Even when the driver crashed into your motorcycle and injured you, the insurance company will do everything possible to shift the blame and avoid a payout.
An insurance adjuster knows various tricks that keep you wondering, “What if I am partly to blame for my motorcycle accident?” This often causes victims to settle for a lower amount.
In many cases, the motorcyclist isn’t responsible. Hiring legal assistance can help ensure that you get the compensation you need. Only a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can ensure that the blame remains where it belongs.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can guide you through the entire case and work assiduously to protect your rights and interests, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your accident.
One of the most common at-fault parties in motorcycle accidents is negligent motorists. These can include drivers of cars, trucks, or any other vehicles involved in the collision, including other motorcycles.
Motorists’ negligent actions, such as distracted driving, speeding, failure to yield, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, can lead to severe accidents. If you suffer an injury due to other motorists’ negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
In some cases, motorcycle accidents may occur due to defects or malfunctions in the motorcycle itself. If a defect in the motorcycle’s design, manufacturing, or maintenance contributes to the accident, a court could hold the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the motorcycle responsible.
Such defects may include issues with brakes, tires, steering mechanisms, or other critical components. If you suffer an injury due to defective motorcycles, you may pursue product liability claims against these parties.
Poorly maintained roads, inadequate signs, and other hazardous road conditions can also contribute to motorcycle accidents. In such cases, a court may hold the government entity responsible for maintaining the roadways liable for the accident. If you suffer an injury due to hazardous road conditions, you may need to file a claim against the appropriate government entity, which can involve specific procedures and limitations.
Keep in mind that time limits for filing claims against the government are short. This is one reason why contacting an attorney as soon after the crash as possible is vital to getting the compensation you need.
Third parties not directly involved in the accident may be partially responsible in certain situations. For example, if a bar overserves alcohol to a driver who then causes a motorcycle accident, you can seek to hold the bar liable for the injuries and damages. Other third parties, such as vehicle owners who negligently entrust their vehicles to unfit drivers, may also share in the responsibility for the accident.
Determining fault in a motorcycle accident is typically a complex process that requires a thorough investigation and analysis of the circumstances surrounding the collision. Working with experienced personal injury attorneys who can assess the evidence, gather witness statements, and obtain accident reports is integral to the success of your case.
In some cases, you can hold several parties liable for the accident (for example, a jaywalking pedestrian who has jumped out in front of a vehicle). The driver, who wasn’t keeping sufficient distance between their car and the motorcycle, swerved and hit the bike. In this situation, you may be able to sue both at-fault parties to recover compensation. Even if you share some of the fault for the accident, this does not bar you from seeking compensation for your injuries in New York.
How a Lawyer Determines Who Is at Fault
Determining who is at fault can be complicated, particularly when multiple parties share responsibility. In these circumstances, an attorney plays a major role. Without legal assistance, you can lose precious time filing claims against the wrong parties. This, in turn, can delay payouts or, worse, lead to case dismissal.
A lawyer’s approach is meticulous and comprehensive, encompassing everything from investigating the accident to analyzing evidence and interpreting traffic laws. A lawyer typically takes the following steps when they take on a motorcycle accident case:
Your lawyer typically starts by launching a detailed investigation of your motorcycle accident. They collect evidence, talk to witnesses, and even reconstruct the accident scene. This helps your lawyer figure out exactly what transpired. They can then use this information to build a robust foundation for your claim.
They Collect Evidence
Your lawyer then takes the lead in collecting all necessary evidence to support your claim. This could include photographs of the scene, medical reports, and witness statements.
After gathering this evidence, they analyze it to create a solid basis for negotiating your claim. Consulting with a lawyer ensures an exhaustive process of evidence collection and analysis.
They Consider Local Laws
The interpretation and application of traffic laws can be complex and may significantly influence the outcome of your claim. Your lawyer uses their knowledge to decipher and apply these laws to your case. Their input is critical to ensuring the effective management and successful resolution of your claim.
Damages You Can Recover in a Motorcycle Accident
It doesn’t matter who is to blame for your motorcycle accident: if they demonstrate negligence, you can try to recover damages. These damages can include:
Motorcyclists injured in accidents bear a wide variety of medical expenses. They include costs associated with hospital stays, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and other necessary medical treatments.
