Motorcycle crashes often result in debilitating injuries, including a loss of a limb, traumatic head and brain injuries, significant scarring, and even paralysis. Sadly, these injuries end up becoming not only life-changing for the victim but their families as well.
Those who survive this deadly accident are often left dealing with excruciating pain and an overwhelming feeling of defeat as they try to deal with skyrocketing medical expenses, ongoing medical treatments, and planning for an uncertain future.
However, if you have been a victim of this horrific accident, you do not have to go through this challenging ordeal on your own. Read on to learn some of the steps you need to take following a motorcycle accident and how a skilled motorcycle accident attorney could help you through this difficult time.
The Steps You Need to Take Following a Motorcycle Crash
Motorcycle accidents are quite serious. Not only is the crash scene often chaotic, but everything can feel quite overwhelming.
However, to help ensure that your safety and legal rights are protected, you need to make sure to take the following essential steps after a motorcycle accident.
- Call the police: Following a motorcycle accident, you need to call 911 immediately. The local police officers can ensure you receive any immediate medical care necessary while also investigating the accident scene. They will write down all of their findings in their police report, which could provide you with critical information if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Collect evidence from the scene: If possible, try to take as many photographs and videos of the crash scene as possible. Make sure to include pictures of visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the crash, skid marks on the road, weather conditions, signs near the accident, and any other critical details that can help show what happened during the accident.
- Information about the drivers: Get the name, contact information, insurance information, and driver’s license number from all the motorists involved in the collision.
- Witnesses at the scene: If any witnesses were present at the accident scene, get their names and contact information. Their statements and photographs can often provide you with valuable evidence when trying to prove fault and damages.
- Contact a motorcycle accident attorney: Following a motorcycle accident, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. These lawyers can get to work gathering crucial evidence to prove liability while providing you with information regarding what legal actions you need to pursue.
If My Injuries Are Not That Severe, Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Even if you do not think your injuries are significant following a motorcycle accident, you still need to see a doctor. These medical professionals can not only help verify if you have any hidden injuries that have not yet manifested (such as head or brain injuries), but they can also write down their findings in their medical report. This report could provide you with vital evidence in terms of proving damages. This information would especially help if the other side or the insurance company claims you received your injuries from another event.
If the Insurance Company Calls Me Following My Motorcycle Crash, Should I Talk to Them?
Many individuals think that an insurance company wants to help them after a motorcycle accident, especially if the crash was not their fault. However, an insurance company is like any other business. They want to make money. If they can deny your claim or give you less money than you deserve, they may do just that.
Many insurance adjusters will call you following a motorcycle accident and try to get you to admit fault for the accident. That is why in these situations, it is in your best interest to provide the adjuster only the basic facts of the accident and let them know that any future communications will go through your attorney. Once you retain a motorcycle accident lawyer, they can take over all of these insurance discussions—ensuring that you do not say anything that the insurance company can twist in a way that hurts your case.
If I Am Given a Settlement Offer Following My Motorcycle Crash, Should I Accept It?
Following a motorcycle collision, you may be given a settlement offer. However, before you decide to accept this amount, you need to consider your situation’s circumstances. You need to remember that you will have a lot of expenses following a motorcycle crash. These will include your current medical bills, treatments, and medications costs, as well as your future medical treatments and costs.
These first settlement offers rarely cover your current bills, let alone any future charges. That is why before you accept any settlement amount, you should speak to a skilled motorcycle accident attorney who can help you understand all of these expenses and decide if this settlement offer is fair to you. If you choose to decline this amount, your lawyer could proceed with negotiation talks and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
What Damages Can I Collect Following a Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence. You may collect these damages:
Compensatory damages: These damages compensate the victim for the expenses they incurred from the accident.
Compensatory damages often include:
- Medical Expenses including prescription medicine costs, surgeries, doctor visits, and other treatments.
- The estimated cost of future medical care.
- Lost earning capacity.
- Lost current wages and lost future wages.
- Personal property damage.
- Rehabilitative costs including physical therapy and vocational therapy.
- At-home care services.
- Household expenses.
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional anguish.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of reputation.
