How to Find the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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In the movies, when motorcycle riders crash, they usually get right back up, apparently uninjured. Real life motorcycle wrecks are much different. Once riders go down, they rarely get back up, at least not all the way. The best motorcycle accident lawyer understands that. So, the permanent injury angle is a good starting point in your quest for the best motorcycle accident lawyer.

A good feeling about your lawyer isn’t enough. There’s hard data to consider as well. Over the last decade, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes has increased 20 percent. Basically, this number means that there are more riders on the road, and most tortfeasors (negligent drivers) ignore them. This combination means more compensation is available in these situations. Your attorney must have the tools to claim it.

What Is a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

A motorcycle accident lawyer is a type of personal injury lawyer who specializes in representing injured motorcyclists.  Personal injury lawyers can help those who have been injured in an accident seek financial recovery for damages such as medical treatment, prescription medications, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, vehicle damage, and pain and suffering.

In the United States, personal injury lawyers practice under tort law, which governs civil wrongs like negligence and helps victims seek compensation for their losses. Negligence occurs when someone breaches their legal duty to act in a way that does not harm others. When a motorcyclist is injured due to someone else’s negligence, the victim can seek compensation under tort law.

A motorcycle accident lawyer specializes in helping victims win compensation after motorcycle accidents. They can investigate the accident, gather evidence, consult with medical experts, and negotiate with insurance companies to ensure that their clients receive the compensation they deserve.

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?

Lawyers who work with motorcycle wreck survivors understand the emotional trauma these victims endured. It’s hard for anyone else to imagine the horror of a large motor vehicle bearing down on you, and all you can do is brace yourself.

Advocacy skills, negotiating ability, and legal advice are the three biggest contributions a motorcycle accident lawyer makes through the injury claims process.

Insurance company lawyers don’t sit on their hands. As soon as a motorcycle accident lawyer files legal paperwork, insurance company lawyers usually file procedural motions. If the judge grants these motions, the judge could throw the claim out of court, denying the victim any chance to obtain compensation and justice.

A procedural motion hearing is like a midterm exam. If students do their homework, focus on the matter at hand, and have good test-taking skills, they usually do well on their midterms. Likewise, if attorneys collect evidence, carefully plan their arguments, and properly present these arguments, pretrial motions by the insurance company almost always fail.

Most classes end with a final exam, but most court cases end before the final exam. Almost all injury claims settle out of court, which means that an attorney must also be a good negotiator. During settlement talks, motorcycle accident lawyers know when to dig in their heels and when to compromise. So, the victim doesn’t have to settle for less, and that settlement isn’t unduly delayed.

Legal advice comes into play throughout the process. At the beginning, lawyers tell victims what to expect next, so they can make better choices. During settlement negotiations, lawyers weigh in on whether the victim should accept a settlement offer or wait for something better.

Finding the Best Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Normally, I don’t recommend basing a search for a lawyer strictly on Google reviews or other online reviews. Online, anyone can say anything, or almost anything, about anyone else. Motorcycle wrecks are an exception. Only lawyers who work with these victims truly know the physical and emotional trauma these victims endure.  Focus your online search to motorcycle accident lawyers.

Tips for finding a motorcycle accident lawyer

Do Your Homework.  To find the best motorcycle accident lawyer, start by finding a lawyer who works with other survivors and with whom you have a connection. However, as the old saying goes, nice guys finish last. Your attorney must also have the proper skill set, in terms of:

Experience:

You learn a lot of things in law school. You learn even more in the school of hard knocks. Before you entrust your case to an attorney, the attorney needs to know what methods work, and maybe more importantly, what methods don’t work.

Successful Track Record:

Generally, lawyers trumpet their past successes on their websites and other advertisements. No announcements usually means no successes. Lawyers are many things, but modest isn’t one of them.

Accessibility:

As mentioned, motorcycle wreck injuries are physically and emotionally crippling, especially on bad days. So, an attorney must be physically accessible. Zoom meetings and email exchanges are better than nothing, but they cannot substitute for personal consultations.

Remember the clock is ticking as you look for an attorney. Injury victims have a limited amount of time to act.

How Much is a Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?

