If a car, truck or other motor vehicle hits you, or if you hit something in the road, while you are riding a motorcycle in Florida then you may want to make a claim to get paid for your damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, etc.).
Do you need to hire a lawyer hire an injury lawyer if someone’s carelessness caused your injury while you were on a motorcycle in Florida? The word “need” is synonymous with the “require.” No, you are not legally required to hire an injury lawyer in Florida.
The better question is, “Should you hire a lawyer?” There are over 11 reasons to hire a Florida injury lawyer if you are in a Florida accident, but I want to talk about the reasons that specifically apply to motorcycle crashes.
Whether or not to hire a lawyer depends on the severity of the crash. If the accident was minor, and you did not receive any medical treatment, then you may not want to hire a lawyer.
Tip: If a drunk driver caused your injury then you should hire a lawyer. This is true even if you did not get medical treatment. This is because you may be able to recover punitive damages, which increases the full value of the case and is one reason why, all things equal, Florida drunk driving injury settlements are typically larger than Florida car crash injury settlements.
If the crash causes you pain or you have a significant amount of out of pocket medical bills and/or lost wages, then you should hire a lawyer. In certain circumstances, it may be more important to hire a lawyer if someone’s negligence caused your injury while you were on a motorcycle in Florida than if someone’s carelessness caused your injury while you are an occupant of a car, a bicycle or as a pedestrian in Florida.
Why is it so important to hire a lawyer if someone’s carelessness caused your injury while you were on a motorcycle in Florida?
1. Your out of pocket medical bills may be higher if injured while on a motorcycle.
If a driver’s carelessness causes your injury while you are on a motorcycle in Florida, then your medical bills may be higher than if you were injured while you are an occupant of a motor vehicle in Florida. This is because, in Florida, if you are an occupant of a motorcycle then your medical bills are paid differently than in most Florida car crashes.
In Florida, motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, three-wheel “mailsters” and similar equipment are not “motor vehicles” under Florida No-Fault law because they do not have “four or more wheels.” They are not “motor vehicles” irrespective of whether they are required to be licensed.
Therefore, motorcycles, mopeds, motor scooters, three-wheel “mailsters” and similar equipment are not covered under PIP. This means that if you do not have health insurance or other first party coverage, in most (but not all) cases your only source of recovery will be against 11 parties that you may be able to make a claim against in a motor vehicle accident.
Most likely you will not get Medpay coverage
You may be entitled to medical payments (Medpay) coverage if you are an insured under a motorcycle insurance policy that provides Medpay coverage. But since Medpay is not required on a motorcycle in Florida and it is expensive, most active Florida motorcycle insurance policies do not include Medpay coverage.
Since Florida motorcycle riders do not have the benefit of PIP, all things equal, there is a higher chance that a an occupant of a motorcycle in Florida will have more out of pocket medical bills than someone who is injured while an occupant of a car, as a bicyclist or as a pedestrian in Florida.
Actual Case Example – Out of Pocket Bills Being Higher in a Florida Motorcycle Crash
A truck driver failed to yield the right of way by making a left hand turn and cutting off Jose, a motorcyclist, in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County, Florida. The front of the truck strikes Jose and forces him off the motorcycle. Jose is driving an uninsured motorcycle in Miami, Florida. Jose does not have health insurance.
Jose is transported to the hospital by ambulance. He has surgery to repair his fractured knee and his finger as a result of the crash. The truck driver is driving his employer’s truck which has liability insurance with AIG.
Since Jose was driving a motorcycle in Florida he does not qualify for PIP, and thus he will have more out of pocket medical bills than if he was covered under PIP while an occupant of a car in Florida. Let me explain.
Let’s say that the hospital bill is $125,000 for Jose’s 7 day hospital stay. Since Jose is not covered under PIP and does not have health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or other first party coverage, Jose will owe $125,000.
Side note: I settled this case for $445,000. All the settlements in this article are before deduction for attorney’s fees and expenses. Most cases result in a lower recovery. It should not be assumed that your case will have as beneficial a result.
If Jose was an occupant of a “motor vehicle” in Florida, then PIP will pay $10,000 to the hospital and the hospital would likely adjust (reduce) some of the bill due to the PIP fee schedule. This would result in Jose having a smaller hospital bill than if he did not have PIP. So it is possible that in this scenario, the car crash, Jose would owe $100,000 or so instead of $125,000.
