Motorcycle riding offers freedom and fun, but accidents can have devastating effects. Most riders take motorcycle safety seriously, but drivers of passenger cars often overlook motorcycles on highways and roads primarily due to distracted driving and speeding.
Motorcycle riders have a much higher risk of sustaining severe injuries due to the lack of external protection and smaller-sized vehicle. In the first half of 2022, 20 motorcyclists died in Illinois in fatal crashes. When someone else causes your accident, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, hiring experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Nessler & Associates ensures your rights are protected, and you can seek the settlement you deserve.
What You Should Do After a Motorcycle Crash
When you get into an accident with another motorist, ensure your safety first. If you can move, get out of the dangerous area to prevent further injury. Actions to take after an accident:
Check for injuries and seek care
If possible, assess yourself for injuries, and check on other people involved. If you notice any injuries, immediately dial 9-1-1 for emergency medical treatment. Minor injuries can mask more serious problems. This applies specifically to head injuries which can result in life-long consequences or be fatal without prompt treatment.
Exchange personal and insurance information
Gather personal information from the other parties and witnesses, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and license numbers. You also need to get the insurance company name, policyholder name, policy number, and license plate numbers of all involved vehicles.
If you are injured in a hit-and-run, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can request other evidence to try and find the driver, like security camera footage from nearby businesses.
Call the police
Call the police. This step is critical for accidents resulting in injury or death. Police officers take photographs, write an accident report, and keep records your lawyer can refer to in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Note your surroundings
Pay attention to the time of day, road conditions, injuries, and the state of vehicles involved. Snap some pictures on your phone and note any details you notice. Even seemingly minor pieces of information can become evidence.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer
Motorcycle drivers face bias from police, insurance companies, and juries. The common misperception is that motorcycle riders are reckless and cause accidents. This bias can show up in a police report, which the insurance company and jury see. In 2017, 2,514 motorcyclists were injured, and 160 were killed in deadly motorcycle crashes.
As a motorcycle accident victim, you should contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Personal injury attorneys have extensive experience calculating fair settlement amounts and maximizing compensation.
They review your case details, including medical expenses, bills for ongoing medical care like physical therapy, property damage, and loss of income. They can also help you receive financial compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering and seek punitive damages.
Your legal team conducts a thorough accident investigation and gathers evidence to get you the maximum compensation in a motorcycle accident claim against the at-fault party.
Some things your lawyer will do:
- Interview witnesses
- Collect police reports and medical records
- Get accident scene photographs
- Accident reconstruction
- Obtain security camera footage
- Investigate the driving history of the negligent party
- Consult experts
- Gather evidence in the case of product failure
- Negotiate with the insurance company to get you fair compensation
Call your insurance company
To seek recoverable damages, you must alert your insurance company of the accident. They will likely ask for a statement, so consulting a law firm ahead of time prevents you from saying anything they may use to reduce your settlement offer.
How you talk about your accident immediately afterward can impact the outcome of your case. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process or communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claims
Understanding your rights after a motorcycle accident can be confusing without legal guidance. The most important factor your legal team will determine is whether you are eligible for financial compensation. In Illinois, at-fault drivers who are more than 50% responsible for an accident can’t receive a settlement award.
To prove fault in a motorcycle collision, you must show your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, such as another driver or poor road conditions.
Hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer increases the likelihood of a successful outcome for your claim. Some activities that make drivers responsible for an accident:
- Texting and driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Failure to obey traffic signals or signs
- Poorly maintained vehicle
- Distracted driving
You might be able to seek compensation if you were partially at fault. Illinois uses a modified comparative negligence law. This doctrine makes you eligible for compensation if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident that caused your injuries. However, the court reduces your award amount by your percentage of fault under 50%.
For example, if the court finds you 10% at fault and awards you $10,000 in damages, you receive $9,000.
Types of damages you may ask for and be awarded:
- Reimbursement for emergency medical care
- Property damages to your motorcycle
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Expected medical expenses
Motorcycle lawyers have a network of expert witnesses who can work to prove your case to insurance companies, judges, and juries. They can help these entities understand why you are entitled to the damages your legal team asks for and why you deserve a settlement.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle rider has more to worry about when riding than other motorists. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include other drivers not noticing you, inattentive drivers rear-ending the bike in stop-and-go traffic, or getting stuck in another vehicle’s blind spot.
Drivers focused on anything other than the road pose a significant risk for motorcycle riders. Texting, eating, talking on the phone, changing radio stations, and applying makeup have all been documented in distracted driving cases.
Drivers who use alcohol or drugs have slower response times in case of emergency and are more likely than sober drivers to hit a motorcycle or force one off the road.
Poor vehicle maintenance
Poorly maintained tires, bearings, brakes, windshield wipers, and power steering pumps can lead to accidents.
Excess speed, weaving through traffic and tailgating lower a driver’s ability to adjust to changing conditions and may affect their ability to see a motorcycle until it’s too late to avoid a collision. Traffic laws are designed for driver safety, and disobeying them constitutes negligence.
These common causes of motorcycle crashes often lead to serious or catastrophic injuries.
Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident injuries range from mild cases of road rash to permanent spinal cord injuries or death. Some injuries resulting from a motorcycle collision can be prevented by wearing protective gear like a motorcycle helmet, but not all of them.
Injuries that may entitle you to a large settlement include permanent, life-altering injuries, including:
Traumatic brain injury
Milder injuries may be treatable, but severe injuries often result in permanent changes to cognitive ability and personality. In many cases, the injury victim cannot work at their previous job due to cognitive impairment, inability to concentrate, or emotional instability.
Spinal cord injuries
Any spinal cord injury is serious. Complete injuries cause paralysis, while incomplete injuries cause weakness, reduced sensation, and less control of limbs.
Fractures may be mild cracks or shattered bones. Doctors repair simple fractures with a splint or cast, and the fractures heal within four to six weeks. More complex breaks require surgery to realign the bone and install hardware to keep the bone immobile. Some shattered bones or joints require amputation.
Soft tissue injury
The muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the limbs can stretch or tear during an accident. Impact on the body can cause internal organ damage. Surgeons fix complete tears of soft tissue with surgery, while partial tears and stretches can be monitored in a splint. Doctors closely monitor minor organ damage with lab tests and scans, but more severe injuries require surgical repair or removal.
Burns and road rash
Burn and road rash injuries range from damaging the outer layer of skin to going through the skin and damaging the tissue beneath. These injuries increase your risk of infection and require careful monitoring. Burns and road rash can cause intense pain for an extended period.
A personal injury lawyer with Nessler & Associates will get you compensated for the medical costs associated with a severe or catastrophic injury. As part of your motorcycle accident lawsuit, your attorney will seek to hold the at-fault driver responsible for their reckless behavior.
Work With a Law Firm You Can Trust
Nessler & Associates knows what it takes to win a motorcycle accident lawsuit. We have a track record of getting the injured party’s claim for compensation paid. We have a high success rate in handling negotiations with insurance companies and will hold the negligent party that caused your crash accountable.
Call Nessler & Associates at 800-727-8010 for your free consultation. Take advantage of our winning track record to get compensation for the damages you deserve. We have over 35 years of experience handling personal injury cases and wrongful death claims.