How Can I Recover Damages After a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Motorcycle accidents are particularly damaging. Aside from the damage to your bike, you are probably suffering massive injuries and major medical bills. With so little protection, riders are vulnerable in accidents with cars or trucks. If you survive the accident, you’ll have a lot of expenses. There are two main ways to recover damages:
- A settlement. The person liable for the accident should be backed by insurance that covers costs in accidents. You may be able to get a settlement from the insurance company to pay medical bills and cover lost wages and damage to your bike. They will try to minimize payments, though, or even deny any liability.
- A lawsuit. A settlement is a faster way to get compensation for an accident, but it is not always successful. If the negligent party denies liability or does not offer adequate compensation, you may choose to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. This takes longer, but it allows you to make your case before a jury.
Both of these options require deep knowledge of personal injury laws and experience going up against insurance companies or litigating in court. Without good legal representation, your odds of success in either endeavor are low.
How Do I Know if I Should File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit is a big step. It is not one to take lightly, but if your expenses are mounting and you cannot get adequate compensation from those liable, it may be your only other option. The best way to determine if it is time to file is to speak with an experienced lawyer.
Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer or firm, someone with experience helping victims of these kinds of accidents. They can evaluate your case for free and give the best advice. If you choose to sue, they will take you through the process and advocate on your behalf.
Whom Do I Sue in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
The defendant in your lawsuit is most likely to be another driver. Most road accidents result from driving mistakes. Every driver on the road has a duty to follow the rules and to stay alert for other vehicles. When someone fails to do this, causing an accident that results in injuries and damages, they can be held liable in a lawsuit.
Other potential defendants include manufacturers. If a part on your bike failed or your helmet didn’t protect you as promised, you may be able to sue the companies that made and sold them. A dealership or mechanic that failed to warn you of an issue with the motorcycle, or failed to fix it, could also be liable.
What Can I Recover in Damages?
Recovery of damages is the main reason to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Someone else’s negligence injured you and cost you money, which means you have a right to be compensated. What you can recover depends on the situation:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- The amount of your current medical bills
- The estimated amount of future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning potential
- A permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional harm and trauma
Your damages can also be impacted by laws in the state where you had the accident. Some states cap non-economic damages, for instance. Others limit damages if defendants can prove you had some fault in the accident.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Lawsuit?
Another important state law is the statute of limitations. This is a time limit on filing a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations ranges from one year to six years from the time of the accident. Talk to a lawyer soon after your accident to make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to file.
How Do I File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit?
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is best done with the guidance of an experienced lawyer. Choose a firm or an attorney who has worked with and won for motorcycle accident victims. The legal action will proceed through several steps:
Talking to the Insurance Company
The first thing your lawyer will probably do is talk to the insurance company for the negligent driver, if applicable. Getting a settlement right away is usually the best option for the victim. Your lawyer may be able to push for fair compensation to avoid a lawsuit.
Filing a Complaint
If they will not pay or offer a reasonable amount, your lawyer will proceed with the lawsuit by filing a complaint. It notifies the defendants of your claim of negligence. Whether they respond or not, this triggers the next phase in the suit.
Investigating and the Discovery Period
Your lawyer will now continue investigating the accident, talking to witnesses and experts to recreate what happened. The defendants will also start building a case, even trying to show you can be blamed for the accident. During discovery, both sides can hold depositions and share information.
Most defendants, if they see the evidence against them, will prefer to settle at this point. If you win a trial, the cost is likely to be higher, so settling is a safe choice. Your lawyer will negotiate to get you a fair amount that reflects your actual expenses and the emotional toll.
Litigating in Court
You need a lawyer with courtroom experience just in case you have to go to trial. Most of these cases end in settlements, but sometimes you need to push the defendants by going to court. Both sides argue their case for a jury. If the verdict is in your favor, the jury will award you damages. The amount is likely to be higher than what you can get in a settlement, but this step takes longer.
Before you file a motorcycle accident lawsuit over your injuries, talk to an experienced lawyer. They can help you decide if it is the right step. If it is, they will advocate for you and help you recover the damages you deserve.