Motorcycle Accidents Lawyers
After a motorbike accident, injured riders frequently face an uphill battle. Insurance adjusters may have unjust prejudices against motorcycle riders, leading them to dispute and fight claims. To defend against liability, they will try to attribute all or part of the fault for the accident upon the cyclist. Without proper representation, injured riders may not recover enough money to cover their medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you are hurt in a motorcycle/motorbike accident, you’ll want to hire a lawyer, who understands the operation, performance and limitations of motorcycles. Mr. Hunter at Thomas Hunter Law Firm in Savannah, GA, knows how to fight insurance companies toe-to-toe. We think that motorcyclists are entitled to the maximum amount of compensation following a significant accident, and we fight tirelessly to ensure that they get fair compensation. So get in touch with us today!
The Common Types Of Motorcycle Accidents
When riding a motorcycle, accidents can happen in many different ways. Some types of collision are more prevalent than others. Our motorcycle accident lawyers have handled claims, including single-vehicle accidents, “dooring” collisions, and everything in between. Although each motorcycle accident is unique, here are a few common types:
1. Head-On Motorcycle Collisions
A head-on collision is usually the most hazardous motorcycle accident. The physics of these collisions means that the vehicles and individuals involved undergo the maximum force. If both vehicles (a car/truck and a motorcycle) are traveling at a rapid rate and collide head-on, the motorcycle suddenly decelerates, but the cyclist does not. The cyclist is often propelled into the other vehicle’s windshield and/or over the top of that vehicle only to land in the roadway behind the other vehicle. Sometimes, the injured cyclist may be struck by the trailing motorcycle, which may also continue over the top of the other vehicle, or may be struck by another vehicle traveling behind the car/truck. In such collisions, sadly, many motorcycle riders die, and those who survive have suffered very severe injuries. Permanent, disabling and debilitating injuries are common, often requiring lifelong medical and attendant care, all of which elevates the stakes of a lawsuit. Serious injuries justify significant compensation and insurance companies fight harder when the stakes are high.
2. Left Turn Motorcycle Accidents
Other common car/truck and motorcycle collisions occur at intersections, when the car/truck makes a left turn across the path of the motorcyclist. These collisions often result from inattentive driving by the car/truck driver, who fails to see or notice the motorcyclist. Motorcycles, being much smaller than cars or trucks, do not have the same visual presentation as another car or truck. Furthermore, it is often difficult for drivers of cars and trucks to judge the speed of the motorcycle, due to lack of familiarity with motorcycles themselves and the limited number of encounters with motorcycles on the highways. Prudence would dictate that drivers allow extra clearance and assume higher speeds to unfamiliar vehicles in traffic, but that is just not always the case. Left-turn collisions, those with a car/truck turning across the path of the motorcyclist, account for about 40% of all motorcycle collisions and in almost all of those instances, the car/truck driver is solely responsible for the crash. Only in those cases where the motorcyclist has also violated the rules of the road, e.g., is speeding, fails to have required lighting, or the like, would the motorcyclist be considered to have caused or contributed to the collision.
3. Lane Switching Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles can quickly enter a larger vehicle’s blind areas and this is particularly true with trucks and commercial vehicles that may not have interior, rearview mirrors which allow the drivers to see what is directly, and closely, behind them. When drivers do not examine their blind spots before changing lanes, this can result in serious accidents. One of the leading reasons for motorcycle accidents is a lack of motorcycle visibility. People who fail to keep an eye out for bikes may be held accountable for any damage they cause.
4. Lane Splitting Motorcycle Accidents
Lane splitting is unlawful in many states. Because of their smaller vehicle size, motorcyclists often have the ability to drive between the authorized lanes, that is, to “lane-split”, to avoid gridlock. Sometimes, however, a motorcyclist may have to “lane-split” quickly in order to avoid another dangerous situation. A motorcyclist in another vehicle’s blind spot may have to take evasive action if that driver changes lanes and, in heavy traffic, that may necessitate splitting lanes to avoid a collision with another vehicle nearby. Therefore, even though you were riding in the middle of the road at the time of the collision, you are not automatically ineligible to file a claim. It is generally not just a question of where you were at the time of the collision, but “why” you were where you were. Allow our law firm to assist you with these types of claims to obtain the total amount of financial compensation you are entitled to in the long run.
The Causes Of Motorcycle Accidents
Most motorcyclists are careful drivers. That’s easy to understand, since cyclists understand that motorcycles are small and cars and trucks are big. Cars and trucks have airbags to cushion and to prevent injuries. Motorcyclists enjoy no such protections, so most motorcyclists are extra vigilant, allow extra spacing and seek to avoid situations where collisions could occur. Better to be safe than sorry.
Still collisions happen and there are several reasons why motorcycle accidents occur. The most common reason is inattentive driving by other motorists. Thus, every motorcyclist recognizes the need to be aware of his surroundings and to be alert for danger. Knowing what to look for is an excellent first step in avoiding potentially risky situations.
