Undoubtedly, motorcycles are an economical and fast way to travel on open roads or in a busy city. However, riding a motorcycle can be more dangerous than driving a car for many reasons. For instance, a motorbike lacks a protective enclosure and other safety features that a car has, like seat belts and airbags.
For that reason, when a crash or traffic accident occurs, a motorcycle rider is more likely to suffer severe and catastrophic injuries than the occupants or the driver of the involved vehicle. Fortunately, even if you are a motorcycle rider, you have similar rights as any other motorist, meaning you could qualify to receive compensation for your losses in a personal injury lawsuit.
However, winning the maximum compensation in a motorcycle accident lawsuit or claim does not happen by chance. Due to the legal complexities involved in personal injury claims, you could want to work with an attorney to protect your best interests and increase your chances of obtaining satisfactory damages for your losses.
If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident in Las Vegas and were not at fault, skilled and understanding attorneys at Dallas Horton & Associates are here for you. We know the inherent dangers motorcyclists face on our roads daily and will help you hold the at-fault party accountable for all your losses resulting from the accident.
Motorcycle Accidents Statistics and Common Causes
Sadly the number of motorcycle accidents is still growing at an alarming rate despite strict measures by law enforcement officers to curb these types of cases. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 19 percent of all fatal traffic accidents in the recent four-year span (2015 to 2019) involved motorcyclists.
Sadly, about 306 innocent people lost their lives in those accidents. Nationwide, motorcycle accident statistics are also serious and alarming. According to data from the NHTSA, over 5,014 people lost their lives in fatal motorcycle crashes, and another 84,000 people sustained severe injuries in 2020.
From this data, motorcyclists were also 28 times more likely to die in a traffic collision than passengers in a car per vehicle mile traveled. For these reasons, it makes sense to educate yourself on the possible causes of motorcycle accidents to avoid being another number on these statistics. Listed below are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Driving under the influence
- Illegal left turns
- Unsafe lane changes
- Dangerous road conditions
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Violating traffic laws
- Aggressive driving (road rage)
While these are the most common causes of most motorcycle accidents, they are not the only possible cause of these collisions. Your motorcycle accident could also be due to other factors like a defective part in your motorcycle or the vehicle of the involved party.
That is why it is critical to work with an attorney in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident for a comprehensive case review to determine the exact cause of your collision and the at-fault party in the incident.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help in the Aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be confusing, even if you have had a similar claim in the past and attained the deserved damages. Since every claim is unique and the other party will not bow to your demands without a fight, it is wise to work with an attorney to help you seek justice in your case.
Here is what your attorney can do to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome on your injury claim as you take your time to recuperate from the injuries resulting from the accident:
- Conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into your case
- Gather and obtain all the relevant evidence that can work in your favor for the utmost compensatory damages, including eyewitness statements, medical records, video footage, and eyewitness statements
- Work with accident reconstruction experts to help recreate the accident and provide details of what could likely have led to the collision
- Determine the total compensation you should expect on your claim
- Draft a demand letter and attend settlement negotiations with the at-fault party insurer or any other party who could be liable for the accident
- Escalate your motorcycle accident claim in court if the settlement offer is unfair or inadequate
- Offer relevant legal advice and explain each step of the claim process to you in a manner you can understand best
Generally, you cannot overlook the benefits of working with an attorney in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident if you want to stand a chance of obtaining your deserved compensation. In addition to the above services, there is a lot more your motorcycle accident attorney can do to stand a chance of securing deserved compensation on your claim.
Examples of Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
As previously mentioned, a motorcycle accident can cause severe and devastating injuries, especially for motorcyclists. However, the severity of these injuries will depend on the unique factors that led to your collision. Listed below are the most common injuries a motorcyclist is likely to sustain in a traffic accident:
- Broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Severe burns, especially when an explosion occurs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Organ damage
- Permanent disfigurement
- Soft tissue injuries
- Brain injuries
Some of these injuries could require significant and costly medical treatment that can last for many years or even a lifetime. For example, a spinal cord injury could require lifetime medical needs and attention because it can leave you partially or fully paralyzed, affecting your ability to carry out even simple tasks like feeding yourself.
Even if you do not have medical insurance, it is a wise idea to seek the services of a medical expert immediately after a motorcycle accident to help you mitigate and treat your injuries. That is true even if you feel well after the accident because some internal injuries could be asymptomatic, meaning they do not reveal symptoms.
