January 18, 2022

Motorcycle Accident Without a License in Florida

Motorcycle Accident Without a License in Florida. Can You File A Personal Injury Claim?

 

When you get into a motorcycle accident in the state of Florida, not having a license is going to get you in a bit of trouble. However, personal injury claims are independent of the state law on motorcycle licenses.

In other words, not having a motorcycle license in the state of Florida is irrelevant to a personal injury claim if you get into a motorcycle accident. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get one before riding a motorcycle, only that it won’t have a bearing on your claim.

Florida Statute §322.03(4) makes it a second-degree misdemeanor to operate a motorcycle without a stand-alone motorcycle license or the appropriate endorsement on your driver’s license.

No matter who is at fault in a motorcycle accident, if you don’t have a license to drive a motorcycle, you’re likely to see this charge.

Of course, all of this is separate from your right to file a personal injury claim against a negligent driver if they caused the accident. That is, outside of the relevance it has in the existing bias against motorcycle drivers.

If you get into an accident on a motorcycle due to another, negligent driver and you don’t have a license to operate a motorcycle, you can still file a personal injury claim and you’ll need the right attorney that is committed to your case from beginning to end.

A Tampa personal injury lawyer is your best bet to get the ball rolling. You’ll have to overcome the typical motorcycle bias that exists nationally, along with navigating the application of Florida’s comparative negligence system.

Motorcycle Accident Without a License in Florida. Can You File A Personal Injury Claim?

Florida Uses Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a unique system through which the state of Florida assigns a percentage of blame in personal injury claims. If a Florida court determines that you are 30% negligent and the other driver is 70%, you’ll be awarded the claim after it is reduced by 30%.

It doesn’t matter how straightforward the accident was. It doesn’t matter if the driver of the other vehicle ran a red light before striking your motorcycle as you lawfully negotiated an intersection.

A defendant’s attorney will try their utmost to transfer some of that negligence to you in order to reduce your recovery award. It’s just the nature of the beast and you’ll need a personal injury attorney in order to navigate the irritating aspects of this system.

All states have their own way of dealing with automobile accidents, especially when the details aren’t entirely clear. Witnesses can often be untrustworthy, especially if they are known to the defendant.

Witness loyalty is something that certainly cannot be overlooked and it’s just one of many potential obstacles along the way. Your primary objective will be to overcome motorcycle bias and prove 100% negligence on the part of the party that caused the accident.

Motorcycle Accident Without a License in Florida

Factors That May Increase Your Comparative Negligence

As aforementioned, the defendant’s attorney will attempt to raise your level of comparative negligence while reducing their clients and there are a number of ways that they can try to accomplish this.

  • Not wearing a helmet
  • Headlight is out
  • Whether or not you were wearing headphones
  • Your lack of a motorcycle license

At first glance, you may wonder what any of these things have to do with a negligent driver blowing through a red light and striking you as you legally crossed an intersection. The reality is, a lot more than you think.

Not wearing a helmet could validate a credible argument that you would not have sustained the level of injury that you are claiming if you had only been wearing a helmet. Florida doesn’t require motorcycle operators to wear helmets but it can still be used against you in court.

If you have a headlight out, the argument can be made that you were harder to see. As ludicrous as it sounds, these kinds of things are not without any sort of precedent. Comparative negligence has shifted the weight of many injury awards over a simple headlight.

If you were wearing headphones the argument would likely be that some percentage of your injuries could have been avoided if you were more attentive to your surroundings, without music blaring in your ears. You also may have seen the driver coming earlier.

Not having your motorcycle license could potentially be the biggest blow against you. When it comes to comparative negligence, what more can you say about your potential to avoid injuries than the fact that you should have never been on the road, illegally operating a motorcycle, to begin with?

While not having a motorcycle license can’t stop you from filing a personal injury claim, you can begin to see the negative possibilities that may be incurred if you elect to continue with it, regardless of the fact that you didn’t have a motorcycle license.

Motorcycle Accident Without a License in Florida. Can You File A Personal Injury Claim?

Two Ways To Cover Yourself With A Motorcycle License/Endorsement

There are two ways to ensure that if you are involved in a motorcycle accident, your potential portion of comparative negligence is covered: get a motorcycle license or get the motorcycle endorsement added to your existing driver’s license and make sure that your ride is road legal.

Any engine that is over 50cc, on two wheels, is considered to be a motorcycle type that requires a license. In order to get your endorsement or motorcycle driver’s license, you’ll have to take a course approved and created by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).

You can also take the BRCu course, which is a viable alternative. These are typically 15-hour courses after which—when successfully completed—you’ll present the appropriate paperwork, pay the requisite fees, and get your motorcycle license or endorsement.

You also need to always make sure that your motorcycle is road legal, meaning that all of the lights are working, you have the proper footrests, and that you’re wearing a motorcycle helmet.

Some Floridians are vehemently against wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. That’s completely understandable; however, you need to understand that it can be used against you to determine comparative negligence if you’re ever faced with the prospect of filing a personal injury claim.

A licensed, safety-oriented, motorcycle operator is far more capable of getting the maximum award amount in a successful personal injury claim. If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident without a license in Florida, you’ve got one major detail working against you.

If you’re properly licensed, it effectively removes a weapon from the defendant’s arsenal.

You Need An Attorney

Only an attorney will be able to help you successfully navigate the comparative negligence system that Florida incorporates, along with other, unforeseen details that will inevitably crop up in a personal injury claim.

Attorney John C. Murrow is a licensed Florida attorney that serves the Tampa Bay area and specializes in personal injury claims. He is well-versed in navigating the complexities of auto insurance companies and their policies.

There are no costs or fees until you receive the compensation you are justified in receiving. Even in a seemingly open and shut case, personal injury claims require a capable and competent attorney who is committed to your cause and doesn’t treat you like another number.

Attorney John C. Murrow personally involves himself in your case so you will deal with him every step of the way until the moment your case is resolved and you are lawfully awarded the compensation that you are entitled to.

Disclaimer

The blog published by John C. Murrow Law is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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