In Florida, insurance laws differ slightly from regular auto insurance. No-fault insurance laws do not apply to Florida motorcyclists. Therefore, motorcycle operators must seek damage compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance. They might seek recompensation for losses like lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
In the US, over 10% of drivers are on the roadways operating motor vehicles without insurance, with Florida having one of the highest rates of insured drivers. That includes motorcycle owners.
It’s best for motorcycle owners to secure some sort of coverage in case they get into an accident with a party that doesn’t have any liability insurance. Part of the reason is that motorcycle collisions often result in very severe injuries. Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims don’t usually sustain minor injuries. Instead, they face higher risk of catastrophic injuries and related financial hardships after a crash.
If a motorcyclist gets into an accident, they might wonder whose insurance is responsible for paying their damages. The thought of no insurance being available to cover any of their injuries can be quite scary and pose stress on the injury victim. So, what insurance laws apply to motorcycle accidents in Florida? Read on to learn more about Florida’s motorcycle insurance laws and whether or not motorcyclists can use PIP coverage.
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Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws: Do They Apply to Motorcycles?
Florida follows no-fault insurance laws. Simply put, this means all drivers must carry insurance to cover their own expenses after an accident. This coverage is known as personal injury protection (PIP insurance). It’s mandatory for all drivers in Florida because it’s meant to cover your losses after an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. Since all drivers are legally required to carry PIP, they cannot take legal action against another driver for causing the crash unless their damages exceed a certain threshold.
What Else Should Florida Motorcyclists Know About PIP Insurance?
The fact that no-fault insurance doesn’t apply to motorcyclists can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, motorcyclists don’t get to use their PIP for financial recovery after they get injured in a crash. However, since they can’t use PIP, that means they can file a claim against the at fault driver, no matter what. Factors like injury severity or damage amounts won’t affect their ability to file a motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault party.
What Motorcycle Insurance Laws Do Affect Florida Riders?
Motorcycle riders in Florida who don’t wear a helmet are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance. However, this does not necessarily need to be PIP, but it is the same amount as PIP coverage that is required of other drivers.
Unfortunately, $10,000 is very unlikely to cover your medical expenses and other damages after a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accident victims are more likely to sustain catastrophic or other severe injuries that require extensive medical care and treatment.
Do I Need Proof of Florida Motorcycle Insurance To Ride?
One of the distinguishing feats of riding a motorcycle in Florida is that there is no requirement for proof of insurance when registering the motorcycle. That said, it is important to purchase liability insurance or some other form of qualifying insurance. Whichever form of self-insurance motorcyclists opt for should meet Florida’s financial responsibility requirements, including:
- $10,000 for property damage liability coverage
- $10,000 for bodily injury liability coverage (per person)
- And $20,000 in bodily liability coverage (per accident)
If you are found to be at fault for causing an accident, lacking insurance can leave you personally on the hook for a lot of financial damage. You could also face consequences for not having insurance. Furthermore, bodily injury liability insurance is not legally required. However, motorcyclists should purchase as much as they can afford. This is because motorcycle accidents usually result in severe injuries that require intensive and extensive medical treatment and the medical bills will rack up fast.
Getting Motorcycle Insurance Coverage in Florida
After you get a motorcycle license, you can purchase motorcycle insurance from your provider of choice. Or, you can get a self-insurance certificate. The Florida DMV will keep this information on file. While you don’t need proof of insurance while you register your motorcycle, you will need to carry proof while operating a motorcycle. This will make things easier when dealing with law enforcement officers after a crash.
Generally speaking, the following forms of proof are acceptable forms of coverage you can show for insurance purposes after an accident:
- An insurance card
- A digital insurance card or picture of your insurance card
- Insurance account information from a web source
- A self-insurance certificate issued from the Florida Bureau of Financial Responsibility
What Happens if You Get Caught Riding Without Motorcycle Insurance in Florida?
Even though you are not required to have insurance to register a motorcycle in Florida, you can face penalties if you don’t meet minimum insurance requirements after an accident. Moreover, if you are found responsible for causing the accident, you are liable for bodily injury coverage and property damages. So while you aren’t technically required to have motorcycle accident coverage, you’ll be glad you have it after you cause an accident.
Let’s say you don’t have any liability coverage in effect after an accident. In that case, you might face legal repercussions such as:
- Suspended driving privileges
- Suspended registration and tags
- Mandatory three-year purchase of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage
- Civil actions against you
What About Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance, Is That Required for Motorcyclists Florida?
As a Florida motorcyclist, you can operate without insurance. But, that doesn’t let you off the hook for financial responsibilities after an accident. You are still responsible for paying damages you cause up to the state limits for minimum liability coverage. Again, while bodily injury liability coverage is not mandatory, it’s highly recommended that all motorcyclists purchase as much as they can afford.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Florida
Florida’s civil laws allow injury victims to file a claim for accident related damage recovery caused by another person’s negligence. So, if you get injured in a Florida motorcycle accident, you have a right to seek compensation for financial and other losses you suffered.
As a claimant, you must provide sufficient evidence of the other motorist’s negligence and that they caused the accident and your resulting injuries. An experienced lawyer is your best bet at ensuring you handle the claims process correctly and efficiently. The last thing you want is for your claim to get denied or delayed because of a technical error or some other preventable mistake. As Florida motorcycle accident lawyers have experience handling motorcycle accident cases, they can significantly increase your odds of successfully recovering damage compensation after an accident.
Which Insurance Pays For My Damages After a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accident victims might initially use their health insurance as a first line of coverage for medical expenses. They may have purchased optional insurance coverages (e.g., uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage) that can help reduce their out-of-pocket costs after getting injured in an accident. After you get the necessary medical treatment, it’s critical to contact a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer. They will discuss your legal rights and options with you. You might be eligible to file a motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault driver immediately after an accident.
How Can a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help Me?
The first line of order after an accident is establishing liability. You need to know who is at fault in order to pursue the appropriate parties for damage compensation. The unfortunate part about this is that motorcycle injury victims often need emergency medical care and thus cannot stay on the scene to exchange contact or insurance information with the other party. However, an attorney can take some crucial steps to help protect your rights.
Here are some ways an attorney can help you after a motorcycle accident:
- Investigating the accident – if you were injured severely and unable to stay on the scene to take pictures and exchange information with the other driver, your attorney can get this information for you. They will hire professional private investigators to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident and get all the facts.
- Identifying all liable parties – your attorney will help you gather evidence, including police reports, to build a case to support your claim.
- Identifying and assessing all potential insurance options – most fault-based claims in Florida involve filing a claim against the at-fault insurance company. However, your attorney can review all the insurance options before filing a claim to ensure you go about it the right way. That includes ruling out any insurance the other driver may have that can provide coverage or your own insurance coverage.
- Communicating and negotiating with insurance companies – insurance companies are not always easy to deal with. Your attorney will handle negotiations with them so you can focus on healing and recovering from the accident.
- Going to court to represent you – it’s possible the other party will dispute your claim or try to deny liability. If it comes to that, it might be necessary to go to court. In that case, an attorney can provide legal counsel and present your case in court.
Contact a Florida Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers, rather than the motorcyclist. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, you deserve to seek justice and get the appropriate financial recovery to help you move forward.
Contact an experienced Florida motorcycle accident lawyer today for a free initial consultation.