Many individuals enjoy taking their motorcycles out for scenic rides along back roads and even on the nation’s highways. Motorcycle riding has turned into a lifestyle for some, too, with motorcyclists joining groups and clubs that revolve around motorcycles. However, unlike a car, motorcycles provide little protection to their riders, and even the smallest accident can result in serious injuries. If you or someone you know has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to know that you have legal options.
At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, our Boulder motorcycle accident attorneys are experienced in fighting for the rights of motorcycle accident victims. We understand the unique, pressing challenges that come with motorcycle accidents, and we know what it takes to get results. Whether you’re dealing with serious injuries, vehicle damage, or the loss of a loved one, we’re here to help achieve justice and full compensation for your losses.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
A wide variety of situations can result in a motorcycle accident. In some cases, the fault lies with another driver who didn’t see the motorcycle or who didn’t respect the motorcycle’s right of way. In other cases, defective motorcycle parts or poor road conditions could cause the incident. No matter how the accident happened, it’s important to investigate and determine who was at fault.
Some of the most common reasons motorcycle accidents can occur include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Making a left-hand turn directly in front of a motorcycle
- Swerving into a motorcycle’s lane
- Merging into traffic without seeing a motorcycle
- Debris on the road that the motorcycle hits
Cars, other motorcycles, trucks, and any other kind of vehicle can be involved in a motorcycle collision. Staying alert and being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid an accident, but even the best drivers can’t always prevent them.
What Can I Be Compensated for After a Motorcycle Accident?
The total amount of compensation you may earn after a motorcycle accident depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. In general, you may be able to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses. This can include the cost of hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s visits, medication, and any other necessary medical treatment.
- Lost wages. This can include time missed at work. It can also include future lost earnings if your motorcycle accident injuries prevent you from returning to work or from working at the same capacity.
- Pain and suffering. This is measured by the physical and emotional anguish caused by the accident and your injuries.
- Property damage. This includes damage to your motorcycle, helmet, clothing, and any other personal belongings.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. This can include the inability to participate in hobbies or activities that you enjoyed before the accident.
- Wrongful death. If a loved one died in a motorcycle accident, you can pursue compensation for funeral and burial expenses, the loss of their income, and the loss of your relationship with them.
What Are the Most Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents?
Due to the lack of protection that motorcycles provide, riders are especially vulnerable to serious injuries in an accident. Some of the most frequently observed injuries in motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries can range greatly in severity, from concussions to more serious injuries that can cause long-term impairment.
- Spinal cord injuries. In addition to a lot of pain, spinal cord injuries can also result in partial or complete paralysis.
- Broken bones. These can include fractures in the arms, legs, ribs, and spine.
- Road rash. This injury occurs when skin rubs against the pavement. It can range from mild to severe and can require hospitalization.
- Internal bleeding. Internal bleeding can occur when an internal organ is damaged in the accident. If the bleeding isn’t stopped, it can be life-threatening.
- Amputations. If an arm or leg is severed in the accident, or a bone is broken beyond repair, an amputation may be necessary.
- Soft tissue injuries. These can include injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Internal organ damage. This can include damage to the lungs, heart, and kidneys that can be life-threatening.
How Can I Prove That the Other Driver Was at Fault?
There are many ways you can prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. Evidence that can be used to prove fault include:
- The police report. The police report can contain important information about the accident, including the officer’s opinion of who was at fault, the specific details of what happened, and any citations that were issued.
- Eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony can help corroborate the version of events that you or other witnesses to the accident have given.
- Photographs. This can include photographs from the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles, and your injuries.
- Surveillance footage. Any video footage of the accident from a nearby business or traffic camera can be immensely helpful in proving what occurred.
- The other driver’s insurance information. This can be used to show that the other driver was insured at the time of the accident.
- The other driver’s statement. This statement can help to show that the other driver admitted fault for the accident.
Any combination of this evidence can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. A motorcycle accident attorney can collect and use this evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
The value of your motorcycle accident claim depends on several factors, including:
- The severity of your injuries. As the severity of your motorcycle accident injuries increases, the higher your medical bills are likely to be and the greater your pain and suffering are as well.
