Motorcycle Accidents




I like to answer questions as directly as possible and get to the point. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident everything becomes legal really fast. The good news is you can always call an accident lawyer and usually talk to one on the phone. You can ask questions and get answers for free – usually. Accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay unless you get a settlement. I give a free initial consultation, usually over the phone during which I try to answer as many of your questions as possible. I can’t give you customized legal advice until I really know your case, but I can answer your questions in a general sense. You don’t have to hire a lawyer until you feel it’s the right thing to do.

Are there legal things I should worry about when I’m in a motorcycle accident?

The short answer is, unfortunately, probably. If you or someone you know has been hurt in a motorcycle accident, this is the way things usually play out:

1) The insurance companies will investigate to figure out if the accident was your fault or the other driver’s fault. Your insurance company will want the accident to be the other driver’s fault because then they can make the other company pay for the damages. The other driver’s insurance company will want the accident to be your fault because then they can get your insurance company to pay. You might think the facts are very clear. You may be right, but there may be an investigation that allows the other driver to make an argument that the accident was your fault or particularly your fault. What then? Things get complicated. Here are some things I tell my clients to guard against:

  • Don’t talk to insurance company adjusters or their investigators until you have talked to a lawyer who is looking out for your rights only (not an insurance company lawyer). Why? Because all other lawyers, adjusters and investigators are working to protect the companies who are paying them. Usually that means the insurance companies or the companies who own or employ the driver who hit you.
  • Take photos of the layout of the accident scene including where vehicles ended up, damage to vehicles and other property and injuries. If there are marks on the road left by the accident such as gouges and tiremarks, photos of these will also be helpful.
  • Call 911 and follow instructions of the dispatcher.
  • Get medical treatment as soon as possible and report all symptoms. If a new symptom appears, report it to a medical provider as soon as possible via phone or otherwise and set an appointment to get it evaluated. Why? Because documenting injuries when they first arise is important to insurance companies. They like to argue that injuries are not related to the accident if the injury isn’t documented close in time to the accident.

2) What if the insurance companies agree that the accident was the other driver’s fault? The other driver’s insurance company will decide how much it wants to pay you for your injuries and other damages. How do they decide how much? Well, one thing they consider is whether you have a lawyer or not and how likely it is that you can take them on and make them pay. Here are some things that insurance companies consider when deciding how much they will pay; there are many more:

  • Does the injured person have a lawyer?
  • Has the injured person been talking to the adjuster and making statements that minimized injuries or otherwise hurt the case?
  • How bad are the injuries?
  • How much are the medical bills?
  • Does the injured person need more medical treatment in the future?
  • How much income loss is there? Will there be future income loss?
  • Did the injuries cause pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience? How can these be quantified? Will any of these items of damages carry forward into the future?
  • Are any of the injuries and resulting disability, pain suffering etc. permanent?
  • Do any of the injuries affect a relationship with dependents or a spouse?
  • If there was a death, there are of course other damages and other considerations.

What Is the Next Step?

I don’t write all of this here because I want to scare you into doing something you don’t want to do. Legal matters are unpleasant, and many people think most lawyers are unpleasant. Certainly no one likes the idea of needing a lawyer. However, like plumbers, accident lawyers serve a very important purpose. Things have gotten very unpleasant or even scary, and we need help because our health, safety and maybe even lives have been altered. Someone’s negligence or recklessness has caused great harm and that person now has a powerful insurance company protecting them. We need to know our rights, and we need good advice from a motorcycle accident lawyer who is there to look out for us. Most injury lawyers I have met are nice people who take great pride in looking out for and protecting their clients. I think you’ll be relieved and happy if you call one.

I would be honored to hear from you if you think I can answer your questions and help you. While I practice mainly in Southern California, I’m also licensed in Washington and Arizona and work with many great attorneys around the country on serious injury cases. I’ve been practicing injury law for more than 25 years. I look forward to your call.

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