When a large car or truck hits a much smaller motorcycle, the cyclist usually suffers more severe injuries.
Most motorcycle accidents result from other drivers’ negligence. This negligence can take several forms, including violating the rules of the road, drinking and driving, failing to watch the road attentively, and exhibiting road rage. When a car or truck driver operates their vehicle negligently, they may not see a motorcycle in the vicinity, causing a serious accident that leads to debilitating injuries.
If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash resulting from another driver’s recklessness, you have legal options. A skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident, explain all of your legal options, and answer your questions.
If you are eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your attorney can assist you throughout the claims-filing process. Next, your attorney can help you pursue a fair settlement offer from the insurance adjuster.
If favorable settlement compensation is not forthcoming, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf in the court system and pursue the maximum monetary damages you deserve.
How do Motorcycle Accidents Usually Occur?
Motorcycle accidents frequently occur when other people drive negligently. Drivers are negligent when they fail to follow the prevailing standard of care. Some common types of negligence that lead to motorcycle accidents include:
Road rage. Drivers often hurry to arrive at their final destination. Consequently, they will resort to almost any means to avoid slower-moving traffic. If a car or truck driver becomes enraged with a cyclist they think is driving too slowly, they might tailgate the cyclist, speed excessively, and attempt to maneuver around them quickly. In the process, however, the car or truck driver might cut the cyclist off in traffic, causing a serious accident that leads to injuries.
Traffic law violations. The main purpose of traffic laws is to keep drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians as safe as possible. However, when motor vehicle drivers willfully violate these traffic regulations, they increase their chances of causing serious accidents.
Common violations that lead to motorcycle crashes include:
- Failing to use turn signals appropriately
- Failing to yield the right-of-way to motorcycles at traffic intersections and highway merge lanes
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Improper passing
Distracted driving. Distracted driving occurs when a car or truck operator fails to watch the road attentively. Instead of watching the road, they might be listening to loud music in their car or roughhousing with vehicle passengers. They may also be fiddling with an electronic device in their vehicles, such as a tablet, GPS, smartwatch, or cell phone.
The law specifically prohibits texting, playing games, and watching movies on cellular devices and tablets while driving. Even when drivers take their eyes off the road for one or two seconds, they might not see a motorcycle approaching in the vicinity and negligently collide with it.
Intoxicated driving. Despite hearing every possible warning imaginable, many car and truck operators continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol significantly slows down a driver’s central nervous system, preventing them from concentrating and seeing clearly.
Because many intoxicated and impaired drivers experience blurred vision, they may not even observe a motorcycle approaching in the vicinity. Moreover, alcohol significantly delays a driver’s reaction time, often preventing them from stopping in time to prevent a motorcycle crash.
You are not alone if you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident due to driver negligence. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your area can investigate the circumstances of your accident, if necessary, by retaining an accident reconstructionist.
An accident reconstructionist can visit the crash scene, speak with eyewitnesses, and review police reports to determine exactly how the accident occurred—and who likely caused it. An accident reconstructionist can also testify in court to support your version of events.
Your lawyer can retain the necessary experts to help you prove the legal elements of your personal injury claim, so that you may recover the full monetary damages you deserve.
Types of Motorcycle Crashes that Result from Driver Error
When people drive carelessly and recklessly, it is easy for them to bring about a motorcycle or pedestrian accident.
Some of the most common motorcycle crashes that result from driver negligence include:
- Head-on collisions, where a car or truck directly hits the front of a motorcycle, often cause serious injuries and fatalities.
- Sideswipe accidents, where the side of a car or truck collides with the side of a motorcycle, often pushing the motorcycle completely off the road or out of its travel lane
- T-bone accidents, or broadside collisions, where the front of a car or truck strikes the side of a motorcycle, usually at a highway merge lane or traffic intersection
- Rear-end collisions, where the front of a truck or car hits the back of a motorcycle
If you or a person you care about suffered injuries in one of these motorcycle crashes, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in your area can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer can help you throughout the claims-filing process, as well as during settlement negotiations. Your lawyer can then help you obtain fair monetary compensation for the injuries and damages which you suffered.
Injuries That Motorcycle Accident Victims Frequently Sustain
A forceful, high-speed motorcycle accident may dislodge a cyclist from their bike and onto the ground, causing them to suffer serious injuries. A cyclist’s injuries in an accident depend on various factors, including the speeds of the involved vehicles, the type of collision that occurs, and whether the accident victim hits the ground directly.
