Do I need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Hitting the road on your bike can be exciting, but it can also be risky. Motorcycle accidents are more likely than car accidents to lead to serious injury or death.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), more than 1,800 motorcyclists were seriously injured and 412 motorcyclists were killed on Texas roadways in 2019. Due to a lack of protections from the likes of seatbelts, doors, windshields, and airbags, both motorcycle operators and passengers face a higher risk or injury or death compared to occupants of other types of vehicles. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcyclists are nearly 28 times more likely to die in a crash.
Sadly, motorcycle riders and passengers often sustain catastrophic injury or are killed due to no fault of their own. If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover the maximum compensation you need to protect your health and financial future.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
After a motorcycle accident, you may be in pain and feel shaken and overwhelmed. It’s important to remain calm and take certain steps to protect yourself. If you are severely injured and unable to move or walk, a loved one or bystander may be able to help.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe the motorcycle accident or your injuries are minor, it’s critical to call 911 and seek medical attention. Certain conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal injury and internal bleeding may not be apparent until hours, days or even weeks later. Getting checked out at an emergency room or by your primary care doctor can help to ensure you get the treatment you need. Medical records also provide documentation of your condition, which can be used as valuable evidence should you pursue a motorcycle accident claim down the road. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and their main function in these kinds of cases is to try and minimize or deny claims as often as they can. Even your own motorcycle insurance company will require documentation of the accident and your injuries.
Gather Contact Information
Ask other drivers, passengers and witnesses for their contact information, including names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses. Collect insurance information, driver’s license information and license plate numbers from motorists who were involved in the accident. Gathering this information while waiting for law enforcement to arrive can protect you from negligent drivers who choose to leave the scene of the accident. Be polite and ask if everyone is okay, but do not apologize, admit fault or say anything that may be used against you later.
Take Photos and Video
Pictures and video provide tangible evidence of property damage and injury. Visual evidence can also help a motorcycle accident lawyer piece together how the crash occurred. Snap some photos of the scene, including any skid marks, debris, road conditions, traffic signs and signals, and anything else you think may be relevant. Take video or photos of the damage sustained by all of the involved vehicles. If you have any visible injuries, take pictures of those as well.
Motorcycle lawyers also recommend that you use the voice recorder on your phone or write down everything you remember about what happened while the details are still fresh in your mind. Memories fade, and having as much documentation and evidence as possible is never a bad thing.
Obtain a Police Report
Depending on the jurisdiction where the accident occurred, local, county or state police may respond. Police reports, witness statements and other investigative information provide additional evidence to back up a motorcycle accident claim. If it’s possible to obtain a copy of the police report at the scene, make sure to do so. If not, you or your motorcycle accident lawyer should obtain it in the following days.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
It’s always a good idea to contact a motorcycle accident law firm after a crash. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will begin investigating the accident soon after it happens, and an insurance adjuster will contact you not long after that. Do not give a statement, sign anything or accept a settlement without first speaking to a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in handling motorcycle injury cases.
Although you should report the accident to your own insurance company, you should contact an attorney before doing this, even if you think the accident was your fault. If it was caused by poor road conditions, missing or defective traffic signals, parts or equipment malfunction or other factors, other parties may be liable for your damages.
To absolve insurers of financial responsibility for damages, insurance adjusters are trained to pose questions in a certain way to make it appear as if injured victims are at fault. Don’t let them take advantage of you or your family while you’re in a vulnerable position. Have your motorcycle accident lawyer handle all communications and negotiations with adjusters or insurance company lawyers. Attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own can have disastrous consequences and may result in a settlement amount that won’t even cover your medical expenses, let alone lost wages and other damages.
Do Not Discuss the Accident or Your Injuries
Whether the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence or your own, it’s best not to discuss the details with anyone. If friends or family members ask about it, let them know you can’t talk about it until your case is resolved. Insurance adjusters from your own insurance company and the at-fault driver’s company may interview your loved ones.
Be sure not to post anything about your accident or injuries on social media, too. In fact, staying off social media altogether can help protect you. Comments, photos, check-ins and updates may seem innocuous or irrelevant, but insurance company lawyers will be scouring your accounts for anything they can use to downplay your injuries and the impact the motorcycle accident has had on your life.
