Motorcycle accidents are a common occurrence in the United States, and they often result in serious injuries. Dealing with them can be challenging, all the more so if they involve steep medical bills and elongated recovery periods. If you have suffered a personal injury due to a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to get compensation for your damages. Since the process usually involves intricate legalities, it’s ideal that you seek advice from an attorney who specializes in handling motorcycle accident personal injury claims.
Motorcycle Accidents in Numbers
According to traffic safety facts for 2020 released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders were 28 times more likely to die in crashes than occupants of passenger vehicles. In addition:
- 5,579 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes, accounting for 14% of all traffic fatalities
- Motorcyclist fatalities increased by 11% from 2019 to 2020
- More than 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents
- 41% of motorcyclists who lost their lives in single-vehicle crashes were alcohol-impaired
These statistics indicate that despite efforts to reduce fatalities and injuries, motorcycle accidents still remain a significant problem in the U.S.
Who’s at Fault?
Motorcycle accidents take place due to various reasons such as driver negligence, vehicle defects, poor road conditions, and weather conditions. Usually, one or more motorists are at fault, although there are instances when other parties are to blame.
For example, if an accident occurs because of a mechanical defect in your motorcycle, it might be possible to hold its manufacturer liable. If an accident happens because of a crumbling road or a missing road sign, the government agency responsible for its upkeep might be held liable.
Since motorcycle accident attorneys handle different types of cases on a regular basis, they are adept at identifying who to hold liable in various scenarios. When the parties involved in an accident are unable to come to an agreement and end up taking the matter to court, a judge or a jury determines who is at fault.
Types of Damages
Your motorcycle accident injury attorney can help determine the types of damages for which you may seek compensation. Here are the most common types of damages that accompany motorcycle accident personal injury claims.
- Medical expenses. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor’s fees, and the cost of prescription medications. You should keep all receipts and bills related to your medical treatment to document your expenses.
- Lost wages. If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. This includes both past and future lost income. You should keep copies of your pay stubs and tax returns to document your lost income.
- Pain and suffering. You may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering that you go through because of a motorcycle accident. Pain and suffering damages are subjective and difficult to quantify, but they may be a significant part of your claim.
- Property damage. If your motorcycle or other personal property was damaged in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Loss of consortium. If your injuries have affected your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium. This includes loss of companionship, affection, and sexual intimacy.
A motorcycle accident attorney needs to address different legalities when dealing with a personal injury claim. As a result, handling a motorcycle accident personal injury claim on your own might not be the best way forward.
In some cases, both parties involved in a motorcycle accident may be partially at fault. In such instances, a court may apply the principle of comparative negligence to determine each party’s share of responsibility for the accident. This basically means that the percentage of fault assigned to you might reduce the extent of your damages.
Statute of Limitations
All states across the U.S. have statutes of limitations that set deadlines for filing personal injury claims. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your damages. In New York, this stands at three years from the date of the accident.
While insurance policies typically cover motorcycle accidents, the amount of coverage may vary depending on the circumstances of the accident. As a result, it is important to understand your insurance policy and to work with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer or attorney who can help you navigate the claims process.
Caps on Damages
Some states have limits on the amount of compensation you may qualify to receive through a motorcycle accident personal injury claim. These caps may apply to certain types of damages, such as pain and suffering, or they may apply to all damages. New York is among the few states that don’t have any caps on damages for personal injury cases. In most instances, juries get to decide compensation amounts, which may vary greatly from one case to another.
One of the key factors in handling a motorcycle accident personal injury claim is to prove negligence because you are holding someone else responsible for the accident, your injuries, and other possible damages. You need to prove negligence if you’re filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or in case you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you are unable to prove negligence, you stand to receive no compensation at all, even if the other motorist was careless or reckless.
Motorcycle accidents may cause serious personal injuries and significant financial losses, and you may have to face other challenges too. If you feel you deserve compensation for your damages, getting in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney might be the way to go. Your attorney may then determine how to proceed with your motorcycle accident personal injury claim and can even take the matter to court if the need arises.