With a smaller frame and virtually no protection from the vehicle, motorcyclists are at risk of serious injuries in the event of an accident. And motorcyclists get an unfair reputation for recklessness. Thus, some motorcyclists face unique challenges when filing a claim against a negligent driver.
Proving Fault & Liability in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Most motorcycle claims hinge on proving that another driver caused the wreck. Even in no-fault states, motorcyclists may not have to carry personal injury protection (PIP) and other no-fault coverage. Review your state’s laws regarding motorcyclist injury claims with a local lawyer.
If you file a liability claim against the other driver, you must establish that the driver was negligent and caused the accident. Common factors in motorcycle accidents include:
- Drivers who fail to see the motorcyclist while making a left turn
- Drivers who merge into a lane without checking for a motorcyclist
- Road hazards such as poorly-maintained roadways
- Reckless driving by negligent or intoxicated motorists
- Defects within the motorcycle
Challenges Motorcyclists Face When Filing Insurance Claims
Even if it seems obvious the other driver is at fault, motorcycle accident claims may present their own unique challenges and variables that make recovering damages more difficult.
The insurance company may make some tough arguments for why you should not receive the full value of your damages.
For example, the insurer may argue that your comparative negligence by not wearing a helmet contributed to your injuries or their severity. Work with your attorney to address these defenses based on your state’s helmet laws and comparative negligence rules. Note that this defense may only apply if you suffered head and neck injuries.
Motorcycle Accidents Often Cause Serious Injuries
Aside from the challenges that arise in proving fault and liability, the severity of injuries that motorcyclists sustain can present legal challenges too. Injuries might include:
- Road rash
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
Some insurers may try to settle the case early. They do so to avoid paying the full amount of compensation (short- and long-term) that the rider suffered. But the full effects and prognosis of the injury are rarely clear shortly after the accident.
Severely injured motorcyclists may require multiple surgeries in some cases, which require time off work to recover. Some injuries cause permanent impairments that prevent the rider from returning to work or reduce earning capacity. Depression and anxiety and other emotional effects are also common among those who suffer catastrophic injuries.
Injured motorcyclists should work with their doctor to get the treatment they need and estimate the physical, emotional, and financial effects and limitations of their injuries. They should also work with a local attorney who can help them get the evidence they need, build their case, and negotiate a fair settlement – or litigate the case in court if necessary.
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