Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | February 14, 2023
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?

Should I get a lawyer for a motorcycle accident? With specific requirements for riders, motorcycles can be legally operated on public roadways in every state. Unfortunately, motorcycles have several features that make them less crash-worthy than other types of vehicles. These include less stability with two wheels, a lack of protective equipment such as an enclosed frame, seat belts, and airbags, and less visibility to other drivers.

Those who a motorcycle accident injured can seek compensation for the injury from the at-fault party.

This process generally involves first seeking compensation through a claim filed on the at-fault party’s auto liability or other relevant insurance policy. If the insurer fails to pay the claim, it can be filed as a lawsuit in civil court for a judge or jury to determine who was liable and whether compensation is owed to the claimant.

Do you need a lawyer to assist you with the process? Absolutely. Here is a look at why you should get a motorcycle accident lawyer for a motorcycle accident.

The Expenses and Impacts Associated with Motorcycle Accidents

The Insurance Information Institute reports that motorcyclists and their passengers are 29 times more likely to die or become seriously injured as a result of an accident than the occupants of motor vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while around 20 percent of individuals involved in car accidents will suffer an injury, an astounding 80 percent of riders and their passengers in motorcycle accidents suffer injuries.

Because of the hazardous features of the vehicle, as described above, many of these injuries are serious and require hospitalization and extensive treatment, which can be expensive.

In fact, according to a study from ValuePengun, the average hospital stay in the U.S. is 4.6 days, costing around $2,873 a day. The average American makes $26.22 an hour, meaning they would have to work more than 500 hours to pay their hospital bill. And that does not include the expense of any medical procedures or diagnostic testing required to treat the injury or the cost of physical therapy, rehabilitation, and the services of medical care providers.

Unfortunately, many of the injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents render the injured party unable to work while they recover from their injury. Some injuries—such as traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries—result in permanent disabilities that impair or prevent the injured party from ever being able to have a job or to earn in the same capacity as they did before the accident.

On top of the extreme financial impacts of the injury, riders also often experience profound implications on their quality of life, such as:

  • The loss of the ability to participate in activities that they enjoyed before the injury
  • Changes in their relationships with family and friends as they require home care and are limited in the domestic services and activities they can do unassisted
  • The disruption of daily activities caused by the need for frequent medical appointments and treatments.

The Difficulty of the Personal Injury Claims Process

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?

Motorcycle accidents feature a high risk of serious injury, and serious injuries are expensive. While every state in the nation provides a process by which those injured due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury from the at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage, the process is a challenging one.

Some of the difficulties faced by motorcycle accident claimants include:

  • Insurance providers with a financial interest in not compensating the claim using questionable tactics to devalue claims. They will try to convince a claimant to accept a meager settlement with an arbitrary deadline or threaten them with not receiving any compensation at all. They may ask leading questions to get the claimant to take some of the blame for their insured’s negligence or use the claimant’s social media posts to suggest that they’re not as injured as they claimed. They may even convince the claimant to release their entire medical history for the insurance company to “evaluate the claim.”
  • The massive amount of documentation and evidence needed to prove liability and justify the claim’s value. This evidence often includes information held by the at-fault party, medical documentation that is difficult to obtain, testimony by medical experts with experience in treating the type of injuries the rider suffered, and video footage that can be overwritten or misplaced if not immediately secured.
  • A confusing court process, which features a statute of limitations and a number of formalities. The statute of limitations is a legal deadline placed on filing a lawsuit. If this deadline expires before the lawsuit is filed, the claimant will generally lose their right to use the court process if the insurer fails to compensate the claim.
  • Difficulty in understanding the types of expenses and impacts one can claim through the personal injury claims process. This often results in a claim that does not provide enough compensation.


What Can Go Wrong if You Proceed Without an Attorney?

According to a study published in The University of Chicago Law Review, only 3 percent of individuals who pursue compensation through the civil court system without an attorney see a successful outcome to their case. Unfortunately, most individuals who have not been trained in personal injury law are overwhelmed by the seemingly endless documentation and strict court requirements. They are outmatched by the legal professionals representing the at-fault party and their insurer.

