A motorcycle ride that ends in a collision may result in major life changes for you and your family. From serious injuries to the death of a loved one, a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver demands justice. The pursuit of legal action against the responsible party is difficult during your period of recovery or grief. A motorcycle lawyer understands the complex nature of state laws and how they apply to a motorcycle accident or wrongful death case. If you suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may want to seek legal representation for a possible civil case.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 4,000 motorcycle fatalities occurred in one recent year. Both an operator and a passenger are at risk when a motorist fails to share the road in one of the following ways:
- Failure to yield at an intersection: The NHTSA reports that 42 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents occur in intersections when a vehicle turns left while a motorcycle travels straight through the intersection or passes or overtakes another vehicle.
- Not adjusting mirrors: Approximately half of the area surrounding a car contains blind spots, making it difficult to see motorcycles. Many drivers responsible for motorcycle accidents claim they did not see the motorcycle— often a quick fix had they taken the time to adjust their mirrors.
- Misunderstanding how motorcycles reduce speed: Motorcyclists tend to down throttle in slow traffic rather than brake. The lack of a brake light may confuse a driver, resulting in a serious crash.
- Drunk driving: Too many drivers take a chance behind the wheel after a night of drinking with friends. Drunk drivers typically have impaired judgment and delayed reaction times, placing motorcyclists at risk for harm.
- Distracted driving: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there are three main types of distracted driving: visual, cognitive, and manual. Texting behind the wheel involves all three, making it among the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.
- Aggressive driving: A driver who speeds or who purposely tailgates a motorcycle can cause the operator to lose control. Incidents of road rage that result from aggressive driving can have serious and intentionally deadly consequences for other road users.
- Drowsy driving: Drivers who fail to get enough sleep are at risk for nodding off behind the wheel. An undiagnosed sleep disorder or late night work shift can place other drivers in harm’s way when a drowsy driver drifts into their lane.
Motorcyclists have the same rights—and responsibilities—as other drivers. A driver who fails to use care around motorcyclists may face liability for an operator’s and/or a passenger’s damages in the event of a crash.
If you suffered significant injuries due to a careless driver, you may be able to file a motorcycle accident claim and lawsuit. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue legal action by filing a civil case. Consider contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.
The High Cost of Serious Injuries
Motorcyclists have little protection when involved in a traumatic crash. While some protective gear, like a helmet, can help prevent some injuries, the openness of the motorcycle itself can result in multiple types of wounds, including:
Traumatic Brain Injury
It remains possible to suffer a TBI while wearing a motorcycle helmet. The CDC defines a TBI as a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or penetrating head injury that disrupts normal brain function.
Such an injury can impair:
- Motor function, such as balance
- Cognitive function, such as memory and problem-solving skills
- Sensations, such as taste, vision, hearing, and touch
These are just a few examples of how a TBI can affect your life. If a loved one suffered a TBI in a motorcycle accident, the damage may affect their life forever. Their need for care may far exceed what you can provide. One study showed that in-patient rehabilitation costs can reach $1,600 per day.
Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury affects movement and sensation. Depending upon the severity of the injury, you or your loved one may face permanent paralysis. Two examples of possible expenses after a spinal cord injury are a power chair for mobility and home modifications to accommodate the chair.
Adapting a vehicle for accessibility or purchasing an accessible vehicle is another possible expense. In addition to the initial costs, these items often need to be replaced over time, adding to the patient’s expenses. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the cost of such an injury can extend into the millions of dollars throughout a person’s lifetime.
With no airbags or seat belt, motorcycle operators and their passengers are at greater risk for striking a hard surface. The freedom of the open road is the very thing that places them at risk for multiple broken bones.
Broken bones in extremities like arms or legs can make personal care tasks difficult. Future surgeries, extensive physical therapy, and missed time from work can result in massive medical costs and no income from which to pay them.
Internal injuries, like that of internal bleeding, can result in organ damage or death if left unchecked. These types of silent injuries often provide no outward signs or symptoms to indicate something is wrong. Internal injuries are why you should always seek immediate medical attention following any type of accident.
Not only can seeking medical care protect your life, but it can also establish a record of your injuries. Documentation of your injuries and medical expenses can serve as valuable evidence if you decide to pursue a motorcycle accident claim and lawsuit.
