Car drivers are usually at fault in motorcycle accidents. They may succumb to poor driving behaviors, such as disregarding motorcyclists, improper left turns, and opening their doors without checking for oncoming traffic.
If you were in a motorcycle accident, you could have grounds to pursue compensation from the at-fault party or their insurance company. A motorcycle accident attorney can help you gather evidence to back up your claims and seek a financial recovery on your behalf.
Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
Because motorcycle accidents can happen in a blink of an eye, it may be difficult to identify who and what caused the accident. A motorcycle accident lawyer can investigate what happened and collect different forms of evidence, such as:
- Traffic citations
- Photographs of your damaged motorcycle and crash scene
- Imaging scans of your injuries and other medical records
- Security or traffic video of the crash
- The police report
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
After gathering all the evidence, you can then apply the standard of negligence to prove the other party’s role in causing the crash.
The Other Party Was Obligated to Provide You With a Duty of Care
All those working on and using the road are to act with prudence and care. They should behave with everyone’s safety in mind.
This element of negligence is the simplest to prove.
They Failed to Uphold Their Duty of Care
When the other party acts poorly or fails to act altogether, they have breached their duty of care. In the case of drivers, their breach may have been:
- Drunk driving
- Disregarding motorcyclists
- Opening their door without checking for traffic
- Improper lane change or turns
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Running a red light or stop signal
- Failure to yield
There are instances in which inclement weather, defective vehicle parts, and/or poor road maintenance can contribute to a motorcycle accident.
They Caused a Motorcycle Accident and Your Injuries
The other party’s negligence led to a motorcycle accident. As a result, you may have suffered:
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Loss of limb or amputations
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cuts and bruises
- Broken or fractured bones
The Accident Caused Financial and Non-Financial Strains
Motorcycle accident injuries can often lead to high medical bills, taking a leave of absence from your job, and other out-of-pocket costs. Documentation of these things will provide a link to the crash and your injuries.
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Forms of Compensation You Can Seek From the At-fault Party
Once you establish the at-fault party’s negligence, you can get to work on determining the types of damages you can recover. In many motorcycle accident cases, available forms include:
- Past and ongoing medical bills: For pain medications, blood tests and other diagnostic assessments, mobility aids, surgery, emergency services, physical therapy, and follow-up doctor’s appointments you may have needed
- Mental anguish: For the sleeplessness, anxiety, and phobia you may be experiencing after the accident
- Property damage expenses: For the repair or replacement of your motorcycle
- Pain and suffering: For the discomfort, inconvenience, and scarring your injuries have caused you
- Lost income: For the wages, bonuses, opportunities, and benefits you couldn’t earn because your injuries kept you from returning to work
- Diminished earning potential: For the difference in pay if you need to accept a lower-paying job or cannot go back to work for an extended period of time
Because motorcycles provide limited protection, a motorcyclist may suffer fatal injuries in an accident. If your loved one passed away due to a motorcycle wreck, you could recover losses for burial and funeral expenses, final medical bills, loss of consortium, and/or household services.
Indiana’s Comparative Fault Laws May Impact Your Total Compensation
When you file a claim for compensation, the insurance companies and attorneys will launch their own investigation to see how the accident happened and who caused it. Indiana’s comparative fault laws may come into play here. Consider the following scenario:
The driver stopped to open his door. Because he didn’t check if anyone was coming, he hit you. The insurance company may discover that you were lane-splitting, which is illegal in Indiana. In that case, the insurance company may assign 70% of the fault to the other driver and the rest to you.
Therefore, if you were set to recover $10,000, you would instead collect $7,000. Those who hold more than 51% of the blame may be prohibited from pursuing compensation.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Manage Your Case
Figuring out Indiana’s legal system on your own is no easy task. Instead, you may benefit from hiring a personal injury lawyer to handle all associated tasks for you. On your behalf, they can:
- Determine who is at fault
- Collect evidence
- Speak with your doctors and witnesses
- Request the police report
- Communicate with everyone involved in your case
- Enter into settlement negotiations
- Protect you from the insurance company acting in bad faith
- Bring your case in front of a jury if they cannot come to a settlement agreement
You may want to contact a motorcycle accident attorney’s office sooner rather than later, as Indiana places certain time limits on personal injury lawsuits. According to IC § 34-11-2-4, the state generally gives you a two-year window to take action. Failure to act within this time frame may prompt the courts to refuse to hear your case. In that case, you could have little to no avenues to compensation.
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Get in Touch With Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., Today to Start Your Free Case Review
The at-fault party in most motorcycle accidents is the car driver, but it really depends on everyone’s role in the incident. In any event, a motorcycle accident lawyer with our firm can get to the bottom of what happened and seek compensation on your behalf.
You can learn more about how Randy, the Lawyer Who Rides, can help during a free consultation. Contact Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., now at (317) 636-7777.