RECOVERING COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGES AFTER GETTING IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CAN BE A COMPLICATED PROCESS, AS INSURANCE CARRIERS MAY OFTEN ATTEMPT TO GET AROUND COVERAGE REGULATIONS AND DENY PERSONAL INJURY COMPENSATION ON BEHALF OF THE AT-FAULT PARTY. KNOWING YOUR LEGAL OPTIONS CAN HELP GET YOU THE COMPENSATION THAT YOU DESERVE.
Motorcycle accidents lead to a sizable percentage of total traffic crash deaths in the United States, despite making up only a small percentage of total vehicle sales. When motorcycle accidents aren’t fatal, they can still have major consequences on a person’s health and wellbeing.
Recovering compensation for damages after getting in a motorcycle accident can be a complicated process, as insurance carriers may often attempt to get around coverage regulations and deny personal injury compensation on behalf of the at-fault party.
If you or a loved one has gotten into a motorcycle accident, one of the first actions you should take is to contact a motorcycle accident attorney. At the law firm of Florin|Roebig, our team of attorneys have specialized expertise in helping motorcyclists receive compensation through a thorough investigation and negotiation process.
By gathering information about your case, our attorneys can help you file a claim with the relevant insurance company to recover motorcycle injury and accident-related damages.
When To File A Motorcycle Accident Claim
Motorcycle accidents can result in a number of consequences, ranging from property damage to mental anguish, serious or permanent injury, and death.
These monetary, physical, and psychological losses can quickly mount and become detrimental to individuals who are in the process of recovering from a serious accident.
Many people in the United States live paycheck to paycheck or can otherwise have a very difficult time covering the staggering out-of-pocket expenses that can result from a motorcycle accident injury.
While expenses related to a motorcycle accident can vary, they may include:
- financial: medical transport costs, hospital care/other medical bills, bike repair/replacement costs, and lost wages
- physical: serious injury requiring long-term rehabilitation and care, loss of limbs, disfigurement, paralysis, and severe brain trauma
- psychological: pain and suffering costs, resulting in mental anguish
Filing a motorcycle accident claim can be an effective course of action for injured motorcyclists who wish to secure compensation for losses.
Motorcycle accident claims can be filed by the injured rider or a loved one on their behalf. In the latter case, a claim may be filed in order to seek damages for a loved one who was severely injured or suffered wrongful death as a result of the accident.
Losing a loved one to a motorcycle accident can be a traumatic experience and may entitle you to compensation on the basis of wrongful death. To seek compensation, you will need an attorney to help prove that it was another party’s negligence that directly resulted in your loved one’s wrongful death.
In wrongful death motorcycle accident claims, negligent parties may refer to:
- another driver deemed at-fault in the accident
- the motorcycle manufacturer (in the case that the accident was caused by defective bike parts, i.e. becoming a product liability case)
Evidence to support the negligence of another party in a wrongful death or product liability claim can be gathered through a full investigation of the accident and the party at fault.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claims
Understanding your entitlements in the event of a motorcycle accident can be confusing if you’re attempting to navigate the legalities of your case alone.
The most important thing to understand about motorcycle personal injury claims is your eligibility for financial compensation. One factor that can affect this is whether you are deemed at fault for the accident.
In several states, such as Florida, motorcyclists must be able to prove that their injuries occurred as a result of the negligence or reckless behavior of another motorist in order to seek recoverable damages.
Under these circumstances, another motorist may be deemed at-fault if they were:
- texting and driving
- driving under the influence
- failing to follow traffic signals or signs
- driving an ill-maintained vehicle (i.e. unsafe to drive)
- distracted by any other means
Local and state laws can differ as far as what a motorcyclist must prove to seek accident-related compensation. Depending on where you live, you may be able to seek legal recourse even if you are deemed partially at fault for the accident.
