What are your legal rights when you are injured in a motorCYCLE accident?

Florida is famous as a destination for motorcycle enthusiasts. From the sands of Daytona Beach to the long stretches of country roads, the Sunshine State offers breathtaking riding experiences. 

While riding a motorcycle can be a thrill, a motorcycle rider is extremely vulnerable to injury when his vehicle is involved in a collision. In 2017, Florida had 504 motorcycle related fatalities, the second highest of any state.  According to the  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),  per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are  28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash.

Motorcycle accident cases are a type of personal injury law that allow injured riders to recover against at fault drivers for damages.

A strange discrepancy in Florida law is the fact that motorcyclists are not afforded general PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage and benefits which insurers must provide automobile drivers.

Due to this fact, it is essential that you have adequate supplemental coverage to protect yourself in case of a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies offer different choices as to coverage for a motorcycle rider, and they are often very confusing. John Clarke offers a free consultation to review your policy and determine your coverages.

Florida Does Not Have a Mandatory Helmet Law

Studies on motorcycle accident fatalities done by the NHTSA show that helmets are 37% effective in preventing death.

In spite of the safety enhancement afforded by helmets,  the Florida legislature repealed the mandatory helmet law of 2000.

Florida Statutes section 316.211 provides that a motor cycle rider or driver may ride without a helmet provided he maintains an insurance policy that provides at least $10,000 of medical benefits for injuries sustained in a motor cycle accident.  

Suing for Accident-Related Injuries

A plaintiff injured in a motor cycle accident has the burden to show by the greater weight of the evidence that the defendant was at fault in order to recover for his injuries. 

Most motor vehicle accident cases are grounded in the negligence theory of liability.   In order to prove his case, the negligence plaintiff must prove that:

A.   The defendant driver owed him a duty of care.

B.    The defendant driver breached this duty of care.

C.    The defendant driver’s breach caused the plaintiff to suffer injury.

D.   The plaintiff’s injuries resulted in compensable damages.  


Comparative Negligence

Florida law provides for the apportionment of damages between the defendant and plaintiff in a personal injury case based on the fault of each party.  This means that if you sue another driver for your injuries and the court finds that you played some role in causing the accident, the court is required to determine the percentage of fault of each party.   The court is also required to reduce the damages you recover from the defendant by the percentage of your fault.


John Clarke is an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer who handles motorcycle accident cases.   If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Florida, call John Clarke at (954) 556-8952 for a free consultation!