Injuries from Motorcycle Accidents
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that is a motorcyclist is involved in an accident there is an 80% chance that they will be injured or die as a result of the accident. As compared to the 20% of drivers seriously injured or killed in a car accident, motorcycle accidents are very dangerous and anyone involved in a motorcycle accident should seek medical attention immediately.
Motorcycle drivers must learn how to single vehicle accidents and stationary objects, but that isn’t enough to protect motorcycle drivers from serious accidents. Unfortunately, motorcycle drivers are often seriously injured as a result of other drivers who don’t follow traffic laws and who are not paying attention. Because motorcycle drivers are so exposed when riding if they are hit by a negligent driver the resulting injuries can be catastrophic.
Being ejected from their motorcycle is one of the most common causes of injuries to a motorcyclist. After being ejected a motorcyclist is going to hit something whether it’s a stationary object, another moving vehicle, or the pavement. Obviously, this type of accident is more than likely going to cause serious injury and potentially death. Internal bleeding may occur, and the motorcyclist might not even by aware of it! Here are some of the most common injuries that result from motorcycle accidents:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Skin abrasions
- Bone fractures
Motorcycle accidents typically also result in some the highest medical bills when compared to other types of automobile accidents. Anyone involved in a motorcycle accident will likely suffer lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident and it was due to someone else’s negligence you are probably eligible for compensation for their insurance carrier, your insurance, or by way of a personal injury lawsuit.
Finding a Qualified Motorcycle Accident Attorney
A professional motorcycle accident attorney will review the facts of the accident and your injuries and will work to make sure you are fairly and adequately compensated for injuries and damages. You may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages, pain and suffering, medical bills, and future medical needs. An attorney who knows and is experienced with motorcycle accidents will be able to explain what you are entitled to and help you fight for your compensation.
If you have been injured, you need to find a lawyer that has the knowledge and experience specific to motorcycle accidents. If you are concerned about how you are going to be able to afford an attorney with type of expertise, do not worry, most lawyers who specialize in motorcycle accidents work on what is called a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid if you don’t win.
A qualified motorcycle lawyer will typically offer a no-cost consultation to review your claim and go over your options and the process. A professional motorcycle attorney will also help you negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement if that is in your best interests.
It is very important that you never attempt to settle a motorcycle claim directly with an insurance company or any other individual that is involved in the claim without speaking with a lawyer. A lawyer will be able to explain all your available rights so that you do not unexpectedly sign away more than you bargained for. Motorcycle accidents can leave their victims devasted for years and those damages are not always obvious to the victim. Let an experienced lawyer help you navigate this process.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies is a daily occurrence for a qualified accident attorney but it can be overwhelming and extremely time consuming for victims. If the person is at fault for the accident is not insured or does not have enough insurance coverage to cover your injuries, you may also have to file a claim with your own insurance company. If a third vehicle is involved, you could be dealing with three or more insurance carriers all with different limits and policy provisions. A qualified attorney will be able to navigate this complicated process most effectively for you.
Some states have what is called “no-fault” insurance coverage laws and policies. This means that your insurance may have to cover some of your damages regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident. Hiring an experienced attorney is critical to understanding who is responsible for your damages and injuries.
In order to discuss settlement with your lawyer you should gather this information and bring it with you to your consultation:
- Any photographs taken at the accident scene
- The police report
- Photos and information about your injuries
- Any information you have about any of the other drivers, passengers, or anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Your medical bills and records that are related to the accident.
Traffic citations or tickets that were issued. Regardless of whether you decide to hire an attorney or attempt to represent yourself, you should not make any final decision regarding settling your claims until you fully understand your injuries and their impact on your future. Insurance companies will often make an offer to settle the claim very early on in the process hoping you will underestimate your future loss of income and medical expenses.
Only after you have a firm grasp on your future damages should you or your lawyer begin negotiating with the insurance company. Usually, once your attorney understands your case and injuries they will draft what is called the demand letter to the insurance company. The amount demanded is usually related to your injuries, damages, and the policy limits that are available for the claim.
The demand letter will usually lay out what injuries were suffered as a result of the accident, who was at fault, and will usually lay out the available insurance policies and their limits. This letter will also set out a demand for settlement of the claim. This is the amount the victim is willing to accept in order to settle the claim at the time. There is also usually a time limit in which the insurance company must accept or deny the demand. If the demand is not accepted, it will usually expire so that the insurance company cannot accept it months or years into the process. Usually the demand letter will also include any documents that support your claim such as medical records or medical reports outlining the injuries suffered by the victim.
It is not uncommon for the insurance company and your lawyer to go back and forth after the demand letter is sent with offers and counter offers until a settlement is reached. If an offer is accepted that is considered the “settlement” amount. Once you have accepted and agreed upon a settlement amount you will not be able to seek any additional compensation for damages from that insurance company. In order to receive the settlement funds, you will have to sign a release that will release the insurance company and potential any of the parties represented by that insurance company.
Motorcycle Accident and Personal Injury Claims
You should talk to an experienced accident attorney if you are considering filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit as a result of damages suffered from a motorcycle accident. In some states there is a minimum damage threshold you must exceed before you can even legally file a claim. In order to meet this threshold a lawyer will be able to better access your true cost of damages better than you can. You might know to include your medical expenses, but do you know how to calculate future lost income or future medical costs. A qualified attorney will be in a better position to assess what damages you have already incurred and what damages you may incur in the future as a result on your accident.
There are several steps you should take if you think you may have a personal injury claim as a result of a motorcycle accident, they include:
- Gathering all the evidence you can about the accident, how it happened, who was there, and who was at fault.
- Getting all the names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers of everyone involved in the accident.
- Keeping records of all your medical bills and expenses including those potentially covered by your health insurance provider.
- Keeping accurate records of any time you have had to take off work as a result of the accident.
A qualified motorcycle accident attorney can evaluate the evidence and work with you to determine if a viable claim for personal injury exists. Personal Injury claims can be complicated because laws differ from state to state and different insurance policy provision may apply depending on the facts of your accident. If you or a loved has been injured in a motorcycle accident you should consult with an experienced attorney specializing in personal injury cases.