Motorcycle accidents can leave individuals severely injured and need prompt medical attention. Accident victims may need to undergo one or more surgeries, receive stitches for a wound, or undergo physical therapy to treat their injuries. In the worst motorcycle accident scenarios, the victim may suffer a fatal injury.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a recent motorcycle crash, you should seek knowledgeable legal counsel to help you file a claim or pursue litigation in court. Failing to do so can be a severe mistake. Many insurance companies take advantage of unrepresented accident victims when settling and litigating a personal injury case.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in Edmonton can help you pursue the monetary damages you deserve by filing a prompt claim or lawsuit on your behalf. Your lawyer can also assist you during the settlement negotiations and litigate your case in the court system if the insurance company refuses to take your case seriously. Whether you settle or litigate your case, your lawyer can help you recover the maximum monetary compensation to make you feel whole again after your motorcycle accident.
Who or What Can Cause a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycles are no match for a larger vehicle, such as a car, truck, tractor-trailer, or
SUV. When one of these vehicles hits a motorcycle, the cyclist is the one who usually suffers injuries in the accident. This is especially true in high-speed motorcycle crashes where cyclists fall from their bikes and land on the ground.
Motorcyclists are also at a significant disadvantage because they do not have the benefit of a thick outer shell surrounding them during a crash. Since they experience direct exposure to their surrounding environment (i.e., the ground), they are likely to suffer a severe injury when a violent crash occurs.
In most situations, motorcycle crashes happen when drivers fail to take the necessary precautions or drive their vehicles carelessly and recklessly. Some accidents happen when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to cyclists or drive too fast. In particular, when drivers speed, they may lose control over their vehicle, causing them to inadvertently hit a motorcyclist and knock them off their bike.
Other motorcycle accidents happen when drivers fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of their vehicle. Alternatively, a driver may become drowsy, ignore the road, and miss seeing a nearby motorcyclist.
Next, some motorcycle accidents occur when drivers get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. A driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. Moreover, if a drunk driver incurs one or more criminal charges, such as for DUI (or driving under the influence), they may face penalties, such as loss of their driver’s license, payment of high monetary fines, or jail time.
Drunk driving is dangerous because alcohol can impair a driver’s reaction time, cause the driver to become nauseous, affect the driver’s vision, and delay the driver’s reaction time. Due to these alcohol-related impairments, a driver may not see a motorcyclist or stop their vehicle in time to avoid hitting the cyclist. When an intoxicated driver causes a motorcycle crash, they and their insurance companies may have to pay civil damages to the accident victim.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries That Require Prompt Medical Treatment
There is no disputing that a forceful motorcycle accident may cause a cyclist to sustain severe injuries that may leave them incapacitated for a lengthy time. Since every motorcycle crash scenario is different, not all accident victims will suffer the same injuries.
The injuries that a cyclist suffers will usually depend upon whether the cyclist falls to the ground, the surface on which the cyclist falls, the speeds of the involved vehicles, and the amount of force involved in the crash.
Following a motorcycle accident, crash victims may require medical care for any of the following injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue contusions
- Road rash injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Full or partial paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Rib fractures
- Crush injuries
Seek follow-up medical treatment if you suffer one or more of these injuries in a motorcycle accident. Failing to take this step can hurt your case, and the insurance company or their adjuster may grow skeptical about your injuries.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can begin advocating for you and handling the legal aspects of your claim while you attend medical appointments and physical therapy sessions for your injuries.
Why Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Your Area?
If you do not have legal representation in your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit, the chances are good that the insurance company will take advantage of you and significantly undervalue your claim.
Insurance companies and their adjusters usually feel that unrepresented accident victims lack the necessary skills to negotiate a fair settlement. They also believe that unrepresented accident victims will be unable to represent themselves effectively in court should their case go to trial.
Having a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer on your side increases your chances of obtaining favorable settlement compensation—or a favorable jury verdict or binding arbitration award through litigation.
