How to Ensure That You Receive FULL Compensation for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
Whether you enjoy the greater fuel economy that a two-wheeled vehicle offers over traditional four-wheeled vehicles or you cannot get enough of the feeling of fresh wind blowing through your hair, motorcycle riders are usually committed to riding their bikes as often as possible.
Every state recognizes motorcycles as “vehicles” or “motor vehicles” that have the same rights – and the same responsibilities – as cars, trucks, buses, and other similar vehicles. However, motorcycles are quite unlike four-wheeled vehicles: specifically, a simple collision between two four-wheeled cars that may only result in a dented bumper or slight bruising may cause severe injuries to a motorcycle rider. These injuries can cause you or your loved one more than just physical pain: you may need to undergo expensive and invasive surgeries, miss considerable amounts of time from work, and be prevented from participating in hobbies and activities you may have once enjoyed.
The Common Causes of Long Island Motorcycle Accidents
Like many motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle wrecks come about oftentimes because another driver or person on the road does not act carefully and with due regard for the safety others on the highway. Some motorists may even believe motorcycle riders to be arrogant or inconsiderate and, as a result, may deliberately engage in driving behaviors that put the motorcyclist’s health and life in danger.
Such actions may include:
- Failing to maintain awareness of motorcyclists and other drivers that may be near, to the side of, or behind the motorist;
- Failing to signal a turn or stop, or operating a motor vehicle that does not have working turn signals and/or brake lights;
- Failing to yield the right of way to a motorcyclist when appropriate;
- Passing a motorcyclist with insufficient clearance;
- “Tailgating” or following a motorcycle too closely;
- Racing alongside a motorcyclist;
- Opening one’s car door suddenly and without looking for approaching motorcyclists; and/or
- Other careless and negligent actions and decisions.
These and other similar driving behaviors can be disastrous and harmful to nearby motorcyclists. While protective gear such as pants, jackets, gloves, and (especially) a helmet can help reduce the likelihood of severe or fatal injuries, motorcyclists are nonetheless not as protected as drivers and passengers of automobiles in the event of a collision.
Common Injuries Sustained by Motorcycle Operators and Their Passengers
A motorcyclist can easily suffer one or more of the following injuries in a crash:
- Traumatic brain injuries and head injuries;
- Injuries to the spinal cord and/or spinal column and neck;
- “Crushing” injuries from being pinned beneath the motorcycle and/or pinned between the motorcycle and another vehicle or object;
- Loss of limbs or appendages like fingers, hands, arms, feet, and/or toes;
- “Road rash” – extreme and painful abrasions that are the result of the motorcyclist sliding or skidding across the pavement after being thrown off his or her bike;
- Broken bones; and/or
- Other painful and significant injuries.
Damages That You Could Be Awarded
As serious as these physical injuries are, they are rarely the end of the story for motorcycle crash victims. It is quite common for injured motorcyclists to have mental trauma (such as posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD) in addition to physical injuries and trauma. While broken bones may heal and amputated limbs can sometimes be reattached or fitted with a prosthetic limb, emotional and mental trauma may not heal for years after the crash (if at all). Recovery can be expensive, as the injured motorcyclist may find themselves facing:
- Medical costs, including the costs of reparative or restorative surgeries designed to restore some or all of the motorcyclist’s functioning;
- Costs of therapy and rehabilitation necessary to maximize the motorcyclist’s ability to maintain independence and return to work;
- Medical devices to assist with mobility and/or home healthcare services;
- A decrease in earnings and income brought on by time missed from work and/or an inability (whether temporary or permanent) to return to work; and/or
- Costs and expenses associated with mental health services.
In addition, noneconomic losses like mental pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life do not have a price tag affixed to them. Nonetheless, like economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages, these and other similar noneconomic losses deserve to be compensated if they are caused by another person’s negligent conduct behind the wheel.
Do I Have Grounds for a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
If you or your loved one have been injured in a motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries and any costs you incurred if another motorist’s or person’s behavior is both determined to be negligent and is found to be a primary cause of your injuries:
- Negligent conduct: “Negligent conduct” is simply behavior or actions that are reckless, careless, or that demonstrate a lack of due regard for the security of others. Each state’s laws presume that a person owes others a legal duty to behave in such a way so as not to needlessly endanger the safety or well-being of others. Conduct is determined to be “negligent” if a reasonable person placed in the same situation would have acted differently. In other words, if a driver who causes a motorcycle crash made or failed to make a certain decision, and any other reasonable driver would have made a different decision, then the at-fault driver may be found negligent. Conduct may also be presumed to be negligent if it violates the laws of the jurisdiction. Speeding, joy riding or failing to use a turn signal will almost always be found to be negligent behavior, as will driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or driving while sleepy.
