Liability After a Motorcycle Accident
Accidents quickly destroy the joy of motorcycle rides. When other drivers are negligent, motorcyclists often end up with worse injuries and greater property damage. Read on to understand who is responsible for the costs of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
The Dangers of Motorcycle Accident
The size, stability, and limited protection provided by motorcycles mean that the rider is likely to suffer serious injuries when an accident happens. This is clear when you look at the fatality and injury statistics for motorcycle accidents. In one recent year, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to die in an accident than passenger vehicle occupant, and 86 percent of motorcycle crashes result in death or injury.
Time has only seen growth in the risks of motorcycle accidents, with the total number of fatalities doubling over the past ten years. There were more than 400 fatalities and nearly 2,000 suspected serious injuries from motorcycle accidents in Texas alone.
Because of the lack of a protective exterior and other safety features, motorcyclists are more likely to suffer severe injuries after an accident.
Common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries: Because motorcycles don’t enclose their drivers, accidents can throw motorcyclists from the bike. This makes head and brain injuries common in motorcycle accidents. A brain injury is especially likely if the rider is not wearing a helmet. Texas does require motorcyclists to wear an approved helmet, but there are some exceptions to the requirement.
- Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. When a motorcyclist strikes the ground hard during an accident, spinal cord injuries are common. These injuries often result in long-term impacts including paralysis.
- Road rash: Motorcyclists are at high risk of suffering road rash, an injury to the skin and underlying tissue when the body rubs or scrapes against the pavement. There are more than 20,000 victims of road rash each year. Severe road rash can require skin grafting surgery.
- Neck and back injuries: Common injuries include nerve damage, whiplash, and slipped and herniated discs.
- Dental and facial injuries: Motorcyclists often suffer lacerations, broken facial bones like the nose or cheek, a detached retina, or cracked or chipped teeth in an accident.
- Broken bones: If a break is severe, the victim might require surgeries or physical therapy.
If you have suffered any injury after a motorcycle accident, work with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to pursue recovery for your injuries.
How Do I Recover Compensation for My Injuries?
To recover damages from your injuries, you will need to establish that another party is liable for the accident and prepare a damages demand.
If someone else’s negligence led to your motorcycle accident and you can prove that they caused it, you can hold them responsible for the costs related to your injuries and other accident-related damages.
Common scenarios involving another party’s negligence are:
- The other driver was speeding;
- The other driver neglected to comply with a stop sign or traffic signal;
- The other driver didn’t check their blind spot or failed to yield;
- The other driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- The city failed to properly maintain the road, which led to the accident; or
- The motorcycle malfunctioned because of the manufacturer’s negligence.
The first step you should take after an accident is to tend to your immediate medical needs. Another important step after an accident is to secure a police report. This report will document evidence important to building your case against the defendant, including pictures of the accident scene, witness information, and citations issued to any driver involved in the accident.
To ensure you can recover compensation for your injuries, you need a lawyer who can build a strong case against the defendant. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can work with you to analyze the strength of your case and compile supporting evidence.
Coming out of a motorcycle accident, you have likely suffered damages that fall into two different categories:
- Precisely calculated damages such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages; and
- Damages without a clearly associated monetary value such as emotional distress or loss of enjoyment.
Your attorney will work with you to assess the damages you have suffered and to assign an appropriate monetary value to your claim. Your lawyer may need to involve experts, including medical and economic experts, to prepare a damages demand. For example, if you want to include future lost earning potential based on your injuries, an economic expert can help analyze your skills and abilities before and after the crash and perform a calculation based on your statistical life expectancy.
When we think of lawsuits, most of us immediately picture a jury trial. The majority of motorcycle accident cases, however, settle before trial, usually with the defendant’s insurance provider. Work with your lawyer to assess any settlement offer you receive based on the strength of your case and the percentage of your total damages covered by the offer. If the insurance provider doesn’t make an acceptable settlement offer, or if your injuries exceed the defendant’s insurance limits, you may need to pursue recovery from the defendant at a trial.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can be your advocate as you seek recovery for your injuries. In addition to assessing and building your case against the defendant and helping prepare a damages demand, your lawyer can handle communication with the defendant and their insurance provider, draft court documents, and advise you about whether or not to accept a settlement offer.