MOTORCYCLE Accidents

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    COMMON CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

    Motorcycle accidents can occur for a number of reasons, including driver negligence. A personal injury lawyer will be able to prove the negligence in your accident. Negligent acts that may result in an accident include the following:

    • Swerving in front of a cyclist
    • Cutting off motorcyclists at intersections
    • Failing to follow posted speed limits
    • Failing to yield when appropriate
    • Failing to leave sufficient room between vehicles
    • Failure to see a motorcyclist changing or entering lanes
    • Neglecting to pay appropriate attention to other drivers
    • Driving under the influence

    Failure to yield and an inability to recognize motorcyclists in traffic are among the common causes of motorcycle accidents. These crashes may also be caused by motor vehicles drivers who do not exercise proper care when making left-hand turns at intersections. A motorcycle accident lawyer will know what to look for using his experience. Left-turn accidents are commonly caused by drivers who:

    • Misjudge the motorcyclist’s speed or distance
    • Fail to see the motorcyclist
    • Panic and stop in the motorcyclist’s path
    • Rely on the judgment of another driver, who also fails to see the motorcyclist

    If you are a motorcycle owner, you may at some point be involved in motorcycle accident lawsuit or insurance claim. Many motorcycle accidents involve serious injuries, which mean that you could be highly dependent upon a high dollar settlement or verdict to get the medical treatment you need. Having the right personal injury lawyer can make all the difference.

    WHAT IS THE AVERAGE MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT YOU MIGHT EXPECT?

    All motorcycle accident cases are different, so arriving at a precise figure is a guessing game and should be discussed with your personal injury attorney. However, there has been research conducted by Thomson Reuters that showed between 1999 and 2006, the average motorcycle accident settlement was $73,700. This data is more than a decade old, however, and should be taken with a large grain of salt. Your motorcycle accident settlement could be much less or much more, similar to truck accident settlements, which can also be very serious and as such, involve large payouts. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will be able to walk you through the process.

    MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT INJURIES

    It is important to remember that you should never settle the case until the full extent of your accident injuries is clear. All motorcycle accident settlement amounts are final. It is impossible to go back to the insurance company a month later if your motorcycle accident injuries are worse than first thought.

    An experienced personal injury lawyer will not recommend that you settle the case until your injuries are healed, or until medical professional states that further improvement is unlikely. At that time, you may have a permanent injury. If the injury is permanent, this is a major factor you need to know before settling the claim. So, never rush through negotiations when there are serious injuries. We can’t stress enough the importance of having a personal injury lawyer by your side.

    SHOULD YOU SETTLE OR GO TO COURT?

    This is the big question that you and your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to answer. Fortunately, an experienced qualified motorcycle accident attorney is very effective at making this determination. It is true that most personal injury cases are settled before going to court, but this may or may not be best for you.

    Your personal injury lawyer will perform a cost analysis after considering all of your economic and noneconomic damages. As noted earlier, these include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc. Your attorney will determine if it is likely that the cost of going to trial is not going to outweigh possible recovery of additional damages in the future. In this case, if the cost of going to trial is going to be high (and take too long), you may be better off with a settlement.

    Some insurance companies may not want to pay the damages to which you are entitled, however. So, going to court may be the best option. But going to court means your fate is in the hands of a jury. There is no guarantee when going to trial, especially with a motorcycle case, given the frequent jury bias against motorcyclists.

    There are some motorcycle accident cases where the insurance company makes an absurdly low offer. If you have serious accident injuries and the insurance company makes an offer that does not even cover your medical costs, going to court is the way to go.

    MOTORCYCLE PASSENGER INJURIES

    Very often, it is the driver or the car or truck involved in a motorcycle accident who is found to be the responsible party. In reality, the liability could belong to anyone who contributed to the cause of your motorcycle accident, even a pedestrian. However, if you were a passenger on the motorcycle, and if the operator’s negligence is to blame, that person can be liable for your injuries. Because of the direct interaction between motorcycle operator and their passenger, it is possible that either the motorcycle operator or passenger may have a case if personal injury or loss occurs because of the other’s conduct while the motorcycle is moving.

    SPECIFIC MOTORCYCLE INJURY RISKS

    Whatever protection is offered by the style and design of the helmet and protective gear worn by the rider, nothing can eliminate all injury risk. Even a minor motorcycle accident that the rider can “walk away from” may still cause victims to miss work and require costly medical treatment or rehabilitation. Of course, serious injuries often lead to more expensive medical and prolonged rehabilitative care, or possibly a wrongful death case. Among the injuries often associated with motorcycles are brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. However, there are many others that emergency rooms have become familiar with, including:

    • Soft tissue injuries
    • Pelvic fractures
    • Brain damage
    • Internal bleeding
    • Foot fractures
    • Amputated limbs

    How Compensation is Determined Following a Motorcycle Accident

    Like other personal injury lawsuits, the types of compensation available to those affected as the result of an accident involving a motorcycle falls into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. These will be discussed by your personal injury lawyer.

    Compensation involving economic truck accident damages serves to cover the specific monetary costs, including the following:

    • Current Medical Expenses: This may include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices and appointments with approved medical professionals.
    • Future Medical Expenses: Compensation for extended medical attention and care.
    • Lost Wages: Compensation for the wages lost between the time of injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit.
    • Loss of Earning Capacity: If the victim can demonstrate that their ability to earn a living has been negatively impacted, compensation may be available. The awarding party will look to establish the amount victim could have earned had the car accident not occurred.
    • Non-economic damages compensate the victim and/or family for non-financial, intangible losses, including:
    • Pain and Suffering: This includes compensation for the physical pain suffered as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The nature of the injury, the extent of the pain, and the length of time the victim is expected to suffer are all included in the calculation of the award.
    • Mental Anguish: Compensation for emotional pain stemming from a motorcycle accident, including fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, grief and other forms of emotional distress caused by the accident.
    • Loss of Consortium: Compensation awarded to a spouse, parents, and minor children loss of services, assistance, aid, society, and companionship/care of a loved one, a child, or parents.
    • • In addition to economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages may be applicable if the defendant’s actions causing the injury were willful, malicious, fraudulent or reckless. Punitive damages serve to punish the offender and dissuade similar behavior in the future.

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