- Causation: Even if another driver, motorist, or motorcyclist is found to be careless, a motorcycle injury victim may not be entitled to any recovery if the negligent behavior did not cause the wreck and/or the injured motorcyclist’s injuries. Some states require that the at-fault person be wholly and completely responsible for a motorcyclist’s injuries in order for the motorcyclist to obtain monetary damages; other jurisdictions require only that the at-fault individual is the primary cause of the crash and the resulting harm the motorcyclist experiences. In a small number of states, even a small amount of causation is sufficient to entitle the motorcyclist to recover some amount of compensation.
If you, the injured motorcyclist, are unable to produce sufficient, compelling evidence showing that the at-fault driver acted carelessly and/or that he or she was the cause of your injuries, your claim for compensation may be denied. Because proving these elements (as well as the “dollar amount” of your claim) can be challenging, it is always a good idea to have experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel by your side at each step of the recovery process.
Your attorney can not only help determine whether you have a provable claim for compensation early in the process, but can also help you secure witnesses and evidence that will assist you in prevailing in your case, such as:
- Your medical records, bills, invoices, and other similar documents along with the billing personnel and medical treatment professionals who can explain the treatment you received and its costs;
- Eyewitnesses who either saw the crash occurred or who interacted with you and/or the other involved motorists after the crash occurred;
- Photographs, diagrams, reports, or other similar documentary evidence prepared by either you or others who witnessed the accident;
- Reports of accident reconstruction experts and/or other experts who analyzed the circumstances of the crash and/or other factors about your case; and/or
- Other documentary and/or other testimonial evidence.
Not only must there be sufficient evidence and witness testimony available to you that you can utilize in order to prove your case, but you must also bring your lawsuit within the amount of time specified by New York’s statute of limitations. A motorcycle crash lawsuit that is filed after the expiration of the statute of limitations will almost certainly be dismissed – without any determination of fault and without any consideration of the damages you might otherwise be entitled to receive.
Even in clear-cut cases of negligent behavior, an injured motorcyclist may receive no compensation at all if his or her lawsuit is untimely filed. It is, therefore, of significant importance that you speak with a qualified and knowledgeable motorcycle crash lawyer as quickly as possible to help ensure your lawsuit is filed in time.
Process of a Motorcycle Accident Injury Case in Long Island
The process through which your motorcycle accident lawsuit will proceed may seem to be foreign and confusing, but it need not be so. Parker Waichman LLP’s team of experienced attorneys are here to help guide you through every stage of the recovery process. We will help prepare you for the road ahead, so you know what to expect, and we will be there to explain what is going on with your case when it may appear that your case is getting off track.
The Initial Investigation
You can expect your case to start with an initial investigation by your attorney. The purpose of this investigation is to help ensure there is a legal and factual basis for you to file a motorcycle crash lawsuit. The length of this investigative phase will depend in large part on how recent your motorcycle crash occurred and the ease with which you and/or your attorney can evaluate the available evidence and witness testimony.
The Initial Pleadings
Once you and your attorney decide to commence a motorcycle crash lawsuit, initial pleadings will be filed by your attorney as well as any attorney representing the person(s) you allege caused your or your loved one’s motorcycle crash. The “discovery” process occurs next, wherein you and the other parties involved will exchange information and evidence you may have in your possession with one another. It is during the discovery phase, too, that you may be deposed – that is, asked questions that you must answer under oath – and/or depose witnesses and experts identified by the other parties.
The Discovery Process
Your case may proceed to trial following the completion of discovery if there has not been a settlement agreement reached and if the claims and contentions presented in your case have not been resolved through other means.
If No Settlement – The Trial Process
At trial, you (as the injured motorcyclist) would need to prove through witness testimony and evidence that it is more likely than not true that the other party or parties in your lawsuit were the cause of your motorcycle crash and resulting injuries due to their negligent or careless behavior. If you prevail, the judge or jury hearing your case will determine what damages you ought to be awarded. In most cases, the losing party at trial (whether you or another party) have a right to appeal the judge’s or jury’s verdict if you believe errors were made during the trial.
Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim FAQs
Injured motorcyclists like yourself may have many questions after being involved in a crash: here are a few of the more common questions encountered by the attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP:
Does wearing safety gear make a difference if I am involved in a motorcycle crash?
Absolutely! Not only does appropriate safety gear help reduce the likelihood of severe or fatal injuries in the event of a crash, but wearing safety gear when riding helps ensure that you have the greatest opportunity to recover full compensation for your losses. Some jurisdictions may consider your failure to wear appropriate safety gear as a form of negligent behavior on your part – which may result in a reduction of your compensation award or the denial of your compensation claim altogether.
Should I go to the hospital after a motorcycle crash?