- The extent of the property damage. The more damage there is to your motorcycle, the higher your property damage claim will be.
- The insurance policy limits. If the other driver has a low insurance policy limit, this may limit compensation.
- The at-fault driver’s assets. If the at-fault driver has few assets, this may limit the amount of compensation you can recover.
A seasoned motorcycle accident attorney can evaluate all these factors to give you a better idea of the value of your motorcycle accident claims.
How Can an Attorney Help Motorcycle Accident Victims?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, an experienced attorney can help you in several ways. Your attorney can:
- Collect evidence to prove fault. Your attorney knows how to collect evidence to prove the other individual was at fault for the accident. If you were to self-represent and miss key evidence that a skilled attorney would never overlook, it could seriously damage your case and delay getting you the compensation you deserve.
- Calculate the value of your claim. Your attorney can evaluate all of the factors affecting the value of your claim to ensure that you are fairly compensated. From the severity of your injuries to the insurance policy limits, a skilled attorney takes everything into account when calculating the value of your claim.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company to earn you the best possible settlement. Attorneys are known to get higher settlements than those who self-represent, so it is in your best interest to have an attorney on your side.
- Provide support. Your attorney is there to provide you with the support and guidance you need throughout the legal process, in addition to emotional support as you recover from your injuries. Those who self-represent find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed, having no one to turn to for guidance. Avoiding this feeling of isolation is one of the many benefits of having an attorney on your side.
Tips for Driving Safely on Motorcycles
Although motorcycle accidents can happen even when both drivers are being safe, there are steps you can take to help avoid an accident. When driving a motorcycle, be sure to:
- Wear a helmet. Wearing a protective helmet is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard yourself while riding a motorcycle. If you were to crash without a helmet, you would be at a much higher risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries. The level of protection a helmet provides can be the difference between life and death.
- Follow the rules of the road. Obey all traffic laws and signs to help ensure everyone on the road is alert to your presence. For example, always use your turn signals when changing lanes or making a turn.
- Be visible. Make sure you are as visible as possible to other drivers on the road. Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective gear at night. You should also make sure your motorcycle’s headlights are always turned on.
- Drive defensively. A top strategy to avoid an accident is to drive defensively. Be aware of your direct surroundings and always be on the lookout for potential hazards. If you see a car changing lanes without signaling, for example, move out of the way to avoid getting hit.
- Take a safety course. Another great way to reduce your risk of getting into an accident is to take a motorcycle safety course. These courses teach you how to safely operate a motorcycle and give you tips for avoiding accidents.
- Follow the speed limit. Speeding is a leading cause of both automobile and motorcycle accidents. Obey the posted speed limit to help avoid an accident, and be especially careful when driving in bad weather conditions.
- Don’t drink and drive. Never get on a motorcycle after drinking alcohol. This puts everyone on the road at risk. If you have been drinking, hand over your keys to a sober friend or call a cab to take you home.
Following these safety tips can reduce your risk of getting into a motorcycle accident.
Q: What should you do after a minor motorcycle accident?
A: After a minor motorcycle accident, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver and file a claim with your insurance company. See a doctor if you are injured, even if your injuries seem minor. Advancing conditions, such as whiplash, can take days or weeks to develop, so it’s important to be checked out by a doctor as quickly as you can and return to your doctor for follow-up appointments as recommended.
Q: What can be done to prevent motorcycle accidents?
A: There are several things that can be done to help prevent motorcycle accidents. Wearing a helmet, obeying the laws and rules of the road, and driving defensively are all great ways to help avoid an accident. Taking an official motorcycle safety course can also help you learn how to safely operate a motorcycle and avoid accidents.
Q: Why do you need a motorcycle accident lawyer?
A: An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim. Having an attorney on your side can give you the best possible chance of recovering the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Q: What is the most common major motorcycle injury?
A: The most common major motorcycle injury is a head injury. This is why everyone should always wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Head injuries range from mild concussions to more serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries. Wearing a protective helmet can help reduce the severity of head injuries in the event of an accident.
Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal Today
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is imperative to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer soon. At the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal, we have the knowledge and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve. We are ready to fight for your rights and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the legal process. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. We look forward to helping you get the justice you deserve and getting you back on the road to recovery.