Motorcycle accidents often cause extensive personal injury and property damage. Victims face medical bills and the costs of repairing their property. It may be difficult to determine what distinguishes a good settlement for a motorcycle accident from a bad settlement for a motorcycle accident. A skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will provide you with information regarding what constitutes a good settlement for a motorcycle accident.

What Damages Can I Recover for Motorcycle Crash?

A settlement amount usually depends on the compensatory damages, the legal issues in the case, and the parties’ motivation to settle.

Out-of-pocket damages, or economic damages, usually include medical bills, property damage, and lost income. In a catastrophic (life-threatening) injury claim, these damages could easily exceed $100,000. Noneconomic damages, like emotional distress, are harder to determine. You cannot put a price tag on something like feeling well enough to go to a graduation party. So, most motorcycle accident lawyers multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, usually depending on the other two settlement factors.

As for legal issues, one of the most common insurance company defenses is comparative fault, or joint fault. All states require jurors to divide responsibility on a percentage basis, based on the evidence. Victims in most states are eligible for a proportional share of damage if they were less than 50 percent responsible for the wreck.

If the insurance company has a solid defense, the claim’s settlement value decreases, since the insurance company has a better chance of winning at trial. Fortunately for victims, two of the three common motorcycle accident causes mentioned rarely involve comparative fault.

The motivated seller issue comes into play as well. You can get a better deal on a car if the dealer is declaring bankruptcy and needs to dump inventory. Likewise, some insurance companies want to settle claims as quickly as possible, mostly for cost reasons.

Supporting Your Motorcycle Accident Claim

Suffering injuries during a motorcycle accident can be terrifying. After healing from your injuries, you need to make sure that you have the necessary record to support your claim. Filing a claim with the responsible driver’s automobile insurance company for your personal injuries will require that you provide evidence regarding the claim.

Medical records, traffic collision reports, and motorcycle repair costs will often be the most important documents supporting your claim. Insurance claims adjusters will analyze these documents. The settlement negotiation process may begin based on the data contained in these documents.

What May Affect a Motorcycle Settlement Amount?

The adverse driver’s automobile insurance policy limits, the total amount of your damages, and how negligent the responsible driver was can affect the total settlement amount in a motorcycle accident case.

If you were contributorily negligent during the accident you may receive a lower settlement amount. Some jurisdictions follow different rules regarding comparative negligence and contributory negligence. Retaining an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine how your actions during the motorcycle accident may affect your settlement amount.

The Total Amount of Damages

Medical bills, property damage, and lost earnings can affect the total amount of damages you claim in your motorcycle accident case. If you had to stay at home from work while recovering from your injuries, you can claim lost wages. Also, you may claim lost future earnings if you can no longer perform your job due to the injuries you suffered during the motorcycle accident.

The pain and suffering you endured as a result of the motorcycle accident can also be claimed as damages. These are termed non-economic damages, and speaking with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand more about the differences between economic damages and non-economic damages.

What Is The Average Payout For A Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle Accident Settlements

No average settlement amount exists for all motorcycle accidents in the United States. Every motorcycle accident features unique elements that may affect the final settlement amount. The applicable automobile insurance policy, the nature of the victim’s injuries, and the limits on damages in the jurisdiction will influence the settlement amount.

For one case a good settlement for a motorcycle accident case may be $300,000. Other cases involving large commercial vehicles may feature higher settlement amounts. Every motorcycle accident case will contain distinctive elements that must be assessed and analyzed before determining a reasonable settlement amount.

You may have already suffered from other injuries, such as a herniated disc, prior to your motorcycle accident. If this is so, you may receive a higher settlement amount based on the degree to which the motorcycle accident exacerbated your pre-existing injuries.

What Should I Do After A Motorcycle Accident?

Even people who make careful plans usually don’t know what to do after a motorcycle accident. These wrecks usually cause brain injuries. Symptoms of this injury include poor judgment and lack of insight. Therefore, many motorcycle crash victims aren’t able to give emergency responders their side of the story. They also often refuse medical treatment at the scene.