What to Remember After a Motorcycle Accident
What you do immediately after a motorcycle accident can significantly impact your claim once the dust settles, even if you are confident the other party was at-fault in the incident. In the legal justice system, what matters is whether or not you have adequate evidence to prove the other party is liable for the motorcycle accident that led to your injuries and damages.
Hence, every action you take immediately after a motorcycle accident should be well-thought to protect your best interests and stay on the safest side of the law. Discussed below are some of the most important helpful tips to remember after a motorcycle accident:
You will need police intervention after a motorcycle accident. Calling 911 allows you to summon the police and the paramedics to come to the accident scene immediately. Once the officers arrive at the accident scene, they will conduct their investigation and create a report of the collision.
On the other hand, the paramedics will offer you and other injured individuals the necessary immediate medical help before seeking further assistance from your trusted doctor. Ensure you obtain a copy of the accident scene report from the police since you will need information in it to prove liability in your case.
Document the Accident Scene
While the police report consists of the most crucial evidence you will need for your claim, you can also document the accident scene because the officer can leave out some information critical to your case. Using your phone, you can document the accident scene by taking photos of the following:
- Your injuries
- Vehicles involved
- Current weather and road condition
- Traffic signs
- The condition of your motorcycle
Obtain Eyewitness Statement
Eyewitnesses could be any person at the accident scene, regardless of whether they were involved in the crash. Eyewitness testimony can increase your chances of convincing the court that you deserve the maximum compensatory damages for your losses.
You do not have to request an eyewitness statement or testimony immediately, but you can obtain his/her name and contact information.
Obtain Relevant Information from the Involved Driver(s)
After a motorcycle accident, it is also important to obtain relevant information about the involved driver, including his/her:
- Legal names
- Driver's license number
- Phone number
- Vehicle registration details
The above information will come in handy when dealing with your insurance provider to obtain satisfactory compensatory damages for your losses.
Seek Medical Attention
As previously mentioned, your health should be a priority after a motorcycle accident, even if you feel "okay." In addition to helping you regain your health, your doctor will also help you document the severity of your injury and even testify in court if necessary to increase the odds of obtaining maximum damages for your losses.
Remember to keep a journal of all your medical treatment costs from the first day of the accident to help you prove the amount you deserve as damages for medical expenses.
Keep Your Accident Case Off Social Media
While social media helps us share our experiences with friends and the world, posting your motorcycle accident case on the internet can impact the outcome of your case negatively. Even if a social media post is not directly related to your injuries, the other party's attorney could use it against you, lowering your chances of obtaining adequate compensation for your losses.
Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Hiring an attorney to handle your motorcycle accident claim will give you one less issue to worry about as you recuperate from the injuries sustained in the collision. Your attorney will deal with insurance adjusters on your behalf and represent your best interests during the settlement negotiation or trial for the best possible outcome.
Potential Liable Parties in a Motorcycle Accident
Several people have a stereotypical perception that motorcyclists are reckless and less responsible motorists, which is untrue. After a careful and in-depth investigation into your case, your attorney will know who to hold accountable for your losses and injuries resulting from the motorcycle accident. Below are potential liability areas in a motorcycle accident case:
- Property owners
- The driver of the other car
- The manufacturer of your motorcycle
- The county or city
- Manufacturer of your motorcycle helmet
- Any mechanic who worked on your motorcycle
- At-fault's party parents or guardians if the motorist was a minor (under 18)
- Employers of negligent parties
Even if two or more parties mentioned above were at fault, your attorney could seek compensation from everyone to obtain fair compensation for your losses.
How to Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Generally speaking, negligence is the key legal concept that forms the basis of most personal injury lawsuits, including motorcycle accident claims. In a negligence case, you must provide adequate evidence to prove the connection between your injuries and the defendant's actions or conduct.
For you to win a motorcycle accident lawsuit based on the negligence of the other party, you must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
Duty of Care
Also known as the standard of care, the duty of care is one key element in a negligence claim. Your attorney must prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, meaning he/she had a responsibility to behave in a particular manner to avoid causing the accident.
Breach of Duty
To prove that the defendant was negligent, your attorney must further prove that the person failed to observe his/her legal duty of care obligation. In other words, he/she breached his/her duty of care towards you, leading to the accident.
For instance, if the cause of the accident were unsafe lane changes, drunk driving, or speeding, it would be reasonable to argue the defendant breached his/her duty of care toward you for the best possible outcome.
Since it is also possible for a person to breach his/her duty of care and not necessarily cause an accident, the court will require you to prove that the defendant's actions were the proximate or actual cause of the accident. That means you would not have sustained the injuries if not for the defendant's actions.
