Bagen Law Firm | December 28, 2022 | Motorcycle accident
Motorcyclists ride for many different reasons. Some like the feel of the open road and the wind in their hair or the ability to accelerate fast and move more nimbly. Others like using less gas and benefiting their wallet or the environment. Unfortunately, motorcycles are prone to be involved in accidents. For example, over the last decade, the number of registered motorcycles in the U.S. and the miles traveled remained relatively the same. However, accidents and injury rates increased.
Additionally, motorcycles account for only three percent of all types of vehicles registered in the U.S. and represent only 0.6 percent of miles driven by all kinds of vehicles. Yet, motorcycle accidents are responsible for three percent of all injuries, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 17 percent of passenger fatalities.
A motorcycle accident can instantly change everything about your life. If you have recently experienced this, hire a skilled motorcycle accident attorney who can help you through this difficult time. Motorcycle accident lawyers can do many things to obtain the compensation you deserve and help you manage your life and your claim while you recover from your injuries.
What Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Do to Help You
Personal injury lawyers have a highly specialized profession. If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, it only makes sense to have someone on your side who is ready to listen and has years of legal experience. Legal knowledge and experience handling motorcycle injury claims can significantly impact your case’s outcome.
Motorcycle injury attorneys can:
- Gather pertinent evidence and facts in your case, including cell phone records, surveillance camera footage, driving records, sworn witness statements, medical bills and records, and wage loss statements
- Keep all necessary paperwork and documents related to your case.
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf so that you don’t have to be bothered with them or potentially devalue your claim by speaking with them
- Investigate how your accident happened and who is responsible
- Research what insurance policies might cover your injuries
- Determine the value of your claim
- Ensure you meet all legal deadlines
- Negotiate a full and fair settlement
- Represent you in court if a lawsuit becomes necessary
- File a lawsuit on your behalf
- Negotiate settlements for medical bills and liens and ensure they get paid
As you can see, taking on a personal injury claim, such as a motorcycle accident, is a detailed and daunting undertaking. Even if you weren’t injured and were feeling your best, it might be impossible for you to manage your claim well. So, it’s not something that personal injury claimants should handle on their own. If they do, they will likely make costly mistakes that reduce their compensation.
Legal representation not only ensures that your claim has the best chance of getting you the compensation you deserve but also gives you the time and space you need to heal and recover from your injuries.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Each motorcycle crash is unique, with various contributing factors. However, these factors often involve other motorists’ negligence.
The most common causes of motorcycle crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Lane changes of other vehicles
- Failure of other drivers to see the motorcycle
- Road conditions
- Unsafe or unmaintained vehicles
- Manufacturer defects in motorcycles or other vehicles on the road
When you hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, they have the resources to investigate your accident fully. They may enlist the help of an accident reconstructionist or a private investigator. They can obtain police accident reports, driving records, and other valuable information that most laypeople either can’t obtain by themselves or don’t think of when pursuing their claim.
Determining how the accident occurred is a crucial step in proving who is at fault for your accident. If the wrong party is held liable, you won’t receive the compensation you deserve.
Liability in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Sometimes it’s not as evident as it might seem to determine liability in a motorcycle accident claim. After your attorney conducts a thorough investigation, they can identify who is liable. In some cases, multiple parties are liable.
Potentially liable parties in motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Other drivers on the road
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle, its parts, or of another vehicle or its parts
- Mechanics or shops that worked on a motorcycle or other involved vehicle
- A government entity responsible for the road, traffic light, or sign conditions and maintenance
- The employer of a driver who caused an accident
Once your lawyer identifies who is liable, they can determine what insurance policies might cover your damages. For example, suppose a driver was on the clock when they hit you. In that case, their employer likely has an insurance policy that covers your damages, or they may have their own auto insurance policy to draw from. In this way, they can maximize your financial recovery.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Under state laws, motorcycle accident victims can seek monetary compensation for their damages from those who are at fault for their injury accident. Damages refer to the hardships, inconveniences, and financial losses suffered as a direct result of the crash.
Depending on the specifics of the case, they can include the following:
- Current and future medical bills, including ambulance service bills, emergency room care, hospital stays, doctor visits, physical therapy bills, medications, and more
- Current and future lost wages if the injured party will continue to miss hours at work in the future or cannot return to a job due to a permanent condition resulting from the accident.
