Even with decreased traffic in 2020, motorcycle riders were 28 times more likely to be fatally injured in a collision than occupants of a passenger vehicle and four times more likely to suffer an injury. More than 82,000 motorcycle crashes happen every year in the U.S., and nearly 5,000 motorcyclists lose their lives.
For various reasons, motorcyclists are unfortunately more vulnerable to injuries in an accident, and those injuries are more likely to be severe or even catastrophic. If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash, you deserve help from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will fight to get you the maximum compensation for your motorcycle accident case.
The Importance of Medical Attention After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle riders are incredibly vulnerable to accident injuries. They lack the protection afforded to those in passenger vehicles, such as crumple zones, seat belts, and airbags. While wearing a helmet and other protective gear can decrease the incidence of injuries, it won’t prevent them all and doesn’t prevent fatal injuries.
Often, shock and excitement can hide the symptoms of potentially life-threatening injuries after a motorcycle accident. You may feel as if you aren’t hurt or only have minor injuries that don’t need medical attention. However, it’s critical for your health and well-being, and your injury claim to see a doctor after being involved in a motorcycle accident.
If you don’t go to the hospital immediately after your accident, be sure you have a medical evaluation as soon as possible, ideally on the same day. If your family doctor can’t see you, go to the nearest urgent care center or emergency department. Tell your medical provider that you were hit by a car while riding a motorcycle. They will document this in your medical record and likely ask you several questions about the accident to help ascertain the types of injuries you might have sustained.
Always understand that a delay in your medical treatment can severely weaken your insurance claim. Unfortunately, most insurance companies won’t hesitate to deny your claim, arguing that your injuries weren’t from the motorcycle accident since you didn’t seek medical care right away.
In addition to seeking medical care immediately, you also need to follow the medical advice any medical professional gives you. For example, if your doctor prescribes physical therapy or surgery, you generally need to follow their advice and pursue those treatments.
You also need to follow any restrictions or instructions they provide you, such as not lifting more than 10 pounds or finishing the entire course of your antibiotics. If you aren’t compliant with your medical care, this gives the insurance company additional reasons to attempt to deny your claim.
The Importance of Legal Help After a Motorcycle Accident
Not only is medical attention essential after a motorcycle crash, but so is legal help. While your health should also take priority over anything else, it’s important to contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. There are several reasons for this:
Protecting Your Claim
Your attorney will guide you, helping you avoid certain actions or taking certain actions to protect your injury claim. For example, they will likely instruct you not to speak to the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Insurance adjusters often reach out to motorcycle accident victims within days or a week, or two of the accident. They want to talk to you before you can meet with a lawyer and find out what your claim is worth. One of their tactics is to offer you much less for your claim than what it is worth. Instead, they prey on victims who may be desperate for money at this point due to lost wages and the medical bills they face.
Don’t trust a claims adjuster to tell you what your claim is really worth-they work for the insurance company and don’t have your best interest at heart.
Besides providing you with a lowball settlement offer, they might try to get you to say something detrimental to your claim. They can ask for a recorded statement, though you aren’t required to provide one. Even if you don’t, they are masters at twisting words and asking questions in specific ways that might make you hurt your claim. So it’s best not to talk to them at all and let your attorney handle them instead.
Your lawyer might also advise you not to speak to anyone about your accident and stay off social media. Even social media posts that have nothing to do with your accident or injuries can cause problems with your claim. Some insurance companies hire investigators to stalk claimants’ social media accounts, scouring them for things that they might use against them to deny or devalue their claim.
Collecting and Preserving Evidence
Quality evidence is paramount in any personal injury claim, including those involving motorcycle accidents. Your attorney must prove that the at-fault party was negligent, leading to your injuries. They must also establish that you sustained injuries that caused your damages.
They can help collect and preserve evidence such as:
- Witness information and testimony about the accident
- Police report: Law enforcement officers typically respond to injury accidents. Insurance adjusters give a lot of weight to what is in their accident reports. Your claim will have a significant advantage if the investigating officer determines that the other driver caused the accident or the report shows the other motorist was cited for traffic violations, causing or contributing to the accident.
- Insurance policies
- Medical records and bills: These are imperative for establishing your claim’s value. Your attorney can request copies of all medical records for your emergency care, surgeries, hospitalization, and other therapies and ongoing care. They can also obtain copies of test reports and bills for lab work and imaging studies like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. You will need to be sure you keep receipts for any out-of-pocket medical expenses you incur, such as those for medications or assistive devices.
