Motorcyclists who suffer injuries in an accident have rights and deserve compensation for their damages. Unfortunately, they often aren't aware of these rights until it is too late, which can impact how much compensation they stand to receive.
The best way to become informed of your rights and to protect them if you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident is to hire a Philadelphia motorcycle accident attorney.
You might be surprised to learn how much a motorcycle accident attorney can do for you, which is especially beneficial while recovering from your injuries. Often, you don't even have to pay for their services upfront. It costs nothing to have them evaluate your potential claim. If you decide to hire them, they only get paid if they obtain compensation on your behalf.
What Type of Lawyer Handles Motorcycle Accidents?
Personal injury lawyers, especially those experienced in motor vehicle accidents, typically handle motorcycle accidents. They have the skills and experience necessary to successfully protect accident victims' rights and settle these claims. Hire an attorney who specializes in this area, not one who practices in several different areas of law.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Given the inherent exposure of motorcycle riders compared to those in enclosed vehicles, the potential for more severe injuries is higher. Some of these injuries can lead to extensive recovery periods, spanning months or even years, with associated costs reaching into the tens of thousands or more.
Here are the most common injuries often sustained in motorcycle accidents:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Among the gravest injuries a motorcyclist can endure, traumatic brain injuries often require extended recovery. Without prompt and appropriate treatment, they can prove fatal.
- Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI): Victims of spinal cord injuries may grapple with varying degrees of paralysis, incurring significant medical expenses, particularly within the initial year. Numbness, nerve pain, breathing difficulties, and motor function challenges are common.
- Road Rash: A frequent consequence of being thrown from a bike, road rash results from contact with the pavement. This injury can lead to severe skin damage and disfigurement, often requiring skin grafts and reconstructive surgery.
- Disfigurement: Various injuries, such as burns, amputations, and severe road rash, can culminate in disfigurement and scarring. Beyond the physical aspect, individuals may contend with diminished self-esteem and depression. The necessary reconstructive procedures and therapies can burden you financially.
- Internal Organ Damage: The forces experienced by motorcyclists upon ejection can lead to internal organ trauma, including liver damage and internal bleeding. Such injuries can result in severe and potentially life-threatening complications like pneumothorax, aorta aneurysms, ruptured spleens, and internal hemorrhaging.
- Fractures: Being thrown from a motorcycle can result in irreparable fractures. Extensive surgeries and extended periods of missed work may result. Severe fractures may even require extremity amputation.
- Psychological Injuries: Motorcycle accidents are profoundly traumatic events that can induce PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Those affected may require compensation for therapies, medications, and the emotional toll they endure.
In situations where motorcycle accidents arise from the negligent choices of other drivers, engage the services of experienced motorcycle accident lawyers. Retaining your own attorney ensures you have an advocate fighting for the compensation needed to move forward in life.
Is Taking Legal Action Essential After a Motorcycle Accident?
Enlisting the services of a motorcycle accident attorney doesn't automatically imply that you're bound for a lawsuit. The course of action—whether settling out of court or pursuing litigation—will hinge on various factors.
Most accident victims and their legal representatives favor settling cases without resorting to litigation, though this is not always possible. Given the stresses of a severe injury, the desire to avoid such additional stress is entirely understandable. Ultimately, deciding to settle or escalate to litigation rests with you as the client, and your lawyer will advise you on your best options.
In numerous injury claims, insurance companies may not take the claim seriously unless they perceive the possibility of a jury trial looming. If you choose to represent yourself, you'll likely contend with a lower-tier insurance adjustor, who possesses limited authority and may resort to stalling or denying your claim altogether.
On the other hand, when they know a seasoned attorney is in your corner, insurance companies might dispatch higher-ranking decision-makers to negotiate with your legal representative. These representatives have authority to issue more substantial settlements or decide whether to defend the claim at trial.
The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims resolve without going to trial, reaching settlements before that stage. At times, all it takes is a proactive attorney who initiates a lawsuit and secures a trial date.
What Can I Do to Protect My Rights After a Motorcycle Accident?
The single most effective way to protect your rights after a motorcycle accident is to secure the representation of a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer. You can rely on them in many ways to protect your rights after an accident.
For example, your lawyer can:
- Take over communications with the insurance company on your behalf. This protects you from saying anything that can potentially harm your claim or decrease its value. Suppose you must speak to the insurance company or their adjuster. In that case, your lawyer can protect your interests.
- Collect and preserve evidence in your claim. Without valuable evidence in support of your motorcycle accident and injuries, you can lose your rights to compensation. A well-versed motorcycle accident attorney knows what evidence to collect to support your claim for compensation and how to preserve it best, which will also preserve your rights.