These two things could have drastic consequences for these victims. The police report is often the most important bit of evidence in a crash claim. If the report is one-sided, this evidence is one-sided as well. Additionally, if victims don’t immediately see doctors, clever insurance company lawyers often argue in court that the victim’s injuries must not have been too bad.

Helmets and other protective clothing might help riders survive motorcycle crashes. But these measures never prevent serious injury. Usually, insurance companies quickly hire a team of lawyers whose only job is to reduce or deny compensation. So, do not wait to hire a lawyer on a motorcycle accident. A motorcycle accident lawyer must act quickly and decisively to obtain the compensation these victims and survivors need and deserve.

How Do Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen?

SMIDSY wrecks may be the most common motorcycle accident. This acronym stands for sorry, mate, I didn’t see you. A related acronym, TBFTL for turned but failed to look, doesn’t have the same panache.

These motorcycle accidents occur when a tortfeasor (negligent driver) makes an unprotected left turn against traffic, at an intersection or when pulling out of a driveway. Many people drive big SUVs and other large vehicles, making it difficult to see small motorcycles. So, these tortfeasors think they see a traffic gap and turn directly into a rider’s path.

Incidentally, when the long-suffering motorcyclist in this video finally snapped, the hapless driver whose car was crushed by a tank was on a cell phone. We’ll get back to that point below.

Motorcycles are as fast as four-wheel vehicles and much harder to control. This combination creates many loss-of-control wrecks, like the one that killed Lawrence of Arabia in 1935. Riders naturally want to avoid kids on bicycles and other hazards, even though it’s unsafe, and often fatal, for them to do so.

Note that Lawrence, though he slowed down through the construction zone, was probably speeding. Excessive speed is very unsafe, whether you’re driving a motorcycle or a car.

Frequently, both parties are partially at fault for such wrecks, making them extremely complex. But that’s the subject of another blog.
Mundane driver inattention wrecks round out the list. Actually, in one way or another, driver inattention is the primary cause of motorcycle crashes.

Driving behaviors, like using a device or speeding, which reduces reaction time, cause many of these wrecks. Other drivers are sleepy, drunk, or otherwise impaired. So, even full attention to driving isn’t good enough to safely operate a motor vehicle.

What are the Chances of Dying in a Motorcycle Accident?

Other than motorcycle helmets, riders are almost completely unprotected in vehicle collisions. So, it’s not surprising that motorcycle riders are thirty times more likely to die in crashes. Even if they survive, these victims usually sustain extremely serious injuries, such as:

  • Road Burns: Unless they get infected, which often happens, these abrasions typically aren’t life threatening. But they are so painful that they completely immobilize most victims until the injuries heal. Only time heals these wounds. Medication can’t even speed the healing process.
  • Head Injuries: Motorcycle helmets often prevent blunt trauma head injuries. But they don’t prevent motion-related head injuries, which are much more common. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains violently and repeatedly slam against their skulls, causing brain bleeding, swelling, and many other issues.
  • PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific kind of brain injury that affects over half of car crash victims. The extreme stress of a life-threatening event, like a motorcycle wreck, changes the brain’s chemical composition. The resulting symptoms, like depression and nightmares, are manageable. The injury itself is irreversible.

Many motorcycle crash victims don’t survive these serious injuries. Other times, these conditions make them more vulnerable to a subsequent injury.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

A decent insurance defense lawyer may charge over $2,000 per hour. At that rate, legal bills mount quickly, making settling the claim cheaper than fighting it. Fortunately, most motorcycle accident lawyers work on contingency and will start with a free consultation.  This means that they do not charge anything unless they are able to win your case.  Then, they will likely charge you around 33% of total settlement amount.  This pay for success model aligns everyone’s interests and removes financial risk for you.

If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, don’t wait.  Take the first step towards getting the compensation you deserve.  Book a free lawyer consultation today through AskLegally.  Or use our accident settlement calculator to get a ballpark estimate of what your case could be worth.

Picture of Bret Thurman

Bret Thurman

Bret is a former lawyer and full-time writer who knows how to simplify complex topics. He received his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. For over twenty years, he handled a wide variety of cases, including criminal defense, personal injury, family law, and consumer bankruptcy.

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