Often described as road friction or skin abrasions, road rash is painful and can become infected. The friction of skin against a road surface occurs in accidents when operators are thrown from their motorcycle.
Medical costs can continue to climb following a motorcycle collision and the costs associated with your care should not be your responsibility. A motorcycle accident is traumatic and adjusting to your injuries and your care is often challenging. It is a sudden—and unfair—life change.
The anxiety over your rising stack of medical bills is understandable. Missing time from work can leave you feeling helpless. These are only some of the reasons why you may want to speak with a lawyer to learn your options for legal action.
Valuable Traits of a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
When choosing a motorcycle accident lawyer, it is important to select one who listens. Learning the most they can about your accident is imperative for building a strong case for compensation.
In addition to great listening skills, a valuable trait for a motorcycle accident lawyer is litigation experience. A lawyer who fights for the rights of accident victims to secure the compensation they deserve is crucial for your financial future.
The right motorcycle accident lawyer will listen to, advocate for, and support you through this challenging time.
How a Motorcycle Lawyer Can Help You
A motorcycle lawyer can help you by representing you in your fight for fair compensation. They can do this by negotiating with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company for the compensation you deserve—not what the insurance company wants to give you.
Too often an insurance company will offer an accident victim a very low amount as compensation for their injuries. For someone facing enormous bills with limited or no income, the amount may seem like a large sum. While the amount may solve some of your initial financial stress, chances are it will not cover any future medical expenses. If your medical condition worsens and the settlement you accepted is not enough, you may not have the funds you need for additional medical care.
Accepting a settlement without legal representation is dangerous for this very reason. To an insurance company, your acceptance “settles” your claim and leaves you with no further legal options. Securing a lawyer is a smart idea for protecting your best interests.
Motorcycle Accidents and Tragic Loss
Motorcycle accidents often result in tragic loss. The loss of a close loved one can impact your life forever. In addition to the loss of companionship, the loss of a loved one’s income can severely impact your finances. No amount of money can ever replace them, but compensation can help to ease your financial stress.
Tragic loss comes with many expenses some families are not prepared for, like that of a funeral. The average funeral costs thousands of dollars, making the unplanned expense an additional source of stress.
If your loved one left home to enjoy a motorcycle ride and never returned, give careful thought to contacting a lawyer. A motorcycle accident lawyer can review your case to determine if you are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. Motorcycle accident lawyers have experience assisting grieving families in their pursuit of justice. Let one help you and your family today.
Contacting a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Is an Important First Step
The time following a serious crash is one of upheaval and uncertainty. One of the most important first steps you can take is to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Whether you are dealing with serious injuries or mourning the loss of a loved one, consider securing legal representation right away. The statute of limitations for filing your case is two years. This amount of time can pass very quickly as you deal with drastic life changes.
Most motorcycle accident lawyers who work with motorcycle accident victims and their families offer free case evaluations. This is your—and their—opportunity to determine if you have a case for civil action.
Once a lawyer moves forward with representing you, most will not collect their fee until and unless they secure compensation for you. Simply put, if they do not win, you do not pay attorney’s fees.
Hiring a lawyer to represent you can provide you peace of mind that:
- Someone is at work on your behalf
- Their fee comes from any possible compensation and not from a retainer or any up-front payments
You are under enough financial stress following a motorcycle accident. When another driver is responsible for the harm you or your loved one suffered, hold them accountable. Motor vehicles must share the road with motorcycles. From sedans and SUVs to large trucks, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to experiencing serious injuries in a crash.
All licensed drivers have a legal responsibility to share the road with motorcycles. If you or a loved one became the victim of a careless driver, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you pursue legal action.
Act Quickly Regarding Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
If you miss the deadline for filing your case, there are generally no further options for pursuing justice. The days and weeks can blend together, making it easy to lose track of time during your recovery or grief.
The sooner you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer, the faster they can get to work for you. Providing them with any evidence you may possess, like photographs and medical reports, can help. A copy of the official police report from the accident and contact information for any witnesses are also valuable for building your case.
Any criminal charges levied against the driver involved in your crash are separate from any civil action. You may still pursue a motorcycle accident or wrongful death case, regardless of how the criminal case progresses.
A licensed, professional motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you with your case. While compensation is never guaranteed, pursuing it is your right. In addition to your medical costs, you may receive compensation for your lost wages and pain and suffering.