- Ensure to file your case within the applicable statute of limitations. If your motorcycle accident claim doesn't settle out of court, you must file your lawsuit by a date outlined in your state's statute of limitations. This is generally between one and four years after the date of your accident. If you fail to file your case by that deadline, you will likely lose your right to pursue compensation in the court system. Sometimes, deadlines can vary depending on the specifics of your case, such as if a government entity is involved. Therefore, having a motorcycle accident attorney on your side ensures you don't miss any crucial deadlines.
- Help you get the medical care you need. Your lawyer can ensure that you seek the right medical care from licensed medical professionals whose opinions will help support your claim.
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company, knowing your claim's value. If you were to handle this alone, you might settle for much less than you deserve based on your damages. Your attorney will fight for the full and fair value of your claim and is skilled in pointing out the strengths in your case and the weaknesses in the insurance company's case.
- Warn you about the dangers of social media use during a personal injury case. Unfortunately, too many accident victims don't realize how their social media accounts can negatively impact their claims. Insurance companies will track down an injured victim's social media account and use anything they can find to deny or devalue their claim. For instance, if you posted Instagram pictures of you at a friend's wedding reception months after your accident, they can construe this to mean you are feeling fine and aren't still suffering from your injuries. Even though, in reality, you went on crutches and spent the entire night sitting in a chair.
The best motorcycle accident lawyer will know precisely how to protect your rights and interests so that you can receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
Attorneys are Skilled Negotiators
Negotiation is a fundamental skill for most motorcycle accident attorneys, and for good reason. Settling a claim without resorting to court proceedings can be a time and cost-saving undertaking.
Aiming for a settlement agreement can offer additional advantages, such as:
- Prompt receipt of financial compensation
- Reduced risk of a potentially lower jury award
- Bypassing the stress and uncertainty of a trial
In most cases, individuals without a legal background may lack the negotiation skills needed to secure a full and fair settlement. They may either accept an inequitable offer or attempt self-representation in court, a path that often leads to an inadequate claim outcome.
Experienced attorneys possess an in-depth understanding of their client's claim value, along with a comprehensive grasp of both their case's strengths and potential vulnerabilities, as well as those of the at-fault party. Armed with this knowledge, they negotiate to secure a just settlement on behalf of their clients.
Suppose settlement talks fail to yield a satisfactory resolution. In that case, a motorcycle attorney brings a wealth of experience and confidence to the prospect of trial. Physical, financial, emotional, or other constraints may make pursuing fair compensation through a trial impractical for most individuals injured in motorcycle accidents. Having an attorney who can fight this battle on their behalf is invaluable.
Why Hiring a Seasoned Motorcycle Attorney Makes Sense
Most attorneys spend years in law school and must pass a challenging examination before they can practice on their own. Laws are inherently complex, and the potential for messing up somewhere in the process of a case is high.
If you try to represent yourself in your motorcycle accident claim, what you might see as an innocent, simple mistake can ruin your claim for good. Is it worth risking your legal rights to save money on your claim? Multiple studies show that individuals who hire personal injury lawyers have higher success rates and receive markedly more money for their damages.
According to a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), claim payouts saw a notable 40 percent increase for claimants who had legal representation. Another study looked into lawsuits settled before trial and found that injured parties represented by personal injury attorneys in Philadelphia secured a recovery amount 3.5 times higher than those without representation.
Motorcycle accident attorneys typically receive around one-third of their client's total recovery. Going by the findings of the IRC studies, even after accounting for attorney fees, you stand to gain more from the compensation you receive. Given the potential for increased compensation and reduced stress, engaging an attorney only makes sense.
Is Legal Representation Worth It?
You might have reservations about consulting a personal injury attorney, possibly due to concerns about expenses. Don’t fall for the common perception of hefty lawyer fees and additional charges that clients might incur. If you hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who operates on a contingency fee basis, which is the norm, this concern is alleviated. Under this arrangement, once you receive your settlement or court-awarded sum, your attorney will take the agreed-upon percentage, leaving the rest to you.
The Advantages of Contingency-Based Representation
Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney who works on a contingency fee basis offers several advantages. Chief among them is the fact that you won't need to provide any upfront payment to retain their services and have them advocate for your claim throughout the process.
You won't risk any of your own funds. Moreover, the attorney you hire has an even stronger incentive to diligently handle your claim, as they only receive compensation if they successfully secure a settlement or win your case in court. If they don't achieve either outcome, they simply don't receive payment, and you don't incur any losses.