Motorcycles offer a wonderful way to get around town and enjoy the fresh air. However, riding on a motorcycle carries a number of risks. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a motorcycle accident case. Distracted driving or driving under the influence can lead to serious accidents as well.
According to a study of 2017 data, the Governor’s Highway Safety Administration, motorcycle accidents make up 14% of motor vehicle related fatalities. Moreover, per miles driven, motorcycles have a fatality rate that is 28% higher than passenger vehicles.
The personal injury lawyers at Petersen Johnson have significant experience representing people who have been in motorcycle accidents. Our law firm will work with you to maximize your settlement to ensure that you will have the best recovery possible.
Here is what you should do if you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident:
1. Seek Medical Treatment
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment. Motorcycle drivers in Arizona over 18 years old are not required to wear helmets. If you hit your head when tossed from a motorcycle, you could have a concussion or a severe brain injury. You may also have internal bleeding, broken bones, or severe road rash.
Related article: Common Car Accident Injury Symptoms
In addition to treating your injuries, having medical documentation showing the extent of your injuries will be important when it comes time to negotiate your settlement amount. If you wait too long, insurance companies may try to argue that your injuries are not serious enough in order to avoid paying your medical costs.
2. Document Everything
A common stereotype about lawyers is that they love paperwork and documentation. This is true because having documentation is the best way to maximize a settlement claim.
After the accident, take photographs of the site of the accident, your motorcycle, the other car, and your injuries. You should also keep track of any property that was damaged as a result of the accident. Did your cell phone screen crack, or will you need to replace your helmet, gloves, or riding boots?
Create a special folder to keep track of all the medical bills you receive, not only from the hospital but also from the pharmacy, the chiropractor, the physical therapist, and any other medical professional you see. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to recreate this documentation later. Your bills and receipts are necessary to maximize your motorcycle accident claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
Don’t forget to track other expenses you incur as a result of the accident. These can include:
- Lost wages from the time you spent away from work at doctor’s appointments or in recovery
- Gas spent driving to and from medical appointments
- Additional childcare costs
- The cost to repair your bike
- The rental fees for a new vehicle while yours is in the shop
- Replacement motorcycle gear and clothing
- Repairing or replacing your cell phone and other personal property damaged in the accident
If you are in doubt of the relevancy of any particular bill, hang on to the receipt and discuss it with your personal injury attorney.
Finally, document your day-to-day aches and pains. Use an app on your phone or a physical calendar to rate the amount of pain you have on any given day. This can be a useful aid to document the pain and suffering you have as a result of the accident. This will show how many days you were in pain, but also the extent of your pain.
You should note this is not the only way to calculate pain and suffering. Your lawyer may also suggest pain and suffering be calculated based on the expenses you incurred from the accident. Make all your records as accurate as possible in order to maximize your settlement.
3. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
The other driver’s insurance company is not your friend. The company’s job is to maximize their profits while minimizing the amount they pay. Insurance agents may actually receive bonuses for denying claims and settling cases for lower than they are worth. They may offer to settle with you quickly, before you are aware of the final cost of your medical bills and other expenses.
Because of this, you need an attorney who is on your side and knows the ins and outs of settlement negotiation.
You should meet with your attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Many insurance companies require that you file a claim within a short period of time after the accident. You may not know the full cost of the accident when you file your claim, but do not fret. The settlement negotiation phase will take some time. Continue to get the medical treatment you need and keep documenting your expenses.
Related article: Car Accident Injury Settlement Process
Your lawyer will help you calculate how much your claim is worth. Remember: the goal of a settlement is not to make you rich. Instead, it is to put you in the position you were before the accident occurred.
Your settlement may be lowered, depending on your contributory negligence. In a personal injury lawsuit in Arizona, a jury will determine what percentage of the accident was the plaintiff’s fault, and lower the award by that amount. An insurance company may try to perform the same calculation during the settlement process. Your personal injury attorney will discuss this and other strategies the insurance company may use in order to avoid paying your claim.
Sometimes, insurance companies are not willing to pay a fair settlement. If this happens, you should ask your attorney about suing the other driver for damages. A motorcycle accident claim must be filed within two years of the date of the crash.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. If you were in a motorcycle accident, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for a free consultation today.