How is Liability Determined in Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?
When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, one of the things you may need to do before you can receive compensation for your injuries is prove who was at fault for the accident. Although Florida uses no-fault auto insurance, you may still be able to take your case to court to receive compensation, and determining fault is one of the primary parts of these kinds of lawsuits. If you or a loved one was injured in a serious motorcycle crash, Miami motorcycle accident lawyer Prosper Shaked may be able to help with your case. Prosper Shaked explains how fault is determined in motorcycle accident cases and how this could affect your motorcycle injury claim.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Affect Motorcycle Injury Lawsuits?
When researching your motorcycle injury case, you may have come across information regarding “no-fault” insurance in Florida. While Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance, this does not mean that fault will not play a role in your case.
No-fault insurance can cover your injuries any time you were injured in a car crash, regardless of who was at fault. However, the amount of coverage for your no-fault policy may be far too low to cover your needs if you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. Because of this, you may need to take your case to court to get full compensation. In court, your lawyer will need to prove who was at fault for the crash before you can get compensation for your injuries.
If the damages you suffer are too expensive for your own insurance to cover, you may be able to make a third-party claim on the at-fault driver’s policy instead of going to court. In this situation, the insurance company will decide who is at fault, and they may refuse to pay you. If this happens, you may need to take your case to court anyway.
How Courts Decide Who is At Fault
Once a motorcycle accident claim is filed in court, there will be a few procedural steps before the case gets before a jury. These steps involve lawyers trying to get the case dropped or pushed through by making legal arguments. This process can take a month or so, and then the case will be scheduled for trial.
As the victim, you have the burden of proving that the other party is at fault for the crash. Unlike criminal cases where you must prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” you need only prove your case “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This standard is commonly described as a standard that shows your claim is the truth, “more likely than not.” The jury, not the judge, determines which side’s case is the truth.
Courts look at the “totality of the circumstances” when deciding fault. This means that they do not look only at one side’s claims or specific traffic laws that were violated, but take into account what everyone was doing when the accident occurred. In doing so, the jury often assigns a percentage of the blame to each party involved in the crash, and each party is responsible for paying that portion of the damages. That means that if the at-fault driver is 90% liable and the victim is 10% liable, the at-fault driver will pay for 90% of the damages and the victim will cover their own 10%.
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Case
A party is at fault for a crash if they did something wrong that lead to the crash. This is known as “negligence.”
Things like speeding, driving under the influence, or texting while driving are clearly dangerous acts. Violating other traffic laws may also indicate the driver was at fault for the crash. Anything else that shows the driver failed to use the proper care or skill expected of someone in their situation can also indicate negligence.
To prove the negligent driver was at fault and should pay for damages, you must also prove that they caused the accident. A negligent driver who doesn’t actually cause an accident can’t be held responsible for the crash.
Lastly, you must prove the damages you suffered. While you can claim any damages that resulted from the crash as part of your case, you must prove the damages to receive compensation. Things like hospital bills, pay stubs, bank statements, and other records can help prove the losses you suffered. You commonly prove pain and suffering damages by testifying about how the injury affected your life. Other people, like witnesses, family members, and expert witnesses can also testify to help you build your case. Expert witnesses can prove valuable evidence regarding accident reconstruction, medical care and injuries, and financial projections for medical costs or lost earnings.
Contact Our Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you were injured in a serious motorcycle accident or a loved one was wrongfully killed in a motorcycle accident, call The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today to schedule a free consultation on your case. Miami personal injury lawyer Prosper Shaked represents victims and their families and fights to get you the compensation you need. Our number is (305) 690-0244.