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Motorcycle accidents can be devastating. Our attorneys can help.
Riding a motorcycle is not just a hobby but is a way of life. But not unlike most things in life that are driven by passion and energy, riding a motorcycle comes with great risk because riders are exposed to dangers not met by automobile drivers and other motorists. For example, the basic lack of any substantial preventative or protective barriers between a motorcycle and the road and other vehicles have a greater difficulty seeing motorcycles, which leaves riders prone to more serious injury in the event of an accident.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration notes that motorcyclists are overly represented in fatal accidents on the road. In 2019 alone, some 5,014 motorcyclists died in crashes on the road. Drivers are urged to be alert, however, you cannot control what other drivers might do, and motorcycles accidents happen often.
What is more, when accidents involving a motorcycle occur, the injuries are oftentimes more catastrophic than accidents involving automobiles and other vehicles. As a result, motorcycle riders must be aware of their legal rights and remedies when they are involved in a traffic accident. This is especially true because many requirements for motorcycle insurance differ from those of automobiles. Therefore it is extremely important that when a rider is involved in a motorcycle accident that they consult with an attorney regarding the applicable laws in your state.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a preventable motorcycle accident in St. George, our attorneys can help. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Greater Risks for Motorcycle Riders
Our attorneys at We Win Injury Law know the greater risks riders face. One of our partners, Jim Park, is an active rider himself. On our roadways, only 1/3 of motorcycle accidents were due to the rider’s negligence. In fact, most accidents involving motorcycles are caused by motor vehicles violating the motorcycle rider’s right of way. Riders are also 25 times more likely to die in an accident compared to those who are inside a motor vehicle. Lastly, even though motor vehicle deaths in the United States have fallen in the last decade, rider deaths have more than doubled. In crashes where a rider survives, they still often suffer serious, sometimes catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, crush injuries, road rash, and brain or spinal cord injuries.
Determining Liability in Motorcycle Accident Cases
As is the case with most motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accident claims are governed by whether or not the at-fault party was negligent. Negligence is a legal concept that is comprised of four parts: duty, breach, causation, and damages. Basically, a party must have some duty or responsibility towards you, that duty must be breached and then cause an accident, and there must be damages as a result of the accident.
In the context of a motorcycle accident, the driver has a duty to follow the rules of the road. For example, if a driver engages in distracted driving like texting while driving, which is doing any activity while driving that takes their hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or mind off their driving, they have violated the rules of the road. If a driver hit you while they were texting and driving, and the accident leads to injuries that result in damages, you are entitled to compensation.
For negligence to be established, each of the four elements of negligence must be proven by applying the concept to the unique facts and circumstances of your motorcycle accident. When another driver was liable in your motorcycle accident, you will generally be collecting your compensation from their insurance company, as we’ll discuss below.
In some jurisdictions, if the rider was partially at-fault they may not be able to recover for their injuries because of the contributory negligence rules of their state. However, Utah is a comparative negligence state, which means the rider is only required to show that the other party was more at-fault than they were. In other words, the at-fault party must be at least 51% at fault to recover damages, but damages are then calculated based on each party’s fault.
The purpose of compensation in personal injury cases is to “be made whole”. This is a legal concept that essentially means that a claim should put you in as close a financial position as possible as though the accident had never happened. For injuries that cannot be fixed, financial compensation is available, including for disfigurement, disability, and a variety of other potential motorcycle accident injuries.
The Insurance Company Works for Profit, Not For You
Even when fault is clear and another party is responsible for your damages, collecting compensation is not automatic. You must provide clear and convincing evidence to prove and outline the extent of your damages, then draft and file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party for the accident. The claim must be submitted within the statute of limitations, as we’ll explain in the section below. The claim must include a substantial amount of information concerning the accident, related medical bills, and any impact it may have upon your earnings. This information comes from investigations, police reports, eyewitness testimony, medical records and occupational experts.
Medical professionals can assess your injuries and determine their long-term impact on your health. This includes measuring the cost of all future medical care, ranging from medications, treatment, and rehabilitation. If your injuries impact your ability to work and earn income, you are entitled to any negative impact on your earnings capacity, from the time of your injury through your working life.
To collect your short- and long-term damages, you need estimates produced by experts produced into reports that you can incorporate into your insurance claim. Even the strongest claims with more than enough evidence are denied. When your claim is denied you may have an option to appeal, and if you still cannot collect a fair offer of settlement, you’ll have to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and take them to court.
You Have a Limited Time to File
Your ability to file a claim or lawsuit to collect damages associated with your injuries has an expiration date, known as the statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim or case within the time allowed by the statute of limitations, you forfeit your ability to ever attempt to collect compensation for your damages. This means that you and your family will be left to cover bills and lost earnings linked to your injuries out of your own pockets.
In the state of Utah, you generally have four years to bring your case from the time of your injury. When you do not file your claim within the four years allowed, you may have lost your right to ever bring your claim. However, in some situations, the statute of limitations does not begin until other particular events. If you do not discover that a particular accident or incident was the cause of an injury for some time, the statute of limitations may not begin until the injury is discovered. This can apply in situations where chemical exposure leads to sickness over time, or a major injury was not discovered due to a failure to diagnose.
Ensuring that you file your claim or case for your motorcycle accident on time is essential. While you might not know what the statute of limitations is in your area, or how it applies to the unique facts and circumstances of your particular accident, your local motorcycle accident attorneys from We Win Injury Law does. We have over twenty years of experience successfully filing claims on behalf of injured clients and fighting the insurance company on their behalf.
Call Our Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in St. George or anywhere else in the state of Utah, our attorneys can help. You don’t have to go through this troubling time alone, We Win Injury Law can help you recover the compensation that you need to move forward. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.