You wrecked your motorcycle, and now you're hurt. You don't think the crash was your fault, but you have no idea how you could prove that. Medical bills are piling up, and because your injuries have kept you out of work, you've struggled to pay other bills. It's unclear when, or even if, you'll be back to feeling 100 percent. You're not sure you'll even get to a point where you feel okay to ride again.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Many motorcycle riders have faced similar circumstances after a wreck. And they, like you, have wondered just how they can recover from it.
No one has all the answers. But connecting with a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer can often get you moving in the right direction in your recovery (in every sense of the word) from a motorcycle accident. Here’s how.
What does recovery from a motorcycle accident look like?
Recovery from a motorcycle accident takes different forms and varies based on the particulars of the accident and the motorcyclist injured in it. By and large, however, recovery happens along three different axes: physical, emotional, and financial.
For many motorcycle accident victims, healing from physical injuries constitutes the most significant component of recovery. A wreck can leave your body broken and battered. Riders commonly suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries (SCI), complex fractures, orthopedic injuries, and severe road rash (to name just a few). Those injuries may require lengthy hospitalization and extensive surgery, rehab, and other treatments.
Some of these injuries can heal completely with proper care. Others only partially. Some, minimally. Insurance companies refer to the limits on the degree of meaningful improvement in your condition that you can realistically hope to achieve as your maximum medical recovery (MMI).
But for individuals suffering from injuries after a motorcycle accident, physical recovery often has a more specific and personal meaning than simply measuring MMI.
It may instead amount to, for example:
- Living without constant pain;
- Being able to return to work or school;
- Participating in sports or activities with family and friends;
- Going about everyday life independently.
Giving some thought to what physical recovery after a motorcycle accident means to you, whether it’s your MMI or some other more personal measure, can help you set goals and make decisions about your care and treatment.
The popular (mis)conception of all bikers as leather-clad tough guys too often hides another reality of getting hurt in a motorcycle accident and defining your recovery. Like car accident victims, injured motorcyclists suffer from significant emotional and mental health challenges connected to their injuries. Healing from those emotional injuries constitutes another significant aspect of recovery from a motorcycle accident.
The trauma of a motorcycle wreck itself, as well as the physical injuries it inflicts, can both contribute to a biker’s emotional injuries and mental health struggles. Getting into a crash, almost losing your life, confronting a long period of physical impairment, adapting to a permanent disability, living with chronic pain—these are all frightening, unsettling, disruptive experiences.
As a result, motorcyclists who get hurt in accidents frequently suffer from conditions like:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- Depression; and
- Substance abuse disorders.
Emotional recovery from a motorcycle accident may mean obtaining meaningful mental health treatment from a therapist or medical doctor, overcoming acute conditions that interfere with daily life, and developing skills to combat the disruptive feelings that can arise after a crash. Often, this component of recovery is just as important as physical recovery in helping you return to living a fulfilling life.
It's common for a motorcycle accident to take a heavy financial toll on injured riders and their loved ones. The cost of medical care is usually a significant contributor to that strain. Even if you carry insurance, you will still have large co-payments, deductibles, and uncovered expenses to cover out of your pocket. Those costs add up quickly—so much so, that medical debt constitutes the number one cause of bankruptcy for American families, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).
But that’s not all. Motorcycle accident injuries also keep injured bikers out of work, which limits their income. Some can return to work in some capacity once they’ve made a physical recovery. But others cannot. In either case, the income lost only deepens the financial strain of a crash.
And then, there are the other financial burdens that come with getting into a motorcycle accident. Costs for repairing or replacing a damaged bike. Costs for getting help with everyday activities you can’t perform independently while you heal, like transportation or childcare. Costs for modifying your living space, or buying equipment, to help you live with a crash-related disability.
Unlike physical and emotional recovery, it’s pretty easy to define what it means to recover from these financial injuries. Full financial recovery means paying your bills, replacing your lost income, and having enough money to meet the challenges you face today and in the future. The trick, however, is that it’s not always so simple to calculate the exact amount of money you need to achieve that recovery.
Unless, that is, you have a skilled motorcycle accident recovery lawyer on your side, which is where we turn next.
How can a lawyer help you recover from a motorcycle accident?
We listed the three types of recovery—physical, emotional, and financial—in that order because, for most motorcycle accident victims, that's the usual order of priority each takes in their lives. After getting hurt in a crash, they must first address their physical health needs. Then, they start to tackle the emotional challenges. And finally, they take stock of the financial burden caused by their accident.
