorcycle’s smaller profile heightens the risk of them getting lost in a driver’s blind spot. When this occurs, a driver might switch lanes abruptly without knowing that the motorcycle is there.
- Chemical Impairment: Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs contributes to a significant number of motorcycle crashes, as well as other types of vehicle accidents. It is critical for both motorists and motorcyclists alike to stay sober and use an alternative means of transportation if they are intoxicated.
- Distractions: As we touched on earlier, there has been a significant rise in motorcycle crash fatalities during the past couple decades. In fact, there are now more than double the number of annual fatalities as they were during the 1990s. Many experts believe that the advent of smartphones and the number of motorists that text while driving is a major contributing factor.
Pursuing a Fort Walton Beach Motorcycle Accident Claim
Getting injured in a motorcycle crash in the Fort Walton Beach area can be a traumatic experience. In the blink of an eye, you could find yourself in the hospital and out of work for an extended period of time. And in some of the worst cases, you may be dealing with a permanent and debilitating injury.
When this happens, injury victims can pursue damages, usually from the responsible party’s insurance company, but sometimes with their own insurer (in the case of an uninsured driver causing an accident) or against an outside party. Compensatory damages for accident injury claims can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are direct monetary losses that the victim incurs. Examples include hospitalization costs, costs for surgeries and other medical procedures and treatments, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of ongoing medical care, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of a wrongful death).
- Noneconomic Damages: These are losses for intangibles such as physical pain-and-suffering, mental anguish, psychological trauma, diminished quality of life, loss of consortium, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
In Florida, you can still recover damages even if you are partially at fault for the accident under the state’s pure comparative negligence standard. That said, any damages that are awarded are reduced in proportion to the percentage that the injured party is found to be at fault. For example, if your total losses amounted to $150,000 and you are found to be 30% at fault, your damages would be reduced by $45,000 down to a total of $115,000.
Injury victims also need to be aware of the statute of limitations, which is the amount of time they have to file an accident injury claim. In Florida, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents and most other personal injury actions is four years. However, if the accident resulted in a fatality, the victim’s family has just two years in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Although this may seem like plenty of time, the longer you wait to begin a legal action, the more difficult it becomes to recover full and fair compensation. Memories fade over time and evidence has a tendency to disappear. This is why it is best to get an experienced attorney involved sooner rather than later.
Contact a Seasoned Fort Walton Beach Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injury in a motorcycle crash in the Florida Panhandle area, the attorneys at Whibbs Stone & Barnett are ready to go to work for you! We will provide a free consultation and case assessment to review the circumstances of your accident and let you know what your legal options are. And if we end up representing you, you will not have to pay any attorney fees unless we win your case.
To get started, message us online or call our office today at 1-888-219-4561. We look forward to serving you!