Florida Motorcycle Laws That Can Impact Damage Awards
In Florida, juries in personal injury cases award damages based on which party they consider to be more “at fault.” The following article will provide some Florida laws that can impact the amount of damages a motorcyclist can receive in a personal injury case.
Florida’s comparative negligence system
Florida Statute § 768.81 states that all personal injury claims in Florida are based on the concept of pure comparative negligence. This means that if the court finds that your own actions contributed to any injury or damage you suffered, any damage award that you may be entitled to receive will be reduced to reflect that fact. For example, if a jury awards you $100,000 in damages but also finds that you were 50% to blame for the accident, your damages award will be reduced to $50,000.
Florida motorcycle laws
The following provides some Florida laws regarding motorcycles that can impact a claim for damages resulting from a motorcycle accident.
- No motorcycle license/endorsement: Though you can still recover compensation even if you did not have a motorcycle license or an endorsement on your standard driver’s license, the jury will likely assign more fault to you if they hear that you were unlicensed at the time of the accident. However, such evidence is routinely excluded at trial.
- No daytime running lights: Florida requires motorcycles to have functioning daytime headlights. As such, if you did not have or use them at the time of the accident, that may have reduced the visibility of your motorcycle, which the jury may hold against you.
- Helmet use: In Florida, motorcyclists who are over the age of 21 and who have at least $10,000 in medical insurance benefits are not required to wear a helmet when they ride. However, some juries will look at your choice not to wear a helmet as negligence on your part, which could negatively impact the amount of damages they award you.
- Use of earphones: Florida prohibits motorcyclists from using any listening devices other than hearing aids while operating their vehicles. As such, if you were wearing earphones at the time of the accident, a jury may find you at fault, especially if it determined that you couldn’t hear the other vehicle’s warning (for example, a car horn).
- Street-legal bikes: Motorcycles must have footrests, handlebars, and working stop lights and turn signals. If you were riding a motorcycle at the time of the accident that you knew was defective, your award amount could be impacted.
- Red lights: Some states allow motorcyclists to go through red lights if they are sitting at an intersection and the light stays red for a specific amount of time. However, this is not allowed in Florida. Therefore, if you went through a red light and got into a crash, a jury will likely hold you liable.
Were You Recently Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Speak to a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
If you were recently injured in a motorcycle accident, Rosen Injury Law, P.A. can help. Our experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys will answer any questions you may have about filing a lawsuit and will help you build a strong case so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.