Navigate the complexities of motorcycle accident claims. Learn the process and secure rightful compensation with our guide.
Riding a motorcycle is an exhilarating experience, but it can also be dangerous. Motorcycle riders account for 14% of crash-related fatalities in the country, though they are only 3.5% of all vehicles on the road. About 82,528 motorcycle riders sustained injuries in 2020, according to data collected by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
If you’re in a motorcycle accident, it can be devastating. You face physical injuries, emotional trauma, and mounting financial hardship. The aftermath of an accident is always overwhelming, and it would help if you understood your rights and options for seeking compensation. In this article, we will help you navigate the complexities of motorcycle accident claims and guide you through recovering the damages you deserve.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Since motorcycles are smaller and lighter than other vehicles, the risk of getting injured or killed is much higher. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents on the road:
Motorcycle Rider Error
As the rider, your main priority should always be safety while on the road. Rider errors are among the most common causes of accidents. These include speeding, improper braking and lane changes, and swerving. Like in four-wheel vehicles, speeding and improper braking are significant risks, but more so with motorcycles since drivers can lose control of the bike. When changing lanes, it is essential to do so with proper signals. You must always check your blind spots to avoid collisions.
Lack of experience and riding under the influence are also common causes of road accidents involving motorcycles. Alcohol and drug use impair your coordination and judgment, which makes it extremely dangerous to ride. On the other hand, if you’re not an experienced rider, you might be unfamiliar with safe driving practices or panic and lose control of the bike due to a lack of confidence.
Even if the rider is experienced, you can get into an accident due to motorcycle defects. These include malfunctioning brakes, faulty tires, and other mechanical issues.
Road Hazards and Environmental Factors
Sometimes, outside factors like poor road conditions and bad weather can cause accidents to happen. Potholes, debris, and uneven pavement are hazardous to motorcycle riders. Likewise, bad weather, snow, and fog can significantly reduce visibility, which is dangerous for riding on open roads.
Other Driver’s Error
The negligence of other drivers is another common cause of motorcycle accidents. When drivers are reckless, inattentive, or impaired, other road users face significant risks. Sometimes, drivers tailgate and give riders little room to maneuver or fail to yield to riders, which can cause significant accidents.
Types of Damages Recoverable in Motorcycle Accidents
Like other personal injuries, the law surrounding motorcycle accident claims is intricate. You must familiarize yourself with various things, such as the statute of limitations in your area, potential grounds for claims, and the damages you are entitled to. Understanding the compensatory damages you can claim is essential for building a solid case.
One of the most common damages you can seek in a motorcycle accident is the cost of all your medical expenses. This should include all costs associated with the injuries you sustained in the accident, from ambulance rides to rehabilitation. Make sure to keep all your medical records and receipts for documentation.
In most cases, you won’t be able to work after a motorcycle accident. When that happens, you are entitled to lost wages and benefits compensation. Potential future earnings losses are also covered under this claim. Make sure to gather paystubs and proof of employment to help you substantiate your claim.
Pain and Suffering
Aside from monetary damages, you can also file a claim for non-economic damages. This is where your physical and emotional pain can be compensated. Factors like chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and diminished quality of life are considered.
This one covers replacing or repairing your damaged motorcycle and gear. Since these are your personal belongings, the at-fault party’s insurance will cover them. Make sure to take photos and get repair estimates as evidence.
Seeking Compensation for Motorcycle Accident Claims
Seeking compensation for a motorcycle accident claim can be complex and challenging. Still, with the proper knowledge, support, and guidance, you can navigate the road to recovery and get back on your feet.
The first step is determining fault and liability. You need to establish who is responsible for the accident. This step usually involves investigations by insurance companies, traffic police, and legal professionals. The process also involves checking for negligence, product defects, and road conditions.
Next is filing the claim. This is a complex process that may entail the assistance of a lawyer. But first, make sure you gather all the evidence that can support your case—from police reports, witness statements, photos, videos of the accidents, and medical records. If you have a lawyer, the next step is to file a claim with the insurance company and try to negotiate and discuss a settlement. Beware of insurance companies trying to minimize payouts. Prepare your counterarguments and stick to them. If both parties can’t agree on a settlement, the case will go to trial.
To maximize your compensation, remember to cooperate with the police and don’t apologize or admit fault. Also, speak to your lawyer before giving a recorded statement to the insurance company. After the accident, make sure to seek immediate medical attention and keep a record of all your expenses.
Dealing With Motorcycle Accident Claims Need Not Be Complicated
The devastating impact of the accident will significantly help you and your family file a claim seamlessly. When you understand all your legal rights and options, seeking damages won’t burden you more. Follow the tips above and seek guidance from an experienced attorney to increase your chances of successfully filing a claim and getting a fair settlement. Remember that various resources are available to help you get back on your feet.