As an avid motorcyclist, you understand the inherent risks that come with riding. Nevertheless, even the most experienced cyclists can find themselves the victim of a serious accident — through no fault of their own.
In the aftermath of a motorcycle crash, you may face expensive medical bills, damage costs, lost wages, and even long-term disabilities. Couple this with the fact that the legal system can be complicated to navigate alone, and you may find yourself looking for an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney can be one of the smartest moves you can make. Below, we’ll explain why you need the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer and how our specialized attorneys can help you navigate every case from claim to close.
To schedule a free initial consultation at The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ to discuss your case and the types of damages you may have been entitled to, simply call 312-999-9990 or contact us online today.
How Does Having a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help?
A motorcycle accident attorney is a legal professional who specializes in representing individuals who have been involved in motorcycle accidents. These attorneys have a deep understanding of personal injury law, particularly as it pertains to motorcycle accidents, and they are well-versed in the unique challenges and complexities that arise in such cases.
With statistics showing over 5,000 motorcyclists lose their lives on U.S. roads each year — and many more suffering injuries — you owe it to yourself to have a skilled advocate by your side.
A motorcycle accident attorney can determine who is at fault, deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and fight for the settlement you deserve so you can focus on recovery.
After a crash, your physical and financial well-being may well depend on simply making the right call.
Motorcycle Accidents Are on the Rise
Motorcycle accidents have been increasing over the past decade. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclist fatalities rose 5.1% from 2018 to 2019 in the United States.
Recently, in 2021 alone, 5,932 motorcyclists were killed in traffic accidents.
In fact, motorcyclists are much more prone to severe injury or death in a crash. Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash.
What’s Considered a Significant Motorcycle Injury?
A significant motorcycle injury is any injury sustained by a motorcyclist — or a passenger on a motorcycle — that occurred as a result of an accident caused by another party’s negligence or wrongful actions.
Such an injury can form the basis for a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages suffered. These injuries can range from relatively minor to severe and life-altering. Some examples of significant motorcycle injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Head injuries are among the most severe and potentially life-threatening injuries in motorcycle accidents. TBIs can lead to cognitive impairments, memory loss, motor skill deficits, and long-term disabilities.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord can result in partial or complete paralysis, affecting a person’s ability to move and control bodily functions.
- Fractures and Broken Bones: Motorcycle accidents often result in broken bones, such as fractured limbs, collarbones, ribs, or pelvis. These injuries can be painful and often require extensive medical treatment, which will lead to long recovery periods.
- Road Rash and Abrasions: When a motorcyclist is thrown from their bike during an accident, they may slide across the road surface, which can cause road rash and abrasions. These injuries can be painful, prone to infection, and may leave permanent scars.
- Internal Injuries: Motorcycle accidents can lead to internal injuries such as organ damage or internal bleeding, which may not be immediately apparent but can be life-threatening if left untreated.
- Amputations: In severe motorcycle accidents, the impact can cause traumatic injuries that require entire limb amputations. This type of injury has significant physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissue injuries involve damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Although they may not be visible externally, they can cause chronic pain and limitations in mobility.
- Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Motorcycle accidents can be traumatic events, resulting in emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s important to note that the severity of the injury is not the only factor that makes it claim-worthy.
The key element is the determination of fault (or negligence) on the part of another individual, company, or entity that contributed to the accident and, consequently, to the injuries sustained by the motorcyclist.
Determining Fault and Liability After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident, it’s critical to determine who is at fault — and thus liable — for the crash.
As the victim, you deserve compensation for your injuries, damage to your bike, and other losses. However, insurance companies (and any other parties involved) will work to limit their liability.
This is where an experienced motorcycle accident attorney comes in.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can analyze police reports, interview witnesses, inspect the accident scene, and review footage from traffic cameras or nearby security systems. With this evidence, they can build a strong case to prove the other party’s negligence and liability.
Plus, in some cases, multiple parties may share liability for a crash.
Your attorney can identify all negligent parties and pursue compensation from each one. They can also file a lawsuit on your behalf if settlements are not offered or are inadequate.
When determining fault and liability, an attorney considers the following:
- Traffic Violations and Reckless Behavior: Running red lights, aggressive or distracted driving, DUI, etc.
- Unsafe Road Conditions: Poor visibility, construction, potholes, debris, etc. Government entities can be liable.
- Defective Motorcycle Parts: Faulty brakes, tires, throttles, or other components that caused or contributed to the crash. Manufacturers can be pursued for liability.
