What Is the Process for Claiming Damages in a Motorcycle Crash?
One of the most vulnerable groups of motorists on the roadways is motorcycle riders. Even though they receive a negative reputation in many people’s eyes, motorcycle riders are the most at risk of suffering severe injuries from a motorcycle accident.
Think about it. Who is more likely to absorb most of the impact from an accident: a motor vehicle driver driving a vehicle composed of heavy materials or the motorcycle rider on a motorcycle surrounded by very little material? Like other accident victims, motorcycle accident victims have the right to pursue compensation for their injuries.
Who Are The Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident?
The negligence of motorcycle riders is one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. However, every motorcycle rider is not the at-fault party of a motorcycle accident. There are other parties whose negligence contributes to the creation of motorcycle accidents. Here are some liable parties that can be legally responsible for a motorcycle rider’s injuries.
Passenger Car Drivers
One of the primary motorists whose negligence can lead to a motorcycle accident is a car driver. Unlike motorcycles, cars contain a heavy structure that can turn them into deadly weapons when drivers move recklessly. Even the smallest compact car can cause severe damage to a motorcycle rider.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die from accidents than car drivers. Car drivers are likely to engage in the same dangerous behaviors that others accuse motorcycle riders of. Still, it is more likely for a car driver to cause a motorcycle accident from inattention. The limited visibility of a motorcycle rider makes it more difficult for car drivers to notice them.
While being struck by any motorist will be devastating for many motorcycle accident victims, being hit by a truck driver presents a different ballgame. The commercial truck is the deadlier vehicle out of the two, a motor vehicle and a commercial truck. Trucks feature a more significant size and weight compared to other motor vehicles. Even worse, a truck’s blind spots are also more extensive due to the truck’s weight and size.
There are moments when motorcycle riders are not visible in a driver’s vicinity, and a truck driver decides to pass through the same occupied lane. Motorcycle accidents involving truck drivers are so deadly that the motorcycle rider will likely sustain serious injuries. It is very rare for motorcycle riders to walk away from a truck accident without significant injuries.
Other motorists are not the only parties who can be held accountable for a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle accidents can be caused by manufacturers, specifically from their lack of care in manufacturing a motorcycle or its parts. Sometimes the motorcycle rider or the other motorist is not the at-fault party in a motorcycle accident.
Sometimes, a motorcycle accident happens because of a defective motorcycle part. Manufacturers who deliberately sell or distribute a faulty motorcycle or motorcycle part are causing severe harm to the general public. The flawed design and manufacturing of a motorcycle part can cost the motorcycle rider and other motorists their lives.
Another common cause of motorcycle accidents is road hazards. Because motorcycle riders do not have additional protection around their motorcycles, they are sensitive to the road conditions. Road hazards like potholes, wet surfaces, uneven pavement, and scattered road debris can become a serious issue for motorcycle riders to avoid.
While car and truck drivers can somewhat maneuver around these road hazards, motorcycle riders who encounter these hazards can become seriously injured. Certain government agencies are responsible for the maintenance and safety of the roads. If government agencies have been negligent in upholding these responsibilities, they can be held liable for a motorcycle rider’s injuries.
Starting the Claim Process for a Motorcycle Accident
When one or several of these parties have been negligent towards a motorcycle rider, the motorcycle rider has the right to pursue compensation from the reckless parties. Motorcycle riders can reach out to a lawyer and file a motorcycle accident claim to seek compensation from the parties responsible for their injuries. Within this claim, motorcycle riders can list the types of damages that the defendants are responsible for.
What Damages Can Motorcycle Accident Victims Pursue?
The types of damages that motorcycle riders are open to pursuing depend on the circumstances of the accident. Many motorcycle accident victims seek damages for the physical consequences of their accident, while others pursue damages that deal with the more psychological consequences. Both damages are acceptable to pursue in a motorcycle accident claim.
Some of the common damages that motorcycle accident victims seek are:
Economic damages. Economic damages are the damages that motorcycle riders can count and place a specific dollar amount on. These damages include lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses like prescription medications, rehabilitation care, and medical expenses.
Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are the damages that motorcycle riders may not be able to place a dollar amount on but are still significant. These damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress. Motorcycle riders who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will experience non-economic damage from their accident.
Punitive damages. In some cases, the negligent party’s behavior is so careless that judges want to make an example of the defendant. To deter other parties from engaging in the same behavior, some judges award punitive damages to motorcycle riders.
Having a Claim Evaluated by a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle riders have many choices regarding the additional damages they can pursue from their accident. To help determine how valuable a motorcycle accident claim is, it will be in the best interest of a motorcycle accident victim to have their claim evaluated by a lawyer.
An experienced lawyer can consider the different factors of a motorcycle rider’s claim and determine how much the claim is worth.
