Should I Get a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident?

Hire an attorney after a motorcycle accident
Should I Get a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents can be utterly devastating. Even with proper safety gear, riders have little protection in a crash. Severe injuries are all too common, and some riders die because of their motorcycle accident injuries.

If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident someone else caused, you may wonder: Should I get a lawyer for a motorcycle accident?

Yes. You should strongly consider hiring an attorney if you were hurt in a motorcycle crash that wasn't your fault. Insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line, not ensuring you get a fair settlement for your injuries and losses. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will be your advocate and fight for the full compensation you deserve.

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Assessing the Situation After a Motorcycle Accident

Before deciding whether to hire a lawyer, you should assess the specifics of your motorcycle accident case. A few key factors to consider include:

Severity of Injuries

Motorcycle Accident

If you've sustained serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment, long-term care, or result in permanent disability, you need a skilled attorney fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive adequate compensation to cover your expenses and losses. Severe injuries may include:

Property Damage

Motorcycle accidents often result in significant damage to the vehicle, which can be costly to repair or replace. An attorney can help you navigate the complex process of securing compensation for your property damage.

Insurance Coverage

Understanding the insurance policies involved in your case, including your own coverage and that of the at-fault party, is essential in determining the best course of action. A lawyer can help you interpret these policies and ensure that you receive the maximum benefits available.

Determining Fault

In some cases, the insurance company or at-fault party may dispute liability for a motorcycle accident. Additionally, multiple parties may share responsibility for the crash. Your state’s comparative negligence rules may come into play. In Minnesota, for example, you may pursue damages for injuries and losses resulting from the motorcycle accident as long as your percentage of fault is not more than the defendant’s. However, the court may reduce your compensation by the percentage of fault assigned to you.

An experienced attorney can investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case to prove the other party’s fault and minimize your liability. They can also advocate for you if the insurance company tries to place undue blame on you for causing the accident and your injuries.

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

Engaging the services of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can provide numerous advantages, including:

  • Legal knowledge and guidance: Navigating the complex legal system can be daunting, especially when dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of a serious accident. An attorney with experience in motorcycle accident cases can provide invaluable knowledge and support, helping you to understand your rights and make informed decisions throughout the process.
  • Handling communication with insurance companies: Insurance adjusters often prioritize their company's interests over those of accident victims. They may attempt to reduce or deny valid claims. A lawyer can handle all communication with insurance companies on your behalf, protecting you from potentially harmful statements and negotiating aggressively for a fair settlement.
  • Gathering evidence and building a strong case: To secure the compensation you need, you must have strong evidence supporting your claim. An attorney can thoroughly investigate your accident, gather relevant documentation (such as police reports, medical records, and witness statements), and consult with expert witnesses to build a compelling case in your favor.
  • Negotiating fair settlements: Insurance companies often offer initial settlements that fall far short of the true value of a claim. An experienced lawyer can assess the merits of your case, determine the full extent of your damages (including future medical expenses and lost earning capacity), and negotiate skillfully to achieve a settlement that adequately addresses your needs.
  • Representing you in court, if necessary: While many motorcycle accident cases are resolved through settlement negotiations, some may require litigation to achieve a just outcome. If your case proceeds to trial, having a seasoned attorney by your side can make all the difference in presenting a persuasive argument before a judge and jury.

When to Hire a Lawyer

While every motorcycle accident case is unique, there are certain situations in which seeking legal representation is particularly critical:

