How a Motorcycle Wreck Can Derail Your Career
Whether you are new to riding, purchased a motorcycle to save money, or you live the motorcycle lifestyle, having restored or saved up for your dream bike over the years, accidents can happen to anyone. Even experienced riders can’t control the actions of motor vehicle and truck drivers on Florida’s roads. Because of your level of exposure to the road and the elements, the injuries you suffer as a rider can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, what many riders don’t consider is how your motorcycle accident injuries can derail your career as the result of a disability and unbearable pain.
Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 80% of all motorcycle accidents result in personal injuries or even prove fatal to the rider, while only 30% of car accidents result in injuries. This is because a rider’s body is almost completely exposed to the road, and as such, there is nothing but the rider’s body to take the blow after a serious car accident. The most common injuries Florida riders suffer as the result of a motorcycle accident are injuries to the:
- Lower extremities, such as the legs, ankles, and feet
- Upper extremity injuries such as arm, wrist, hand, and finger injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions and a coma
- Cervical, lumbar, and thoracic spinal injuries
- Chest and abdominal injuries
While the most life-threatening injuries as those suffered to the head and chest, even a seemingly minor injury can have a lasting impact on your career. For example, if you are a carpenter but you damage your wrist in a motorcycle accident, this can result in nerve and tendon damage that greatly limits or prevents you from engaging in your profession. If you suffered from a concussion, however, although this is a serious head injury that must be monitored, it may not affect your ability to craft, and you may be able to continue in the normal course of your profession after you recover. The seriousness of your injury isn’t always the determining factor when it comes to how a motorcycle accident can impact your career.
Florida No-Fault Law and Motorcycle Accidents
Although Florida is a no-fault state, Florida’s no-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles, even if you already have no-fault insurance through your motor vehicle. This means that you will not be afforded emergency lost wage or medical bill coverage, which can cause you and your family almost immediate financial distress. While your healthcare insurance may help you with your emergency medical expenses, if you’ve lost wages that cannot be recovered through your employer’s disability policy, you will likely be unable to recoup them in a timely manner. Further, if you are disabled from work as a result of your motorcycle accident, whether in the short or long term, this may set you back not only financially but in the workforce. What if you don’t get that promotion or lose your job simply as the result of your unavailability? Although these damages are not often thought of as you recover from your motorcycle accident injuries, your experienced Florida motorcycle attorney is aware of what an accident can mean for your career and can help ensure you consider all future losses as you fight for compensation.
Standards for Disability
If you suffered from a catastrophic injury as the result of a motorcycle accident, such as traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury, you may be eligible to receive either federal or Florida Social Security disability benefits (SSD). However, the standard for receiving these benefits is high, and an injury to your hand that simply prevents you from engaging in your current career typically won’t qualify because you’re not disabled from all work.
To receive disability benefits, you typically have to have been so severely injured that it is not possible for you to engage in any meaningful work, and this is seldom the case after a motorcycle crash. Instead, many crash victims will be prevented from pursuing their current occupation if such an occupation requires a certain type of physical labor. When it comes to spinal injuries, even sitting at a desk for more than an hour can become unbearable. Accordingly, you may not be eligible for benefits but may also have to start a new career, which typically means lower pay due to your lack of experience. But did you know that the difference between career opportunities and pay is also recoverable after a Florida motorcycle accident?
Recovering for your Lost Earning Capacity after a Motorcycle Accident
Your Florida personal injury attorney can hire a professional economic expert witness to testify about and calculate the following in relation to your career:
- Lost wages
- Lost fringe benefits, such as leave, health insurance, and retirement plans
- Lost earning capacity, i.e., the difference between your current job and what you may have to settle for after your injuries, and
- Necessary re-education and training expenses, such as what it may take to go back to school and re-establish yourself.
Under Florida law, “a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify about it in the form of an opinion,” which means the expert witness is allowed to present to the court his opinion about your total future losses over what is known as your “work-life expectancy.” This allows you to not just recover for your actual lost earnings and benefits, but your anticipated future lost earnings and career-related expenses.
Contact a Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney Today if your Motorcycle Accident Stopped your Career
If your motorcycle accident left you unable to work in your field and you did not qualify for aid, you are entitled to compensation from the negligent driver for everything you lost. The Dolman Law Group is your premier motorcycle accident and lost earnings firm in the greater Tampa Bay area, and they understand the intricacies of motorcycle litigation, no-fault law, and lost career potential. Call them today at 727-451-6900 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765