Without a motorcycle accident attorney, you might:

  • Lose the ability to file a lawsuit if the statute of limitations expires. Not only will allowing too much time to pass before filing the claim in court result in the loss of the ability to use the court to seek compensation, but the insurance company will also generally refuse to settle the claim.
  • Accept a settlement that does not provide enough compensation to cover the claimant’s expenses fully. When a settlement agreement is reached, one of the requirements is that the claimant waives their right to seek further compensation on the matter from the at-fault party or their insurer in the future. This means the claimant cannot go back and ask for more money if they realize the settlement wasn’t large enough.
  • Fall for insurance company tactics. This includes arbitrary deadlines and the release of personal medical information that is unnecessary to evaluate the claim.
  • Fail to secure the evidence needed to prove the claim or the necessary documentation to account for the claim’s value. This happens when the claimant is unaware of the required evidence and does not move to preserve this evidence for trial.
  • Fail to respond to motions filed by the at-fault party’s insurer with the court. This could result in the court dismissing your case.

How an Attorney Can Assist You With a Motorcycle Accident Claim

Attorneys begin helping their clients with their claims before they even agree to take the case by offering free case evaluations to help those injured understand the claims process and answer their questions about the case without obligation. When they agree to take the case, they and their legal team will investigate the case details to determine all sources of liability and the insurance policies held by the at-fault party that can compensate for the claim.

An attorney will also evaluate the expenses and impacts the claimant incurred to value the claim correctly. They will demand the claim’s value from the insurance provider on behalf of their client and will maintain communication with the insurer to negotiate an out-of-court settlement. They will also provide their client with the information necessary to make decisions about the claim, such as accepting a settlement or filing a lawsuit.

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will gather the evidence and witness testimony needed to show negligence and will manage the timing of the claim to ensure that it is filed in court within the statute of limitations. As the trial date nears, the attorney’s team will prepare the case for trial if there has yet to be a settlement. Some of the activities during these preparations include deposing witnesses, filing and responding to motions, assisting in jury selection, and presenting the case at pre-trial hearings.

When compensation is received for the claim, the attorney will assist the claimant in satisfying medical liens placed on the award.

Yes, You Can Afford a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

One of the biggest reasons those injured in motorcycle accidents choose not to hire a lawyer to guide them through the claims process is that they think the attorney’s fees will be more than they can afford. It’s a logical concern, seeing how most television and movie portrayals of lawyers feature discussions of “retainers,” high hourly fees, and long, drawn-out court battles.

In truth, however, most personal injury attorneys ensure that anyone who needs their help can afford to hire them by using a contingent fee billing method. This method allows you to hire your attorney without any upfront investment and only pay for services after your claim has been compensated.

How the Contingent Fee Billing Method Works

Personal injury lawyers provide a free case evaluation. This is a no-obligation conversation that you can have with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the details of your case and the legal options available for you. You also have the opportunity to learn more about the personal injury claims process and the experience of the lawyer and their legal team with cases like yours.

If, after this evaluation, you and the lawyer decide to begin working together on your claim, you will be asked to sign a contingent fee agreement. This legally binding agreement details the services your attorney can provide to assist you with your claim and designates a percentage of the compensation awarded to you through a negotiated settlement or court decision to be paid to your legal team for your services.

Once the agreement is in place, your lawyer and their team can begin working immediately on your case. You will not be billed by the hour for these services. When compensation is received for your claim, it will be sent directly to your attorney, and the proceeds will be deposited into an escrow account to separate the funds.

From this account, your attorney will work to settle any liens placed on the award by your healthcare providers or other insurers who provided coverage for your treatments. The attorney will then deduct the percentage owed to them as payment following the contingent fee agreement. You and your lawyer will meet to finalize your case, and the compensation after the liens are satisfied and your attorney is paid will be turned over to you.

Lawyers Are Important Assets for a Successful Motorcycle Accident Claim

Those who motorcycle accidents injured face many challenges, including:

  • Extraordinary medical expenses and a high risk of permanent injuries that create the need for continued medical treatment in the future.
  • The inability to perform the tasks of their job, or, in some cases, to perform the tasks of any job.
  • The loss of hobbies and activities due to the injury.
  • The physical and psychological pain and suffering resulting from a traumatic accident, severe injuries, and the dramatic change in their lifestyle.
  • The judgments of others about their choice of vehicle.
  • A complicated legal process to obtain needed compensation.

A motorcycle accident attorney won’t help you heal faster from your injuries. Still, it will give you have a better chance of obtaining the compensation you need. Reach out to a personal injury attorney.

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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