MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS IN FLORIDA AND GEORGIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The beautiful year-round weather makes Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia ideal for getting outside to ride motorcycles. Unfortunately, it is also one of the reasons both areas consistently record a high number of motorcycle accidents. Authorities reported a total of 422 motorcycle accidents in 2019, with 368 injuries and 25 fatalities resulting from those crashes in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida alone. As of June 2020, there has already been 181 motorcycle crashes resulting in 144 injuries and 11 deaths.
Southeast Georgia reports similar motorcycle accident statistics, particularly in the cities of Kingsland, St. Mary’s, Brunswick, and Savannah, Georgia. According to Georgia Office of Highway Safety’s most recent records, the total for fatal motorcycle accidents statewide was 154. (Note: The GA OHS only provides motorcycle fatalities statistics.)
Barnes & Cohen, P.A., is ready to provide expert legal assistance whether you need representation in Florida or Georgia. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you were injured in a motorcycle accident.
FAQs About Motorcycle Accidents in Georgia and Florida
Q: What are My Rights as a Motorcycle Driver in Florida and Georgia?
A: You have certain inalienable rights regardless of whether you are riding a motorcycle in Florida or Georgia. These rights include:
- The full use of all traffic lanes;
- Permission to ride in carpool lanes;
- The right to use public lands like drivers operating off-road or all-terrain vehicles;
- The right to receive the same treatment from law enforcement that is afforded to automobile and commercial truck drivers.
Call Barnes & Cohen for a free consultation if you believe your rights have been violated while driving your motorcycle.
Q: What is the Difference Between Vehicle Insurance Coverage and Motorcycle Insurance Coverage in Florida and Georgia?
A: Florida vehicle owners must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to legally drive their vehicle. However, Florida motorcycle owners do not have to carry insurance. As a result, vehicle owners can face fines and forfeiture of their driver’s licenses if they are caught driving without insurance, but this is not true for Florida motorcyclists who are legally able to own and operate their motorcycles without insurance. That said, if a motorcyclist causes an accident in Florida, they are held financially responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from the crash.
In Georgia, both vehicle and motorcycle owners must prove they are insured when registering their property. Motorcycle owners can buy liability coverage from motorcycle insurance agencies licensed with the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.
Q: If I was in a Motorcycle Accident Caused by Another Driver, can I Recover Damages Through My PIP Coverage?
A: In Florida, PIP insurance pays 80 percent of medical costs if your motorcycle is covered by your policy. You are also eligible to file a PIP claim to pay for hospital, surgical, diagnostic, and ambulatory services. However, be aware that when injuries are treated within fourteen (14) days and/or do not require emergency medical attention, PIP only pays $2500 towards medical expenses.
Q: Can I Still Get Compensation for a Motorcycle Accident if I was at Fault?
A: Georgia is a “modified comparative fault” state, which means a plaintiff is only eligible for recovery if he or she is less than 50 percent at fault for the accident
However, Florida is a “pure comparative fault” state, which means a motorcycle operator’s level of negligence does not bar recovery but does reduce damages proportionate to his or her fault in the accident.. For example, if a jury found you 70 percent responsible for the accident, you could recover 30 percent of your damages from other negligent parties involved in the accident.
Q: What Kind of Compensation is Available in Motorcycle Accident Cases in Florida and Georgia?
A: In both Florida and Georgia, in addition to both present and future medical bills, injured motorcyclists can also obtain compensation for:
- Physical injuries
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
- Lost wages
- Loss of ability to earn money
- Pain and suffering
- Medical care and treatment
- Expenses for medical care and treatment
- Property damage
Compensation amounts in Florida and Georgia vary depending on the severity of physical injuries and the consequences these injuries have on a victim’s quality of life.
Q: How Long After a Motorcycle Accident do I Have to File a Lawsuit in Florida and Georgia?
A: Florida allows motorcycle accident victims four (4) years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Georgia allows motorcycle accident victims only two (2) years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Contacting a motorcycle accident attorney in Georgia as soon as possible after an incident is strongly recommended since the time to file is only two years. At the same time, hiring a motorcycle crash lawyer in Florida is equally important. Waiting too long may detrimental to your case as valuable evidence and witnesses may no longer be available.
Q: What Should I do if I am in a Motorcycle Accident?
A: Best practices following a motorcycle accident in Florida or Georgia are similar to those after any motor vehicle accident:
- 1. If able, call the police. If you are seriously injured, do not attempt to move. Otherwise, if able, call 911 immediately so that officials can create a report of what happened at the accident.
- Get the other party’s contact Information. Get their license, insurance coverage information and contact numbers. Avoid other discussion and never admit fault.
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information. Talk to any witnesses who may have seen the accident and be sure to get their contact information, as well.
- Document the accident scene mentally, and with your smartphone camera. If able, photograph the scene with your phone and capture shots of things like the accident area, speed limit signage, road conditions, lighting, weather, your motorcycle, physical injuries, etc.
- Alert your insurance provider and provide them with the details. Contact your provider to give them the details of the accident. Never talk with or provide any information to the other party’s insurance company, and never sign anything until your attorney has reviewed the paperwork.
- Get checked out by a licensed physician as soon as able. As soon as you are able following an accident, get to a doctor to let them check you for any injuries, some of which may not be apparent to you, but which a physician can easily identify.
- Contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at Barnes & Cohen. The sooner we can begin handling your case, the sooner we can start gathering the details and evidence necessary for obtaining the compensation you deserve, if you were seriously injured.
It is never prudent to try and represent yourself in a motorcycle accident claim. Learning how to interpret Georgia and Florida motorcycle accident laws takes years of experience. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Barnes & Cohen, P.A. have successfully handled hundreds of lawsuits for victims seeking appropriate compensation for motorcycle accidents throughout Jacksonville, Northeast Florida, and Southeast Georgia. We are here to manage your case and have the skill and expertise necessary to achieve your desired results. Let us take care of your legal matters while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact Barnes & Cohen, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation.