Why Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
To be frank, in a motorcycle accident, the stakes are often higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), US motorcycle riders are four times more likely to be injured in a crash than passenger car occupants. They’re also 16 times more likely to be killed. While 20% of automobile crashes result in injury or death, that number jumps to 80% for motorcycles.
In other words, motorcycle accident injuries are more common and more severe, and riders have a lot more to lose. Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding whether to hire an attorney and then choosing the attorney to represent you.
Motorcycle Crashes Are Different From Other Vehicle Crashes
The dynamics of motorcycle accidents are very different than crashes between two cars. There are more things to consider, and with the increase in serious injury likelihood for bikers, the monetary compensation you’re seeking could be higher. That usually makes a fight with the at-fault driver’s insurance company more likely as well. You may need an attorney with real experience representing motorcyclists who knows how to address the differences.
Passenger cars and trucks handle very differently than motorcycles, for one. Two-wheeled vehicles simply have different handling characteristics that you, as a rider, understand. Would you trust a non-rider to understand those differences? What a witness thinks is a failure to brake properly by a rider may very well be the best a rider can do without going over the handlebars or laying the bike down.
You want an attorney to know how a bike turns and stops, because you certainly cannot depend on a jury or an insurance adjuster to do so.
Many people think of motorcyclists as “rebels,” and their impression of riders is of lawless renegades, thanks mostly to television and films. But riding a motorcycle is perfectly legal. Riders are not the untamed, risk-seeking wild men and women they’re often portrayed as, but that doesn’t mean the misconception may not interfere with your case.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney knows how to fight this prejudice – and where it’s likely to appear. This can be key to seeking fair compensation.
Subconscious Misclassification of Bikers
Drivers often say they did not see bikers, just as they often fail to see children, pedestrians, and cyclists. That’s dangerous and unfortunate. There’s something else at work, though: conditioning. Part of the reason people don’t see bikers as readily is they are conditioned to look for two headlights and a grill. When they don’t see that, they can register bikers as pedestrians or bicyclists, so their brains don’t process speed and timing correctly.
Size, Distance, and Speed
Another common “excuse” drivers give when they collide with motorcycle riders was that the rider was speeding or “came out of nowhere” or similar expressions of surprise. The truth is people have a harder time judging the distance and speed of motorcycles because of their size and how they sound. It’s easy for a rider to appear to be moving faster than they really are.
Speed may be the number one way insurance companies and drivers blame riders for motorcycle accidents.
Knowing this, a motorcycle accident injury lawyer can fight to try to put this excuse to rest. This is even more critical in states such as North Carolina due to the rule of contributory negligence.
The Lazy Left Turn: The Most Common Way Drivers Injure Riders?
No uniform statistics are kept regarding the nature of motorcycle accidents involving other cars. We know they happen often, but not necessarily the details of each one sufficiently to know for sure how often certain types of crashes happen. But we can tell you what we see more often than others: drivers taking a left turn in front of riders who have no time to stop or safely avoid the turning vehicle.
Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys have certainly handled this kind of wreck before. We know what the defense is likely to claim, and we know what to look for to try and prove them wrong:
- Did the driver signal the turn?
- Did the driver come to a complete stop before turning left?
- Was the rider easily visible – were the conditions and sight lines unobstructed?
- Were the vehicle and motorcycle’s lights on/functioning properly?
- Were the rider and the driver paying attention at the time of the crash?
Generally speaking, if a driver is paying attention, comes to a complete stop before making the turn, signals the turn properly, and takes time to look, many motorcycle crashes probably wouldn’t happen. If you add the long list of possible distractions drivers have these days, it’s a wonder more crashes don’t happen.
As motorcycle accident attorneys, we know what questions to ask.
Evidence Gathering, Communication, and the Details That Matter
Another way an experienced motorcycle accident attorney can make a difference is in knowing what evidence to gather, who to speak to (and what NOT to say), and how to prevent things from slipping through the cracks.
Gathering evidence can include things like:
- Inspecting the bike before evidence on it is lost to weather or inadvertent contact.
- Examining the rider’s clothes and gear for evidence.
- Reviewing the medical records.
- Seeking out witnesses and getting statements.
- Reviewing video of the crash.
- Scouring the police report for errors or facts that can impact your case.
- Examining the scene of the crash, and if necessary, having an expert reconstruct it.
- Investigating the driver to determine their condition at the time of the crash.
These are just a few examples. An attorney can look for this and more, depending on the specific circumstances of your unique case.
Communication matters in a personal injury case, especially for motorcycle accident victims. Who you talk to matters. What you say matters. There are multiple opportunities to damage your case, and precautions you can take to avoid doing so.
- We advise that you do not agree to a recorded statement with an insurance company or adjuster.
- We advise that you limit what you say to an adjuster and instead communicate through an attorney.
- We advise against negotiating your injury case with an insurance company before your injuries have healed.
In whatever you do, be factual and be concise. Don’t speculate or opine. You may think you know what happened, but you may not know all of the facts. If you draw a conclusion that puts you at a disadvantage, the insurance company may pounce on it to reduce their compensation offer.
And beware of quick settlement offers from the insurance company – in our experience, they are almost always too low, and may not cover all of the expenses related to your injuries moving forward. Always speak to an attorney before you agree to any offer of compensation or cash any check the insurer may send!
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
We strongly urge motorcycle accident injury victims not to negotiate with an insurance company before their injuries have healed. If it sounds like we’re repeating ourselves, we are. Injuries to bikers are almost always severe injuries. If you negotiate or settle for less than the full amount required to pay your medical expenses, you’ll likely end up paying the rest from your own packets. And that’s not fair.
And common injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents can be more expensive than average, including:
- traumatic brain injury
- spinal cord injury
- head injury
- broken bones
- road rash
- facial injuries
- skull fractures
The scariest for many riders are traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries that could result in permanent disability. We hate to see these devastating injuries, and their cost to riders are another reason we plead with injured motorcyclists to call an attorney first. Why?
As you’ve seen, the devil really is in the details. Riders are at a disadvantage in a crash, and they’re often at a disadvantage in court – through no fault of their own. Attorneys know what to look for and where to try to find it, who to talk to and what not to say, and how the details add up in order to seek the maximum compensation you may deserve.
How Much Does a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Cost?
We work on what is known as a contingency fee basis.2 There are no hourly fees. In fact, we do not charge an attorney’s fee unless we’re able to collect on your behalf. This means that there is no financial barrier to hiring a motorcycle accident attorney to represent you – you’ve got enough to deal with.
Why Call the Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin?
We have a long history of helping injured riders. They’re included in the more than 55,000 people we’ve helped to recover a total of more than $1.4 billion in compensation in our history.1 When you put us on the case, we take the fight to the insurance company so you can focus on recovery. And we’re perfectly willing to fight them in court if necessary.Text Us