No one should go for a motorcycle ride only to experience injuries or death that were preventable had another driver used adequate care. If this is the situation you now face, consider seeking help from a motorcycle accident lawyer today.
Questions and Answers About Finding a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
A motorcycle accident lawyer can handle your legal claim while you focus on what’s important: your recovery or grieving process. This is important when you face a long recovery or as you learn to adjust to permanent injuries. If you lost a close loved one, a motorcycle accident lawyer’s representation can help alleviate some of your stress as you mourn. Knowing what to look for in a motorcycle accident lawyer is important as you move forward with a civil action against the responsible party.
Can I afford a lawyer?
Yes, chances are you can afford a lawyer. Many motorcycle accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they collect their fee from any compensation they secure for you. If they do not secure a settlement or judgment for you, you typically do not owe them any money.
Their payment is contingent upon them obtaining a positive outcome in your motorcycle accident or wrongful death case. In fact, chances are you cannot afford to not contact a lawyer for legal assistance. Representing yourself is too challenging as you recover from your accident.
Do not hesitate to contact a lawyer because you fear the expense. Motorcycle accident lawyers understand that accident victims face mounting medical costs and often can’t work. Search for a motorcycle accident lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis.
How can I learn if I have a case?
Most motorcycle accident law firms offer free case evaluations. This is a helpful process for determining if you have a case and, if so, how to proceed with legal action. A motorcycle accident case typically involves a negotiation process between a lawyer and an insurance company. If the negotiation process is unsuccessful, the case may proceed to trial.
Seeking a lawyer with trial experience is essential for your case. First, however, you must determine if you have a case, which starts by contacting a law firm for a free case evaluation.
I apologized for the accident. Can that hurt my case?
It is important not to speak with the responsible party at the accident scene. Anything you say—even an apology—may imply that you were at fault for the accident. To protect your best interests, do not speak with anyone regarding what happened, except law enforcement.
An official police report can help your lawyer learn more about the details of the accident. It may also help in determining liability for your damages. Watching what you say and who you say it to is vital to the overall success of your case.
What types of compensation are possible?
While there is no way to foresee the outcome of your case, the following types of compensation are typically pursued:
- Medical expenses associated with your transport to the hospital, hospital and doctors’ fees, and other related costs
- Long term medical expenses associated with prescription medicines, therapies, and rehabilitation
- Lost wages from missed time at work
- Lost potential future earnings if you can’t return to your job
- Pain and suffering, including your mental anguish
A long recovery may require medical care that far exceeds your personal funds or insurance. When the accident you experienced was due to no fault of your own, consider legal action.
A motorcycle accident case takes time; however, there is not much time allowed for pursuing one. Act quickly and contact a motorcycle accident lawyer to determine the best course of action moving forward.
What types of injuries are common in motorcycle accidents?
A motorcycle accident can result in a wide range of injuries—all of which can greatly impair your quality of life.
Possible injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Road rash
- Neck and back injuries
The injuries you sustain in a motorcycle accident can affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to play with your children to your ability to return to your career. When your injuries result from driver negligence, you should demand justice.
You must seek immediate medical attention following a traumatic crash. An injury, like that of internal bleeding, can display little to no signs or symptoms. Without medical attention, internal bleeding can lead to possible death.
Seeking medical attention is essential for your health and your potential claim and lawsuit. Your medical records can serve as valuable evidence of your injuries.
What are some common causes of motorcycle accidents?
Drivers must share the road with motorcycles. Due to their narrow profile, motorcycles are difficult to see, especially when there is road construction or other obstructions.
Among the more common causes of motorcycle accidents are:
- Failure to see: The driver is not watching for motorcycles or didn’t properly adjust their mirrors.
- Failure to recognize down throttling: The driver does not realize that motorcyclists do not always brake, but sometimes down throttle in slow traffic.
- Failure to yield in an intersection: About 42 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents occur in intersections, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Drivers who take risks behind the wheel are especially dangerous to motorcyclists.
The following can impact judgment and reaction times:
- Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Drivers who text or otherwise drive distracted
- Drivers who drive while feeling tired
- Drivers who engage in aggressive driving or road rage incidents
If you suffered extensive injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by another driver, contact a lawyer without delay.