- Inadequate Safety Gear: Lack of a helmet, protective clothing, visibility gear, etc., resulting in more severe injuries.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
You may be wondering if hiring an attorney is truly necessary. The answer is often yes for several reasons:
- Determining Liability: Liability in motorcycle accidents can be complicated to determine. An attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to identify all liable parties and build a strong case.
- Calculating Damages: The damages in a motorcycle accident claim can be astronomical. They may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced lawyer knows how to accurately calculate the total value of your damages to demand fair compensation.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little as possible. A lawyer can handle negotiations and counteroffers to obtain a maximum settlement for your injuries.
- Avoiding Legal Pitfalls: The legal process following an accident contains many deadlines and requirements. A lawyer ensures all paperwork is properly filed, evidence is obtained, and deadlines are met to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
- Peace of Mind: Recovering from an accident is stressful enough without having to handle an insurance claim. By hiring a lawyer, you can focus on your recovery while knowing your legal matters are being handled appropriately.
How Are Damages Calculated After a Motorcycle Accident?
After a motorcycle accident, one of the most important steps in building a strong claim will be accurately calculating all of your damages. Keep in mind that depending on the nature of your accident, these damages can extend well beyond simple bike repairs.
By definition, damages refer to the various losses and expenses you incur as a result of the accident.
Calculating damages after a motorcycle accident involves a thorough assessment of both economic and non-economic losses. Let’s take a closer look at how damages are calculated:
Economic damages refer to quantifiable losses that have a direct financial impact on the individual. These typically include:
- Medical Expenses: All medical costs associated with treating the injuries you sustained during your accident. This includes ambulance fees, hospitalization, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.
- Lost Wages: If you are unable to work as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the income you’ve lost during your recovery period. This includes both the immediate time off work and any future income loss if your injuries result in long-term (or permanent) disabilities.
- Damage: Compensation for damage to your motorcycle or any other personal property that was damaged in the accident.
- Other Financial Losses: This may include out-of-pocket expenses like transportation costs to medical appointments, modifications made to your home to accommodate any disabilities, or costs associated with hiring help during your recovery.
Non-economic damages refer to any subjective losses that may be more challenging to quantify in financial terms. These damages are intended to compensate you (and your family) for any emotional hardships you may have endured as a result of the accident. These may include:
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for any physical pain or emotional distress you’ve experienced as a result of the accident (and the injuries sustained).
- Emotional Distress: Damages awarded for the psychological impact of the accident, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of Consortium: If the accident resulted in a loss of companionship, support, or intimate relations for you or your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation for these damages.
- Disfigurement and Scarring: Compensation for any physical disfigurement or scarring caused by the accident.
Increasing Your Settlement
Insurance companies aim to settle claims for as little as possible, but an experienced attorney will know how to build a strong case and negotiate the maximum settlement for you. They are familiar with the tactics insurance companies use and will not be easily intimidated.
In fact, a recent study from the Insurance Research Council found that with legal representation, injury victims receive settlements 3.5 times higher on average.
Negotiating Settlements Alone: Why It’s Typically Not in Your Best Interest
Often, victims are simply not equipped to deal with complex legal (and insurance) issues on their own. This is especially true when they have received substantial injuries and are facing a difficult journey for medical recovery.
Insurance companies are primarily concerned with their own profits, not with providing you fair compensation. Their first offers are typically lowball settlements meant to take advantage of victims.
An attorney will fight back aggressively on your behalf using their knowledge of state injury law and legal procedures. They will not be intimidated by threatening tactics insurance companies often employ.
With skilled representation, you stand a much better chance of recovering damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related expenses.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accidents?
The statute of limitations on motorcycle accidents refers to the time limit within which a person involved in a motorcycle accident must file a lawsuit if they want to rightfully secure compensation for their injuries and damages.
Because this time limit is established by state law, it will vary from state to state. That said, depending on your state, the statute of limitations can range from one to six years.
Nevertheless, in most states, the statute of limitations is just two to three years, but the earlier you file your claim, the better. This is because a timely claim is less likely to experience pushback from insurance companies and will often have time-sensitive evidence to its advantage.
Plus, failing to file a lawsuit within the specified time frame can result in the court dismissing your case, which would leave you without the opportunity to seek compensation through the legal system.
Reach Out to a Motorcycle Accident Law Firm Who Cares About You
If you’ve been involved in a recent motorcycle accident, be sure to reach out to our team as soon as possible. At The Personal Injury Lawyers ™, our team knows just how complicated these kinds of cases can become, but we’ll be here to help you every step of the way.