If you were involved in a motorcycle crash, you may be dealing with expensive medical bills, missing work, and a long, painful recovery. After being injured in a motorcycle crash, you have the right to sue the person responsible for the collision. According to The Motorcycle Legal Foundation, 79,000 people were injured in a motorcycle accident and 5,115 died in 2019. Many people in these situations do not know there are legal actions they can pursue after the accident.
Here are a set of guidelines about a motorcycle accident and possible legal action. There are a few different things you need to know, such as the legal grounds for suing if you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, who you can sue, how you collect, how to build your case, and how Barfoot and Schoettker can help you.
First, to make sure you have sufficient cause to build a case, you must evaluate the cause of the accident. Some common causes for a motorcycle collision are:
- Opening car door in path of motorcycle
- Car turning left and not yielding to an approaching motorcycle
- Driver changing lanes and not checking blind spots for motorcycle
- Motorcycle’s parts fail to perform
- Road issues such as potholes, debris, or poorly maintained roads that cause a motorcycle to be at risk
These reasons may allow you to sue the party at fault for your injuries or other factors leading to recovery.
Who Can You Sue?
- Another driver. Another driver is the most common person sued in a motorcycle crash lawsuit. It can be the driver of a car, truck, motorcycle, or other type of vehicle. The other driver may still be at fault even if it was an accident but their actions led to the collision.
- Motorcycle manufacturer. Sometimes these accidents are caused because a motorcycle is not functioning properly. There can be defects with the parts of the motorcycle that the manufacturer was not careful enough with. This could be a problem from it being put together improperly or carelessly, or a broken part was used.
- Helmet manufacturer. If you see a doctor after the crash, they can rule if the helmet was ineffective or malfunctioning. If it was ruled as such, you can sue the company that makes the helmets. They are not usually fully responsible for damages but this is a factor to keep in mind. Usually, it is an outside factor causing the accident, but if your helmet isn’t working properly, they can be partially at fault.
- Dealerships. If the issue was caused by an issue the dealership neglected when you were sold the bike, they are at fault. This could be a recall or not fully disclosing the condition of the bike sold. You might find it hard to prove, but with reasonable cause we are here to help.
- Government. A government entity may be responsible for your accident. This could be from a dangerous road condition such as potholes, debris, or improper signage.
How can you collect?
To win your case against another person, you must have all the following basic elements to establish your case. You must also have an example provided for a case of a careless driver causing the accident.
- Duty: It is every driver’s duty to be careful while driving and to have regard for others
- Breach: This is breached if they cause an accident
- Causation: The breach of duty caused the crash
- Damages: This can be physical injury, mental health damage, or lost time from recovery
All 4 of these items must be present for there to be enough to file a suit against the other driver or cause of accident.
Some of the damages you can recover are:
- Medical bills: This includes hospital bills, doctors visits, surgeries if needed, and physical therapy.
- Pain and suffering you experienced during the process of recovery
- Mental health: Mental health issues can arise after being in an accident such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression
- Loss of earnings: time off work and opportunities missed while recovering from the incident or future earnings you are losing if you are not able to perform to the best of your ability
- Property damages: Personal property can include the motorcycle, helmet, and other personal items worn or present at the scene
Building Your Case
The next stop is to compile all elements you will need when speaking with your lawyer. You should gather all your evidence such as medical records, witness statements, photos or videos from the scene, police report, broken parts, and take note of any reasons the road might have caused the accident.
You will also need to determine the value of your claim. Usually lawyers do this best with medical records and will not let the defendant’s insurance company force you to settle for less.
Next you will file the claim/lawsuit. This is where things may be out of your hands and up to your lawyer. The following step is to negotiate a settlement. Your lawyer can handle all the communication that will be going on between insurance companies and the defendant. The lawyer representing you will fight for you during the settlement, giving you time to focus on recovery and relaxing.
The final step that might occur is taking your case to trial. If your settlement fails and you have enough reason to accuse another for your injuries, you may want to take your case to trial. Your lawyer is ready to fight for you in court with all the evidence you have gathered together.
How we can help
If you or a loved one have been in a motorcycle accident and have reason to seek legal action, contact us at Barfoot and Schoettker to review everything for your case. We provide services for other types of accidents such as car or truck, as well as personal or work related injuries. We are located in central Alabama and serve clients all throughout the state. We take a personalized and unique approach to each case and want to find what works best for you. We are ready to help you win your case!