Some of the various factors that judges take into account when rewarding compensation for motorcycle accidents include:
The severity of the motorcycle rider’s injuries
The motorcycle rider’s current and future medical expenses
The probability of a motorcycle rider recovering from their injuries
The motorcycle rider’s lost wages
The extent of the motorcycle rider’s pain and suffering
Being Offered a Settlement For Your Motorcycle Accident Injuries
When motorcycle riders file a motorcycle accident claim, two results will happen. Motorcycle riders can either be offered a settlement agreement by insurance companies or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. If the motorcycle rider is unsure what route to take, a lawyer can help advise the most beneficial option. Being offered a settlement in a motorcycle accident lawsuit can be a double-edged sword.
Insurance companies can offer motorcycle accident victims a settlement because it will be easy to prove that their client was negligent in the motorcycle accident. On the other hand, insurance companies can also offer a settlement agreement that does not represent the scope of the motorcycle rider’s injuries to silence the victim and move on from the incident.
How Insurance Companies Refute Motorcycle Accident Claims
Offering low settlements is not the only way insurance companies try to refute a motorcycle accident victim’s claim. Other ways that insurance companies deny the legitimacy of a motorcycle accident victim’s claim include stating a lack of information, having a bias against motorcyclists, and requesting recorded statements from those involved in a crash.
The companies also minimize the injuries suffered by the victim and claim that the victim failed to seek immediate medical attention after the crash.
Claiming a Lack of Information
One of the ways that insurance companies try to delay the claims process is by stating that there is missing information on a motorcycle rider’s claim. Insurance companies use this tactic as a stalling tactic and collect additional evidence to prove that the other party was negligent.
A Motorcycle Bias
Another common tactic that insurance companies use is to accuse motorcycle riders of being the at-fault parties in their accidents. Part of accusing motorcycle riders of being the at-fault parties of their accidents plays into the motorcycle bias that many people still believe. Motorcycle bias is the negative attitude that many people have towards motorcycle riders.
Motorcycle bias can lead judges and jurors to believe that motorcycle riders are bad drivers who constantly look for trouble. This bias can cause other drivers to view motorcycle riders negatively and potentially get held responsible for their accidents.
Requesting a Recorded Statement
Another common tactic that insurance companies use against motorcycle accident victims is requesting that the plaintiff issue a recorded statement. Like the claim that there is a lack of information, insurance companies will request motorcycle riders to submit a recorded statement allegedly to hear the victim’s side of the accident.
While this sounds as if the insurance company is trying to remain impartial, insurance adjusters are only interested in what is best for the company. For motorcycle accident victims, The best step is not to award compensation for motorcycle accidents. Insurance companies will use a motorcycle rider’s recorded statement against them to determine fault.
Minimizing a Motorcycle Rider’s Injuries
One of the ways that insurance companies question the seriousness of a motorcycle rider’s claim is by downplaying the motorcycle rider’s injuries. Insurance companies will accuse motorcycle riders of exaggerating the severity of their injuries. One of the standard methods that insurance companies use is accusing the motorcycle rider of having pre-existing medical conditions resulting from the accident.
Failing to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Another medical-related tactic that insurance companies use is to accuse the motorcycle rider of not receiving immediate medical care after their accident. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention for all injuries, no matter the accident.
Even motorcycle riders who do not feel immediate pain should seek immediate medical attention. Insurance companies will think it odd if a motorcycle rider waited to seek medical attention after an accident. It looks as if the motorcycle rider was not as seriously injured as they claimed, or the injuries occurred due to another action by insurance adjusters.
How a Lawyer Can Protect Motorcycle Riders From the Insurance Company’s Tactics
Insurance companies understand the unique position that motorcycle riders are in. Motorcycle riders have to fight against negative attitudes and watch out for the deceptive tactics of insurance companies. To help lighten the legal load, it will be best to seek the legal advice of a lawyer. A lawyer can stop the insurance company from practicing deceptive tactics before starting. Gathering the proper evidence to help build your case and expressing a motorcycle rider’s needs during negotiations can stop many insurance companies’ tactics.
Assisting With Every Step of the Process
A lawyer can assist from the time that a motorcycle rider is involved in an accident to trial. If a motorcycle rider wants to accept a settlement offer, a lawyer can negotiate for the exact settlement offer that the victim is comfortable taking. If the motorcycle rider wants to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, a lawyer can represent the rider and present the best case possible for victory. Even when it comes to determining the types of damages to pursue, a lawyer can assist with reviewing a claim and suggesting additional types of damages to include in the suit.
Speak To An Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
Seriously injured motorcycle riders deserve compensation like all accident victims. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney is eager to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve. Call a motorcycle accident attorney today to schedule a free consultation to speak with a qualified motorcycle accident attorney. You deserve compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries, and a lawyer will fight for that right.
Do not let the responsible party off the hook. Hold them accountable with the help of an attorney today. Too many injured motorcyclists fail to obtain the compensation they deserve because they do not have the right legal help.
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