Common types of damages sought and awarded in motorcycle accident cases include:
- reimbursement for medical transportation and treatment bills
- repair or replacement costs for your motorcycle
- lost wages
- pain and suffering costs
- compensation for projected medical expenses (e.g. for a serious or permanent injury requiring long-term treatment)
One of the greatest barriers that drivers of passenger vehicles face in seeking compensation after an accident is restrictions on the types of damages they can pursue. This is because motor vehicle claims typically involve personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which requires meeting an injury threshold in order to seek recoverable damages.
Motorcyclists, on the other hand, aren’t required to meet any type of injury threshold in order to seek compensation.
List Of Common Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcyclists are aware of the risks they face when riding on the road with other vehicles. Over 40 percent of motorcycle accidents occur as a result of another vehicle turning left while the motorcyclist drives straight.
However, not all risks associated with riding a motorcycle concern other drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), riding a motorcycle after drinking alcohol is a significant factor in motorcycle accident deaths across the United States.
Alcohol and other drugs can cause mild to severe impairment to a person’s judgment, their perception of surrounding objects, and cause dangerously reckless behavior. Motorcyclists who drink and ride are at serious risk for injuring themselves and others on the road.
Other factors linked to motorcycle accidents and fatalities include:
- riding without a valid motorcycle license
- riding without a helmet/protective gear
- riding in urban areas
- failing to notice traffic signs
- not yielding when appropriate
- not paying attention to other drivers
Much of what constitutes safe driving and vehicle operation is having an awareness of yourself and others on the road. However, accidents can also occur unexpectedly, with little or nothing a person could have done to prevent them.
In these cases, it’s helpful to understand what legal options are available for motorcycle riders and what entitlements they—or close loved ones grieving the loss of a motorcyclist—may have to accident-related compensation.
Types Of Injuries Caused In Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists have much less protection than drivers of other motor vehicles when it comes to the types of injuries that can occur in the event of a crash. As vehicles that are lighter and less sturdy than the average car, motorcycles lack the same safety features and leave riders much more vulnerable to road rash and other injuries upon impact.
Riding without a helmet, or neglecting to wear proper clothing while using a motorcycle, puts motorcyclists at an even greater risk for serious injury.
The types of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can also vary depending on the nature and seriousness of the incident, but may include:
- head injury or concussion
- bone fractures
- road rash
- brain damage
- spinal cord injury
- loss of limbs
Many of the possible injuries that can occur in a motorcycle accident are severe and may threaten permanent injury, illness, disfigurement, and death.
Wearing protective head, eye, and body gear and maintaining acute awareness while riding are the safest decisions a motorcycle rider can make to protect oneself on the road. Accidents that occur at the fault of another driver, however, are not as easily preventable.
Sustaining injuries from a motorcycle accident can require immediate medical care. The cost of medical transportation, and medical treatment for injuries, can quickly add up and become an enormous source of stress for the average person.
If you or a loved one has suffered a motorcycle injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation to recover your damages. This can best be determined through a thorough case evaluation with a seasoned motorcycle accident attorney.
What To Do After A Motorcycle Accident: A Step-By-Step Guide
Accidents on the road can happen very quickly and cause significant disorientation. In the event of an accident, the number one priority is to first attend to your own health and safety.
If the scene of the accident is unsafe, for instance, as a result of debris or traffic, find a safe location immediately. You will be no help to yourself or others involved in the accident if your surroundings pose a direct threat to your safety or wellbeing.
Below are the next steps you should take in the event of a motorcycle crash:
1. Assess For Injuries And Seek Medical Care
Following an accident, it’s important to immediately assess yourself and others for injuries. If you or anyone else involved appears to be injured, call 9-1-1 for medical care right away.
Even injuries that seem relatively minor can become worse without swift medical attention. This is especially true for head injuries that may be indicative of a concussion or lead to brain trauma without prompt treatment.
2. Collect Personal And Insurance Information
It’s important to gather the information of all motorists involved in the accident. Personal information you’ll want to collect include the names, insurance information, addresses, phone numbers, and license numbers of all drivers.