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
If necessary, your lawyer can rely on financial experts or actuarial accountants to help determine what your damages are worth. This is common in cases with catastrophic injuries where the victim faces a long recovery or will never recover from some of their injuries. If the victim can’t return to their job or the job they are trained for or will need help with daily tasks of living, their lawyer should also factor this into their damages.
Will Your Case Settle?
Nearly all personal injury claims settle out of court, but it can be difficult to predict which ones will or won’t. Settling a claim outside of court has several benefits for both the injured and at-fault parties and their insurance companies and attorneys.
Settling out of court can reduce the burden on civil courts and also stands to benefit both sides by:
- Resolving the claim sooner
- Incurring fewer legal and attorney fees and other expenses
- Protecting the at-fault party’s reputation
- Not having the injured victim testify in front of the court
- Keeping personal details out of public court records
- Having more control over the final outcome of the case
When you file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy, you formally ask them to pay for your damages. If they refuse to pay you fair compensation for them, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help negotiate a fair settlement or litigate your claim. Your attorney will know the strengths of your case and can use them to leverage a better settlement. They will also be aware of the weaknesses in your case and can mitigate their impact on your settlement.
Suppose the other party’s insurance company refuses to provide you with a fair settlement for your damages. In that case, you have the option to take your claim to court. While settling out of court has many benefits, sometimes it becomes necessary to go to trial to get the compensation you deserve. You can discuss the pros and cons of doing so with your attorney, but the final decision is up to you.
When Should You File a Legal Claim?
Suppose you are going to litigate your motorcycle accident case by filing a legal claim. In that case, you must be aware of your state’s personal injury statute of limitations. Most states have a two or three-year statute of limitations beginning on the date of the injury. However, some can be as little as one or as many as four. While this might seem like a long time, you should keep in mind that your motorcycle accident attorney will need time to work on your case.
If your case involves injuries to a minor child, is against the government, or has other special circumstances, the statute of limitations might vary under your state laws. By contacting a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can ensure that you are aware of your state’s statute of limitations and that if a lawsuit should become necessary, it’s filed on time.
Injured claimants who don’t file their lawsuits on time will likely have their cases dismissed from court, which precludes them from using the legal system to seek compensation for their damages. You can avoid this happening in your case by hiring an attorney as soon as possible after learning about your injuries.
How Does the Injury Accident Legal Process Work?
Filing a personal injury case may seem daunting if you are trying to recover from motorcycle accident injuries. For example, you may be busy attending medical appointments and dealing with your pain. When you hire a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney, they can seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing from your injuries. Your lawyer can guide you through every step of the process, answering your questions and letting you know what to expect.
Once you hire an attorney, they will gather information about the facts of your case.
This might include:
- The police report
- Your medical records
- Any evidence you might have collected at the scene
- Witness testimony
Armed with information to support your claim, your motorcycle accident attorney can send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. This letter will include details about the accident, how the insured is at fault, as well as your injuries and damages.
From here, your attorney can work with their legal counsel to negotiate a fair settlement. The stronger the evidence you have to support your claim, the higher the chances you will receive a settlement that fairly compensates you for your damages. You are not required to accept a settlement if you do not want to. Instead, your lawyer can take your case to trial.
How Injured Individuals Pay for Their Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Many injured individuals make the mistake of believing they must have thousands of dollars on hand to pay a motorcycle accident attorney upfront. Most motorcycle accident attorneys work on contingency fees only, meaning they only get paid for their services if you get paid for your injuries.
Therefore, you never have to pay anything upfront. When and if your case settles or you receive a court award, a predetermined percentage of your award will go toward paying your attorney and legal fees. This makes it possible for anyone to seek legal assistance after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Furthermore, you pay nothing to meet with an attorney to discuss your claim. It costs you nothing to seek legal advice and find out if you should hire an attorney to seek compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries. A lawyer can assess your legal options, so you can better know what to expect for financial support following your injuries.
Did You Recently Suffer Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident? Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Sadly, a motorcycle accident can turn your world upside down. Suddenly, you are dealing with painful and perhaps debilitating injuries. You have financial concerns about paying your medical bills and keeping up with other bills while taking time off work to recover. You are facing a lot.
However, you don’t have to face all this alone. When you contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, they can take over your claim helping you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.