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When Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

If you are injured in a motorcycle crash this summer, you should know when, why, and how a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you.

Most motorcycle accidents happen in the summertime. And especially in the case of single-vehicle motorcycle crashes, it is common for people to think that the rider had to be solely at fault. Sometimes, even the rider thinks this. Insurance companies know that—and they use it to their advantage.

This blog entry presents 12 FAQs that speak to why you should hire a motorcycle crash attorney as soon as you can after an accident. Among them:

  1. Are motorcycle crashes always the fault of the rider?

  2. What are some ways that car or truck drivers cause motorcycle crashes?

  3. Can poorly designed, built, or maintained roadways cause motorcycle crashes?

  4. What other factors contribute to motorcycle accidents?

  5. How likely are motorcycle accidents?

  6. What are typical motorcycle injuries?

  7. What are “delayed” or “late-appearing” injuries?

  8. Why should you hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

  9. When should you hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

  10. How long after an accident do you have to hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

  11. What damages can be recovered in a motorcycle-accident injury claim?

  12. How much does it cost to hire a motorcycle-crash attorney?

1. Are motorcycle crashes always the fault of the rider?

Often enough, the cause of a motorcycle accident boils down to aggressive, negligent, or careless driving on the part of the motorcyclist alone. But many motorcycle accidents are attributable to someone else; and that is usually an automobile driver who fails to detect and recognize a nearby motorcycle in traffic.

Because a motorcycle is small compared to four-wheel vehicles, it can be difficult to see amidst the cars and trucks that might be surrounding it, especially if there is glare. This can make intersections treacherous, especially when car drivers are careless or otherwise negligent. In fact, intersections are one of the most frequent sites for car-motorcycle collisions.

2. What are some ways that car or truck drivers cause motorcycle crashes?

The two main ways that car or truck drivers cause motorcycle crashes are:

  1. Left-turns. A car driver might fail to notice the turn signal of a motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction as it turns left, and thereby broadsides the motorcycle as it executes the turn. In other circumstances, because they fail to check their side-view mirrors or blind spots adequately, drivers might turn into a motorcycle that is proceeding in the same direction on their immediate left or right.

  2. Negligence. Motorcycle accidents often happen as a consequence of speeding, distraction, or recklessness on the part of a car or truck driver. Examples are failure to yield or stop at intersections, disregarding traffic signs or signals, texting, phone calls, DWI, driver fatigue, speeding, and/or recklessness.

3. Can poorly designed, built, or maintained roadways cause motorcycle crashes?

Yes. The entity or entities that designed and built the roadway upon which you had a motorcycle crash—or that are supposed to maintain it—might be partially or entirely at fault. Some roadway factors that can cause or contribute to a motorcycle accident include:

  • Potholes

  • Grooved, resurfaced, or uneven pavements

  • Lane shifts and turn lanes that are poorly marked

  • Inadequate road shoulders

  • No medians, guardrails, or dividers

  • Vegetation (e.g. low-hanging branches)

  • Poorly designed or constructed bridge joints

  • Loose gravel or sand on the pavement.

  • Debris, gravel, or sand on the roadway

  • Standing water (an obstacle in and of itself, or it can obscure road defects)

4. What other factors contribute to motorcycle accidents?

Besides left turns and negligence (see 2), there are two other major factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents). They are:

  1. Road hazards. Due to their lack of stability relative to four-wheel vehicles, road hazards are more dangerous to motorcycles than to automobiles, and therefore a common cause of motorcycle accidents. These hazards include slippery surfaces, uneven pavement, loose gravel, and roadway debris. (Also, see 3.)

  2. Lane-splitting. This is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. Also called traffic filtering, white-lining, lane sharing, and stripe-riding, it is illegal in every U.S. state except California, where it is viewed as a way to ease traffic congestion.

5. How likely are motorcycle accidents?

The probability of having a motorcycle accident correlates highly with gender, age, time of day, alcohol, weather, education, and the skill of the rider.

  • As to gender, data from 2017 show that only 3.73 percent of women died in motorcycle crashes, even though they represent somewhere between 14 and 19 percent of motorcycle owners.

  • As to age, because so many “Boomers” and middle-aged persons have taken up motorcycling, the average age of motorcyclists involved in crashes is about 39 years; and the proportion of injured riders above the age of 40 is about 50 percent (see source). Among injured riders, 50- to 59-year-olds represent the fastest-growing group, while 20- to 29-year-olds are the most rapidly declining (see source).

  • As to the time of day, per NHTSA statistics, the odds of being involved in a motorcycle accident are highest between 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM on any given day of the week. But they are even higher on weekends, when the probability of having a fatal motorcycle accident during those hours more than doubles, and 42 percent of motorcycle fatalities happen.

  • As to alcohol, 37 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol impairment; and 55 percent do on weekend nights (2016 data for single-vehicle crashes).

  • As to the weather, about 33 percent of motorcycle accidents happen in wet conditions (e.g. rain or flooding).

  • As to education, the more one has the less likelihood he or she will be involved in a motorcycle accident (see source).

  • As to rider skills, there is evidence that formal motorcyclist training reduces accident involvement by 92 percent (see source).

Nonetheless and demographics aside, a significant amount of motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence of other drivers, especially during the summer, when there are higher volumes of traffic because of longer trips to weekend and vacation destinations. Another contributing factor is roadway design, construction, and/or maintenance, which might make a state, city, or municipality partially or fully at fault for a motorcycle crash (see 3).

