Accidents happen, and nowhere is this truer than for motorcycle riders. The hard reality is that motorcycles account for a higher share of accidents than other vehicles, with a 6x higher fatality rate and 4x higher injury rate.
This makes having a motorcycle accident lawyer a must for a rider.
Why Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
As the name suggests, a motorcycle accident attorney is one who specializes in motorcycle laws, personal injury and road accident cases where a motorcycle is involved.
A lawyer that specializes in motorcycle accident cases is invaluable because:
Motorcycle laws vary by state – Each state has its own rules and restrictions for motorcycle registration, ridership, safety, and even insurance.
There is an unfair bias against bikers – Let’s face it: rider prejudice is real, and the reckless acts of a few causes good motorcyclists to be stigmatized.
Motorcycle riders have more fatal collisions with fixed objects, more deaths due to alcohol intoxication, and more accident-involved drivers with past violations than any other vehicle. All of which paints an unflattering picture of motorcycle enthusiasts for the vast majority of responsible riders.
Bikers face higher risks of graver injuries – The lack of an enclosed cockpit and safety features mean that motorcyclists are 4x more likely to be injured than those in a passenger car. Even a minor sideswipe can leave disastrous damage to both the rider and the bike.
Majority of jurors lack motorcycle understanding – In a jury trial case, chances that few members of the jury are familiar with the complexities of motorcycle riding and pertinent laws. A dedicated motorcycle accident lawyer can help educate them on the finer points and prove your case.
Motorcycle insurance can be more complex than car insurance – Insurance premiums are typically higher than the relative cost of auto insurance, yet most policies don’t cover the complete costs of long-term rehabilitation. Some only satisfy the minimum insurance limit of $20,000.
There’s also the complexities of comparative fault, uninsured or underinsured motorists, and other complications that can make it very difficult to claim compensation in the event of an accident.
When to Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
All motorcycle riders should have the number of a lawyer that specializes in motorcycle accidents, full stop. In fact, it’s recommended to have one on call regardless of your fault.
Here are all the cases where it’s best to contact a motorcycle accident attorney.
- Accidents that result in serious injuries or long-term care
The average cost of motorcycle injury treatment ranges from $6,000 to $30,000. However, severe cases such as brain and spinal injuries can cost up to $4 million. A motorcycle attorney can help ensure that you get proper compensation and all possible damages.
- The other party is at fault but refuses to pay up
The most frequent type of motorcycle accident that results in rider injury is when the other vehicle violates the motorcycle’s right of way, according to the Hurt Report. This means that most accidents that lead to injuries are usually caused by the other driver.
- You may be at fault for the accident
In cases where you may be at fault for causing the accident, a legal representative that specializes in motorcycle cases can help negotiate with the other party and mitigate damages.
- More than one party could be at fault
When there is an issue of fault or comparative fault, a motorcycle attorney can examine your role in the incident and fight on your behalf. Comparative negligence is one of the trickiest hurdles in motorcycle accidents, and states even have different apportions for such cases.
- There are problems with the insurance company
It’s in the interest of all insurance companies to avoid paying out as much as possible. Which is why insurance payouts are often a daunting task, take very long, and can be refused based on minor technicalities. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help with the paperwork and take care of the long arduous process of filing and receiving the claim.
- You are not satisfied with your claim
If you have questions about your insurance claim, it’s best to ask an expert motorcycle attorney for advice. There are times when the compensation may not be fair or needs to be adjusted, and a lawyer can help examine the extent of the damage or injuries to ensure a just payout.
- You are the victim of a hit and run incident
In cases where the party at fault cannot be identified, they can be deemed as an uninsured motorist and you may be seek compensation from your insurance policy if you have uninsured motorist coverage. A lawyer can help gather evidence and liaise with the insurance company on your behalf while you recover.
- Accidents due to faulty equipment
Less than 3% of motorcycle accidents are caused by equipment failure. However, such cases are often difficult to prove when going against established brands or large corporations. There are also cases where the accident may be caused or exacerbated by improper repairs, faulty maintenance, or defects in bike parts or rider gear. If you suspect that one of these may have played a part in the accident, consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
- A rideshare vehicle was involved
Claiming compensation in a rideshare collision can be a long and painful process. As if dealing with the other driver and the insurance company wasn’t enough, transport network companies add another layer of headache to the ordeal.
TNC operators can deny responsibility based on a number of reasons, such as if the driver was on the clock during the incident or they have a drive-for-hire endorsement (which is optional). Even when they do pay out, they go to great lengths to minimize liability, delay the process or limit claims. Accidents are also judged in phases, with most ridesharing companies only providing phase 2 and 3 insurance. A motorcycle lawyer can navigate the legal complexities and ensure you get just compensation.
- The accident resulted in fatalities or wrongful death
A human death is always a tragedy, especially when it’s caused by someone else’s negligence. In such cases, the next kin may file a claim for wrongful death.
However, there are many legal intricacies involved, such as who may file the claim, the award distribution and prioritization, and the type of damages that may be claimed. A motorcycle accident lawyer can take care of the process so the loved ones can focus on healing and moving on.