If you've suffered a motorcycle accident, you don't just need an attorney, you need a team of lawyers who know these cases and have fought for motorcyclists in Utah. The stakes in motorcycle claims can be high and decisions made in how to handles these cases can have life long implications.
Collisions between cars and motorcycles can happen for any number of reasons. However, these reasons generally fall into three categories: the fault of the car driver, the fault of motorcycle driver, or some other cause stemming from defective parts or road conditions.
- In cases where the driver of the car is believed to be at fault, the collision could have been the result of a failure to yield, ignoring posted traffic signs and lights, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or even speeding, just to name a few. As a motorcyclist, it can often feel as though you are being bullied on the road by those who do not know how to drive around a smaller, lighter vehicle. Even if you follow every driving rule, you may still end up involved in a collision through no fault of your own. When this happens, it is important to know that there are legal resources you can draw upon to get the financial restitution you need to move on with your life.
- On the occasions where the rider of the motorcycle is at fault, the cause is most likely to be that the rider was not obeying the standard rules of traffic in the area where they were riding. Like regular bicycles, motorcycles are considered vehicles. As such, they are bound by the same traffic laws that apply to every sedan and SUV that drives on a particular road. If they defy these rules by using their maneuverability and speed to weave irresponsibly in and out of traffic, ride against the general flow of traffic, run lights, or otherwise defy the rules of the road, then they will likely be found liable for the accident.
- Outside causes of liability attempt to claim that the cause of an accident was an unforeseen third party that. In these cases, it might be that a manufactured part in either the car or motorcycle caused the driver to lose control, which would mean that the victims of this crash would likely have the legal right to make against the manufacturer themselves. Likewise, if an accident was caused by improper signage, poorly made roads, or other physical problems at the scene of the accident, then one or both drivers may have acclaim against the city, county, or state agency that allowed that problem to remain unaddressed.
When you or a loved one has been involved in an accident between a motorcycle and a truck, then there are usually serious injuries that have to be addressed and tended to. Obviously, riders can minimize the chances of these by riding with the proper safety equipment and gear, but the fact remains that at certain speeds, there is simply nothing that can protect the human body from injury on the open road. Some of the likely injuries can include:
- Bone fractures and breaks, which usually require expensive medical expertise to help set and a series of repeated check-ups as the bone heals;
- Spinal cord and back injuries that can cause chronic pain, limited mobility, and even partial or complete paralysis;
- Severe head trauma and brain damage, which is likely to affect the victim’s day to day activities and routine, often permanently;
- Loss of limbs or other types of disfigurement, which usually require repeated surgical intervention as well as expensive physical and occupational therapy over a period of years, not to mention the medical equipment necessary to cope with their body’s new limitations; and
- A persistent comatose state or even, unfortunately, death.
When facing these serious challenges in your life, it is not surprising that many people involved in motorcycle accidents become overwhelmed and are uncertain what their next steps should be. This is certainly when the help of an experienced personal injury attorney could be helpful for any and all parties involved in a motorcycle accident. By enlisting the help of attorneys who spend their time and energy helping victims of unfortunate traffic accidents, they are well-versed in the best ways to process and investigate claims, know what kind of damages to demand from opposing council, and are likely to be able to handle every bump in the road when it comes to dealing with your case. Some questions that a personal injury lawyer might be able to answer include:
What kind of compensation might I be eligible for?
In the event of an accident involving a motorcycle and a car, the victim may be eligible for certain damages. Usually, these are divided into economic and non-economic damages, and can be grouped into several distinct categories, including:
- Current and Future Medical Expenses: Being in an accident often means that you have been physically injured enough to require a trip to the emergency room, surgery, and expensive medical procedures. Often, these costs are not a one-time occurrence, but add up as you continue to struggle to recover your health. If you need assistive devices like a wheelchair or prosthesis, repeated appointments with medical specialists, and even long term care as a result of being the victim of an accident, then the law should be able to provide you with the means to get the money you need to recover as much as possible from your injuries.