Punitive damages: These damages punish the defendant’s wrongdoing instead of compensating the victim. Punitive damages are awarded when the accident resulted from egregiously negligent or intentional actions on the part of the defendant. However, in Florida, there is a cap on punitive damages. Typically, these damages cannot exceed $500,000 per person or three times the compensatory damages, whichever is lower. But, there are also exceptions to these limits. Speaking with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand these damages and determine what types of damages you can pursue.
Who Are Some Common Liable Parties Following a Motorcycle Accident?
To pursue damages for your injuries, you need to identify the individual or individuals who may be held legally liable for your motorcycle accident. That is why it is in your best interest to speak with a skilled motorcycle accident attorney who can conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine which parties are at fault.
Possible parties who can be held liable for the accident include:
- The other driver: This can include motorists, bicyclists, truck drivers, bus drivers, and even other motorcyclists.
- Manufacturers, designers, and mechanics: In some circumstances, a defective part or a faulty motorcycle can be responsible for the accident. In these situations, if the defective part or bike was at fault for your injuries, you can pursue legal action against the designers, manufacturers, and even the mechanics responsible for the part of the motorcycle’s maintenance.
- The dealership: If a motorcycle dealership knew that a bike had some issues with it but still sold it to you. They can be found responsible for an accident that resulted from that particular motorcycle problem.
- Government entity: Sometimes, a governmental agency may be responsible for your accident. For instance, if you are injured because of a poorly maintained road, then the governmental entity responsible for maintaining these roadways can be held accountable.
In some motorcycle crashes, there can be more than one party responsible for the accident. That is why it can be so imperative to speak with a motorcycle accident attorney as quickly as possible. They can figure out exactly which party or parties are to blame and pursue legal action against all those at fault.
How Can I Prove Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
An individual is responsible for a motorcycle crash if they did something wrong that led to the accident. This is often referred to as negligence. These negligent actions can include violating traffic laws, texting while driving, distracted driving, and even driving under the influence. However, to show this negligence, you need to prove that the other driver failed to use proper care expected of someone else in their situation.
Additionally, you also need to show that the negligent party actually caused the accident. Just because someone was negligent does not mean you can collect compensation from them. You need to show that their actions resulted in the crash.
Finally, you need to prove the damages you suffered. You can do this by showing medical bills, bank statements, and other records that can help establish the losses you endured. Often, a skilled motorcycle accident attorney can bring in expert witnesses to testify to help build your case. These experts can provide crucial evidence to show what damages you suffered and how they affected your life.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Following a motorcycle accident, you have four years from the accident date to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Florida. However, this time can be shortened or extended depending on the circumstances of the claim. For instance, if you are pursuing legal action against a governmental entity, this time is reduced to three years.
That is why you need to speak with a motorcycle accident as soon as possible. They can verify how much time you have to file a claim and start gathering evidence as quickly as possible to ensure that critical evidence is not lost. Generally, the longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the chance that documents may disappear, witnesses can no longer testify, and memories of the accident will fade.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Me?
Motorcycle accident lawsuits are tedious, complicated, and require a thorough understanding of the laws. Those involved in these accidents are already dealing with a lot. They should not have to worry about handling these difficult legal proceedings on top of everything else.
That is why when you retain an experienced and knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney, they can help you with:
- Go over your case and answer questions: Your lawyer can not only review your case and determine if you have a viable claim. But they can go over any questions you may have and detail the legal options you can pursue.
- Investigate the accident: Finding relevant evidence is crucial to your case. That is why these lawyers begin investigating the accident scene as soon as possible. They can interview witnesses and gather evidence such as reports, videos, and documents to prove liability and damages.
- Handle all communications and negotiation talks: Communicating with the other side or the insurance company can stress you out. However, your lawyer can handle all of these communications and negotiations for you. This can help ensure that your case is treated with the respect that it deserves while they fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
- Head to trial: If the other side is unwilling to negotiate, your attorney can take your case to trial. If you proceed with litigation, your lawyer can prepare you every step of the way while going after the damages you need.
- Bring in the experts: Proving fault in a motorcycle accident can be rather complex. That is why your lawyer can bring in experts, including accident recreationists, engineers, economists, and doctors, to prove fault and damages.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, you should quickly retain legal help you can trust. Your rights and recovery are too important. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today and let them fight for the justice you need.