The longer you wait, the greater the risk of:
- Evidence becoming lost
- Witnesses forgetting important details
- Missing important deadlines
Time is of the essence. A motorcycle accident lawyer can get to work on your case immediately. Despite feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, placing a call to a motorcycle accident lawyer is an important first step toward compensation and justice.
Can I help my lawyer?
Despite your serious injuries or grief, there are ways you can help your lawyer. The following examples are just a few ways you can help your lawyer with your case, even from your hospital bed:
- Share what you remember: Sometimes, even the smallest detail can have serious implications for your civil case. Sharing what you remember about the accident is extremely valuable.
- Share what you have: A police report, photographs or videos of the accident scene, and contact information for witnesses may be in your possession and can be helpful evidence of the crash and who is liable.
- Do not share your information on social media: Updating friends and family is best done by visits or phone calls and not on social media. No matter how you update loved ones, share as little information regarding your case online as possible. If you do not use care, an insurance company may use a shared social media post to blame you for the accident.
How aggressive is a motorcycle accident lawyer?
A motorcycle accident lawyer is aggressive when it comes to defending your right to fair compensation. When it comes to communication with their clients, lawyers use a gentler approach.
Insurance companies are quite aggressive when it comes to protecting their bottom line. They want nothing more than for you to not secure a lawyer and to accept their low dollar settlement offer quickly. This puts your claim to rest and leaves you without further legal options. Do not sign or accept anything without securing a lawyer first. Your lawyer will aggressively fight for the compensation you need and deserve.
Insurance companies are aggressive when it comes to protecting their best interests. Having someone on your side who is equally as aggressive is important for protecting your best interests.
Do motorcycle accident lawyers handle wrongful death cases?
Yes. A motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you if you lost a close loved one in a motorcycle accident. They can determine if your relationship to the victim qualifies you under the law to seek civil action. Generally, spouses, domestic partners, and children can file wrongful death cases.
To best understand if you qualify for filing a civil case, consider contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer without delay. Time is of the utmost importance immediately following your tragic loss.
What types of compensation are possible in a wrongful death case?
Pursuing damages following your loved one’s death is your right. Bills do not cease to exist after their passing.
A wrongful death case typically involves compensation for:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of income from a spouse
- Loss of potential future earnings if your spouse had lived
- Loss of companionship
What makes wrongful death cases particularly challenging are the economic and non-economic losses. Proving economic damages are why your medical bills are important for your case. Medical costs are typically easier for insurance companies and juries to understand. The expenses listed are what they are.
Non-economic damages like loss of companionship are more difficult to measure in financial terms. Due to the complexity of wrongful death cases, it is important to consider discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible.
Do most lawyers have a personal approach with their clients?
Willingness to listen to their clients is a key trait to look for when contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Working with accident victims is different from working on criminal cases. Many motorcycle accident lawyers study this form of law because they are passionate about helping accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
A motorcycle accident lawyer’s work with the injured and grieving helps them better understand the overall effect a motorcycle accident can have on someone’s life. They can then apply this knowledge toward pursuing the best outcome possible for their clients.
How long does a motorcycle accident injury or wrongful death case take?
While your financial stress is genuine, patience is necessary for pursuing a civil case. Each motorcycle accident case is different and your process will depend upon the specifics of your case.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate your accident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and determine liability. The next step is to negotiate with the insurance company for an out-of-court settlement. Many motorcycle accident and wrongful death cases settle without going to trial. However, your case may need to go before a judge and jury to secure the outcome you deserve.
Keeping track of your medical appointments and other details of your care can consume your time. The stress of trying to handle your case alone can cause you to miss important legal deadlines.
By hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you, you can rest assured they will ensure your case meets all legal requirements and deadlines. They will also work hard on your behalf to fight for fair compensation and to keep you informed regarding the process.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Pursue Compensation
A tragic motorcycle accident can result in drastic life changes. The injuries you suffered may limit your activities and some victims never ride a motorcycle again.
The harshness of your new reality is not fair and the accident was likely preventable had the other driver used proper care. This knowledge makes your situation especially frustrating and can leave you feeling angry.
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you through this emotionally, physically, and financially difficult time. By hiring a lawyer to manage the details of your case, you can concentrate on you and your recovery.
If you were severely injured in a motorcycle accident or you lost a loved one due to driver negligence, a lawyer can help you. Give careful thought to contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. Pursuing justice and compensation for your damages is important for your peace of mind and your financial future.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, Ca 92101