Following a motorcycle accident, many injured accident victims don’t know what to do or the legal steps they must take to secure their rights to monetary recovery. Therefore, in addition to seeking immediate medical help for your injuries, talk with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Tampa area as quickly as possible. Generally, the sooner you retain legal counsel to represent you in your case, the higher your chances of recovering a favorable monetary award.
A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can act on your behalf to pursue your legal interests.
First, your lawyer can investigate your motorcycle accident, gather the necessary supporting documents, and file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. Also, during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives, your attorney can represent your legal rights and interests and pursue the highest amount of monetary compensation available to you in your case.
Finally, if the insurance company does not present a fair offer to settle your third-party case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case in the court system, seeking a favorable monetary result.
Throughout your motorcycle accident case, your lawyer will answer all your legal questions, address your concerns, and help you make intelligent and informed decisions. Your attorney can also establish reasonable expectations for your case, including the types and amounts of monetary damages you may receive through a favorable financial settlement or litigation result. Your lawyer can then execute the appropriate actions to maximize your total monetary award.
Having the right motorcycle accident attorney on board from the beginning is the best thing you can do to protect your legal rights and financial future. Even if you believe your injuries are not serious, always seek a free consultation with a law firm about your options.
How Do Most Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Most motorcycle crashes happen because of negligent drivers. First, a driver might fail to yield the right-of-way to a motorcyclist or fail to use their turn signal when switching lanes in traffic. A negligent driver might exceed the speed limit in heavy traffic or fail to account for the weather conditions, negligently causing their vehicle to hit a motorcyclist.
Motorcycle accidents may also happen when drivers fail to use their backup safety cameras, lane-change warning devices, and mirrors, especially when driving on busy roads and pulling out of parking spaces in parking lots and garages.
When a driver fails to use the safety devices on their vehicle, they might fail to see a motorcyclist, negligently bringing about an accident that leads to debilitating injuries.
Motorcycle accidents may also occur when a driver exhibits road rage. Road rage refers to aggressive driving behaviors, like tailgating motorcyclists, speeding, weaving in and out of heavy traffic, and displaying other reckless driving maneuvers. When a driver exhibits road rage, they may be in such a hurry that they fail to see a nearby motorcyclist, negligently hitting the cyclist and causing them to fall off their bike.
A motorcycle accident may also happen when a driver is fatigued while behind the wheel. Drowsy drivers often experience limited concentration or fall asleep at the wheel altogether – causing their vehicle to speed out of control, potentially striking a motorcyclist and knocking them to the ground.
Motorcycle accidents may also occur when drivers become distracted while behind the wheel. For example, a driver might listen to loud music in their vehicle, fiddle with a GPS navigation system, or play with an electronic device and not observe the road and or look out for motorcyclists and other traffic.
When a driver turns their head and diverts their attention away from the road, they may negligently strike a cyclist, bringing about an accident.
Finally, motorcycle accidents may happen when someone drives while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An intoxicated driver may experience blurred vision, preventing them from seeing a cyclist on the roadway. A drunk driver may also experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle to avoid a crash.
When a drunk driver incurs a criminal conviction for DUI or driving under the influence, they may have to pay criminal fines and serve other penalties, including a driver’s license suspension and jail time.
In addition, if a drunk driver negligently causes their vehicle to hit a cyclist, their insurance company may have to pay the motorcycle accident victim’s monetary damages as part of a settlement, jury verdict, or binding arbitration award in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Common Injuries that Motorcycle Riders May Suffer in an Accident
Unlike the occupants of enclosed motor vehicles, motorcyclists do not have any protective barrier or shell. Therefore, the sheer force of a collision may force cyclists off their bikes and onto the ground, causing severe and sometimes permanent physical injuries. In some cases, the motorcyclist may even suffer fatal injuries in a crash.
A motorcyclist can lessen their chances of sustaining serious injuries by wearing a sturdy motorcycle helmet and other protective gear when they go out for a ride. However, even sturdy helmets can sometimes crack, and other protective equipment may not entirely prevent a motorcyclist from suffering severe injuries in a forceful crash.
The injuries a motorcyclist may suffer in an accident usually depend on the severity of the collision, the force of the impact, and whether the motorcyclist falls to the ground, possibly in the path of another vehicle.
