Millions of Americans throughout the country love their motorcycles, and the popularity of these two-wheeled forms of transportation is only growing each year. While many motorcyclists will acknowledge (at least on an intellectual level) that motorcycling can be dangerous, many riders feel that the potential dangers of riding a motorcycle are significantly outweighed by the feeling of freedom and carefreeness that accompanies being behind the handlebars of a powerful motorcycle.
Motorcyclists, however, are at an increased risk for being seriously or fatally injured in a crash with another motor vehicle. This is true even if the motorcyclist wears a helmet and other appropriate protective gear. These accidents can cause a great deal of pain for motorcyclists and lead to injuries that require significant time and resources to heal from. A motorcycle accident lawyer cannot prevent injuries while riding, but an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can assist injured motorcyclists in obtaining the monetary damages they need to pay for proper treatment and to be able to focus on their health and recovery.
Recovering Compensation Following a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists who are involved in a crash not of their own doing may be able to obtain financial compensation from the person who did cause the crash. This is not automatic or guaranteed – instead, the motorcyclist will need to produce evidence and bring forth witnesses to testify on the injured motorcyclist’s behalf. This evidence and testimony will need to establish:
- The other party owed the motorcyclist a duty of care. This “duty of care” is a legal obligation imposed on a person that requires the person to act or behave in a certain way. For example, the law imposes a duty on every motorist who gets behind the wheel (or a set of handlebars) a legal duty to be careful and exercise ordinary caution when driving or riding.
- The other party breached the duty of care. A breach of the duty of care means that the person did not act in the way that an objective, reasonable, and responsible person in the same situation would have acted. In other words, if a breach of the duty of care is established, then the court (or jury, if a jury is deciding the case) has determined that the other party has acted in a negligent or careless manner.
- The other party’s breach caused or contributed to the motorcycle crash. If the injured motorcyclist would have suffered the same injuries regardless of the other party’s action, then it cannot be said that the other party is responsible for causing the motorcyclist’s injuries. However, if the motorcyclist would not have been injured absent the other party’s negligent conduct (or, in some states, even if it can be said the motorcyclist would not have been injured as severely as he or she was absent the other party’s actions), then the other party may be legally responsible for the motorcyclist’s injuries.
- The motorcycle’s injuries are compensable with a monetary award. A court cannot undo injuries and will not enter any orders on behalf of the motorcyclist other than an order directing the other party to pay the reasonable past and future costs, losses, and expenses of the motorcyclist, including his or her pain and suffering. If the motorcyclist cannot quantify his or her losses, the court is not able to help the motorcyclist.
Compensation may be available even if the motorcyclist’s own actions or inactions (like failing to wear a helmet or riding aggressively) contributed to the crash. The effect that the motorcyclist’s own negligence will play in a lawsuit filed by the motorcyclist will vary from state to state, so it is crucial to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws of the state in which the crash took place.
Other Reasons Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Proving that you are entitled to legal compensation is not always an easy task. When the other party denies any responsibility for causing the crash or the motorcyclist’s injuries, the burden is on the motorcyclist to come forward with evidence – pictures, diagrams, accident reports, medical bills, expert opinions – and testimony from witnesses (including eyewitnesses, or witnesses who observed the crash occur) that convinces a judge or jury of the essential elements of a motorcycle crash lawsuit.
A motorcycle accident can be confusing and terrifying, but Stern Law, PLLC is compassionate and determined to assist you in your quest for compensation. Because we have helped numerous other injured motorcyclists, we can help guide you through this difficult and challenging time. We will gather the evidence and witnesses you will need and will fight aggressively on your behalf. Our goal is to assist you in obtaining a full and fair compensation award so you can pay for the treatment and time off of work you need to heal. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 today if you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident.