A motorcycle accident can disrupt your life, leaving you with severe injuries, crushing medical bills, and impairments that interfere with your everyday activities. Recovering physically, emotionally, and financially from a motorcycle accident is never easy, but hiring the right lawyer can go a long way in helping you secure financial compensation to pay for medical bills, lost work time, and your many other damages.
Let’s explore how a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you in all aspects of your recovery from a motorcycle accident.
Your Physical Recovery
Motorcycles offer riders virtually no protection in an accident. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 80 percent of all motorcycle accidents result in injuries or death to the motorcycle driver.
Common physical injuries suffered from motorcycle accidents include:
- Bone fractures in the lower extremities of the body
- Organ damage
- Pelvis injuries
- Facial injuries
- Traumatic head injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Internal bleeding
Many of these injuries can leave a driver paralyzed or permanently disabled. Even in the “best” case scenario, a motorcycle accident is likely to inflict fractures and orthopedic injuries that can leave someone unable to work or function properly for months or years.
How can a lawyer help you heal from these injuries? There are several ways. First, experienced motorcycle accident injury lawyers work to secure financial compensation for motorcyclists to reimburse them for past medical expenses and to make sure they have financial resources to pay for future medical care.
Second, skilled motorcycle crash attorneys routinely work with a network of medical providers who specialize in evaluating and treating traumatic injuries. When injured motorcyclists need referrals to those specialists, second opinions, and other medical services, lawyers can often help make the connection.
Third, motorcycle accident lawyers regularly advise their injured clients and their clients’ loved ones on how to manage interactions with health insurance companies to obtain benefits, and what medical records to get from providers to prove the nature and extent of injuries.
Your Mental Health and Emotional Recovery
In addition to causing physical injuries, getting into a motorcycle accident can also inflict significant psychological trauma. Victims of motorcycle accidents may struggle with the mental health impact of their physical injuries. Some injuries-like traumatic brain injuries-themselves directly affect brain function, mood, and other emotional responses. Victims may also encounter psychological struggles from the stress and anxiety the crash provoked.
Skilled motorcycle accident lawyers can assist in recovery from psychological struggles related to a crash. As above, one way they do that is by securing financial compensation to help crash victims pay for past and future mental health care, which may include therapy, psychiatric treatment, and medication.
Attorneys also assist in the mental health recovery from a motorcycle accident simply by relieving injured crash victims and their loved ones of the burden of dealing with the administrative side of getting compensated for damages. For example, lawyers for injured motorcyclists regularly handle all necessary interactions with insurance companies on their clients’ behalf.
By taking care of those matters, lawyers give their clients the extra emotional bandwidth they need to focus on the process of physical and psychological healing, and the peace of mind of knowing they have someone looking out for their interests, 24/7.
Your Financial Recovery
Motorcycle accidents also take a severe financial toll. Correcting the financial impact of an accident, and securing financial compensation for non-monetary damages, is a motorcycle accident injury lawyer’s principal job.
Every motorcycle accident differs in the details that may affect the scope and nature of a victim’s financial recovery from it.
However in general, by taking legal action and pursuing insurance claims, skilled motorcycle accident injury attorneys can secure financial compensation for injured bikers to pay for:
- Past and future medical costs, which as mentioned above, constitute a significant component of the financial losses inflicted by a motorcycle accident.
- Other past and future costs that an injured biker would not have had, but for the accident, such as expenses related to repairing or replacing a damaged motorcycle or other personal property, and the cost of hiring services to help with everyday tasks while healing.
- Past and future lost wages and income, which can pile up quickly when a motorcycle accident prevents a biker from working or seizing financial opportunities.
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and the overall negative impact on a biker’s quality of life, which deserve compensation as much as any monetary injury.
In some cases, skilled motorcycle accident lawyers can also secure punitive damages, which courts may award when evidence shows that the at-fault party harmed the biker intentionally or acted with deliberate and flagrant disregard for the biker’s safety.
Steps a Lawyer May Take to Assist in Your Motorcycle Accident Recovery
Every motorcycle accident is different, and so are the actions a lawyer might take on your behalf to get you the money you need for your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. However, in the typical case, those steps might include one or more of the following.
#1. Motorcycle Accident Investigation
The starting point for securing financial compensation after a motorcycle accident is usually an investigation of what happened. Lawyers need to understand the dangerous decisions and actions that led to a wreck so that they can pinpoint who may owe you damages. It’s common for lawyers to work with experienced investigators to interview witnesses, collect forensic evidence, and obtain documentation detailing the precise circumstances that led to the crash.
