A motorcycle accident is different from car crashes
Many people think that a car accident and a motorcycle accident are handled the same way. Though the road rules and laws are the same, the jury and the insurance companies treat them differently:
- Motorists are frequently stereotyped as daredevils or people who weave through traffic negligently. So when they go to court there is already a negative image about them.
- Jurors who are unaware of how to ride a bike will not know the basics of riding it and will identify more with the other person(driver of a car) than the motorist making a claim.
- Injuries from motorcycle accidents are usually severe and may have suffered serious fractures or other life-threatening injuries so claiming the money as compensation is more complicated than car crashes.
First Understand What Needs to be Done if you meet with an accident:
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident do the following before calling your lawyer.
- Contact the police: Call 911 or the police so that they can file a report. Keep a copy of it as this is required by the insurance company as well as the court if you file a lawsuit.
- Seek medical treatment: Even if the injuries you have sustained are minor take medical treatment as you could have had internal injuries. Also getting evaluated will help document your injuries which can be helpful in litigation.
- Do not admit anything: Even if you are the offender it is better not to admit anything. Remain neutral and do not admit your fault as it can affect your case.
- Document what happened: Take pictures of the scene, motorcycle, and the landmarks
- Make a note of the driver information including insurance details
- If there were witnesses present note their contact information and names.
- Report the incident to the insurance company: As soon as possible report the incident to the insurer. Be truthful as the insurance company may reject your claim if they are misled, but do not to admit guilt. Be ready with all the information as they will ask for it to start the claims process.
- Talk to an attorney: The accident may have been caused by you or the other driver, it is recommended that you consult an attorney in either case as that will give you a clear picture of how to proceed. There are many rules, as a common man, you may not be aware that Justin Kimball of Preszler Law (https://www.preszlerlaw-ns.com/) says that surprisingly, a driver who was impaired by alcohol is not always liable for civil damages related to a car accident. Make use of the free consultations that are offered by personal injury attorneys to understand better about minor and serious injury claims.
- Do not talk to the other driver’s representatives: The other driver’s insurance company representatives may contact you and ask questions especially. Do not talk to them till you have discussed it with your attorney.
Types of motorcycle accident claims
If you decide to make a claim it is important to know the claim types. They are:
- Property damage: Claim for damage caused to the motorcycle. In case it was a 2-vehicle collision and the other party was at fault the other driver’s insurance company may pay compensation. If there were no other drivers involved you will have to claim from your insurance company. Insurance will always try to repair damage first, but if it is a total loss, then you may be able to get a used bike or even a current model like 2022 Harley Davidson motorcycles paid by the insurance company.
- Personal injury: If you have suffered bodily injuries in the accident and the other driver is at fault then you can claim damages by proving it.
Filing a Motorcycle accident claim in case of injury
No-fault claim: If you are not the cause of the motorcycle accident, you will still have to file a claim with your insurance company irrespective of whose fault it was before filing a lawsuit. If you are filing a lawsuit against the other driver you will file a No-Fault Claim or the Personal Injury Protection and should prove that the injury you suffered was serious and resulted in medical bills and treatment of more than $2000. Based on the injuries suffered you can further claim for loss of wages and other punitive damages.
One thing to remember is that there is a limited period after the accident within which a lawsuit has to be filed, failing to do so you will lose your right to compensation. The deadline is dependent on the state the accident took place. Apart from that the insurance policy also has a deadline for filing a claim for comprehensive coverage.
What you can claim as damages
If you know what damages you can claim in your compensation then it becomes easy to get more money from the lawsuit. The compensation can be in two forms:
- Through lawsuit
- Through insurance claim negotiation
The financial and personal damages that the accident victims suffer are called as compensatory damages and there are 2 categories in them
- Special: These are damages related to economic losses due to serious injury. To get compensated for this one needs to gather receipts, bills and such for the actual costs incurred. That will be added to medical costs, loss of wages, out of pocket expenses and personal property damages if any.
- General damages: These are mainly non-economic damages and include emotional stress, pain, and suffering, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment.
- Punitive damages: A jury may punish the guilty party for malicious behavior and award punitive damages. But for this to happen it is essential to hire an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney who can prove this.
Filing a lawsuit or even making an insurance claim is a complicated process especially if the rider is seriously injured. It is best to protect yourself by seeking the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. They can help you get the just compensation for your losses and help seek justice from reckless driving.