While the risk of serious injuries is higher with motorcycle crashes, it is possible that you may feel fine following your crash. Nonetheless, you should still seek medical evaluation from a doctor or hospital emergency room as soon as possible to ensure you did not suffer an injury that is in need of prompt treatment (such as a traumatic brain injury). In the immediate moment following a motorcycle crash, adrenaline in your system may mask the symptoms of severe injuries.
Am I entitled to compensation if I am not a licensed motorcycle driver?
While having a motorcycle license before riding is a good idea, not having one will not necessarily prevent you from recovering compensation. You could still be able to obtain a monetary damages award if you were operating your motorcycle in a reasonable and prudent manner, even if you did not have a license to lawfully operate a motorcycle. You may find, however, that your compensation award is reduced if the judge or jury hearing your case believes that your lack of an appropriate motorcycle license means that you were not exercising care when riding your motorcycle at the time of the crash.
Parker Waichman LLP is dedicated to keeping you informed and educated throughout the pendency of your motorcycle crash case. No matter your question, we will give you the knowledge and information you need in order to make the best choices possible for your future.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer Help Me?
Filing and pursuing compensation through a motorcycle crash lawsuit is no easy task: overconfident or foolhardy injury victims can easily jeopardize their legal rights by attempting to secure a compensation award without legal knowledge and assistance.
- A poorly-conducted initial investigation can lead you to believe you have a claim for compensation when in fact you do not or your chances of success are slim, causing you to expend valuable resources carelessly and needlessly on a lawsuit that has little chance of resulting in compensation;
- Carelessly drafted pleadings that do not adequately and accurately state your claims and the factual and legal allegations supporting such claims can lead to the dismissal of your lawsuit. If you wait too long before you file your case and your case is dismissed because of a defect with your initial pleadings, you may not have enough time to refile your case; and/or
- Throughout the pendency of your case, there may be motions that are filed by the other party and/or legal obligations you must fulfill within certain periods of time. For example, if there are no facts that are truly in dispute, the other party may file a motion for summary judgment which asks the court to accept certain facts as true and render judgment thereon. Failing to reply to such a motion in time or with the proper legal and factual information can lead to the court entering judgment in favor of the other party and a denial of your claim. Similarly, the discovery process has its own schedule according to which information is to be shared: failing to cooperate in the discovery process (i.e., failing to show up for your deposition or refusing to turn over documents or evidence) can lead to serious, court-imposed sanctions (which may include a dismissal of your case, in extreme situations).
These and other similar stresses can be easily avoided by enlisting the assistance and support of a skilled motorcycle crash attorney. With an attorney by your side, you have someone who is familiar with both the substantive law and legal procedures that can impact your case. Your attorney can help protect your legal rights while you attend to your physical well-being and returning to as normal of a life as possible.
Why Choose Parker Waichman LLP?
Parker Waichman LLP is an experienced and compassionate motorcycle injury law firm that understands the pain and turmoil you and your loved ones are going through in the wake of a motorcycle crash. We are on your side and are here to help: if your injuries are the result of another driver’s or person’s thoughtless and negligent decisions, you may be entitled to an award of monetary damages designed to help you address the costs and losses you experienced and are likely to suffer as a consequence of the crash.
There are many reasons to choose Parker Waichman LLP as your motorcycle accident law firm:
- Over the course of our law firm’s existence we have successfully helped our clients obtain over $2 billion in compensation through trial verdicts and settlements;
- We have obtained Martindale-Hubbard’s® coveted “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer Review Rating;
- We have a 5 out of 5 rating from Lawdragon.com.
These awards and recognitions are the result of our firm’s solitary focus on the legal needs of our clients. Our attorneys never shy away from the tough cases, or the motorcycle crashes that others may not want to take.
When we accept your case, you can count on your Parker Waichman LLP legal team to use its considerable knowledge and resources to help you obtain the financial damages award you need and deserve. Contact Parker Waichman LLP right away to discuss your motorcycle crash lawsuit.
Your Motorcycle Accident Case Needs Qualified Representation
Motorcycle crashes are serious events with the potential to dramatically impact your life and the life of your family for years to come. A traumatic brain injury or spine injury can prevent you from engaging in any work or other physical activity, or a broken bone can require months of rest and rehabilitation before you can return to your normal activities and employment.
While a successful motorcycle crash lawsuit is unable to undo the harm caused by another person’s careless actions, it can provide you and your family with the financial security you need to rebuild your life. This can include money for medical expenses, to replace the income you would have earned but have been unable to, and any other similar type of expense or loss.
Talk with One of Our Long Island Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorneys Today
When you are in need of dedicated legal assistance following a motorcycle crash, do not hesitate to reach out to Parker Waichman LLP. Our motorcycle accident recovery team’s focus is on helping you in getting financial compensation for the expenses and other costs brought about by the negligent conduct of another.
Do Not Delay. Time is Limited. Call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) to speak with Parker Waichman LLP today.
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