Determining Legal Avenues of Recovery
A good motorcycle accident lawyer will explore all potential legal avenues of recovery in your case. If your motorcycle crash resulted from another driver’s negligent or reckless actions, you can file a personal injury claim with that driver’s insurance carrier. However, if the responsible driver did not have insurance or if they lacked significant insurance, your lawyer can help you file a first-party insurance claim with your own motor vehicle insurer. These claims are called uninsured motorist (UM) claims and underinsured motorist (UIM) claims.
Your lawyer can help you determine if you’re eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company—or with another insurance company—depending upon your circumstances. They will then work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive through a personal injury settlement or litigation.
Filing a Legal Claim on Your Behalf
Next, a personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim. Claim filing typically consists of a settlement demand letter, along with various documents which may later serve as formal evidence in the case. The settlement demand letter makes a monetary demand for settlement within the available insurance policy limits.
Supporting documentation may include copies of the police report or eyewitness statements, along with medical documentation, lost wage statements from an employer, photographs of your injuries, pictures of property damage to your motorcycle, and a personal statement that you prepare about how the accident affected your life.
After filing a claim with the insurance company, an adjuster will take over. The adjuster will review all of these documents and decide whether to accept fault for the accident or deny responsibility. If the adjuster accepts fault on the insurance company’s behalf, your lawyer can then help you during the settlement negotiation process.
During negotiations, unrepresented motorcycle accident victims are often at a significant disadvantage. This is because insurance companies typically feel that these individuals do not have the skills necessary to negotiate favorable settlement compensation for themselves. Therefore, if an insurance company adjuster sees that an injured cyclist is representing themselves in the case, the adjuster will typically make a meager offer. They might also try and convince the accident victim to settle for less than the case is actually worth, hoping to resolve the case as quickly as possible.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can handle all of these settlement negotiations on your behalf. Your lawyer can bring up all of your case’s strengths, which may include probative eyewitness testimony and persuasive medical records which show the extent of your injuries, pain, and suffering.
However, if the insurance company adjuster refuses to increase their offer significantly after several rounds of negotiations, your lawyer can threaten to file a lawsuit in the court system. In some instances, this threat alone is enough for the adjuster to sit up and take notice. However, at other times, you and your lawyer may need to litigate the case in court all the way to a civil jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding.
In a motorcycle accident scenario, lawsuits, and litigation are typically necessary for two different sets of circumstances. In one instance, the insurance company might deny fault for your accident, in which case your lawyer has no choice but to file a lawsuit on your behalf. In the second instance, the insurance company may simply refuse to offer you the amount of compensation you desire for your motorcycle accident injuries.
The insurance company may take this attitude for one of several reasons. First, they may believe that your current injuries are pre-existing or resulted from some other accident or occurrence, such as a prior or subsequent motor vehicle accident or slip-and-fall. Alternatively, the insurance company may believe that you over-treated for your injuries, or they may dispute that you sustained a permanent injury in your accident.
When your lawyer files a lawsuit in the court system, the case will wind its way through litigation and discovery. However, the case can settle at any time on its own, during a mediation hearing—or at a pre-trial or settlement conference. In some instances, motorcycle accident claims even resolve on the day of trial. However, once your case goes to a jury for deliberation, it can no longer settle.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can assist you with every step of the litigation process and ensure you maximize your monetary compensation to the greatest extent possible.
Recovering the Monetary Damages You Need
Motorcyclists who suffer injuries due to someone else’s negligence often suffer incapacitation for a significant length of time. They may be unable to work following their accident, and expenses can pile up quickly. Fortunately, they may be eligible to recover various monetary damages in a motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit.
To recover these damages, you must show that your accident resulted from someone else’s negligence and that you suffered one or more physical injuries and damages.
In addition to recovering compensation for lost income, you can receive monetary damages for your:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental distress
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of use of a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Loss of earning capacity
A skilled personal injury lawyer in Edmonton can help you recover these damages while engaging in settlement negotiations or trying your case in the court system.
Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you or a person you love recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident, time is of the essence. Generally, the sooner you retain a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your case, the better off you will be—and the higher your chances of recovering favorable monetary damages.
Another way to consider the matter is that the insurance company prefers you not to have a lawyer, so why should you want to aid in their wishes? Your lawyer can assist you during every stage of your case and work to recover fair and reasonable accident-related compensation.