Whether or not you are wearing a motorcycle helmet at the time of your accident can greatly affect the injuries you suffer, as well as your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit. A sturdy, well-constructed motorcycle helmet can significantly soften the blow to your head if you strike the ground in a crash. Also, wearing a helmet significantly lessens your chances of sustaining a traumatic head or brain injury, like a concussion or coma, in your motorcycle accident.
However, the law in many states does not require adult motorcycle riders to wear helmets. While failing to protect your head might be risky, it is not inherently wrong under the law. Insurance companies try to blame motorcyclists for their injuries when they do not wear helmets, but other drivers should usually be the ones liable for the motorcyclist’s injuries.
If you suffered injuries while not wearing a helmet, you might have a legal fight ahead of you to get the compensation you deserve. Reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer immediately.
Filing an Injury Claim After a Motorcycle Accident
Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries in a motorcycle crash, the higher the damages you may recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit. By the same token, the less severe your injuries, the lower the damages you will likely recover.
You have legal options if you suffered injuries in a recent motorcycle accident that resulted from another driver’s error or negligence. A knowledgeable and compassionate motorcycle accident attorney in your area can explain those options and help you decide on the best course of action for your case. Your attorney can then help you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and negotiate with the claim’s adjuster.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you the fair damages you deserve for your injuries, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit in court to fight for full compensation. Your lawyer will do everything possible to highlight the strengths of your case, downplay any weaknesses, and pursue the maximum damages you deserve for your injuries and other accident-related consequences.
What to Do if You Have Injuries
After a motorcycle crash, always seek emergency medical care at a local hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You want to get the proper diagnosis and begin treatment immediately, especially because many motorcycle injuries can be life-threatening.
An emergency medical provider can order the necessary CT scans, MRIs, or X-rays, to determine whether you have brain damage or internal injuries. You can get emergency surgery and might need to spend time in the hospital for monitoring. Getting immediate treatment can often help improve your overall prognosis and prevent complications.
Failing to seek prompt medical treatment after a motorcycle crash can also negatively affect your personal injury claim or lawsuit. First, if you delay your treatment for too long, the insurance company handling your claim may become skeptical about your injuries. They may believe that your injuries are not serious or that you did not prioritize your medical treatment after your accident.
Seeking same-day medical treatment also helps ensure that your injuries do not worsen. In particular, traumatic head and brain injuries do not always manifest right away. In fact, symptoms may not appear for days, or even weeks, after the motorcycle crash. Seeking prompt medical treatment after your accident helps to ensure that your injuries do not worsen significantly.
While you focus all your attention on getting the medical treatment you need, your lawyer can begin the claims-filing process on your behalf. Specifically, they can start gathering your lost wage documents, photographs of your injuries, photographs of property damage, medical records, medical bills, and other potential evidence to use in your case. Once you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit these documents to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim and begin negotiating a fair settlement with them.
Types of Motorcycle Crashes
When car and truck drivers operate their vehicles negligently, they may inadvertently cause a collision with a motorcyclist.
Some of the most common motorcycle accidents that occur include:
- Head-on collisions, where the front of a car or truck hits the front of an oncoming motorcycle, sometimes causing one or more fatalities
- Rear-end collisions, where the front of a truck or car hits the back of a motorcycle, usually after an abrupt highway back-up
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a car or truck strikes the side of a motorcycle on a multi-lane roadway
- T-bone accidents, or broadside collisions, where the front of a truck or car hits the side of an adjacent motorcycle
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell exactly how a motorcycle crash happened. In those cases, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist who can visit the scene of the crash, review police reports, and speak with eyewitnesses. The expert can then draft a report and, if necessary, authenticate that report on the witness stand at a civil jury trial.
How do Motorcycle Accidents Usually Happen?
Motorcycle accidents frequently result from driver error and negligence. When you can demonstrate that another driver caused your accident and that you suffered one or more injuries you should recover monetary compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes include road rule violations, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and road rage.
Car and truck drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles carefully and safely. Part of this duty involves following all traffic laws and regulations regarding speed limits and yielding the right-of-way to others at the appropriate times. Drivers also have a duty to refrain from aggressive driving maneuvers and tailgating other drivers. When drivers violate the rules of the road, they significantly increase their chances of causing an accident with a pedestrian, motorcycle, or another vehicle.
Motorcycle accidents also frequently happen when drivers operate their vehicles while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Alcohol, in particular, can affect a driver’s focus and concentration. Since alcohol is a depressant, it significantly slows down a driver’s reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle to avoid hitting a motorcycle. An intoxicated driver may also experience blurred vision, preventing them from seeing a nearby cyclist.
A passenger vehicle driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent is legally intoxicated. However, minors under 21 years old and commercial vehicle drivers must follow stricter legal standards regarding BAC limits.
Like intoxicated driving, distracted driving is another common cause of motorcycle crashes. A driver is distracted when they fail to watch the road attentively. Instead of watching the road, a distracted driver might be fiddling with a GPS navigation system or playing on a cellular phone or tablet. They might also be texting and driving or violating another motor vehicle law. When a driver diverts their attention away from the road and onto an electronic device, they may not see an approaching motorcycle and cause a serious crash.
Finally, some motorcycle crashes result from road rage. Road rage is a driver’s inappropriate reaction to a real or imagined situation that arises while driving. For example, an enraged driver might become upset with a cyclist who is not going fast enough. The enraged driver may also tailgate the cyclist or aggressively weave in and out of heavy traffic to try and get around the cyclist. In the process, the driver might negligently cause their vehicle to hit the motorcycle, dislodging the cyclist from their bike and causing them serious injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you deserve to recover monetary compensation. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in your area can help maximize the monetary recovery you receive in your injury claim or lawsuit.
Recovering Monetary Damages Following a Motorcycle Crash
The overall damages that a motorcycle accident victim recovers in their claim depend on several factors. Those factors include the force of the collision, the type of collision that occurs, whether or not the cyclist was wearing a helmet, the injuries the cyclist suffers, and the force with which they strike the ground.
To recover damages in a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the injured cyclist has the legal burden of proof. Specifically, they must establish that the subject accident resulted from someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence. If they can demonstrate the fault element of their claim, they can recover monetary damages if they show that they suffered at least one injury in the accident and that their injury directly resulted from the accident.
Potential monetary damages that accident victims may recover include compensation for their related medical bills, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, pain, and suffering, mental distress, inconvenience, lost quality of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of spousal companionship.
Your lawyer can help you negotiate with insurance company adjusters and pursue the maximum damages you deserve. If the insurance company does not offer you appropriate compensation, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and fight for your rights in litigation.
Call an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
Following a motorcycle accident, many crash victims are uncertain about what to do or where to turn. But never wait to seek legal help, as time is of the essence in most personal injury cases that arise from motorcycle accidents. In most cases, accident victims only have three years from their accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit in many states.
If they wait too long and file their lawsuit even one day after the deadline expires, the court will prevent them from recovering the monetary damages they need. Therefore, you should retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area to represent you as soon as possible.
Your attorney will be aware of this three-year statute of limitations, and if the time is running short in your case, they can immediately file a lawsuit in court. Taking this action will prevent the statute of limitations from running against you. Your attorney can also assist you throughout the litigation process and represent you at all court hearings, helping you pursue the full compensation you deserve.