Motorcycle accidents are serious events that can result in life-changing injuries – so if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident and you feel you are not at fault for causing the accident, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation. Personal injury lawsuits for motorcycle accidents can become complicated very quickly, meaning that your case is best handled in the trusted hands of an expert motorcycle accident lawyer. Learn the strategies that will be used to win your lawsuit and award you the compensation you deserve.
How to Win Your Case With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
1. Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Know About Unique Challenges
Lawsuits for motorcycle accidents are vastly different than lawsuits for car accidents. There are several reasons for this, such as motorcyclists needing to adhere to certain laws on the road that car drivers do not have to observe. Motorcyclists also have unique challenges that make this type of lawsuit more difficult to pursue – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue legal action if the accident wasn’t caused by you.
Some unique challenges include:
- Riding in motorcycle packs
- Road hazards and inclement weather
- Lane splitting
- Distracted drivers
- Helmet or lack of helmet
Unique Challenges in Missouri
Broadly speaking, driving a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car, which means the likelihood that you will be in an accident is increased, especially if there are road hazards like potholes, difficult weather like ice and sleet, or distracted drivers on the road.
In Missouri, while lane splitting is legal, driving between two cars (or on the lane) may mean that your case could partially be your fault. And for personal injury, if it’s found that your injury was made worse by not wearing a helmet, then there might be grounds to dismiss your case or lower your possible settlement. These unique challenges can impact the outcome of your case, but a skilled lawyer will work with you to maximize the compensation you are able to claim.
2. Gather Documents and Evidence
All personal injury lawsuits move quickly, especially at the beginning. There are many documents and pieces of evidence that will have to be gathered, such as medical documents, scans of your injuries, testimony from medical professionals, independent medical examinations, witness testimony, and other documentation related to your case and your injuries, such as insurance claims or medical bills.
Specific Evidence That Might Be Useful
There is some specific evidence that might be useful to have to win your case. If you are able to, after you have been in a motorcycle accident the best thing you can do for your case is to document the scene of the accident with photographs. These photographs could give your motorcycle accident lawyer an advantage during the later stages of your case. Other useful evidence might include CCTV footage captured by traffic monitors or store security cameras that could give a better perspective on how the accident occurred and who is at fault for the accident.
3. Understand the Damages and Compensation You Are Entitled To
Your motorcycle accident is more than an accident that happened on one day; your life is now separated into two categories, before the accident and after the accident. If you have sustained serious injuries from your accident, then your life may never return to normal because of these injuries. For that reason, the compensation you are entitled to is sometimes greater than what might be awarded to car drivers involved in similar accidents.
Understanding the damages and compensation you are entitled to means you have a full understanding of how much the accident has impacted your ability to live your life, function as a member of society, and have independence. Some damages that are calculated into your compensation include:
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost income or loss of job
Why Might Your Compensation Be Higher?
There are a few reasons why your compensation might be higher. For example, if you have sustained a serious injury that could render you unable to work for the rest of your life, you may be entitled to a significant amount of money, especially if the accident was through no fault of your own. Your compensation may also be higher if one of the consequences of the accident means that you have lost your income source. Pain and suffering is also a factor that a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can argue a higher compensation for on your behalf.
4. Know Whether You Are Suing a Motorist or a Government
Motorcycle accidents are usually caused by two things: either it is the fault of another motorist on the road, or it is by the negligence of the city or state government who is in charge of maintaining road conditions. In either case, knowing which is at fault for your accident will affect the compensation you are entitled to as well as the type of lawsuit you can file.
Why These Suits Are Different
Suing your local government is different than suing a fellow motorist for one very important reason: gross negligence. While a fellow motorist might have been temporarily distracted or caused the accident in some way, that is still a momentary lapse that resulted in an unfortunate accident. The negligence of your local government, however, means that your local government was aware of the road condition and knowingly halted or ignored the need for road construction. If your accident was caused by potholes or other road conditions, then you will be filing a suit against your local government.
5. Don’t Trust the Insurance Settlement
Following your accident, you may be offered a settlement from an insurance company. The settlement might look like a fair sum, but legal experts warn against accepting this settlement at all – not only do insurance companies low-ball the amount you are owed for compensation, but accepting the settlement means that you will not be able to sue the motorist who caused your accident or the insurance company for further compensation.
Should You Negotiate With the Insurance Company?
You may be able to negotiate with the insurance company at some point during litigation. It’s most common to negotiate with the insurance company for better compensation after the lawsuit has been filed and the insurance company is open to a settlement rather than public court proceedings. At this time, your personal injury lawyer will negotiate on your behalf.
6. Be Prepared for a Court Trial
You may also want to be prepared to go to court for trial on your case. This happens when your lawyer and the insurance company can’t reach a settlement on your case, which means your suit graduates to the court system where all evidence will be heard and tried, usually before a judge. It’s important to be mentally prepared to go to trial, especially as this means the defense will try to make the accident your responsibility instead of the other motorist or your local government.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit for a motorcycle accident has a lot of moving parts that make it unique. Between unique motorcycle laws and the aim of your suit, there are many considerations that you will need expert help to navigate. From negotiating with the insurance company to leveraging evidence for your benefit, trusting a motorcycle accident lawyer is your best avenue for getting the compensation owed to you. To learn more about motorcycle accident lawsuits, visit Potts Law Firm in Westwood, KS or Springfield, MO today.