In the event of a hit-and-run case, there may still be other evidence that can be used to seek recoverable damages. Your attorney may, for instance, request security camera footage or other pieces of evidence to put together the information necessary to identify the negligent party and build a case for recovering resulting damages.
3. Contact The Police
Once you have assessed the initial situation and gathered some information from others involved, contact the police. This can be especially important for serious accidents that have resulted in at least $500 in property damage.
Getting police officers on-scene as soon as possible can be useful for building a strong legal case. Police are required to write up a report of an accident and will keep records that can be referred back to later on as you attempt to seek compensation for accident-related damages.
4. Take Note Of Your Surroundings
Taking note of your location, the time, and your surroundings can offer notable benefits for building your legal case. Take a mental picture of the scene of the accident.
If you have a phone on hand, snap photos of what you see around you, including the state of all vehicles involved in the accident, as well as your injuries. Even details that seem minor in the moment can turn out to be useful in the process of gathering and analyzing information relevant to your case.
5. Call A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
One of the most important calls you can make after getting into a motorcycle accident is to call an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Seeking legal guidance can be a crucial step towards receiving reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and other forms of compensation for less quantifiable damages, such as pain and suffering costs.
By conducting a thorough investigation of the accident and gathering evidence to pursue legal recourse, a motorcycle accident attorney can be a useful ally in filing a strong claim against the negligent party.
What an attorney can do for you in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident includes:
- gather witness statements
- collect reports from police and medical staff (i.e. medical records)
- get photographs of the accident scene
- reconstruct the accident
- get ahold of security camera footage
- consult with experts
- investigate the driving history of the motorist at fault
- gather evidence to prove motorcycle manufacturer negligence (in the event of product liability)
- communicate with insurance carriers on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement
6. Notify Your Insurance Carrier
Alerting your insurance carrier of your accident is a necessary step in order to seek recoverable damages. However, because they will likely ask for a statement, it’s highly recommended that you seek legal counsel before calling your insurance company.
Do not provide a statement to an insurance agent until you have spoken with an attorney.
The language you use to describe your accident in the immediate aftermath can have important implications for the outcome of your case. An attorney can give you guidance on how to describe the accident to your insurance carrier or may be able to communicate with them directly on your behalf.
How To Choose A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Choosing the right legal representation after a motorcycle accident can be crucial to the outcome of your case.
Here are some tips on choosing a motorcycle accident lawyer:
Look For An Attorney With Experience
When it comes to legal recourse, experience matters. In the event of a motorcycle crash, it is in your best interest to work with an attorney that has specific experience in handling motorcycle accident claims.
Motorcycle accident claims are distinct from motor vehicle claims and can best be handled by an attorney who has experience recovering damages for injured motorcyclists. If you contact a personal injury lawyer who doesn’t have experience in motorcycle accident claims, move on and find an attorney that does.
Find An Attorney With Trial Experience And A Proven Track Record
You will get the most benefit from finding an attorney who has a strong track record of securing compensation for injured parties as well as experience taking cases to trial.
Seeking compensation for losses after an accident is no simple matter. It’s best to seek an attorney who has a wealth of experience in navigating the legal complexities that can arise in efforts to recover accident-related damages.
Select An Attorney With Resources
Having a wide array of expert resources is an excellent sign that an attorney is prepared to consult with the individuals and entities necessary to build a strong case.
These resources can refer to professional connections, working relationships with other experienced attorneys, and other tools necessary to gather ample evidence for your personal injury claim.
How Much Is Your Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
There is no average settlement amount for motorcycle accident claims. Determining how much your claim is worth will depend on the specific details surrounding your case, which may include losses that are more or less difficult to track, such as pain and suffering costs.
If you want an informed estimation as to what your motorcycle accident claim is worth, call an experienced attorney. After completing an initial case evaluation, an attorney should be able to provide you with a range of reference.
Understanding Laws For Motorcycle Accidents
When it comes to a difficult legal situation, learning the laws that are relevant to your case can be empowering to your own understanding of your legal rights and entitlements.