There's nothing wrong with prioritizing recovery in that way. But as lawyers for motorcycle accident victims, we encourage our potential clients to think of financial recovery differently. Instead of treating it as a burden to deal with after your bills piled up and you drained your bank accounts, motorcycle accident victims had the job of financial recovery over to a skilled lawyer. And the sooner they do so, the less financial strain they may face.
A motorcycle accident lawyer's job, in a nutshell, is to handle the process of financial recovery on your behalf, giving you the time, space, and money you need to meet your goals for physical and emotional recovery. Or, to put it another way, a lawyer works to make your life easier during a time when you need help.
Pursuing Financial Recovery
What, exactly, can a lawyer do for you after a motorcycle accident? Simply put, working on your behalf, a lawyer takes all of the steps necessary to secure payment for your injuries and losses from anyone who has a legal obligation to pay you. By law, you have a right to receive money damages from any party whose unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions caused your motorcycle wreck and your injuries. You may also have the right to payment from other parties under a legal obligation to compensate you or answer for the at-fault party's actions.
A lawyer works to get you those payments by, for example:
- Investigating the root causes of your motorcycle accident;
- Identifying all parties who may owe you money damages for your injuries and losses;
- Planning a strategy for forcing those parties to pay those damages;
- Preparing, filing, and arguing a legal claim for those damages in court;
- Negotiating with insurance companies to try to achieve a settlement of your claims, when possible;
- Going to trial to prove your case to a judge and jury; and
- Taking the steps needed to collect your settlement, judgment, or jury award.
Through these and other actions, a lawyer can often obtain money damages for the full range of injuries and losses you have suffered. This includes payment for your past and future medical care and treatment, your unexpected expenses, your lost wages, the future income your injury will prevent you from earning, and your pain, suffering, and overall loss of quality of life flowing from the motorcycle accident.
The money a lawyer can secure for you can vary based on the strength of your case and the potential sources of payment (including insurance) available for the lawyer to pursue on your behalf. There are no guarantees. But the most reliable way to achieve financial recovery is to put your trust in an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who has represented other injured bikers and has a track record of success to show for it.
Your Advisor and Advocate
Facilitating your financial recovery is your lawyer’s primary mission. But it’s not the only one. A motorcycle accident lawyer can also help you achieve your physical and emotional recovery goals by acting as a trusted advisor and advocate for your interests.
Life can feel difficult and confusing in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. You have important decisions to make that could affect your physical and mental health, your career, and your loved ones. But making those decisions isn't easy when you're getting calls from insurance companies who want to talk about your accident, when your boss is hounding you about when you'll return to work, when you have doctor appointments to get to, and on and on.
It helps, during these stressful times, to have an advisor to turn to—someone who knows how to manage a motorcycle accident claim.
A lawyer can answer your questions and help you think through important decisions so you feel assured that you're doing right by yourself and your family even when you're under stress.
It also helps to have someone who can speak for you when you can't or don't want to. A lawyer can do that, too. Skilled motorcycle accident attorneys take over communications with insurance companies, official investigators, and others. You do not have to worry about saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time. With a lawyer in your corner, your phone will ring a little less, and you will have more peace and quiet to help you heal and rebuild.
Recovery Does Not Mean Breaking the Bank
Motorcycle accident victims understandably worry about the costs of hiring a lawyer to help them with their recovery. It’s not as if they have money to spare. But those worries should not keep them from contacting an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, because the fact is, anyone who needs a motorcycle accident injury lawyer can afford one.
Reputable motorcycle accident injury attorneys offer free case consultations to injured bikers and their loved ones. These consultations serve as an opportunity for motorcyclists to ask questions and learn about their rights and options for financial recovery. Even if they choose not to hire an attorney, the consultation is still free.
Motorcycle accident lawyers also routinely work for their clients on a contingent fee basis. That’s an arrangement in which the lawyer’s fees come only out of any money the lawyer secures on an injured biker’s behalf. In other words, the lawyer only gets paid if the biker gets paid.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
As the victim of a motorcycle accident, you may have a lot of physical and emotional recovery to attend to. To help yourself out, let an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer handle the process of achieving your financial recovery. It costs you nothing to get a lawyer started working on your behalf, and the sooner you do so, the better the chances of seeing maximum payment for your injuries and losses.
So don’t wait. Contact an experienced personal injury accident attorney today for a free, no-risk consultation about how you can make a full recovery after a motorcycle accident.