Why Are Motorcycle Accident Claims More Complicated?
Motorcycle accident claims tend to be very complicated for a number of reasons. At Brooks Law, our motorcycle accident lawyers are prepared to represent clients involved in even the most complex claims.
Some of the common factors that we see increase the difficulty of a motorcyclist’s ability to recover their full compensation amount include:
- Insurance issues. While motorcyclists and drivers of other motor vehicles are required to carry insurance in Massachusetts, sometimes drivers fail to do so. It is not uncommon for hit-and-run drivers to flee the scene after hitting a motorcyclist. Because they lack insurance or are afraid of the consequences of hitting and seriously injuring a motorcyclist, a driver may leave the scene and never be identified. When either party involved does not have the proper insurance, or when an injured motorcyclist has been harmed by a hit-and-run driver, it may still be possible to recover compensation under the uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) part of an auto policy.
- Disputes about fault. Another element that can greatly complicate a motorcycle accident claim is in the event that there are any disputes about fault. In fact, an insurance company may try to unfairly shift blame onto a motorcyclist who is seeking compensation for their own injuries. Insurance companies use anti-biker biases and untrue stereotypes about motorcyclists to make it look like the biker was at fault instead of their insured. This is one of the primary reasons why, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you need an attorney on your side.
- Severity of injuries. Another major issue in motorcycle accidents that makes these cases more complicated is the fact that motorcyclists typically suffer very severe injuries in crashes, including permanently disabling or disfiguring injuries. The more severe the injuries are, the greater the motorcyclist’s losses will be, and the greater the pushback from the insurance company will be as a result. Claims that don’t involve too many losses or too much money are often settled much more quickly.
Types of Compensation Available After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists often suffer very serious injuries, if not fatal injuries, during a crash. These injuries often result in significant economic and noneconomic losses, including:
- High medical expenses
- Lost wages and the loss of earning capacity and benefits
- Property damage
- Expenses related to necessary home renovations to accommodate for a disability
- Psychological harm, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, disability, and a diminished quality of life
You deserve to be compensated for the full value of your losses. Our lawyers are prepared to advocate for compensation for all of your damages.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
There are likely few things that are more traumatic than being hit by a motor vehicle weighing around 4,000 pounds or more while on a motorcycle, especially if the accident occurs when the vehicles are traveling at high speeds.
While you will likely be coping with serious injuries and emotional trauma following a motorcycle accident in Massachusetts, it’s important that you understand that, regardless of how traumatizing the accident is, there are things that can diminish the value of your claim if you are not careful.
It’s important that you know how to protect your rights and what steps to take after a motorcycle crash, including:
- Never give a recorded statement to an insurer. After your crash, you’ll need to provide your insurer with basic notice about the accident. Soon afterwards, you’ll probably receive a call from your insurance company and the other driver’s insurer asking for a statement. While this may seem totally innocent and reasonable – especially if you don’t believe that you were in any way at fault for the accident – don’t be fooled into thinking that the insurance company is on your side. In fact, an insurance adjuster’s job isn’t just to investigate and process your claim, but also to find ways to diminish the value of your settlement and save the insurance company money. They can and will twist your words to make it sound like you did something to cause the crash. Instead of making a statement, refer them to your lawyer.
- Wait for your injuries to fully heal. As tempting as it can be to file a claim and accept a settlement offer as soon as possible after a crash, especially if you are financially strapped for cash, it’s very important that you wait for your injuries to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before accepting a settlement offer. This is because accepting a settlement means that you are releasing the insurer and the at-fault party from any further liability for your damages. If you accept a settlement now and then realize in six months that you have additional medical expenses, you will have no legal right to recover these expenses. Be aware that insurance companies want to make your claim go away quickly and cheaply as possible. Don’t get stuck with a lowball offer.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. Following your doctor’s orders is important for a number of reasons. Most importantly, your doctor is a medical expert, and heeding their advice can help ensure that you heal to the fullest extent possible. Of course, this is not the only reason that you should listen to your doctor and follow a prescribed treatment plan. If you fail to do so, the insurance company may claim that your injuries haven’t healed to the extent that they would have. This is a common tactic that can be used to reduce the value of a claim.