In addition to inattentive drivers, consider the following as risk factors for collisions:
- Poor road conditions, rain, road work debris, snow, or ice.
- Drunk motorists
- Failure to monitor blind spots
- Door accidents
(A driver who opens his car door without first checking for oncoming traffic can obstruct a biker's path of movement. This is a particularly frequent occurrence in city/urban environments and on narrow streets.)
- Front brake overcompensation
(Motorcyclists who are unfamiliar with the operation and performance of the specific motorcycle being driven are at risk for this risk factor. With too much/too quick front braking deceleration, the rider's momentum can easily hurl him over the handlebars, especially if the motorcycle's front wheels come to a sudden stop too quickly.)
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If I'm Involved In an Accident, Motorcycle, or Otherwise?
Although the minutes following an accident can be incredibly chaotic, below are some of the things you should do to protect yourself:
- First, assess your physical condition to the extent that you can and make sure you are safe. Then, if state law permits, move your vehicle off the roadway and out of harm's way. If state law does not permit the movement of the vehicles after an accident, put on your emergency flashers. Move to a safe place, if possible and call 911
- Get medical assistance
Even if you don't believe you've been seriously harmed, thoroughly check for injuries anyway. Adrenaline or shock may be concealing pain, broken bones, torn or damaged soft tissues or even lacerations. Recognize that some injuries may not become apparent for a period of time after the injury itself. This is especially true with many soft tissue injuries, where pain may result from bruises or tears that cause swelling of tissue. If you have any doubts about whether or not you've been seriously injured, call an ambulance and/or proceed to a hospital for examination and treatment, if necessary.
- Exchange information with the other driver
Exchange name, phone number, driver's license number, and insurance information with the other driver. Do not, however, discuss other matters with the other driver. You do not want to: accept fault for the collision, deny being injured, discuss how or why the collision occurred or get into an argument with the other driver. Statements you make might be characterized as “admissions against your interest” and could be used against you later on.
- Report the accident to the police
If the collision resulted in significant property damages to the vehicles, the police will almost always investigate the collision. The police will arrive on the scene, speak with the drivers and witnesses, activate their body cameras or vehicle cameras, take notes, potentially issue one or more tickets, and prepare and file a police accident report. Make sure to share your perspectives about the collision with the officer on the scene. If you have had to go to the hospital before the police officer arrives, be sure to speak with the officer when you are safe and clear-headed, even if that means speaking with the officer on the telephone or making an appointment to meet with the officer later on. Don’t delay, because officers are under pressure to get reports completed and filed and you will want to make sure your version of the collision is included in the report. Once the report is finished, you should get a copy, read it to make sure it accurately reflects the facts and report any errors to the officer. A supplemental report may need to be completed by the officer to correct any errors he or she made in the initial report. It is important to make sure that the report is correct and clean, because the insurance adjuster for the opposing party will rely heavily upon that report is assessing their position on liability and that could affect your property damage and/or personal injury case.
Is A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Necessary?
Accident claims, regardless of type, are adversarial in nature – if one side gains, the other side loses. Liability insurance adjusters exist to minimize the number of claims their companies pay and the aggregate amount paid on those claims. So, the short answer to the question is “yes”. You will need your own lawyer to help and guide you.
Always seek legal advice about your collision claim from a skilled attorney. Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are sometimes difficult to understand and navigate. A skilled and experienced attorney is critical to leveling the playing field and will be able to assess the positives and negatives of your claim, the fair value of your claim and the course and position most likely to be pursued by the adverse insurer. Insurance firms frequently exploit motorcycle accident victims. Many people lack the legal understanding necessary to represent themselves in such matters. Insurance companies are not obligated to tell you the truth, to give you correct advice or assessments or to look out for your best interests. They are trying to look out for their policyholders and insured drivers. You need your lawyer to look out for you. Insurers may even try to convince you that you do not need a lawyer, that you cannot win, that your claim has little to no value, and the like. We know the strategies employed by insurance companies, and we fight back by constructing a solid case that places the fault upon their driver and that assists you in receiving full and fair compensation.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve My Motorcycle Accident Case?
There are too many factors involved to make a definitive statement in this regard. Property damages might be resolved quickly, while bodily injury claims generally take longer, because injured parties need to heal to determine the extent of injuries, the time spent suffering from the injury and the loss of enjoyment of life brought on by the injuries. In addition, some insurers may want to contest liability and deny everything. Others just will not pay, even when confronted with compelling evidence, until the very last minute or until ordered to pay by a judge or jury.
