A motorcycle accident can cause devastation for the motorcycle rider. Motorcycles offer little to no protection to the rider, which means that serious injury may result if another driver on the road fails to exercise adequate caution when driving around a motorcycle.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might have the right to file a claim that will help you obtain compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries and the financial losses that often accompany serious injuries. However, many people who need to file motorcycle accident lawsuits find that they have several key questions. Reach out to a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Grounds to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
You have grounds to file a motorcycle accident under several important circumstances.
Another driver commits a negligent act that results in an accident.
Many drivers do not share the road safely with motorcycles. Because they take up less space on the road, some drivers may overlook them altogether.
Other negligent behaviors can also create a more serious risk of accidents for motorcycle riders than for other drivers.
- Distracted driving. A distracted driver may have higher odds of missing the presence of a motorcycle on the road altogether since motorcycles do not fit the same visual profile as passenger vehicles, and the distracted driver may prove less likely to notice them.
- Speeding. A speeding driver may not have the reaction time necessary to avoid a collision with a motorcycle in the event of an emergency.
- Tailgating. Due to their smaller size and greater maneuverability, motorcycles may need less time to stop, slow down, or turn than larger passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, when drivers of larger vehicles choose to tailgate motorcycles, it can raise the risk of a collision since those drivers may not have adequate time to react.
- Sharing lanes. Sometimes, cars may try to force motorcycles to the outside of their lane rather than leaving them adequate room to maneuver. Drivers often engage in those dangerous behaviors because they want to save time or zip around another vehicle. It can, however, leave the motorcycle rider without adequate room to maneuver and may raise the risk of an accident.
- Failure to yield. Drivers often fail to yield to motorcycles because they know the motorcycle rider faces more potential danger from an accident.
Any time a driver commits an act of negligence that results in a motorcycle accident, even a small one, that driver may bear liability for the damages associated with the accident.
You suffered injuries in the accident.
To file an injury claim after a motorcycle accident, you must show that you sustained injuries due to the accident. You may have severe injuries from your motorcycle accident, including brain injury, broken bones, or back and neck injuries. However, you may sometimes discover that your motorcycle accident did not cause any injury. If your motorcycle accident does not cause an injury, you do not have the right to file an injury claim.
Your injuries occurred because of the negligent actions of the other driver.
Sometimes, drivers may commit errors on the road, but they may not lead to an accident. For example, suppose you ride past a distracted driver. That driver may swerve into your lane but not hit you. Since you avoided an accident, you will not have the right to file an injury claim because of that incident. On the other hand, if the other driver hits you, leading to an accident and injuries, you may have the right to file an injury claim.
If you have questions about whether you have the right to file an injury claim following a motorcycle accident, working with a lawyer can provide you with more information about your rights and make it easier to assemble your claim.
Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Accident Claims
Wearing a motorcycle helmet can go a long way toward reducing serious injuries in the event of an accident. However, many states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, do not require drivers to wear motorcycle helmets once they earn a full motorcycle license and reach 18. Therefore, many riders may suffer head, neck, and facial injuries due to their failure to wear a helmet during the accident. If you suffer a head injury in a motorcycle accident, you still have the right to file an injury claim.
The Statute of Limitations and Motorcycle Accident Claims
Each state has a statute of limitations determining how long the injured party has to file an injury claim after any accident. In Minnesota, injured motorcycle accident victims have six years to file an accident claim. Wisconsin law allows a rider to file a claim three years from the date of an accident.
However, that does not necessarily mean that riders who suffered injuries in an accident should wait until the statute of limitations gets close before they move forward with an injury claim. The longer you wait to file an injury claim, the longer it may take to get the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, your lawyer may have a harder time accessing any evidence related to the accident, so you may find it much more difficult to establish that the other driver’s dangerous actions caused or contributed to your motorcycle accident and your injuries and damages.
How to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, you might assume that you can simply contact the liable driver’s insurance company, lay out the damages you sustained, and receive reasonable compensation for your injuries.