Common injuries that a motorcyclist might suffer in a collision include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Road rash
- Soft tissue contusions
- Bone fractures
- Rib fractures
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Full or partial paralysis
While your attorney begins to handle the legal aspects of your motorcycle accident claim, you should concentrate on completing your medical treatment regimen and getting better. For example, you may need to follow up with your primary care doctor, if you have one, or consult with a medical specialist, such as an orthopedic doctor. After you undergo a medical procedure, you may also need to spend some time in physical therapy to fully recover from your motorcycle accident injuries.
Types of Motorcycle Crashes
Motorcycle accidents are usually the result of some type of driver error. When drivers speed, are reckless, or drive while intoxicated, their chances of causing a motorcycle accident increase dramatically.
Some of the most common crashes that involve motorcycles include:
- Head-on collisions, where the front of another vehicle hits the front of a motorcycle, usually at a high rate of speed
- T-bone or broadside accidents, where the front of another vehicle hits the side of a motorcycle on an intersecting roadway – or near a merge lane on an interstate highway
- Rear-end accidents, where the front of one vehicle hits the back tire of a motorcycle, usually because the negligent driver is tailgating or speeding
- Sideswipe accidents, where a motor vehicle brushes up against the side of a motorcycle while traveling in the same direction on a multi-lane roadway
If you sustained injuries in one of these motorcycle accidents and another driver caused your accident, you may have several legal options available to you. To help you select the best choice for your case, retain legal counsel for ongoing representation as quickly as possible.
Your lawyer can explain your options and help you select the best course of action for your case. Your attorney can then file a third-party motorcycle accident claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company and begin negotiating a settlement offer that genuinely compensates you for your injuries.
Proving the Elements of a Third-party Motorcycle Accident Claim
When another driver negligently causes a motorcycle accident, the victim can file a claim under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy to recover a portion of their medical expenses and lost income.
If they suffered a permanent disability or disfiguring injury in their accident, they may file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company under certain circumstances.
The injured motorcyclist must demonstrate that the other driver violated some type of traffic law. For example, the other driver might have been speeding, engaging in road rage, or driving in a distracted or careless manner.
Next, the injured cyclist must establish that their motorcycle accident directly resulted from the other driver’s careless and reckless behavior. Finally, the other driver must show that they suffered at least one physical injury as a direct result of their motorcycle crash.
Accident reconstructionist, medical experts, and others can serve as witnesses in your personal injury case. For example, if the insurance company disputes fault for your motorcycle crash, an accident reconstructionist can help support your version of events by visiting the crash scene, reviewing police reports, and developing their own analysis about how the accident likely occurred – and who caused it.
A qualified medical expert, on the other hand, can physically examine you and draft a report that causally relates your injuries directly to the motorcycle accident. Finally, a medical expert can establish the permanence of one or more of your injuries.
Obtaining Favorable Monetary Damages in a Third-party Motorcycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Accident victims who can prove their third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit can recover monetary damages for their accident-related injuries. Every motorcycle accident case differs, and different motorcyclists will suffer different injuries.
The total financial award that an injured cyclist receives through settlement or litigation will likely depend on the direct circumstances surrounding their accident, the specific injuries the motorcyclist suffered, the cost and extent of their medical treatment, whether they missed time from work, and other accident-specific factors.
Some of the most common monetary damages that an injured cyclist can pursue in a third-party claim include compensation for:
- Anticipated medical costs
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Mental anguish or distress
- Past and anticipated pain and suffering
- Lifetime care costs
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
A motorcycle accident attorney can review all of your legal options with you and help you take the appropriate action in your case. Your lawyer can also develop realistic expectations with respect to the monetary compensation you might receive. Your lawyer can give you an approximate value for your personal injury case and help you make intelligent and informed decisions, increasing your chances for a favorable monetary recovery.
Speak to an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney as Soon as Possible about Your Case
Safeguard your right to monetary compensation and retain a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Waiting too long to seek the legal representation you need in your case can cost you all of the compensation you otherwise deserve.
Accident victims only have two years, starting on the date of their motorcycle accident, to file a claim or lawsuit seeking the monetary recovery they need. If an accident victim files their lawsuit belatedly, they generally cannot recover any damages for their injuries. By filing your lawsuit on time, you preserve your chances of getting the favorable compensation you deserve.
The right motorcycle accident lawyer can take prompt legal action and file a personal injury claim or lawsuit as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf, litigate your case, or represent you at various legal proceedings in court.