Motorcycle accidents typically happen when drivers are negligent in some manner. When drivers speed, fail to yield the right-of-way, or drive while intoxicated, they significantly increase their chances of striking a motorcycle or another vehicle. However, negligent drivers are not the only cause of motorcycle crashes.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that resulted from another person’s negligence, you are not alone. After your accident, you should seek medical treatment at an urgent care center or hospital emergency room as soon as possible.
Next, speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine your claim-filing eligibility. If you’re eligible to pursue a claim or lawsuit, your lawyer can assist you throughout every step of the process and work to recover the compensation you deserve.
For a free legal consultation, call 631-451-7900
How Motorcycle Crashes Happen
Driver negligence is one common cause of motorcycle accidents but is not the only cause. In a motorcycle crash, negligence means operating a vehicle unreasonably under the circumstances.
Negligence can take many forms, including distracted driving, intoxicated driving, road rage, and violating the rules of the road.
- Distracted driving. Many motorcycle accidents happen when drivers ignore the road. A driver might become distracted by others in their vehicle or by loud music playing in the car. Similarly, the driver might be sending a text message, opening an email, or programming a GPS device instead of focusing on the road. When a driver’s attention moves away from the road, even if only for a second or two, a crash can occur, leaving a motorcycle accident victim injured or dead.
- Intoxicated driving. A driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally drunk. Minors who are under 18 years of age, as well as commercial vehicle drivers, must follow stricter legal standards. However, even when a driver has a BAC below the legal limit, alcohol may impair them. Consequences of alcohol impairment include lack of concentration, blurred vision, and delayed reaction time. Drivers suffering the effects of alcohol impairment may not stop their vehicle in time to avoid colliding with a cyclist, knocking the cyclist to the ground and severely and permanently injuring them.
- Road rage. Road rage occurs when a driver reacts inappropriately to an imagined or actual situation. For example, one driver might become upset with another driver traveling too slowly and tailgate that other driver or hurriedly weave in and out of traffic to get in front of them. When an enraged driver engages in risky driving maneuvers, the chances significantly increase that they will cause an accident with a motorcycle or other vehicle.
- Violating the law. Motorcycle accidents also occur when drivers break the rules of the road. The driver who speeds, fails to yield the right-of-way at a traffic intersection, and disregards other signs and signals, runs the risk of striking a motorcycle and causing severe injuries. When a large vehicle strikes a motorcycle at high speed, the impact force might dislodge the accident victim from their bike, resulting in a bone fracture, severe head injury, paralysis, or even death.
- Defective motorcycle parts. Motorcycle accidents also happen when defective parts malfunction. Manufacturers, designers, and distributors of motorcycle parts must use reasonable care when manufacturing parts, testing them, and distributing them to the public. When an error happens in the manufacturing process and the part malfunctions when the cyclist is out on the road, the injured cyclist can pursue a claim or lawsuit against the manufacturer—or some other entity in the product distribution chain.
- Defective roads. Municipalities must maintain safe roads at all times. If repairs become necessary, the city must make them within a reasonable time. Defects that exist on roads include deep cracks and potholes. When a cyclist hits one of these defects, especially at a high rate of speed, they might fall off their bike and suffer a severe injury. When that happens, they can take legal action against the municipality responsible for maintaining the roadway.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can assist if you sustained injuries in one of these motorcycle crashes. Your lawyer can help you prove fault and damages in your accident case and pursue the recovery you deserve.
What Are Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
A motorcycle crash victim’s injuries will depend on the accident, the speed of the vehicles, and whether or not the cyclist falls to the ground or onto a car. Common motorcycle accident injuries include road rash, traumatic head injuries, fractures, soft tissue injuries, internal organ damage, cuts, and bruises that result from airbag deployment.
Some motorcycle accident victims may suffer such severe injuries that they pass away. When that happens, the accident victim’s surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. These claims proceed in much the same way as a run-of-the-mill personal injury case, except that the decedent is not available to testify if the matter goes to trial.
As part of a wrongful death claim, surviving family members can recover compensation for the accident victim’s loss of future income, plus the decedent’s care, comfort, and companionship. The surviving family members or personal representative of the estate may also recover the decedent’s funeral and burial expenses.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash resulting from negligence, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in your area will help you pursue the compensation you need for all your damages. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and, if necessary, threaten litigation if the insurance company refuses to settle your claim favorably.