In a negligence claim, it is not enough to argue that the defendant failed to exercise his/her reasonable duty of care, leading to the motorcycle accident. Your attorney must also prove that the defendant's failure to exercise a legal duty of care led to your injuries and damages.
Forms of Compensatory Damages You Can Recover on Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have sustained injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by another person, you will receive compensation for all your losses when you win your claim against the at-fault party. Discussed below are two forms of compensatory damages you could obtain on your motorcycle accident claim:
In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, economic damages are available for all the monetary losses incurred since the date of the accident and one you are likely to incur in the future, including:
- Lost wages
- Current and possible future medical expenses
- Motorcycle repair costs
- Physical rehabilitation costs
- Lost earning capacity
The court could also award you non-economic damages in a successful motorcycle accident lawsuit. Unlike economic damages, non-economic or non-monetary damages cover losses that you cannot attach monetary value due to their subjective nature, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lessened quality of life
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of consortium
In addition to the above main compensatory damages, the court could also award you punitive damages if your motorcycle accident claim is successful. According to the Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 42.005, you could qualify for punitive damages in a personal injury claim if the defendant's actions or conduct were egregious or gross.
However, unlike compensatory damages explained above, punitive damages are not based on your losses resulting from the accident. Instead, punitive or exemplary damages are available for the following reasons:
- To punish the defendant for his/her gross or malice behavior
- To act as an example to discourage other people from behaving in a similar manner
What the Court Will Consider When Calculating Your Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
The amount you can recover in a motorcycle accident claim varies from case to case. When determining how much your motorcycle accident claim is worth, the court will consider several factors, including:
- The type of injuries you have and their severity
- Your age when you sustained the injury
- Whether you can return to your job or other business that earns you income
- The steps you did take to mitigate your injuries
- The impact the accident has on you psychologically
Generally, the more severe your case is, the higher the potential compensation you can obtain in your accident claim. However, every motorcycle accident case is unique in many ways. Even a minor trauma could end up being costly down the road.
Hence, it is wise to speak with a reliable attorney as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident to help you calculate your case's worth and help you pursue the deserved compensation from the at-fault party.
How Comparative Negligence Law Will Impact the Worth of Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
After a motorcycle accident, you should never assume you are to blame for the incident without speaking to an attorney. Even if you believe you were partially liable for the accident, you could still receive damages under comparative negligence law.
This statute allows eligible plaintiffs or claimants to receive damages based on their degree of negligence or fault in the accident that led to their injuries. For instance, if the court decides that you were 20% liable for causing the accident, the potential damages you will receive in your claim will be reduced by 20%.
However, there is a cap in this law that limits your ability to receive damages if you were 51% or more liable for causing your injuries. If this law applies to your case, a reliable attorney can raise mitigating arguments to show the court your percentage or degree of fault was small for maximum compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Motorcycle Accident Compensation Claims
It is common for people to ask questions about motorcycle accident claims and lawsuits because these cases are typically complex. Below are some of the most common FAQs about motorcycle accident claims and their answers:
I. If My Loved One Dies in a Motorcycle Accident, Can I Still Sue for Damages?
Yes, you could be eligible for compensatory damages under wrongful death laws if a loved one dies in a fatal motorcycle accident caused by another person's negligence or recklessness. If your wrongful death claim is successful, you could receive compensation for the following types of losses:
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of financial support, especially if he/she was the family's breadwinner
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses accumulated before his/her demise
II. How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Like any other personal injury case, there is a statute of limitations or deadline for filing your motorcycle accident claim. From the date of your motorcycle accident, you will have up to two (2) years to file your lawsuit against the at-fault party. Two years can seem like a significant period to prepare and file your claim, but it can pass faster than you think.
Hence, filing your claim as soon as possible is a wise idea to ensure your chance to obtain deserved compensation from the at-fault party is still valid.
III. Will I Have to Attend a Court Hearing for My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
No, unless the court requires your presence during your case's trial, your attorney can attend the hearing on your behalf to fight for fair and satisfactory compensation for your losses and injuries resulting from the accident.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
After a motorcycle accident or collision, do not risk taking the minimum compensation the at-fault party or his/her insurer will offer you. At Dallas Horton & Associates, we understand the ins and outs of the legal justice system, and we will help you seek the maximum compensatory damages you deserve for your injuries and losses resulting from the accident.
Call us at 702-380-3100 and let our attorneys handle your case as you heal and recover from the injuries you sustained wherever you are in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our seasoned and dedicated personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impacts of a motorcycle accident and will fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome on your claim.