Florida has multiple laws that can apply to motorcycle accidents. If you operate a motorcycle, you should become familiar with these regulations. The Florida statutes define motorcycles as motor vehicles, so many of the rules that apply to accidents that involve cars and trucks also govern motorcycle wrecks. Below, we detail Florida motorcycle accident laws you need to know.
Depending on the circumstances of the motor vehicle accident, the investigating law enforcement officer must file either a long form or a short form Florida Traffic Crash Report within 10 days of completing the investigation. All drivers of motor vehicles involved in the wreck must provide the name of their insurance company to the officer.
If the accident resulted in damage to a vehicle or other property but did not require that a law enforcement officer investigate and write a report, every driver involved in the wreck must file a written report within 10 days of the collision.
Parties Who Have Access to Accident Reports
Law enforcement agencies must make accident reports available immediately to all of these parties or entities:
- Everyone involved in the collision (i.e., parties)
- The legal representatives of all parties (such as their lawyers)
- The insurance agents and insurance companies of all parties
- Claims adjusters and underwriters
- Law enforcement agencies
- The Department of Transportation
- County traffic operations
- Programs that provide victims services
- Licensed radio and television stations
Proof of Insurance
Every driver must give the officer proof of insurance. It is a noncriminal, nonmoving violation to fail to show proof of insurance unless your injuries or some other unique circumstance prevents you from doing so. In the absence of such justification, the officer will issue you a citation.
Sometimes people do not have their proof of insurance with them at the scene of the accident. The law enforcement agency has the option to void the citation if you bring them proof within 24 hours of the crash that you have valid insurance that was in effect at the time of the accident.
Insurance for Motorcycle Owners
The laws about motorcycle insurance in Florida are confusing. Although our state’s law defines motorcycles as motor vehicles for some purposes, the statutory language is not straightforward about whether motorcycle owners must buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Here are the issues:
- The statute requires motor vehicles registered in the state to have PIP coverage, but the PIP coverage statute defines a motor vehicle as “any self-propelled vehicle with four or more wheels which is of a type both designed and required to be licensed for use on the highways of this state.” Motorcycles generally have two or three wheels.
- This means that motorcycle riders do not usually have to buy PIP insurance, even though Florida is a no-fault state.
This can be problematic as Florida law does not require drivers to carry liability insurance. If you do not have PIP coverage and the other driver does not have liability insurance, you could end up paying out of pocket for your injuries. As motorcycle accidents are often severe, you could be looking at tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Florida Law Allows Injured Motorcycle Operators to Recover Compensation for Injuries and Other Losses
Motorcycle accidents are complex as many Florida accident and insurance laws do not apply. Two laws that do not apply are the PIP requirement (discussed above) and the serious injury threshold.
In a typical car accident, an involved party’s injuries must meet a threshold to step outside the no-fault system and file suit against the other party. This law does not apply to motorcycle operators. As such, injured motorcycle operators can file a claim against the other driver for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses, like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctors, medical procedures, diagnostic lab work and imaging studies, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. You can also recover future estimated medical expenses.
- Lost wages that you missed because of the wreck and recuperation, whether you earn wages, a salary, or self-employment income.
- Lost earning capacity, if you can no longer work because of your injuries. You can also recover compensation if you needed to work less or take a lesser-paying job.
- Long-term care, if you need daily medical care and assistance with personal living activities.
- Non-economic damages discussed earlier in this article, which can include things like pain and suffering, inconvenience, emotional anguish, and mental distress.
How much you can recover depends on the severity of your injuries and how they have affected, and will continue to affect, you. Our team will investigate your accident to determine your case worth.
Call Montero Law Center for Help with Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If another party caused your motorcycle wreck, you deserve compensation. For help with your motorcycle accident injury claim, call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500. We can review your case and discuss how an accident lawyer can help during your free consultation. There is no obligation.