Keep in mind that motorcycle accident laws can vary by state, and in some cases, by local area.
Statute Of Limitations For Motorcycle Accidents
Generally speaking, a statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents refers to the amount of time a person has to begin legal proceedings—which includes the process of filing an accident claim.
Statutes of limitations for motorcycle accident claims are determined on a state and local level. In Florida, for instance, injured parties have up to four years to file for a motorcycle accident claim or up to two years to file for a wrongful death claim.
Evidently, both the type of claim you are looking to file and your state of residence can be influential factors in determining how long you have to pursue legal recourse.
The best way to determine how long you have to file a claim for yourself or a loved one is to research your state’s laws, or ask an attorney, who should have a more informed understanding of local legal requirements.
Facts On Motorcycle Accidents In The U.S.
According to the NHTSA, motorcycle riders are 28 times as likely as individuals in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash, despite making up only a small percentage of total motorists on the road.
Additional facts regarding motorcycle accidents in the U.S. show that:
- Alcohol impairment is a factor in roughly 28 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities.
- Wearing a motorcycle helmet was the difference between life and death for 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017.
- Motorcycle accidents claimed the lives of 4,985 motorcyclists in 2018.
- Of motorcycle riders who suffered fatal accidents in 2017, 29 percent lacked a valid motorcycle license.
Who Is At Risk For Motorcycle Accidents?
Anyone who rides a motorcycle can be at risk of getting into an accident.
However, data on motorcycle accidents in the U.S shows that people who are at greater risk for motorcycle accidents are those who:
- ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- don’t have a valid motorcycle license
- don’t wear a helmet
- ride at speeds faster than posted speed limits
- ride a two-wheel motorcycle
Motorcycle accidents are also more common on non-interstate roads and are more likely to occur in the daytime.
Data also shows that older motorcyclists are getting into fatal accidents at an increasing rate. From 2008 to 2018, this rate increased a total of 2 percent, with the average age of motorcycle riders killed in accidents at 42 from a previous average of 40.
FAQs For A Motorcycle Accident Attorney
When seeking an efficient motorcycle accident lawyer, it’s important that you confirm they have the skills, qualifications, and confidence necessary to successfully recover your accident-related damages.
Below are some questions to ask before hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to take on your case:
Have you tried motorcycle accident cases before?
Motorcycle accident claims fall under the category of personal injury cases. However, not all personal injury cases are the same. There are unique aspects of working on a motorcycle accident case that are important for an attorney to understand in order to successfully navigate and win a case.
Therefore, it’s important to hire an attorney who has focused experience in managing motorcycle accident claims, specifically.
What fees do you charge?
Legal costs can be a primary concern for many people. In many personal injury cases, legal fees can account for a percentage of total damages awarded in a person’s case. However, attorneys may also ask for a charge upfront or require certain case-related costs if you don’t recover damages.
Fees can vary depending on the attorney. Be sure to ask your attorney’s office for more information on your responsibilities for legal fees.
Will my case go to trial?
Whether a case goes to trial can depend on whether your attorney is able to negotiate a fair settlement amount between all parties. Unfortunately, settlements are not always so easily negotiated.
In the event that you and your attorney are unable to negotiate a settlement amount, it’s important to ensure that your attorney has the knowledge and resources to prepare your case to go to trial if necessary.
Can you provide references?
Getting references from past clients can be useful for understanding the kind of experience you can expect to have with an attorney. This can include feedback on the professional skills of an attorney, as well as former clients’ general experience working with the attorney.
Attorneys who are competent in personal injury law should be able to exercise patience, compassion, and a thorough understanding of your type of case.
Find An Attorney To Help File Your Claim Today
Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious consequences, including permanent injury and death.
Don’t wait to begin the process of filing your claim. Contact the offices of any of motor cycle accident lawyer today to get a free consultation and find a skilled motorcycle accident attorney near you.