Motorcycle accidents are almost always much more serious than any automobile accident. Even when motorcyclists are wearing proper safety equipment, such as a helmet, there is still nothing to reduce the impact of a collision. The injuries sustained by motorcyclists can be much more severe due to the lack of protection provided by automobiles.
The increased risk of injury caused by motorcycle accident can lead to the following consequences:
A motorcycle accident may result in permanent life changing injuries
Due to the heightened severity of injuries, medical bills are usually much more expensive
Motorcycle insurance is much more complicated than automobile insurance and sometimes doesn’t even include coverage for medical expenses
Liability and Damages
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to know what your claim may be worth. If you meet with an attorney, the first thing that they will look at will be liability and damages. These will determine the value of the case and if you even have one at all.
Liability is whether or not you were at fault in the accident. If you caused the accident by being in the wrong lane or something else, the other driver won’t owe you anything. If the accident is your fault, you won’t have a case. If the other driver is responsible, you will be required to prove their negligence. If you can prove that, the other party will owe you for the damages caused. If police arrived on the scene of the accident, you should be able to access police reports for accident details and who was issued a ticket. Sometimes these tickets are issued by mistake, but it will help your case in proving fault if the other driver received a ticket.
Damages encompass all injuries and losses pertaining to the accident. If you are not liable, the other party will be responsible for compensating those damages. Damages include injuries, property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages. Damages caused in motorcycle accidents are generally quite extensive. Along with financial damages there are also noneconomic damages. These may include pain & suffering (anxiety, depression, PTSD, physical disfigurement), disruption from daily activities, or loss of a loved one. These damages will require adjustments to completely different lifestyles and may also be eligible for compensation.
To calculate damages, you, or an attorney you hire will go over all of your medical expenses and lost wages. They will also take into account future lost earning capacity due to your injuries.
What to Do if You are in a Motorcycle Accident
Don't wait to take action if you are in a motorcycle accident. Most things that you need to do must be done immediately:
Go to the Hospital
You should go to the hospital even if you don’t feel any pain. In many accidents, you will be brought to the emergency room in an ambulance, but if you aren’t you need to go.
There may be many internal injuries that you are not aware of. If you visit a doctor, they will be able to diagnose any injuries that you may not even be aware of. Some injuries incurred may be preventable if they can be treated right away.
It is also important to document your injuries with a medical professional. These injuries will be the most important evidence in your case. The sooner you visit the doctor, the more accurately they will be able to document your injuries.
Common motorcycle injuries may include:
- Brain Trauma
- Bone Fractures
- Road Rash
- Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Amputation of Limbs
If you don’t go to the hospital right away, not only can this hurt your case, but it could ruin it entirely. Your injury will determine the value of your settlement.
Evidence is everything in a personal injury case. If you have no evidence, you have no case.
This evidence can be captured from traffic cameras, police reports, eyewitness accounts, vehicle damage, and the vehicle black box that records the circumstances surrounding car accidents.
If you are conscious and able, you should try taking pictures with your phone of the scene.
Tampering with evidence is illegal and will most certainly get your case thrown out.
Keep track of every visit to the doctor. If you hire an attorney, they will go over all of your medical records. It is important that you are keeping track of your recovery on your own as well.
Get the insurance information for all parties involved. If you are not at fault, the other driver’s insurance company should be expected to compensate you. Your insurance as well will owe you compensation.
It’s important to know that insurance companies are not “good neighbors.” You are not “in good hands” with them. Insurance companies for the opposing party are even more difficult to deal with than your own. The job for any insurance adjuster is to maximize the profitability of their company. They will try to pay you the smallest amount possible.
Your insurance and the opposing party’s insurance will probably ask for a recorded statement from you. Or they will give you documents to sign. Never agree to give a recorded statement and never sign anything without having an attorney look at it first.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Attorneys experienced in auto collisions and motorcycle accidents will have experience dealing with insurance companies, dealing with insurance companies, and working with medical providers.
While insurance companies, the opposing party, and sometimes even the doctors may be working against you, it’s important to have a competent attorney in your corner who will be advocating for you. While you are recovering from a traumatic accident, should have an attorney fighting your battles.
Most personal injury attorneys will also work on a contingency basis. That means that you don't pay them upfront. They will only make money if you do. Their payment will come out of the final settlement. Depending on the work that needs to put into the case, they will usually take about 30-45% out of the settlement. Personal injury cases take months of work. If you were to pay hourly fees it would be much more expensive. To ensure that you don't lose all your money and that attorneys get paid, a contingency basis is better for your personal injury case.
Contact Wilkerson Law Group today if you are in need of legal representation to help you navigate your motorcycle accident recovery.