In many motorcycle accident scenarios, cyclists suffer permanent injuries. A permanent injury will usually affect the accident victim for the rest of their life and cause them significant pain and other symptoms. To prove that a particular injury is permanent, a medical doctor should provide professional opinions of your prognosis. The provider must be willing to state that the injury is unlikely to improve.
A medical provider can also establish the necessary causal connection between the motorcycle accident and your claimed injury or injuries.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include traumatic head and brain damage, spinal cord and paralysis injuries, and other catastrophic conditions. Crash victims may also sustain internal organ damage, road rash injuries, soft tissue contusions, and broken bones.
As soon as possible after a motorcycle accident, you should follow up at a hospital emergency room for immediate medical treatment. You might need to travel to the hospital by ambulance or have a friend or family member drive you there. The doctor or nurse on duty can physically examine you and order the necessary imaging studies to fully diagnose your medical condition, including CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays.
If you require emergency surgery or another immediate medical treatment, the provider can schedule that life-saving treatment immediately. Moreover, the provider can recommend follow-up medical care for the coming weeks and months. For example, you might need to follow up with an orthopedic doctor, physical therapist, or neurologist for your ongoing symptoms.
While you treat your accident-related injuries, a knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney in your area can begin advocating for you. Your attorney can start to gather up your medical records and bills to date, along with earnings statements from your employer, photographs of your injuries, photographs of any property damage, and a personal statement that you prepare. Your lawyer can send these documents to the insurance company adjuster to prove your losses and begin the settlement negotiation phase of your case.
Facing Blame for Your Motorcycle Crash
In some instances, an insurance company may point fingers at the motorcyclist and blame them for being overly risky or reckless. While this can feel discouraging, it is certainly not the end of your claim. Many people succeed in obtaining compensation – even if they are partly to blame. Too often, these are false allegations aimed at getting the motorcyclist to walk away from the process.
An experienced attorney can help allege whether you might have been partly to blame or not. Even if so, they can fight for whatever compensation is available.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim with the At-fault Driver’s Insurance Company
In most instances, an injured motorcycle accident victim can pursue monetary compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. The first step to obtaining monetary damages is for the accident victim’s lawyer to submit a personal injury claim to the settlement adjuster.
Once the adjuster receives the claim documents, including medical bills, medical records, and lost wage documentation, they might make an offer to resolve the claim through settlement. However, first-time settlement offers are routinely low and far below the actual value of the motorcycle accident claim. Therefore, an accident victim’s lawyer will typically need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before the case can settle.
If the adjuster refuses to increase their offer appropriately, the case may head to litigation. Litigation begins when the accident victim’s lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system. However, from that point forward, settlement negotiations may continue as usual, and the case can still settle. In fact, the majority of motorcycle accident claims resolve at some point before a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
If the case remains unresolved by the end of litigation, a jury will decide what damages to award the motorcycle accident victim. Instead of a jury trial, the parties may agree to take their case to mediation, where a neutral mediator will help facilitate ongoing settlement discussions. The parties might also agree to binding arbitration, where a neutral, pre-selected arbitrator will listen to the evidence and decide the amount of monetary damages to award the accident victim.
Recoverable Monetary Damages Following a Motorcycle Crash
The monetary damages that motorcycle accident victims may recover vary from case to case, depending upon the severity of their injuries, the medical treatment they underwent, the cost of their medical treatment, and permanency considerations. Some accident victims suffer such serious injuries that they may require future surgery or ongoing medical treatment. A qualified medical provider can estimate the cost of that future care and include the amount in your anticipated damages.
Common monetary damages that motorcycle accident victims recover include compensation for:
- Related medical expenses
- Lost earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal companionship
Your attorney can help you maximize your monetary compensation during settlement negotiations by downplaying any case weaknesses while highlighting the strengths of your case.
Speak to an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that someone else caused, you need an experienced attorney representing you every step of the way. Time is of the essence in motor vehicle accident claims and lawsuits. This is because accident victims only have three years from their accident date in which to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer or pursue a lawsuit in the court system.
If the accident victim files their lawsuit belatedly even one day after the deadline they effectively waive their right to recover monetary damages for their injuries. Therefore, the sooner you involve a motorcycle accident attorney to represent you, the better off you are.
If the three-year statute of limitations deadline is about to run in your case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system immediately. They can then assist you throughout the settlement and litigation processes. During settlement negotiations, your lawyer can help you decide whether a particular offer is a “good” offer under the circumstances. If it’s not, your lawyer may continue negotiating with the adjuster until they offer you appropriate monetary damages.
Finally, if the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously, your attorney can help you litigate your case in court and resolve your case at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.