- Be careful about what you do, both online and off. The insurer will probably be looking for any way to diminish the value of your claim, and may even have you followed or photographed at your home to collect evidence against you. Anything you do, both online and offline, can be used against you. For example, if you claim that you haven’t been able to leave your home for months and have been struggling with depression post-accident, but are seen enjoying a cup of iced tea on a sunny day in your front yard, smiling and laughing as your children play, the insurer may use this story to invalidate your claims.
- Keep evidence safe. Any evidence that you have that is relevant to your motorcycle accident claim needs to be collected and properly preserved. This includes photos of the accident, witnesses’ names and statements, medical documents, police reports, photos of your injuries, and more. We recommend partnering with our law firm, as we have a large staff of professionals who have extensive experience with collecting, organizing, and preserving evidence.
How Our Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help
Suffering a serious injury in a motorcycle crash is a devastating experience. In the aftermath of an accident, you may have little motivation to do much of anything, least of all to file a motorcycle accident claim.
Our lawyers empathize with your situation and understand what you’re going through. When you call our team, we are prepared to:
- Provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation
- Open an independent investigation into your case
- Consult various experts whose services may be important for the outcome of your claim, such as forensic accountants and accident reconstruction experts
- Calculate your damages
- Determine fault and liability
- Issue a demand letter
- Negotiate for a settlement
- Review any settlement offers and advise you about whether to accept
- Litigate your case if necessary
Time Limit for Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Massachusetts
A motorcycle accident claim must be brought within Massachusetts’ statute of limitations, otherwise a court will almost certainly refuse to hear the case, and the plaintiff will be permanently barred from seeking recovery.
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations to file a motorcycle accident claim is three years from the date the accident occurred. To start working on your claim as soon as possible and ensure that it is brought before the expiration of the statute of limitations, call our law firm as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Massachusetts
Examples of driver negligence that often leads to motorcycle collisions include:
- Texting while driving
- Drunk or impaired driving
- Driving while distracted
- Driving aggressively
- Following a motorcyclist too closely
- Failing to yield to a motorcyclist
In addition to drivers’ errors, other causes of motorcycle accidents include dangerous road conditions, poor weather and visibility, and defective motorcycle or vehicle parts.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
The injuries sustained by a motorcycle in a crash can be completely life-changing. Because a motorcycle has few protections to prevent against injuries – for example, no seatbelt to prevent being thrown from the vehicle, no airbags to lessen impact, no vehicle frame to absorb shock – some of the most common injuries that a motorcyclist may suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injuries. An injury to the brain is one of the most serious motorcyclist injuries. These often cause life-threatening and life-changing symptoms that are impossible to cure.
- Spinal cord injuries. A motorcyclist may be thrown on their back, twisted awkwardly, or be pinched between two objects as the result of a crash, all of which could result in a serious spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries cause permanent partial or complete paralysis from the site of injury downwards.
- Bone and soft-tissue injuries. The extremities may be seriously harmed in a motorcycle accident, and issues like lacerations, bruises, broken bones, and soft tissue injuries to the arms and legs are all common. In the most severe of cases, a limb may be so badly damaged that amputation is necessary.
- Road rash and burn injuries. When a motorcyclist is involved in a crash, they may be thrown from their bike, and could skid along the ground a notable distance before coming to a halt. The combination of speed, heat, and the skin being dragged against the ground can lead to serious road rash and road burn injuries.
Other common injury types include internal injuries, psychological trauma, joint damage, and injuries to the neck and back.
Talk to a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident Attorney Now
We know how much is on the line and how important working with a skilled attorney may be for the outcome of your claim.
To learn more about how we can be of assistance and what steps you need to take to start the recovery process, please contact us today for a free consultation.