6. What are typical motorcycle injuries?

Motorcycle accidents are often catastrophic because, unlike in a car accident, there is no autobody structure surrounding the rider to absorb the force of impact. Thus, motorcycle injuries are often severe, permanent, or fatal. Among them are:

  • Head injuries. These include concussions and brain damage secondary to being thrown from a motorcycle at high speed. They also include facial disfigurement caused by the motorcyclist’s face making contact with the helmet chin bar, leading to permanent disfigurement.

  • Biker’s arm. This is permanent nerve damage caused by landing on one or both arms during a crash.

  • Road rash. This is the colloquial term for abrasions to the skin and underlying capillaries that happen when a person slides along the pavement or gravel after being knocked from a motorcycle.

  • Joint trauma. This category of injury includes broken elbows, hips, collarbones, arm bones, and wrists caused by a violent impact. It can also include a broken pelvis or spine.

7. What are “delayed” or “late-appearing” injuries?

“Delayed injuries” or “late-appearing injuries” are actually misnamed because they are really not delayed at all. You just do not immediately notice them. This is because, after being injured, your body responds by producing endorphins, which are a big part of its defense system to temporarily suppress pain so you can either “fight or flee” a situation.

Endorphins wear off quickly, so minor injuries typically hurt more down the road than when they actually happened. That is the “delay.” And so an injury that might seem minor at first might prove to be a serious one down the road.

Some serious injuries that can make themselves known days after a car crash include:

  • Soft-tissue injuries. Trauma to your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are classified as contusions, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, stress injuries, and strains. They manifest in pain, swelling, bruising, and physical damage. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury.

  • Concussions. These are a kind of traumatic brain injuries that can cause headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance, and coordination.

  • Emotional harm. The effect or memory of an accident can cause mental suffering such as anxiety, depression, loss of ability to perform tasks, and/or physical illness.

  • Herniated discs. Symptoms can be significant neck, back, and/or leg pain. This injury is also known as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disk.

  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. Commonly called TMJ, these affect jaw joints and their surrounding muscles and ligaments. Jaw tenderness, headaches, earaches, and facial pain are symptoms.

8. Why should you hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

Paying the least possible amount to settle your claim is the way insurance companies enhance their profits. So insurance claim adjusters are highly motivated to save money for their company by paying you the smallest settlement they can. Also, insurance adjusters are savvy at getting you to say things that will weaken the credibility of your claim.

This is why you should never speak directly to insurance company representatives (your own or that of an at-fault party) without the guidance of a motorcycle-crash attorney. It is better to refer all questions about your crash to your motorcycle-crash lawyer, who will leverage his or her knowledge and skills to counter insurance company tactics.

Remember, insurance companies have extensive resources and lots of lawyers to militate against your best interests. It is not wise to try to go it alone. Engage a personal injury attorney to protect your legitimate interests.

9 . When should you hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

You should hire a personal injury lawyer who has specific skills with motorcycle crashes whenever you and/or your co-rider are injured in a motorcycle accident, no matter how minor that injury might initially seem (see 7).

10. How long after an accident do you have to hire a motorcycle accident attorney?

It is best to retain a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can after a crash. Evidence is time-sensitive and quickly disappears from memory. Eyewitnesses forget. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to assemble evidence to make your case.

Also, if you wait too long, you might become ineligible to bring legal action against the other driver. Many injuries resulting from a motorcycle crash do not become obvious until well after it happened (see 7). You might require expensive treatments for a long time. But if you let your state’s statute of limitations expire, then you have no chance to be compensated for your bills, pain, suffering, and emotional stress.

11. What damages can be recovered in a motorcycle-accident injury claim?

You might be entitled to several different types of damages, contingent on how your injuries impact your life and that of your family. These can include:

  • Repair or loss of your motorcycle, or for its loss in value.

  • Medical expenses incurred or expected to be incurred. As some injuries are “delayed” (see 7), you should get a thorough medical examination immediately following a motorcycle crash.

  • Lost wages and future wage loss are reasonably expected to be incurred. This involves factors that interfere with earning your usual wages. E.g. lost work due to hospital stays, mobility problems, PT/OT sessions, etc.

  • Mental, emotional, and physical pain and suffering. The type of injury, the intensity of pain, and the likelihood of future pain attributable to that injury are considered in these damages.

  • Possible punitive damages. These are awarded to punish and make an example of at‑fault parties to deter them and others from acting or driving the same way as what caused your motorcycle accident.

  • Loss of affection or companionship. Your spouse can make claims for loss of companionship with you if your injuries prevent showing affection and/or having sexual relations. Likewise, if your co-rider is your spouse and is killed in a motorcycle accident, you and other family members can seek compensation.

12. How much does it cost to hire a motorcycle-crash attorney?

Galindo motorcycle-crash lawyers charge no upfront or out-of-pocket fees. We are only paid a percentage of the compensation we are able to secure for you. So by working with Galindo Law, you incur zero financial risk.

Contact Galindo Law today if you or a loved one have suffered major or minor injuries in a motorcycle crash.

If you have had a motorcycle accident, it is very possible that you qualify for compensation relative to pain and other damages. You are not asking for charity. You deserve to be adequately compensated for your loss.

Or, if you prefer, email us.

And thank you for reading our blog!


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