#2. Damage Evaluation
Lawyers also need to know exactly how a motorcycle accident has impacted your life so that they can translate that damage into a demand for financial compensation. To gain this understanding, they typically work closely with their clients and clients’ loved ones to obtain a full picture of the physical, emotional, and financial harm a motorcyclist has suffered. Talking about those sorts of personal issues can be difficult, so try to find a lawyer who you trust and feel comfortable talking to about your health, finances, and overall well-being.
#3. Case Planning and Strategizing
Once skilled motorcycle accident lawyers understand the two key issues above-liability (who owes you damages) and damages (how much they owe). They put their knowledge of the law to work to develop a plan and strategy for obtaining maximum compensation on your behalf. Once they have a path forward to recommend, they will typically sit down with you to explain the approach and to answer your questions. The goal is to make sure you and they decide together how to get you the money you need to recover from your motorcycle accident.
#4. Making a Demand
The plan and strategy a lawyer proposes to get you paid for your motorcycle crash injuries and losses will usually involve at least one, and often both, of two basic approaches:
- Submitting a claim under the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy; and/or
- Filing a lawsuit seeking damages from the at-fault party.
Either approach involves a written demand for monetary damages. It usually contains a description of the facts, why your lawyer thinks the at-fault party owes you damages, and how much your lawyer believes you should receive.
By making a demand, the lawyer triggers a legal process that involves an exchange of information and negotiation between your lawyer and the at-fault party’s representatives (usually a lawyer and/or insurance adjuster). The goal of that process is to achieve a negotiated settlement or to obtain a judgment or jury award in court, getting you the money you need.
#5. Negotiating a Settlement
The vast majority of motorcycle accident claims get resolved through negotiated settlements. A settlement is an agreement between you and the at-fault party (or that party’s liability insurance carrier) in which you receive a payment in exchange for releasing the at-fault party from further liability to you.
Securing the highest possible settlement requires having a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer who has a command of the facts, knows how to use the evidence to your advantage, and has a sense of when and how to achieve the best deal possible for you. Look for a lawyer who can point to a track record of obtaining top-dollar settlements in motorcycle accident cases.
#6. Taking Your Case to Court
Just because most cases settle, however, doesn’t mean they don’t often end up in court, too. It’s common for negotiation and litigation (the process of filing and pursuing a lawsuit) to proceed on parallel tracks. Skilled motorcycle accident lawyers know how to use litigation to gain leverage in settlement negotiations.
A lawsuit usually ends in one of three ways. Most of the time, it settles as described above. Sometimes, it ends with a decision from a judge before trial. And other times, it ends with an actual trial. The best motorcycle accident lawyers have the skill and resources to achieve a favorable result for you no matter how your case ends.
#7. Collecting the Money Owed to You
From your lawyer’s perspective, the process of assisting in your recovery is not complete until you have money in your bank account to pay for your physical, emotional, and financial needs. Ideally, funds flow to you within days of your case settling. But sometimes your lawyer may need to take additional steps to collect what’s owed. So always make sure you have a lawyer who knows how to secure the funds due to you no matter what it takes.
Steps You Can Take Toward Your Recovery From a Motorcycle Accident
It may sound obvious, but you also have a central role to play in your own recovery from a motorcycle accident. Here are three steps you can take that can put you on the path to recovery.
Get Medical Care Right Away
The most important step you can take in your recovery is to seek medical treatment immediately after your motorcycle accident. Do not try to tough it out through aches and pains. Do not simply assume you avoided serious injury just because you feel “ok” in the hours after a wreck.
The only way to protect your health is to see a doctor as soon as possible. That means going to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic immediately to have a doctor treat your obvious injuries and check you over for hidden ones. Some of the most devastating injuries you might suffer in a motorcycle crash-like traumatic brain injury or internal bleeding-might now show immediate symptoms, but could worsen dramatically if not addressed right away.
Getting medical care doesn’t just protect your health, it also protects your legal rights. Medical records from your treatment serve as valuable evidence in seeking financial compensation. They show the nature and extent of your injuries and prove you took the steps necessary to prevent injuries from worsening.
Don’t Talk to the At-Fault Party’s Representatives on Your Own
Being the victim of a motorcycle accident means that other people may owe you significant amounts of financial compensation. Those parties may try to minimize what they owe by reaching out to you directly to discuss the accident or to offer you a quick settlement.
If possible, don’t talk to them. They don’t have your best interests in mind. They may even attempt to get you to say something in a recorded conversation that damages your legal rights.
Contact a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney Instead
Leave all conversations about your legal and financial rights to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who represents your interests, and your interests alone.
The sooner you contact a personal injury law firm's attorney, the better they can protect your rights and the greater your chances of making a full physical, emotional, and financial recovery from your motorcycle accident.