Although driving a motorcycle is an adrenaline rush for many people, it is associated with a considerable risk of danger when an accident occurs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 4,000 motorcyclists die each year. Unfortunately, there is little to protect a biker in the event of an accident. Even when wrongful death does not occur, severe injuries can and usually do result. Those who are seriously injured in accidents they did not cause may have cause to file a personal injury claim through a qualified motorcycle accident lawyer.
What Steps Should You Take If You are Involved in a Motorcycle Accident?
When an accident occurs, people often panic and are unsure of what steps to take. The first step you should take in any accident is to check on the injured. However, if you are seriously injured, do not attempt to move. Moving could make your injuries worse. All parties must remain at the scene until the police have completed a report. It’s often considered a crime to leave the scene of an accident, especially if there are injuries involved.
Contacting the proper authorities is crucial in any accident causing injuries. When speaking with the police, you should simply provide the facts. Never admit blame for an accident. The police will create a report with their view of how the accident occurred based upon observations and witness statements. Do not speak with others at the scene (beyond checking on their safety) or admit fault until you have spoken with a motorcycle accident attorney.
Seeking medical treatment is important for anyone involved in a serious accident. Often, accident victims are in shock and may not be aware of how serious their injuries are. Unfortunately, shock can disguise the signs of serious personal injury. Do not wait to seek medical care.
When you see the doctor, make sure you inform them you were injured in a motorcycle accident. This will prompt them to note your records with this information and will ensure they search for internal injuries. Getting medical attention immediately also helps to prove that the injury resulted from the accident if the personal injury claim goes to court.
Factors in Motorcycle Accidents
There are many factors that cause motorcycle accidents. Here are just a few of them:
- Rough road conditions: Terrible road conditions are any motorist’s, especially motorcyclists, nightmare. Some of the more common poor road conditions include ice, snow, heavy rain, and road work debris.
- Blind spots: Motorists often do not check their blind spots, which can lead to a motorcycle crash and/or car accident, complete with property damage.
- Door accidents: Sometimes, a car owner may fail to check if there is a motorcyclist behind them as they open their car door. This can cause a motorcycle crash and property damage.
- Drunk driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2015, 9,967 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2014. Drunk driving behavior is rather common on the road and can lead to a motor vehicle accident.
- Lane-Splitting: Another common factor that many motorcyclists adopt, lane-splitting is the act of cutting between slower vehicles in lanes. This is a highly dangerous practice that should be avoided.
Types of Motorcycle Injuries
You’ll find here the types of motorcycle injuries that can result from accidents such as head-on collisions, falls, and more. Unfortunately, many motorcycle injuries result in high medical bills and massive medical treatments:
- Road Rash: Road rash is a type of abrasion caused by sliding across the pavement, which becomes sandpaper-like because the body is thrown at the speeds of the motor vehicle.
- Broken Bones: If you’re thrown from your motorcycle or become involved in a head-on collision, you may suffer from broken bones.
- Traumatic Brain Injury: Otherwise known as TBI, this type of head injury occurs most often when there is failure to wear a DOT-approved safety helmet. Unfortunately, this head injury can cause many complications and the long-term loss of quality of life.
- Death: A fatal motorcycle accident can be avoided if you take the necessary precautions. Unfortunately, sometimes car accidents involving a motorcycle may not be avoided. In fact, some of the above injuries lead to wrongful death. In 2014, fatal motorcycle accidents resulted in 4,295 motorcycle deaths in 2014.
- Spinal Cord Injury: Sometimes, a car accident can lead to a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury can often result in paralysis or even death.
If you suffer from any injury, you should seek a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney can help rebuild your life.
When Should You Consider Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Many accident victims mistakenly believe the insurance company will work on their side to provide them with compensation. It is important for accident victims to understand the insurance company may attempt to pay out as little as possible. Insurance adjusters are primarily motivated to protect their company’s bottom line. They will do everything they can to pay out as little as possible or even deny an accident claim.
Ideally, you should consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer before giving information to the insurance company. You should not make any statements or sign documents without guidance from your lawyer. A lawyer can help prevent victims from being taken advantage of so they can receive the fair compensation they deserve.
- You have serious injuries that will require ongoing medical care;
- The insurance company is not being fair;
- You need legal guidance.
What Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Do?
A motorcycle accident attorney works as an advocate for people who have been injured in an accident.
The attorney will begin working through the discovery phase of the case to gather as much evidence as possible. Attorneys often work with investigative teams to help in the process. Since the full burden of proof lies with the injured person who brings a claim forward, the attorney will work to make sure a solid case is established in the event a trial is necessary.
The attorney will work with the insurance company to make sure your claim is given fair consideration. Should your attorney feel the insurance company is not going to offer just compensation, a lawsuit will be filed and trial can be pursued.
If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident you did not cause, contact the Delray Beach or Palm Beach Gardens offices of Steinberg Law right away. Our law firm works with accident victims on a daily basis to guide them in their decisions and ensure their rights are protected.
Call Steinberg Law before you call the insurance company. We will guide you in making your recorded statement and will assist you through each step of the process whether you settle with the insurance company or end up needing to pursue a trial. We are here to offer legal guidance and help to those who need us most.
Motorcycle Attorney FAQs
I was not wearing a helmet. Can I still receive compensation for an accident I did not cause?
In Florida, it is legal for you to ride without a helmet if you are over 21 years of age and you have insurance that covers you for $10,000 in medical bills. If you meet those qualifications, not wearing a helmet should not prevent you from pursuing compensation for your injuries. If the defense can prove your lack of helmet contributed to your injuries, this may affect how much compensation you are able to receive.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit for my motorcycle accident?
Like all states, Florida has its own laws regarding the statute of limitations. Lawsuits must be filed within four years from the date of the accident. Though accident victims have sufficient time to wait, this is not always advisable. Over time, evidence can disappear and memories fade, making it more difficult for an attorney to pursue a case.
What happens if I was partially at fault for an accident?
In Florida, if a jury finds you were partially at fault for causing an accident, they will determine your fault percentage. The amount you are awarded for damages will be reduced by the percentage for which you are held responsible.
Can I pursue my case without the help of a lawyer?
Though you have the right to pursue your case without the aid of a motorcycle lawyer, this is not ideal nor is it advisable. Trying to pursue a case on your own can lead to frustration and will often result in a much lower compensation amount. With the assistance of a personal injury lawyer and depending on the injuries resulting from the accident, you could potentially obtain a multi-million dollar settlement or verdict.
For instance, you could be eligible for a multi-million dollar lawsuit if you require lifelong care after a motor vehicle accident. It is always a good idea to at least receive a free consultation. A free consultation is often the first big step in winning your case.
What is No-Fault Insurance?
Some states – Washington D.C., Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah – feature “no-fault” insurance laws. No-fault insurance simply means that your car insurance company will pay either some or all of your medical bills and lost wages if you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault.