Motorcycle accidents happen every day. They can occur at any time, under any weather or road conditions. Even if a motorcyclist takes every precaution to be safe while riding, there is always a possibility of a wreck. Motorcycle wrecks can result in personal harm ranging from minor cuts and bruises to life-altering injuries or death.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- Motorcyclists account for only about 5% of all drivers on the road, however, traffic crash data from 2017 indicates that traffic accidents are fatal nearly 27 times more often when the wreck involves a motorcyclist
- In 2017, there were over 5,000 fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States
- Motorcyclists comprise 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all occupant fatalities
Anyone can become a victim of a motorcycle accident at any moment. This includes:
- The motorcyclist
- A passenger on the bike
- A driver of an automobile
- A passenger in another vehicle
- A pedestrian
If you have been involved in any type of accident involving a motorcycle, it is important to know your rights and options, especially if you have been injured. This article explains what you should do if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and how a motorcycle accident case works from start to finish.
What Should I Do If I Am in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, you initially may be in a state of shock. If you are able, immediately move to a safe area, away from traffic. Once you are safe, check yourself for injuries and try to assist others who may be injured, if you are able to do so safely.
It is important to stay calm no matter who caused the accident. You should never admit fault at the scene of an accident. Even if you think you made a mistake or you could have done something to avoid the wreck, your words and apologies could be used against you later. This rule of thumb applies whether you are speaking with another driver, witnesses or bystanders, police officers, or insurance companies.
Other actions you will want to take after a motorcycle accident include:
- Keep All Protective Gear On. Motorcycle accidents can cause serious harm, even if not immediately apparent at the time. Your body likely will be in a state of shock after the accident, which will effectively numb your nerves and may prevent you from feeling pain from any injuries you may have sustained. Keep on all the gear you were wearing at the time of the accident, especially a helmet, to keep from worsening any injuries you may have suffered.
- Call 911. As soon as you are able to safely do so, report the accident to the police and paramedics. Wait at the scene until they arrive. Try to avoid communicating about the accident with the other drivers. When police and paramedics arrive, they will address the cause of the accident, complete an incident report, direct other traffic, and treat any injuries.
- Seek Medical Attention. You should always accept medical attention after any accident, even if you do not think you have been seriously injured. The seriousness of your injuries after a motorcycle accident may not be obvious right away. You may have suffered a head injury or internal damage or bleeding that is not obvious to you at the time of the accident. Symptoms of these injuries may not present themselves until hours or days after the accident. In these situations, it is always better to be seen by a medical professional immediately after the accident.
- Document Information. No matter the cause of the accident or who is at fault, you should collect information regarding the accident while the details are fresh in your mind. Collect names and contact information from anyone involved in the accident or who may have witnessed the accident. Take your own pictures of the scene, including your motorcycle, other vehicles, the road conditions, traffic signals in the area, and the extent of your injuries or property damage. Write down everything you remember and request a copy of the police report. You may not realize how important this information might be to you and to your attorney at a later time, especially if your case goes to trial.
- Contact an Attorney. Whatever the circumstances of your accident may be, it is a good idea to talk with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney immediately after the accident. Soon after the accident, you will have many issues to deal with. For example:
- You will have to negotiate with your insurance company or the insurance company of other drivers involved in the accident
- You may be faced with accumulating medical bills
- You could be confronted with allegations that the accident was your fault
Your attorney will be able to advise you on all of these issues and address these issues for you while you recover from your injuries. Once you complete these steps and have a legal team on your side, they will examine the facts and circumstances of your case to determine if you have a claim for your injuries. Retaining an attorney after your accident will make a significant difference in your case in terms of determining who was at fault and the true value of the injuries you sustained.
Why Do I Need an Attorney After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, your primary focus will be on recovering from your injuries. You likely will not have the time or energy necessary to properly address all of the legal issues that will arise immediately after your accident. You will need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to advocate for your rights and advise you of all of your legal options.
The attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, are motorcycle accident professionals with years of experience in settling motorcycle accident claims. We will protect your best interests after your accident and obtain for you the compensation for your injuries that you deserve.
It is important to contact the attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, immediately after your accident. At the moment your accident occurred, an imaginary clock called the “statute of limitations” started running. A “statute of limitations” is the time limit someone has to bring legal action against another person. Depending on the state in which your accident occurred, you could have from two to four years to file your claim before time runs out. Be aware that time will pass quickly after an accident, especially if you are recovering from severe injuries.
In addition, the attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, have specific skills and training to advocate for your legal rights. As a recent victim of an accident, you may be dealing with stressful things like severe injuries, missed work, and subsequent financial hardship. You do not need the additional stress of trying to pursue a lawsuit alone and navigating through the legal system without an experienced legal team on your side. The legal team at Foster Wallace, LLC, will:
- Assess the cause of your accident
- Advise you of your legal rights and options
- Collect all relevant evidence and witnesses
- Save and maintain all relevant documents
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies
- File a legal claim if necessary
At Foster Wallace, LLC, we will guide you through every step of the legal process, from start to finish. You should not accept any offer from an insurance company without consulting Foster Wallace, LLC, first. Our legal team will fight for your best interests and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries and returning to your healthy lifestyle.
What Happens After My Motorcycle Accident Case Is Filed?
If you decide to file a claim for the damages you suffered from your accident, the attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, will help you determine the value of your injuries. You likely will have numerous medical bills after the accident for a variety of injuries. Your mental suffering may be included when calculating the damages that you are entitled to. The damages for which you may be compensated may include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation services
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses
Your attorney can include any of these damages when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. A settlement is usually desired by everyone involved, especially if the other party is not contesting that they were at fault. Having an attorney to negotiate a fair settlement may be to your advantage because:
- Damages are awarded quicker to make you whole again
- A trial will be time-consuming and expensive for all parties
- A settlement guarantees you will receive some compensation for your injuries, whereas a trial may result in little or no compensation
- A trial will require you to relive the experience, which may be difficult emotionally
For these reasons, many motorcycle accident cases are settled without having a trial. However, if the insurance company is not willing to settle your case fairly, your attorney likely will prepare your case for trial.
What Happens If My Motorcycle Accident Case Goes to Trial?
If you do not believe the insurance company is offering you a fair settlement for your injuries, you may take your case to trial. In this case, your attorney will present your case in court, prove that the other driver was at fault, and demonstrate the injuries and damages that you sustained from the accident. The pictures you take at the time of the accident and the evidence that you record will be critical at trial to prove your case.
Your trial likely will include the following stages:
- Plaintiff’s Case-In-Chief. The person who filed the lawsuit (typically the injured party in the case) is the plaintiff. It is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that the other party (the defendant) caused the accident and that the accident resulted in injuries. This can be done through testimony from witnesses or documents such as the police report and medical records.
- Defendant’s Case-In-Chief. After the plaintiff has presented its case, the defendant will do the same based on any additional evidence they want to present. The defendant may attempt to show that they did not cause the accident, that the plaintiff was also at fault, or that they should not have to pay for any damages.
- Deliberations. Once both sides have presented their case, the judge (or a jury, in the event of a jury trial) will decide whether the defendant is liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. If so, the judge or jury will determine how much compensation should be awarded based on the evidence presented at trial.
- Conclusion of Trial.
Depending on the facts of your case, a trial could take many months to complete. It is important that you have an attorney representing your interests and advising you of your options from start to finish.