Potential Damages Following a Motorcycle Crash
Every motorcycle accident case is different, so different injury plaintiffs may recover different damages. The damages that an accident victim recovers in their motorcycle accident case typically depend upon the severity of their injuries, the length of their medical treatment, and the pain and suffering they endured.
After a motorcycle crash, some accident victims cannot work for some time. They need time off to recover from their injuries and attend medical visits. In those instances, the accident victim can bring a claim for lost earnings. If the accident victim has to switch jobs or careers due to their injuries, they can claim loss of earning capacity if their work and compensation decreased.
In addition to lost earnings, accident victims can recover compensation for all the inconvenience, mental distress, pain, suffering, and humiliation they endured due to their accident and injuries. Accident victims can recover compensation for their past pain and suffering and their anticipated pain and suffering.
If they suffer a permanent injury, such as paralysis, they can claim permanent disability and loss of use of a body part. Moreover, if their activity levels decreased following their car accident, they can claim loss of life enjoyment. Finally, motorcycle crash victims can recover compensation for loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can determine which of these damages you may be eligible to pursue in your injury claim. Your lawyer will then help you prove the necessary legal elements to maximize the monetary compensation you recover.
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Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit
To recover monetary compensation for injuries you suffered in a motorcycle accident, you must establish several legal elements. First, you must demonstrate that the at-fault party or individual acted unreasonably under the circumstances and that, as a result, your motorcycle crash occurred. In addition, you must show that you suffered at least one injury in your motorcycle accident and that your injury directly resulted from the accident.
To prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit, a motorcycle accident lawyer can retain the necessary experts on your behalf. For example, if the insurance company is disputing fault for the motorcycle crash, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist to help piece together exactly how the accident occurred. The accident reconstructionist can speak with eyewitnesses to the collision and review police reports to determine what happened in the accident and who caused it.
In addition, your lawyer can speak with a medical expert, such as a treating provider, to causally connect your injuries to the accident. Furthermore, a medical expert can state to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that you suffered a permanent injury in your motorcycle crash that will not improve over time. Your lawyer can help you establish all of the legal elements of your case, putting you in the best position to recover the favorable damages you deserve.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim for Damages
In most instances, motorcycle crash victims will deal with the insurance company for the responsible person or entity.
The claims-filing process begins when the accident victim’s lawyer submits a demand package to the insurance company adjuster. This package will include a settlement demand letter with copies of medical records, lost wage statements, pictures of property damage and injuries, and a victim impact statement. The adjuster will evaluate the claim and decide whether or not to accept liability.
If the insurance company accepts liability, your lawyer can work to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf. Never take the insurance company’s first offer. Your lawyer may need to negotiate several times before the adjuster increases their offer.
If the parties reach an impasse, the accident victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate the case. However, many motorcycle accident cases still resolve at some point. If the case does not resolve later, the parties will take their case to trial, and a jury will decide the outcome. Alternatively, the parties may consider mediation or binding arbitration.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can help you make the best decisions for your case and will maximize the compensation you recover for your injuries. Your lawyer can help you decide whether to accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today for More Information
In any motorcycle accident case, time is of the essence. Many jurisdictions have statutes of limitation in place, ranging from one year to five years after the accident date. The statute of limitations serves as a deadline for filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Absent exceptional circumstances, if you do not file your lawsuit on time, you forever waive your right to recover monetary damages for your accident-related injuries. Therefore, it is in your best interest to retain a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you immediately.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can pursue fair compensation for the injuries, medical treatment, pain, and suffering associated with your motorcycle accident.
In addition, they can answer all your questions, develop a plan to move your injury claim forward, and file a lawsuit well within the statute of limitations. Your lawyer will work with you throughout the process and advocate for you at all court hearings and legal proceedings. Your lawyer will also help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
If you think you do not need a motorcycle accident attorney for your case – think again. Injury victims with proper legal representation regularly obtain maximum compensation for their losses, while unrepresented claimants might get much less than they deserve. Do not leave any money on the table – cover your losses with help from an experienced attorney.