In many cases, however, insurance companies will fight to reduce the compensation they pay after a motorcycle accident. Many insurance companies will even display clear bias against motorcycle riders, insisting that they must have contributed to the accident in some way and that, as a result, the motorcycle rider should accept liability for the accident.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible. The longer you wait to contact a lawyer about your motorcycle accident, the more difficult it may prove to show that you did not cause the accident and get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Furthermore, you may deal with the insurance company alone if you wait to contact a lawyer. Many people find that trying to handle the insurance company alone means receiving a great deal of pressure to accept a low settlement offer that does not fit their needs.
Review the police report from your motorcycle accident.
At the time of the accident, you may have needed to go straight to the hospital to receive treatment for your injuries, which means you may not have had time to get the details of the accident report straight. Sometimes, that report may contain inaccuracies you must address before you begin your claim. Go over the police report and ensure it has accurate information about the date and time of your accident and any details you can remember.
Give your lawyer time to investigate.
A lawyer may need time to look into the details of your accident. The other party’s insurance company will also review all those details, so you want to ensure that you have a lawyer to support you and help fight for your right to compensation.
Go over your losses with your lawyer.
Many times, motorcycle accident victims suffer substantial financial losses. Not only do you have to deal with the lost funds from the many medical bills you may face after your accident, but you may also have lost wages as you stayed out of work while recovering from the accident. Furthermore, your motorcycle accident can result in substantial non-financial suffering.
Talk about those losses with your lawyer. You may need to keep track of all paperwork related to your injuries and medical care since your bills and receipts can provide essential insights into how much you have spent on medical care after the accident. Let your lawyer know how much work you may have missed and what suffering you have faced from the accident. Your lawyer will assemble that information as part of a comprehensive injury claim.
Plan to negotiate.
You may assume you can submit a detailed list of your losses to the insurance company and receive compensation. However, an injury claim can quickly turn much more complicated than expected.
You may need to fight the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. Tell your lawyer how much compensation you might willingly accept. Your lawyer will need to notify you about any settlement offer you receive. Still, you can streamline the process by letting your lawyer know when you might compromise and will likely continue to fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Each step in the claim process can take considerable time. You may expect it to take months to recover compensation for your motorcycle accident.
Denying the Claim
The insurance company may often start by denying the accident claim. Many insurance companies will display their bias against motorcycle riders in those initial stages, insisting that you, as the motorcycle rider, committed some negligence that must have led to the incident. The insurance company may insist that you do not deserve compensation for your injuries due to your contributions to the accident.
A lawyer can help you better establish who bears liability for your accident and the damages you sustained, increasing the odds that you will get fair and reasonable compensation.
Issuing a Low Settlement Offer
It may feel like a relief when you first receive a settlement offer after a motorcycle accident. After all, you have bills piling up. You may have to deal with a reduced income or, worse, no income while recovering. If you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may feel a settlement offer will make your life much easier.
Unfortunately, an early settlement offer may not accurately reflect the damages you sustained in the accident. If you accept, it could prevent you from later getting the compensation you deserve.
Remember that many insurance agents will pressure you heavily to accept that settlement offer right after your motorcycle accident. The company wants to close the claim with as little financial impact as possible. However, by working with a lawyer, you can better understand how much compensation you should expect, including when to accept a settlement offer.
Denying the Extent of Your Medical Needs
The insurance company often tries to deny the full extent of your medical needs after the accident.
That may mean that the insurance company:
- Fights about the injuries you sustained. The insurance company may want to prove that you suffered fewer injuries than you indicated from the accident.
- Insist that you must have suffered those injuries at another time.
- Insist that you worsened your injuries due to your lack of attention to medical details after the accident.
- Try to show that you did not need the medical care you claimed after the accident or that you went through unnecessary medical treatments and procedures.
By working with a lawyer, you can often better lay out the full extent of the damages you sustained due to your motorcycle accident.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Help With Your Claim
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, do not handle your claim alone. Instead, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn more about how to handle your claim. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.