What To Expect From a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Maximize Your Recovery:
While motorcycles can be an exciting and efficient way to travel, they also increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Other drivers have a responsibility to be aware of and watch out for motorcyclists on the road, but unfortunately, they don’t always do so.
Read on to understand how a motorcycle accident attorney can help you secure the recovery you deserve after an accident.
Motorcycle Accident Risks
Motorcyclists are much more likely than passenger vehicle drivers to experience devastating injuries in a crash.
The reasons for this include:
- Crashworthiness: Most motor vehicles provide passengers with the protection of a steel frame, restraints, airbags, and other safety features. Motorcyclists don’t receive this protection. Even if a motorcyclist is wearing all available protective gear, they are still much more susceptible to injury during a crash than a passenger vehicle occupant.
- Size: While a motorcycle’s size makes it swift and nimble, it also makes it less visible to other drivers. Additionally, the lights on motorcycles are less obvious than on larger vehicles, and the difference in size can make it more difficult for other drivers to judge the distance or speed of a motorcycle.
- Stability: While motorcycles are easier to maneuver than larger vehicles, their two wheels make them less stable than vehicles with four (or more) wheels. If a motorcycle must drive through hazards or inclement weather, it is less stable than a four-wheeled vehicle.
- Training: Motorcycles require special training to operate safely. If a motorcyclist isn’t sufficiently experienced, they are less likely to handle the motorcycle with the skill and care required to avoid accidents. To secure a motorcycle license, a driver must complete an approved motorcycle safety course.
In addition to the increased risk of accidents, the risk of death or injury is much higher for motorcyclists than other drivers. The Insurance Information Institute has found that death is six times more likely in a motorcycle accident than a passenger vehicle crash. A daunting 86 percent of motorcycle crashes result in a fatality or injury. In Texas, more than 400 fatalities and nearly 2,000 suspected serious injuries took place due to motorcycle accidents in one recent year.
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you evaluate the facts and evidence of your crash to build a case against the responsible party. Your lawyer will assess whether any party involved in the accident committed a negligent or intentional act that caused the accident.
Responsible parties may include:
- Negligent drivers: If another driver’s negligent action caused the accident, they may be responsible for your resulting injuries. Common negligent actions that cause motorcycle accidents include speeding, failure to check a blind spot, failure to follow a traffic sign or signal, failure to yield, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Driver’s employer: If the negligent driver operated in the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, their employer may also bear responsibility for the accident. An employer is likely to have a much larger insurance policy than an individual.
- Local government: Motorcyclists are at particular risk for accidents when roads are poorly maintained or there are hazards on the roadway. If a local government failed to properly maintain a road, your lawyer will help you determine if recovery from the government is possible.
- Motorcycle manufacturer: If the motorcycle malfunctioned or was improperly manufactured, the manufacturer may be responsible for the accident. Common malfunctions include cracks or breaks in the bike’s frame, engine issues that cause unexpected stalling, defects in wheels or tires, brake issues, and improperly installed handlebars. Your attorney will work with you to secure an expert analysis if a malfunction may have caused the accident.
One important tool in establishing liability is often the accident police report, so be sure to secure one after the accident if possible. The report will include images of the accident scene, witness information and statements, and details of citations issued to any driver involved in the accident.
Preparing a Damages Demand
Once you have worked with your attorney to build a strong case for the other party’s liability, you will work together to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the damages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
This assessment may include:
- Medical expenses: Given the severity of motorcycle accident injuries, significant medical expenses often accompany them. Keep track of all your medical expenses, including doctor’s bills, the cost of procedures and hospital stays, and prescription medicine. Work with your lawyer to include an estimate of future medical costs including physical therapy.
- Loss of income: If your injuries force you to miss work or work a reduced schedule, you can seek reimbursement for your lost wages. Your attorney can enlist an expert to help estimate your future lost wages and reduced earning potential, if applicable.
- Property damage: If the accident damaged your motorcycle or any other property, you can seek reimbursement for repair or replacement.
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress: If the accident has caused you ongoing pain or emotional trauma, including anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, your attorney can help you include these less tangible damages in your demand.
- Loss of enjoyment: If you can no longer participate in any activity that previously brought you joy, you may secure a recovery for that loss.
- Punitive/exemplary damages: Punitive damages punish the defendant for acts that rise to the level of malice or gross negligence. Your lawyer can advise you whether punitive damages may be available based on the facts of your case.
In addition to assessing liability and working with you to prepare a damages demand, a motorcycle accident attorney can manage communications with insurance companies and the defendant, prepare court documents, and analyze any settlement offers you receive. You should expect your attorney to be your support throughout each step of the legal process.