Though motorcycles account for only 3% of all registered vehicles, motorcycle accidents are quite common. Due to their design, motorcycles cannot provide their riders the same protection level as other passenger vehicles, such as cars. Moreover, motorcycles don’t have seatbelts and other safety features.
Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 14% of all traffic deaths in the US in 2020 were from motorcycle accidents. Based on miles traveled, fatalities from motorcycle accidents happened 28-more-times than deaths from a passenger vehicle.
Motorcycle accident victims often find it difficult to get compensation because most accidents are caused by negligent motorcyclists or road conditions. However, with proper legal representation, you’ll know how to navigate police reports and receive compensation.
You’re more than just a statistic. Seek justice and get the compensation you deserve with expert legal advice.
Understanding a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim
In the US, motorcycle accidents fall under tort law, which covers the majority of civil suits. Under the law of torts, those found to be at fault for harming others must provide monetary compensation.
Motorcycle accident lawyers are well-versed in tort law. They help motorcycle accident victims file personal injury claims for the injuries they have suffered in an accident. In motorcycle accident claims, damages can include loss of wages and future income, medical expenses, and even pain and suffering.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can also assist in claiming punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for intentional harm or gross negligence. As there is a limitation period by which you must file a claim after an accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer is aware of the time frame and will ensure that a claim is filed within the deadline.
The Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many factors contribute to motorcycle accidents. Here are five of them:
A negligent motorcyclist is someone who doesn’t have experience in operating a motorcycle.
Ideally, drivers should only take their motorcycles out on the road once they are ready. This means that they have sufficient knowledge of how to handle their motorbikes. The NHTSA recommends that motorcyclists, particularly novice riders, should practice riding first. They must be comfortable with the vehicle before venturing into open roads.
Riders should also learn how to gauge conditions that will allow them to respond to road situations. However, most motorcyclists can get carried away by the thrill of cruising on open roads, and they do so without proper licensing permits. According to the NHTSA, 36% of fatal crashes in 2020 involved drivers that didn’t have motorcycle licenses.
Intense weather conditions can increase the risk of a car accident, and the risk is even higher for motorcycles. Snow, sleet, fog, strong winds, and rain can lead to poor visibility and slippery roads. Data from the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration showed that 21% of the 5,891,000 vehicular crashes were due to severe weather conditions.
Compared to cars, motorcycles deal with more road hazards. They are more sensitive to rough roads because a single mistake in maneuvering the bike can cause the motorcycle to overturn. Motorcycle drivers may also lose balance or control of their bikes when they pass on an edge break or expansion joints.
Passing animals can also be a road hazard since they’re harder to anticipate, as deer, dogs, and other wild animals can suddenly come out from the side of the road. Drivers can swerve to avoid them, hit the pavement, suffer bruises, and deal with property damage.
Drivers should be in their best state when they hit the road. If drivers are sleepy or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can have poor reaction times. A report showed that 32% of motorcycle-related deaths were because of a drunk motorist.
Since operating a motorcycle requires more coordination and balance than driving a car, it’s even more important that motorcyclists aren’t intoxicated. Even a slight increase in blood alcohol levels can significantly impair a biker’s ability to drive. Aside from alcohol, some drivers may even drive under the influence of illegal drugs, which can also lead to severe accidents causing disfigurement, amputation, and even wrongful death.
Get a free case evaluation from an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer.
Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
A motor vehicle accident can lead to several injuries, ranging from superficial bruises to fatal injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries:
Fractured or Broken Bones: Since motorcyclists don’t enjoy the same degree of protection as cars, they commonly suffer from broken bones. Depending on the severity and extent of the fracture, these injuries may require surgery. Often, healing may take weeks or even months.
Skin Abrasions: Skin abrasions, which are also known as road rash, can happen when the skin comes into contact with a hard surface. Most motor vehicle accidents result in skin abrasions that may require antiseptics and pain relievers.
Soft Tissue Injuries: A motorcycle accident can also injure the driver’s tendons, muscles, and ligaments (soft tissues of the body). This generally happens because of the impact of the accident, which can result in bruising, swelling, and pain. Depending on the severity of the trauma, symptoms can last from weeks to several months. In some cases, soft tissue injuries can cause nerve damage, such as brachial plexus injuries.
Partial Paralysis: Motorists can also lose motor function in some of their body parts. The paralysis is localized, wherein a specific part of the body is affected. However, it can also be generalized and involves a more widespread loss of function, such as an entire side of the body. Partial paralysis can be temporary or permanent.
Amputation: Since motorcycles don’t have a protective shell, such as cars do, drivers are more vulnerable to loss of limbs, particularly of their lower extremities.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): During an accident, a motorcycle rider can hit their head and suffer from lifelong injuries. Often, the effects may not be immediately apparent. However, some victims may require specialist care, support, and lifetime treatment.
Spinal Cord Injury: One of the catastrophic effects of motorcycle accidents is spinal cord injuries. Severe spinal cord injuries can cause permanent paralysis.
