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What you should know if you're involved in a motorcycle accident

Motorcycle deaths account for five percent of all highway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States. One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because there is no protection for the driver like there is for automobiles. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death, compared to 20 percent for automobiles.

Below are a few basic questions regarding motorcycle injury.

Q: I was hit by another vehicle while riding my motorcycle. What should I do?

A: First, seek medical attention. Motorcycle accidents can cause serious injuries and getting checked out as soon as possible after an accident can help you be sure that any injuries are identified and properly treated. Whether or not you are treated at the scene for any injuries, you want to make sure that the police are called to document the accident and to collect contact information for the responsible party and any witnesses.

Q: What can I receive for my injuries?

A: Compensation is a question on everyone’s mind after a motorcycle accident. Every case has to be evaluated based on the circumstances leading to the accident, the injuries involved, and the time you have missed from work. It is possible that you may be entitled to recover money from the person responsible for the accident for a variety of things, including: medical expenses, lost income or wages, future lost earnings, property damage, pain and suffering, and compensation for the impact the accident has had on your spousal and family relationships.

Q: Is compensation automatic?

A: No. Compensation in personal injury cases is not automatic. Our attorneys will help you understand what types of compensation are available to you, and will work to get you the compensation you deserve after a motorcycle accident.

Q: How long will my case take?

A: Every case is a different, and without knowing the facts of your particular case, it is difficult to say how long it will take to resolve your claim. Simple claims, with limited medical expenses and straightforward liability, can be resolved in several months. More complex cases can take years to resolve. So, the easiest way to get a handle on your particular timeline is to call us to talk about the specifics of your case.

Q: I was not wearing a helmet when I was in a motorcycle accident. Does that make a difference?

A: It can. You are still entitled to bring a claim for your injuries after a motorcycle accident even if you weren’t wearing a helmet. However, if you suffered any head injuries, the amount you may be able to recover will be reduced due to your comparative negligence.

Q: What is comparative negligence?

A: Comparative negligence looks at how much or to what extent each party contributed to an accident or a person’s injuries, and influences the amount of damages that can be recovered by the injured party. If you caused or contributed to your injuries, you can still recover compensation, but the damages will be reduced by a percentage tied to your responsibility for your injuries. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of a motorcycle accident, your compensation for any head injuries will be reduced to account for the fact that you weren’t wearing a helmet (which may have prevented your injuries from being so serious).

Q: I was hurt in an accident last week and the other driver’s insurance company has offered to pay me some money. Should I accept it?

A: No. If the insurance company is offering to pay for your injuries, you may be releasing the other driver from paying for any additional damages they are responsible for after the accident. One week is not enough time to properly evaluate how you are doing physically, and even if you feel ok right now, it is possible that a more serious injury will crop up later. If you accept the check, you will be limited to that amount without any way to get compensated for your injuries.

Q: Do you need a special license to drive a motorcycle?

A: Yes. Every state and Washington D.C. require motorcycle drivers to pass a test in order to obtain their motorcycle license. You should check with your state requirements before operating a motorcycle.

Q: What is the most dangerous type of motorcycle?

A: Safe motorcycle operation is necessary regardless of the type of motorcycle. Careless choices, unsafe turns and inexperience can make riding any motorcycle dangerous. With that said, statistically, supersport motorcycles account for a higher number of motorcyclist deaths. The preference of the motorcycle community to use supersport motorcycles for racing and difficult riding make them the most dangerous motorcycles, resulting in a higher number of deaths each year.


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