- Pictures and videos of the accident scene, your motorcycle, and the other vehicles involved: Pictures don’t lie, and photos taken at the motorcycle accident scene can be very persuasive.
- The helmet, protective gear, and clothing you wore: You can’t underestimate the impact a dented helmet or a torn, bloodstained jacket and jeans can have on a jury if your case winds up in court.
- Any surveillance video footage of the accident: Nearby businesses, schools, or the city-owned property might have cameras, or there might be red-light cameras at the intersection. Your attorney can speak with whoever owns the surveillance cameras to request the footage. If they refuse to comply, your attorney can always subpoena if needed.
- Pictures of your injuries
- Lost income statements from employers: Lost wages are a substantial part of any compensation claim, especially if you have missed a lot of time off work. Your attorney can request that your employer provide a written statement of lost wages, vacation time, or sick leave you were required to use, and any missed opportunities for overtime or bonuses. If you used FMLA, they can also request copies of the paperwork to keep as evidence in your accident file.
Your lawyer will know what evidence is essential to have in your claim. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can begin collecting this evidence. Keep in mind that some pieces of evidence might be lost or destroyed over time if no one takes action to preserve them. For example, if video surveillance footage exists from the accident, it may be erased or recorded over within a matter of days.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will know what your claim is worth based on:
- The extent of your injuries and damages
- Recent similar cases in your area
- The insurance policies involved
- The insurance companies involved
- The strength of the evidence in your case
Your legal team will do all they can to maximize your compensation. Sometimes this includes holding multiple parties liable for your accident. Seasoned accident attorneys are skilled negotiators who can usually increase settlement offers and, if necessary, will litigate your case.
Building a Strong Insurance Claim
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, the at-fault party’s insurance carrier won’t approve and pay your claim unless you or your attorney can convince the adjuster that their insured caused the accident and the accident resulted in your injuries. Remember that the insurance company exists to make money. If they pay on every claim that reaches their desk without putting up a fight, their company won’t make money.
As such, the insurance adjuster will search for signs that you did something wrong or contributed to the crash. However, your lawyer can protect you from these attempts.
When a motorist is negligent and causes an accident, the civil law provides that the at-fault driver violated their duty of care. When this negligence causes injuries to a motorcyclist, they have a legal right to pursue monetary compensation for their injuries and other related costs, such as lost wages and medical bills.
A robust, well-prepared insurance claim will establish that the at-fault driver failed to:
- Maintain a proper lookout for the motorcyclist
- Adhere to applicable traffic laws
- Use all reasonable actions necessary to prevent an accident
Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
There’s not a one-size-fits-all motorcycle accident settlement or court award.
The sum you should expect for your injuries depends on:
- Scope and severity of your injuries
- Allocation of fault
- Available insurance coverage
While the vast majority of motorcycle accident claims settle outside of court, a handful of cases do make it to the litigation stage.
However, settling a motorcycle accident claim is generally ideal for all parties involved
because a settlement:
- Requires less time, money, and resources
- It is more private than litigation, allowing each party to stay out of the public eye
- Doesn’t require the victim to go in front of a jury
- Can help the insurance company or other party preserve their good reputation
- Gives each party more control over the outcome of the case
- It is favorable to the court system
We can calculate compensation by examining the injured motorcyclist’s damages, whether a case settles or goes to court. Damages are the monetary representation of their suffering, losses, and other inconveniences.
You can recover economic damages, such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and income
- Property damage
You can recover also recover non-economic compensation, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of a bodily function
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Your motorcycle accident attorney can help you identify all your damages and ensure you account for them in your claim.
Motorcycle Injuries Require Legal Assistance
If you or a loved one suffered a severe injury in a recent motorcycle accident, there’s too much to lose by handling a motorcycle accident claim without the assistance of an experienced attorney. Serious injuries and wrongful death claims are inherently complex, high-dollar claims.
Pay no mind to the insurance adjuster who says they will take care of you and that you don’t need a lawyer. Insurance carriers are well-known for offering lower settlements to injured motorcycle accident claimants who an attorney doesn’t represent.
The good news is that a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you find and pursue all available sources of liability insurance coverage. For instance, suppose you suffered a severe injury by a driver under the age of 18; there may be coverage available from both parents’ policies if the parents are divorced but have a shared custody agreement.
Suppose your claim is substantial and has exhausted the at-fault driver’s auto policy limits. In that case, your lawyer can assist you in filing a claim for underinsured motorist coverage under your own vehicle insurance policy. On the other hand, if you become a hit-and-run crash victim, your attorney can file an uninsured motorist claim on your behalf.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help. Call a motorcycle accident attorney today to get your claim started.