Injured motorcyclists may file a motorcycle accident lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney by your side will help, as they can negotiate a higher settlement to compensate you for your injuries and expenses.
Whatever injury you may have suffered from a motorcycle accident, it’s best to work with a personal injury attorney. They know how to help you build your case to get the compensation you deserve.
Types of Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re involved in a motorcycle accident, you can seek the following types of damages from the at-fault party or the insurance company:
- Wrongful Death: If the accident results in a loss of life, your personal injury attorney can file a claim for wrongful death. Often, lawyers would factor in the support that the victim provides for their loved ones when calculating how much to seek in compensation.
- Medical Expenses: Costs incurred during medical treatment, including current and future treatment you will require, should be part of the claim for damages. The costs should include surgeries, medications, and follow-up checkups needed for your injuries.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: Victims may lose wages, as they must miss working days to recover from their injuries. Some may even completely lose their ability to earn if they become disabled. For example, spinal cord injuries may render you unable to work in the same capacity as before.
- Emotional Suffering: Dealing with treatment and recovery can be taxing, especially if the accident caused you emotional suffering. However, since they are unquantifiable, they’re often matched against a more measurable event. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to include it in your personal injury claim.
- Punitive Damages: In some motorcycle accidents, seeking punitive damages, which is meant to punish the at-fault party, is possible. Courts generally award punitive damages if the at-fault party’s conduct is particularly extreme or oppressive.
How To File a Successful Motorcycle Accident Claim
Here are some tips on filing a motorcycle accident claim:
Request a police report copy
In any accident, someone is always responsible for the crash. However, you can only strengthen your case if you have proof. Therefore, call the police as soon as possible, and let them document that the accident indeed happened.
- Police reports prove that another motorist is at-fault for the accident.
- Most states must keep a copy of police reports for their records.
- Police reports will include the contact information of all parties involved.
- Take photos of the vehicles to show the accident scene.
- Get the contact information of possible witnesses.
At the scene of the accident, it’s best to be cautious of what you say. Don’t apologize, and never admit guilt. It’s a high-stress situation that may cause you to spill information, eventually hurting your case. If you don’t know how to respond, call your attorney.
Document your injuries and keep treatment cost records
After cooperating with authorities, you should have yourself checked for any injuries. Even if it’s minor or you don’t see any external injuries, go and see a doctor. Not only is this important for your health and safety, but it’s also vital for your case.
- Hospital records show the extent of the injuries you suffered from the accident.
- The cost of treatment is factored in when calculating damages.
- Records are also critical for future treatment that may be required for your injuries.
- Take pictures of your injuries and ensure an accurate date stamp.
Following your doctor’s advice about treatment and recovery is also important. This will have an impact when you want to provide evidence of pain and suffering, especially for severe injuries.
Keep evidence intact
Your law firm can build a strong case for wrongful death or motorcycle accident injuries if you keep the evidence intact. For example, keeping the helmet can prove that you wore protective gear during the accident. It’s also concrete evidence of how severe the accident was.
While it’s not common to present the gear as evidence, it’s still best to have them as an option. This is especially true if you can’t rely on witnesses to support your claim.
Work with a motorcycle accident lawyer?
Motorcyclists may not hire a motorcycle accident attorney if their injuries are minor. They generally do this because they’re not aware of the consequences of not having a reliable lawyer by their side. If you have a personal injury lawyer, call them while you’re at the accident scene. Ask for advice on what you can and cannot say.
When dealing with an accident, it’s always best to have a lawyer by your side. In fact, calling your attorney doesn’t mean you’re guilty. It simply means that you’re aware of your rights.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Different states have different laws that govern motorcycle accidents. However, one thing is clear – a motorcycle accident case is subject to the statute of limitations and will allow you to file a claim for personal injury. Nevertheless, navigating a personal injury claim can be tricky if you’re unaware of the laws governing your case. It’s best to make an informed decision after you’ve consulted a lawyer.
Did your motorcycle accident increase your medical bills? Are you unable to work because of a disability? Did you lose a loved one in a motorcycle accident? Are you suffering from traumatic brain injuries from road rash?
Having personal injury lawyers well-versed in traffic accidents and fatalities will help. Arm yourself with the proper knowledge to get the justice you deserve. Visit us at The Personal Injury Center today.
We at The Personal Injury Center provide comprehensive information to help you deal with motorcycle accidents. Know your legal options. Schedule a free case review today.
FAQs on Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
It depends. By law, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, most lawyers recommend going after the at-fault party’s insurance company. This strategy allows you to claim damages without necessarily filing a lawsuit.
Various factors affect motorcycle accidents, such as the road, weather, and driving conditions. However, most motorcycle accidents happen because of inexperienced or negligent drivers who may not be aware of defensive driving.
There’s no average payout.
Motorcycle accident payouts depend on liability and injuries. Proving liability will affect the amount you’ll receive in compensation, as the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff. This simply means that you won't get any monetary compensation if you can’t prove that the other party is at fault.
Injuries are different as they pertain to the losses resulting from the accident. The severity of the injury is directly proportional to the amount you’ll receive in compensation.