- Lost Wages: If your injuries are serious enough that they prevent you from going to work or getting a job, then you may be able to receive compensation for the loss of potential income you would have had during the period between the actual accident and the personal injury suit. In order for this to occur, your legal team needs to accurately demonstrate your ability to gain a specific amount of income during the time you have been injured.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: If your injuries are so severe that they not only impact your current income, but are likely to negatively impact all of your future income, then you may be eligible for some loss of earning capacity compensation that should hopefully help you to continue to survive even without a job.
- Pain and Suffering: Physical injuries are usually associated with pain, and this kind of remuneration attempts to acknowledge the suffering that an accident victim may be experiencing. The amount of these damages is usually determined by examining the type of injuries sustained in the accident, the severity and extent of the pain being experienced, and the length of time that the plaintiff is likely to suffer.
- Mental Anguish: Damages for mental anguish acknowledge to emotional and mental toll that being in a serious accident can take. Severe injury often comes hand in hand with fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, and grief. Receiving compensation for mental anguish attempts to take into account the draining and damaging nature that these feelings can have on a person’s life.
- Loss of Consortium: In a successful lawsuit, it is possible for an uninjured spouse to receive compensation for the loss of marital benefits, including companionship, sexual relations, and other forms of intimacy. In these cases, a jury often needs to examine the status of the marriage both before and after the accident, as well as the degree to which these marital benefits have been lost and the overall life expectancy of both partners.
- Punitive Damages: These are damages that are placed upon a defendant if their actions were egregiously harmful or specifically ill-intentioned. The idea behind them is to discourage such bad behavior in the future through monetary means.
What should I do if I am involved in a motorcycle accident?
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident between a motorcycle and a car, then there are a few key steps you can take in order to best protect your interests. Regardless of whether you were in the motorcycle or truck, it is good whenever possible to follow these steps in order to make certain that you are being proactive about your situation. These steps include:
- If you are able, make sure to promptly check on the well-being of all people involved in the accident. If anyone appears to be injured, make sure they receive prompt and competent medical attention, preferably from paramedics or a similar medical professional. This is an important step for medical reasons as well as legal ones, as it both minimizes the chances of further medical complications arising as well as beginning to establish a clear record of damages that can be filed for claims.
- As soon as possible, make sure that someone alerts the local police and sends an officer to examine the scene. Even if you have good luck and the accident is minor, the officer will file a report that will be created at the time and scene of the accident, which can be essential in establishing fault. He will also obtain the names, addresses, and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses who may be able to testify as to the nature and order of events.
- Keep every important document detailing your medical history immediately following the accident and consider carefully to potential ramifications of releasing before speaking to a lawyer. Make certain that you follow any medical prescriptions or advice that you are given to the letter, and if your symptoms do no resolve in a timely fashion, do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.
- Whenever possible, contact your insurance company and let them know that an accident has occurred. They will assign your case a number and an adjuster in order to deal with every aspect of your case. If there is another driver involved in the collision, you also need to make certain that their insurance company is aware of the accident. Always exercise caution when dealing with insurance companies, as they are typically looking out for their bottom line rather than your best interests.
What can I do if my family member or loved one has died as the result of a motorcycle accident?
It is a sad truth that due to the exposed and vulnerable nature of motorcycles, many accidents involving riders end up being fatal injuries. If this is the case, then surviving family members and loved ones may have a potential wrongful death case that they can press against any negligent parties who are found to be at fault for the accident. It is important to remember that while money could never make up for the devastating loss that you have suffered, it can help to ease any financial burden you are suffering from as a result of the untimely death of your loved one. Additionally, it could be a way to emotionally help you to move on from such an unexpected and tragic loss.
Accidents can be life changing. Moving past a major vehicular accident can take a serious physical, emotional, and financial toll. If you have been the victim of a major motorcycle accident and need help, then there is probably legal recourse that you can take. Do not assume that insurance companies will always be willing to meet your needs. Instead, make sure that you have the right tools in place to empower yourself to take positive and decisive action.