Motorcycle accidents are particularly horrific. The rider has little to no protection in case of a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object on the side of the road. Many motorcycle accident injuries are catastrophic, especially if the rider was not wearing a helmet (despite the fact that helmet wearing is compulsory under Louisiana law). However, irrespective of the circumstances, if you were hurt in a crash, contact the experienced motorcycle accident lawyers at Wright & Gray Law Firm to know your legal rights to obtain compensation from the negligent party.
Unfortunately, many people consider seeking legal help after some time has passed after the crash. Or, they realize that the low-ball settlement offer they accepted from the insurance company does not cover even a part of their total economic losses. In certain situations, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you negotiate fair compensation. However, if you already accepted a settlement offer, you have no other legal recourse. This is why it is important to know your rights and how to act starting with the first moments after a motorcycle crash.
Thousands of Motorcycle Crashes Take Place in Louisiana Each Year
The statistical data made available by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission indicates that 1,589 motorcycle accidents happened on the roads of our state in 2019, claiming 98 lives. The same report indicates that no less than 715 lives could have been saved if the fatal accident victims had been wearing motorcycle helmets.
Yet, in most cases, the cause of a fatal motorcycle crash is a negligent driver. When a passenger vehicle or a truck is speeding or when the driver is distracted, a second is all it takes to hit a motorcycle and cause a tragedy. Over the years, motorcyclists have been victims in countless crashes in Louisiana, making our state one of the most dangerous for riding a motorbike.
The most common causes of accidents involving a motorcycle rider are:
- distracted driving
- drunk driving or riding
- drowsy driving
- lane splitting
- aggressive driving
- failure to yield
- making a left turn in front of a motorcyclist
- road hazards (wet/ icy roads, poorly maintained roads)
- defective motorcycle
- failing to maintain a safe distance from a motorcycle rider
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Every motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle results in severe physical injuries. In some cases, they prove to be fatal injuries, claiming lives. Survivors of a motorcycle crash usually face a long time in hospital and complex treatments, resulting in very high medical bills. Some of them are left with a permanent disability and in need of assistive devices or even life care.
Injury victims can suffer a wide range of injuries, all of them requiring immediate medical care to alleviate pain and reduce the risk of complications. The most common motorcycle accident injuries are:
Road rash occurs when riders are thrown off their bike. The contact with the pavement causes friction wounds to the skin and upper muscle layers. Although it is not a severe injury, it is painful and can cause reduced mobility and function of the injured part of the body.
Fractures are a frequent outcome of motorcycle crashes, especially if the rider is trapped under the motorbike or a passenger vehicle. Depending on the patient’s age, physical condition and other preexisting conditions, broken bones can take between several weeks and several months to heal.
Soft Tissue Injuries
In some cases, motorcycle riders suffer injuries to their muscles, tendon, and ligaments due to crushing or straining. These are called soft tissue injuries and, until they fully heal, can severely limit a person’s ability to perform usual actions, such as carrying a grocery bag or even doing their job.
Neck injuries can be moderate (strained muscles) or severe (when the cervical vertebrae are cracked). Beside localized pain and stiffness, neck injuries can cause secondary symptoms, such as tinnitus (ringing in the ear).
Loss of Limbs
In some cases, a motorcyclist’s legs or arms are so severely crushed in the accident that they cannot be salvaged. Loss of limbs is a permanent disability, which changes a person’s life forever. The injury victims usually need assistive devices (wheelchair, walking frame, crutches), modifications to their home and training for a new job.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries require long-term medical treatments and physical therapy for rehabilitation. Many patients are left with permanent paralysis. Others need to learn to walk again or never recover full control over their body.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
One of the most severe and debilitating types of accident injuries is a traumatic brain injury. The complications of this type of injury are horrific, from loss of memory and cognitive functions, to seizures and even coma and permanent vegetative state.
Many people who suffered brain injuries after a motorcycle crash require permanent life care, either at home or in a specialized nursing facility.
What You Need to Know about Filing a Claim for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
As the explanations above indicate, motorcycle accident injuries require medical attention and, in many cases, hospitalization. This means that the injury victim suffers economic losses in two ways:
- the costs of medical care they have to pay
- the loss of income for the period when they are in hospital or recovering at home
For most Americans, this double blow is almost impossible to overcome financially. Without assistance, they would sink into debt for many years to come. This is where personal injury lawyers step in to help accident victims seek justice and financial compensation from the responsible party who caused their motorcycle accident injuries and property damage.
The two legal options available to accident victims are filing an accident claim or a personal injury lawsuit. However, both actions are quite complex, because they require:
- determining the fault party
- proving that they had a duty of care to the victim and they breached them
- presenting evidence showing that the victim was injured as a result of the accident
- calculating the economic damages they sustained
Each of these steps needs time and special skills and needs to be completed in due time. In most cases, by the time a person is released from the hospital and able to deal with these issues, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions (only 1 year after the date of the accident) has nearly expired, leaving them little time to seek justice. For this reason, your best option is to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to handle your case.
How Personal Injury Lawyers Can Maximize Your Monetary Compensation
Personal injury lawyers always strive to win the maximum compensation allowed by law for their clients. In order to do so, they will:
Determine Each Party’s Proportion of Fault
Louisiana is a comparative fault state. This means that each party in a personal injury case can seek compensation for their economic losses, which will be reduced by their percentage of fault in the occurrence. Thus, an accident victim considered to be 20% at fault for their accident (for instance, for failing to signal a left turn) can receive $80,000 of the total $100,000 compensation representing their total economic losses.
Calculate Your Total Damages
Personal injury attorneys know exactly what type of damages you may recover after a motorcycle crash. Louisiana law recognizes three types of damages:
Economic damages represent the actual financial costs and losses you incurred as a result of the motorcycle accident. They include hospital bills, costs with treatment and recovery (including physical therapy and counseling), lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and life care costs.
Non-economic damages are a form of compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, emotional trauma, and mental anguish.
Punitive damages can be awarded at the end of a personal injury lawsuit if you can prove that the fault party acted with willful intent or gross negligence.
Negotiate with the Insurance Company
Insurance companies employ experienced adjusters and lawyers. Their role is to help the company increase its profits by limiting the amount of payouts. In case of a motorcycle crash, the insurance adjuster will try to assign a higher proportion of fault to the victim in order to reduce their claim amount, or even persuade them that they have no case.
An auto accident attorney knows how to counteract these tactics. They will collect all the relevant pieces of evidence available:
- the police report prepared at the accident scene
- photos and videos
- witness statements
- medical records
- bills for hospital stays, medical treatments, and other out-of-pocket expenses
An experienced attorney will be able to persuade the insurance company that they have to pay the claim. Otherwise, you will be instructed to file a personal injury lawsuit, where you may even get a higher jury award.
Represent You in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
If negotiations fail, your attorney will file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Experienced lawyers know when you stand a higher chance of getting fair compensation in a trial if negotiations fail to reach a satisfactory agreement.
At Wright & Gray law firm, we know how to seek justice for motorcycle accident injuries in New Orleans. We will investigate your case carefully and explain your legal options in clear terms. We never charge upfront fees, but get paid after we win your case, out of the monetary compensation we negotiate for you. Remember that you only have one year to take legal action after a motorcycle accident, so call us as soon as possible at 888-912-4944.