If someone’s negligence caused your injury while you were on a motorcycle in Florida, you may be able to get paid for your pain and suffering and other damages.
This article does not apply to motorcycle accidents outside of Florida. I’m not going to talk about whether you can get paid for missing work or getting your medical bills paid after a motorcycle accident in Florida.
Motorcyclists Don’t Need a Threshold Injury To Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering
If you are injured while occupying a motorcycle you do not have to pass the “threshold” to recover for non-economic damages (pain and suffering, etc.). Scherzer v. Beron, 455 So.2d 441 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984), 459 So.2d 1039 (Fla. 1984).
In Scherzer, a motorcyclist was in an accident with another vehicle. The court stated that the motorcycle rider wasn’t required to pierce the no-fault threshold in order to sue for pain and suffering.
The court said that it would be unconstitutional to disallow the motorcyclist to sue for PIP or personal injury.
This means that in order to have the chance of getting a payout for your pain and suffering, you just have to have some pain.
If you were in a car at the time of an accident you may have to meet the tort threshold under 627.737(2) in order to have a chance at getting money for pain and suffering.
But in any case, in order to get pain and suffering you would have to show that the driver’s negligence caused your injury. The owner of the car is also on the hook for the driver’s negligence.
You also have to show that his or her negligence caused your injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Settlements Are Often Higher Because You Don’t Need a Permanent Injury
The main reason that motorcycle accident settlements are higher is because motorcyclists usually suffer a worse injury than a driver of a car. Thus, the pain and suffering component of the settlement is higher.
My average motorcycle accident settlement amount has been $80,000. The primary reason for this is that the motorcycle riders suffered big injuries.
Pain and suffering compensation is often higher for motorcycle accidents because a motorcyclist doesn’t need to meet the tort threshold.
What If a Truck Makes a Left Hand Turn Into Your Path of Travel?
Assume that you’re riding a motorcycle in Miami. A 18 wheeler tractor-trailer truck makes a left hand turn in front of you and violates your right of way.
In this example, I am using an 18 wheeler truck. However, the result would be the same from any motor vehicle (could be a car, truck, etc.).
You are thrown of the motorcycle and you fracture your finger and your leg. The doctor operate on both body parts.
You have a claim against the truck driver for pain and suffering. This is because the trucker’s negligence caused your injuries.
I settled a similar case for $445,000 where I represented a motorcyclist who was hit by a truck that violated his right of way.
I used Miami, Florida in this example but the same law is applied throughout Florida. The result would generally be the same if the accident happened in any city in Florida.
Jury awards in some counties in Florida are higher than in others. Juries in highly populated counties tend to award more money for pain and suffering.
Examples of a few highly populated counties in Florida are Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach County, Pinellas, Orange, and Duval County.
$50,000 Settlement for Motorcyclist Who Breaks Collarbone; Car Pulls Out in His Path
Travelers Insurance Company paid this settlement. When Travelers evaluated the case, they likely put the pain and suffering portion of this settlement at about $45,000.
I represented the motorcyclist.
If You Fall off a Motorcycle, and Get Hit, No Threshold
Assume that you were riding a motorcycle and you fell off. A car hits you.
You would be considered to be occupying a self-propelled vehicle [the motorcycle] and not a motor vehicle. Dunlap v. United Services Auto. Assn., 470 So.2d 98 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985).
Thus, you don’t need to meet the “tort threshold”. You have to show that you had some pain and suffering in order to attempt to get a settlement.
If You’re Pushing a Motorcycle, You Don’t Need to Meet The Tort Threshold
Assume you’re pushing a motorcycle that doesn’t work. A car hits you. You don’t need a threshold injury. This is because you are considered an occupant of the motorcycle.
You are not considered a pedestrian if you are pushing a motorcycle. So you would not need to meet the “tort threshold” in order to have the possibility of getting money for pain and suffering.
You would just have to show that you had some pain and suffering in order to attempt to get a settlement.
Case is Much Tougher if You Crash Into The Back of a Car
You are on a motorcycle in Miami. You drive into the back of a car. You fall off the motorcycle. You fracture your finger and your leg.
You have surgery on both. You probably cannot make a claim for pain and suffering against the driver of the car that you hit.
This is because you were likely at fault.
However, don’t assume that you don’t have a case. You may still have a claim.
For example, if you hit an 18 wheeler that didn’t have its rear lights on, or was disabled and didn’t have warning cones in back of it, you may still have a case.
In order for you to actually get compensation for your pain and suffering, there needs to be insurance or a collectible defendant.
You have 2 possibilities.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
As mentioned above, in order for you have the chance of getting money for your pain and suffering from the owner – and/or driver – of the car that hit you, you need:
- To show that He or she was negligent (careless); and
- To have had an injury
- The driver – or owner – of the motor vehicle that hit you needs to have money to pay for your lost wages. You could also possibly get coverage if the driver was an employee who was working at the time of the accident. This usually comes in the form of bodily injury liability insurance.
Uninsured Motorist insurance
If the vehicle that caused your accident is uninsured or underinsured, you can make a claim for pain and suffering against any available uninsured motorist (UM) car insurance. This is assumes that you’re insured under a policy with uninsured motorist insurance.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance pays for your pain and suffering and other damages if the driver – and/or owner – of a car that caused your accident does not have (or does not have enough) bodily injury liability insurance coverage which to pay for your damages.
If you did not own a car at the time of the accident, your resident relative’s uninsured motorist insurance may pay for your lost wages.
The bad news is that Florida law does not require a car or motorcycle owner to have uninsured motorist insurance. So how would you qualify for uninsured motorist insurance?
It would have been purchased:
- As part of the motorcycle insurance policy; and/or
- As part of a car insurance policy purchased by you or relative that you live with
If a motorcyclist is insured under an auto insurance policy that provides UM coverage, it may also pay for the rider’s pain and suffering if the accident was caused by an uninsured vehicle.
The answer will depend on the type of available uninsured motorist coverage.
“Nonstacked” Coverage May or May Not Pay for You
Nonstacking uninsured motorist car insurance will probably not pay for your pain and suffering and other damages if you were injured on a motorcycle that you or a resident relative owned at the time of the accident.
If you – or a resident relative – did not own the motorcycle at the time of the accident, nonstacking uninsured motorist insurance should afford you coverage for your pain and suffering and other damages.
Stacking UM Coverage Should Always Pay for Pain and Suffering
Stacking uninsured motorist car insurance will pay for your pain and suffering and other compensation if you’re on a motorcycle that you owned at the time of the accident.
This is true even if the motorcycle was uninsured. It is also true if a resident relative owned the motorcycle. Stacking UM coverage also will cover you if you did not own the motorcycle.
Were you injured in a Florida motorcycle accident or other type of accident?
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled including, but not limited to, car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving accidents and much more.
I want to represent you if someone’s carelessness in a Florida accident caused your injury, or if a family member was killed. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you.
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