So if all things are equal, your out of pocket medical bills and loss wages are likely to be higher if you are injured while an occupant of a motorcycle in Florida as opposed to an occupant of a car in Florida. As logic dictates, there is more of a need to hire an attorney if you have larger lost wages and medical bills.
If a vehicle injures you while you are on a motorcycle in Florida, you need to show that a party’s failure to use reasonable care caused your injury in order to get paid for your damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, etc.). An attorney can do everything possible in an attempt to do this.
Tip: If a motor vehicle injures you while you are an occupant of a motorcycle in Florida, then you may be entitled to uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in certain circumstances if you are an insured under a policy that provides UM coverage. UM coverage may pay for your damages (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, etc.) which are not recovered under a liability insurance policy.
Most Florida car owners do not purchase uninsured motorist coverage, and thus most people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents are not entitled to uninsured motorist coverage benefits.
There are over 39 important factors that affect a Florida injury case and the 13 factors that specifically affect a car accident case, many of which apply to Florida motorcycle accident cases.
Warning: If you have a serious injury, I strongly suggest that you do not value your case based on an online settlement calculator. This is true whether you are looking at my Florida injury settlement calculator or one that someone else made.
2. PIP will not cover you and you may need immediate treatment.
If someone’s negligence causes your injury while you are an occupant of a motorcycle, and you need medical treatment, your health insurance or other first party coverage may pay for your medical treatment. Medicare may pay for your treatment if you are injured while on a motorcycle. Even if you have health insurance, some Florida doctors do not want to treat people who are injured in motorcycle accidents or any type of motor vehicle accident.
If you have Medicaid, it is very difficult to find an orthopedic doctor in Florida who will treat you. Hospitals and other medical providers do not have to bill Medicaid or Medicare if there is a party who is liable for causing your injury.
How do you get non-emergency room medical treatment if you do not have health insurance coverage? If you cannot afford to pay for medical treatment, then you may need an attorney to help get you medical treatment.
If you are uninsured, then Florida doctors who may treat you want written assurance, from an attorney, that the attorney will pay the doctor from the injury settlement. Without this assurance, these doctors will not treat you.
Real Case Example – How a Florida Attorney Can Help Get you Medical Treatment
A car (insured by Geico) failed to yield the right of way and hits Mike who is riding a motorcycle. Mike was ejected off the motorcycle and struck the asphalt. Like many Florida motorcycle riders, Mike was driving an uninsured motorcycle and he did not have health insurance.
Mike had pain in his neck, back, knee, flank area and a bruised testicle, but he did not feel that his pain was bad enough to go the emergency room.
How does Mike get non-emergency room medical treatment? Assuming Mike does not want to go the emergency room, his only way of getting treating is to sign a letter of protection (LOP) with a doctor. An LOP is a written agreement between Mike and the doctor whereupon the doctor agrees to treat Mike if he agrees to pay the doctor from a personal injury settlement.
Since Mike was injured while on a motorcycle in Florida, a doctor will not agree to a LOP unless a patient has an attorney. Why? In a motorcycle crash case, the doctor will want a written assurance from an attorney that the doctor will be paid from the settlement since PIP is not available to pay the doctor.
If the injured person was covered by PIP, then a doctor would possibly treat the injured person and have him or her sign a LOP knowing that the doctor has a possibility of getting paid by PIP. But again, motorcycles are not covered by PIP so motorcycle cases are different.
In this real life example, Mike called us a few days after the accident and we quickly referred him to a Citimed medical group (Downtown Miami location) who saw him immediately. I do not like to refer clients to a doctor, but in this case we had no choice.
Mike was or would have been unable to find a doctor on his own. Citimed treated Mike for his neck, back and knee pain, but Citimed did not have an urologist who could treat him for his testicular pain. We set Mike up for a one time independent medical exam with Maury Jayson, M.D., in Pembroke Pines, Florida, who diagnosed him with erectile dysfunction (ED).
An attorney cannot pay for your medical treatment, but an attorney is allowed to front the cost of a one time independent medical examination. The case settled for $100,000 with Geico at presuit mediation before a lawsuit was filed.
Were you injured in a Florida motorcycle accident or other type of accident?
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