What if a Motorcyclist Is at Fault for an Accident?
Following the steps mentioned above can benefit you even if the accident was your fault — either way, you will still need an attorney by your side to protect your rights and guide you through the process. Motorcycle accident law firms often work with investigators, accident reconstruction experts and other professionals who help them determine the circumstances surrounding a crash.
Whether you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Houston, Dallas or another part of Texas, you’ll want to hire an attorney who understands the nuances of state traffic laws and personal injury law. Hiring a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can help you avoid problems like your insurance company dropping you if they have to pay a hefty settlement to other injured parties. Without legal representation, you may find yourself in a precarious situation that could have a significant impact on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being.
How to File a Claim after a Motorcycle Accident
Although filing an initial motorcycle accident claim may seem straightforward, things can quickly become complicated. Unfortunately, even your own insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. Before filing a claim, talk to a lawyer.
Insurance adjusters often try to paint bikers as dangerous and careless to place the blame for an accident on them. Motorcycle accident attorneys are familiar with the strategies insurers often employ to minimize or deny claims. They can assess your case and advise you on the best way to move forward.
If you’ve already filed a claim against a negligent driver or with your own insurance company and things are at a standstill, a lawyer can take over negotiations and fight to help you get the maximum compensation you need and deserve. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may recommend that you litigate your case in court. Insurance companies have vast resources when it comes to litigation, so regardless of whether you are the injured victim of someone else’s negligence or the one who is at fault, trying to litigate a claim on your own is an awfully steep uphill battle.
Types of Injuries and Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcyclists are much more likely to sustain severe injuries in an accident than those in other types of passenger vehicles. Some common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Road rash
- Head injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken or crushed bones
- Neck, spine and back injuries
- Psychological conditions such as PTSD, anxiety and depression
Some of these injuries are life-changing and may require multiple surgeries, costly hospital stays, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medication, prosthetics and ongoing lifelong care. Some injured victims suffer permanent disability and are unable to work or enjoy many of the things they used to do.
There is no set formula for determining damages in a motorcycle accident claim. That’s why it’s critical to have a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer who understands how to put an accurate value on your claim. Depending on the specific circumstances, your attorney may be able to help you recover damages such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Wrongful death
In some cases, an injured victim or family who has lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident may pursue punitive damages if an at-fault party’s actions are particularly egregious. These types of damages are not intended to compensate victims. Instead, they are meant to punish the negligent party and deter them and others from committing similar acts.
How Much Do Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Charge?
Like most personal injury lawyers, motorcycle accident attorneys work on a contingency basis. Your initial consultation is always free, and should you move forward with your case, you won’t incur any up-front costs or pay attorney fees unless a motorcycle accident law firm recovers compensation for you. For motorcycle accidents, the fee is usually about 30% of your total compensation amount, but varies from case to case.
Whether you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident in Dallas, Fort Worth or Plano, the personal injury lawyers at Leinart Law Firm are here for you. Email us or call us today at 800- 518-3328 to schedule a free case evaluation.
How to Prove You Weren’t at Fault for a Motorcycle Accident
Although bias against motorcyclists involved in accidents is real, with solid evidence and an attorney who understands how to prove fault, the truth can prevail. Your motorcycle accident lawyer may use traffic and surveillance camera footage, other motorists’ dash cam footage, eyewitness testimony, photographs, police statements and reports, expert testimony and even weather reports to prove that you were not at fault for an accident. One thing you can do to be proactive is to invest in a helmet or headlight camera. This footage can be an invaluable tool, as it shows exactly what happened from the perspective of the motorcyclist.
Should You Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
The short answer? Yes.
When you’re injured and trying to heal, dealing with insurance companies can be stressful and overwhelming. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain if you contact a motorcycle attorney to evaluate your case. An attorney can handle all filings, communications and negotiations with insurers, their lawyers and other involved parties so you and your family can focus on your recovery.
Being injured in an accident can put you in a precarious financial situation — the sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you may be able to obtain a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries and losses so you can get well and move on with your life.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Dallas, our compassionate, experienced team at Leinart Law can help. Our personal injury attorneys are dedicated to giving clients the responsive, personalized attention they deserve. Call us today at 469-232-3328 or send us an email for a free consultation.