In the long run, claims are resolved faster and fairer when claimants can provide accurate, and compelling, documentation in support of their claims. So, documentation is a key element to success. Everyone is accountable to someone and claims personnel are no different; they are accountable to those in higher positions and must justify the amounts they request in settlement authority and the amounts they pay in settlement. Your documentation is a critical component of those justifications. If you have documentation that demonstrates your lost income, the adjuster can “check off” that box. If you have medical records that reflect the nature of your injuries, your treatment and your medical expenses, the adjuster can “check off” that box. If you have documentation that demonstrates what we might call “ancillary” expenses – things like travel expenses (mileage, hotels, meals, etc.) for medical treatment away from your home city – it allows the adjuster to “check off” that box. At the end of the day, the more and better documentation of your losses and damages we can provide to the insurance adjuster, the easier it will be for the adjuster to request, and ultimately, to pay, just and fair compensation. The state of Missouri is called the “Show Me” state. It is like every adjuster is from Missouri; we must SHOW the adjuster, not just tell the adjuster, why he or she should pay what we want to settle your claim.
Not all claims settle, of course, and if a fair settlement cannot be obtained, you will have to sue the adverse party. If you sue, all of this documentation will still be necessary to support your claim for damages – income loss, medical expenses, etc. – so good, proper documentation remains a key to success. Unfortunately, lawsuits take time, sometimes a LOT of time, sometimes even years. Much will depend upon the court chosen in which to litigate your claim and the speed at which documentation and other evidence can be obtained. After we’ve gained a better understanding of your case, including liability and injury issues, we’ll be able to share insights into the time likely to be necessary to resolve your claim.
Why Choose Thomas Hunter Law Firm
At Thomas Hunter Law Firm, we work quickly for injured motorcyclists and their families, but we do not seek to settle any case before it matures and is ready to resolve. We are about full and fair compensation and, as we discussed, the amount of that compensation depends upon the circumstances of the collision, the injuries sustained and a host of other factors. We would not want to attempt the settlement of any claim, for example, until the client has recovered or knows, in consultation with the client’s medical providers, what to expect in the future with respect to those injuries. Insurance adjusters will not pay claims based upon speculation of what “might” happen in the future; they need evidence, medical evidence, of what the client may reasonably expect. Doctors don’t want to speculate on the future without a solid grasp of the client’s condition, an evaluation or analysis of the client’s response to recommended treatment and the doctor’s knowledge, training and experience in similar situations with similarly-injured patients. Sometimes, we must seek out experts in the field who can peer into the client’s expected future for us.
So, while we want to resolve claims as quickly as we can for every client, we know that every claim is different, every client is different, and every claim needs to mature before it is ready to resolve. Therefore, we have to manage the claim, to make sure what needs to be done is done to maximize the claim value, and to put every claim in the right position to best serve every client. You will receive the individualized attention and assistance you need from the moment you walk into our office. We take the time to listen to our clients’ experiences, we answer their questions, we demystify the process and tell them how the legal system and process works and we let them know what they should expect.
We’ll want to know what happened in your accident, what injuries and losses you have sustained, and how those injuries and losses have impacted your life and the lives of your loved ones. We want to provide you with the peace of mind you need that someone is there to represent you, to fight for you, to care about you and make sure that you receive the justice and compensation that you deserve. We offer free initial consultations and assessments to serve you better and, if you hire us to represent you on the typical, contingent fee basis, we will only get paid, if you get paid. It makes getting the help you need easier and, well, affordable, since you do not risk your personal resources for legal representation. At Thomas Hunter Law Firm, we invest our time and expenses on the cases and clients we represent. Even if you’re not convinced you have a case, we’d like to sit down with you and discuss your collision and injuries with you. If we believe we can help you, we will tell you. If we do not believe we can help you, we will tell you that, too. In either event, it will cost you nothing to have that discussion with us (we provide free initial consultations just for this purpose!), so you have nothing to lose. Knowledge is power, so empower yourself and meet with us to discuss your collision, damages, and possible legal representation.
Let’s face it: dealing with insurance companies and creditors can be exhausting and frustrating following a motorcycle accident. Allow us to take care of the legal aspects of your recovery, while you concentrate on getting better, so that you can get back to riding again!
Many people do not realize that bicycles are typically treated under the law as, like, or similar to, motor vehicles. A multitude of variables can cause bicycle accidents on public roadways. Is the cyclist obeying the “Rules of the Road”? What if the cyclist is a child who does not know better? Is the cyclist visible? Are there lights on the bicycle? Should there be? What was the weather like? Was either party –cyclist or motor vehicle – making an unsafe lane change, turning without looking for others, driving too close to one another, ignoring bike lanes? Was there even a bike lane? Should there have been? Was anyone distracted or talking on a cell phone? The list goes on and on as possible collision causes or factors in collisions. Whether you ride your bike for a daily commute, for exercise, or you are a dedicated cyclist, the reality is that every time you hit the road, you are putting yourself in danger. Even though cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles, many motorists fail to exercise that extra level of awareness and care when nearing, passing and making other vehicular movements in the vicinity of cyclists.
Our bicycle accidents lawyer at Thomas Hunter Law Firm is here to help you get the proper compensation for your bicycle accident.