  • Serious injuries or permanent disability: If you've suffered severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, long-term care, or result in permanent impairment or disability, the stakes are much higher. An attorney can ensure that you receive compensation for your current expenses, future medical needs, and lost earning capacity.
  • Disputed liability: When multiple parties are involved in an accident or liability is unclear, insurance companies may attempt to shift blame to avoid paying claims. In these situations, having an attorney conduct a thorough investigation, gather evidence, and negotiate on your behalf can protect your rights.
  • Inadequate insurance coverage: If the at-fault party lacks sufficient insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your damages, or if your own insurance policy includes uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, an attorney can explore all potential avenues for securing the compensation you need.
  • Uncooperative insurance companies: Insurance adjusters may employ various tactics to minimize, delay, or deny valid claims, such as requesting unnecessary information or pressuring claimants to accept lowball settlement offers. An experienced lawyer can recognize and counter these strategies effectively to protect your interests.
  • Complex legal issues involved: Some motorcycle accident cases may involve complex legal issues, such as product liability claims against manufacturers for defective vehicle components or roadway design hazards that contributed to the accident. In these situations, having an attorney with specialized knowledge can be crucial to achieving a successful outcome.

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

When selecting a motorcycle accident attorney to represent you, it's important to consider several key factors:

  • Experience in motorcycle accident cases: Look for an attorney who has extensive experience specifically handling motorcycle accident claims. These cases often involve unique challenges and considerations compared to other types of motor vehicle accidents. You want to ensure the attorney you choose is comfortable taking on your case and well-versed in the specific laws and regulations that apply to motorcycle accident cases.
  • Reputation and track record: Research potential attorneys' reputations within the legal community and their track records of success in securing favorable results for their clients. Look for client testimonials, peer reviews, and professional accolades demonstrating their skill and dedication.
  • Communication and availability: Choose a lawyer who prioritizes clear, consistent communication and is readily available to address your concerns and provide updates on your case. You should feel comfortable with your attorney and confident in their ability to advocate on your behalf.
  • Fee structure: Most motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only collect a fee if they successfully secure compensation for you. You must understand the specific terms of any fee agreement before hiring an attorney, including the percentage they will receive and any additional costs you may be responsible for.
Obtaining Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

If you decide to pursue legal action after a motorcycle accident, your attorney will guide you through the various stages of the process, which may include:

  • Filing a claim: Your lawyer will initiate the claims process by notifying the relevant insurance companies and filing necessary documentation.
  • Gathering evidence and documentation: Your attorney will work diligently to gather all relevant evidence, including police reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert analyses, to build a strong case on your behalf.
  • Negotiation and settlement: In most cases, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance companies involved to seek a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your damages. Your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit if they cannot reach a satisfactory agreement.
  • Filing a lawsuit, if necessary: If litigation becomes necessary, your attorney will prepare and file a complaint on your behalf, initiate the discovery process, and represent you in court proceedings, presenting compelling arguments to support your claim.

Be Aware of Your State’s Statute of Limitations

Each state sets a strict deadline for initiating legal action against a party responsible for causing personal injuries. You must be aware of your state’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit to protect your rights and ensure you can pursue compensation. For example, Minnesota allows you two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury lawsuit in court in most cases. Minnesota also extends the deadline to four years in eligible cases involving uninsured drivers, but not all states do.

Additionally, many states have different statutes of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits (which is generally six years in North Dakota and Minnesota, three in Wisconsin, and two years in Iowa). If your injury involves a state or local government entity, you likely have a far shorter time to file an injury claim with them.

If you fail to have a lawyer file your lawsuit within the specified time frame, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries, no matter how strong your case. In most cases, the clock starts ticking on the date of your injury or when the injury should have been reasonably discovered, although exceptions may exist for intentional concealment, fraud, and other factors.

You must consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury to ensure that you understand your legal rights and the applicable statute of limitations. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and file your claim within the appropriate time frame.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today for a Free Consultation

Motorcycle accidents can have life-altering consequences, and you should strongly consider getting a lawyer after a motorcycle crash someone else caused. With the right legal representation, you can focus on your recovery while your attorney fights zealously to secure the justice and compensation you deserve.

If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused a motorcycle accident that hurt you or a loved one, act quickly to protect your rights and explore your legal options.

Contact Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers today to speak with one of our experienced and compassionate motorcycle accident attorneys. We can provide you with the valuable guidance and peace of mind you need during this challenging time.