You are responsible for keeping detailed records and documentation of all medical expenses incurred due to the accident. This evidence can help you recover these damages.
If a motorcycle accident causes you to miss work and lose income, you can seek compensation for lost earnings. This includes past and future income you would have earned had the accident not occurred. Documentation, such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employer statements, can help establish the extent of these losses.
Pain and Suffering
If you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, you may also recover damages for pain and suffering. This encompasses the physical and emotional distress you experience as a result of your accident and subsequent injuries. Pain and suffering damages hinge on the severity of your injuries, the impact on your daily life, and the duration of the consequences.
If the accident damages your motorcycle or other personal property, you can seek compensation. This includes repair or replacement costs for the damaged vehicle and any damaged personal belongings, such as a helmet, protective gear, or cell phone.
Loss of Consortium
Your spouse may also recover compensation for loss of companionship, affection, and support if you suffer an injury in a motorcycling accident. These damages, known as loss of consortium, recognize the impact injuries have on the injured person’s relationship with their spouse.
The court may award punitive damages in certain cases involving particularly reckless or egregious behavior. These damages punish the at-fault party and deter similar conduct.
Damages vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can explain the full extent of the damages and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses accordingly.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Once the dust settles after a motorcycle accident, you’ll likely find yourself dealing with insurance companies. Fighting insurance companies is always complicated. Since their goal is to minimize your payout or to avoid paying altogether, insurance adjusters do everything possible to trick you into making the wrong decision.
Instead of helping you deal with the consequences of the accident, insurance companies try to reverse the blame. They may even tell you about non-existent evidence that points to a shared fault. The goal is to scare you into accepting a low settlement.
Since motorcycle accident victims are usually in a delicate emotional state, they are an easy target. Many worry about the consequences and agree to settle for an unfair amount or back out of the claim entirely.
Your lawyer can handle these negotiations on your behalf, using their knowledge to argue for fair compensation. They can help confront the insurance company’s attempts to minimize your claim due to shared fault.
In addition to their adept negotiation skills, attorneys offer invaluable insights into legal strategies and court procedures. Your lawyer can help protect your rights throughout the process and provide you with guidance and support every step of the way.
The Statute of Limitations
Insurance companies may blame you for the motorcycle accident to stall the case. The more time you spend fighting with the insurance company, the less time you have left to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations defines the time you have to file a lawsuit in a personal injury case.
Each jurisdiction has its own statute of limitations, which can vary depending on the type of claim and the state where the accident occurred. In general, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including motorcycle accidents, ranges from one to six years.
For example, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accident cases is three years in New York, while in New Jersey, it’s two.
Delaying legal action can result in a loss of evidence, the fading memories of witnesses, and difficulties locating responsible parties. Waiting until the last minute can also lead to rushed decisions and inadequate preparation for your case. By taking prompt action, you give yourself and your attorney ample time to investigate, gather evidence, and build a strong case.
Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can have severe consequences. Once the deadline passes, the court will likely dismiss the case. Once this happens, you cannot pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.
Certain circumstances extend or pause the time limit the statute of limitations imposes. These exceptions, known as tolling provisions, vary by jurisdiction. They can include factors such as your age, mental incapacity, or the discovery of injuries that were not immediately apparent. A motorcycle accident attorney can help determine if any tolling provisions apply to your case. Additionally, you could have as little as 90 days to act if you are pursuing a claim against a municipality.
Navigating a Motorcycle Accident Claim
When dealing with a motorcycle accident, legal support can guide you through the process, providing the necessary expertise and advocacy you need to seek the justice and compensation you require.
Even if the insurance company tries to blame you for the motorcycle accident, an attorney can help you fight for your rights. Negligence plays a major role in personal injury cases. If the at-fault party demonstrated negligence and your attorney proves this in court, you can expect financial compensation.
If you think you are partially at fault for the accident, don’t make any statements to the insurance company or any other parties. Speak to a personal injury attorney first to discuss the best course of action.