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Motorcyclists are exposed to an entirely different set of rules and dangers than automobile or commercial truck drivers. The extra degree of freedom granted to motorcycles is met with a much higher degree of danger. Last year alone, there were more than 88,000 motorcycle injuries and almost 5,000 deaths on U.S. roadways. With these high accident statistics, it is important that motorcyclists understand their legal rights while operating their motorcycle. In the case of an accident, motorcyclists should also be familiar with the process of a motorcycle accident lawsuit so that they can take to be compensated for another driver’s negligence.
Early estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that motorcycle fatalities have decreased in recent years. But, that is still one too many accidents. Any accident can seriously injure or result in the wrongful death of its driver or passenger.
Federally, there is no mandatory helmet law, although federal intervention was prevalent for a number of years. In 1967, the federal government required each state to enact motorcycle helmet laws in order to qualify for certain federal safety and highway construction funds. But, in 1976, Congress revoked the ability to “asses penalties for noncompliance.” Many states took the initiative to either completely reverse a required helmet law or lessen the requirements.
It is proven that helmet laws drastically reduce the number of serious injuries or death. It is also each state’s responsibility to determine the use of a helmet while driving, or riding, a motorcycle.
Regardless of your state’s law, it is important to wear a helmet at all times – it could prevent a serious head injury or save your life. The NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,870 motorcyclists in 2017. 750 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.
You, a friend or family member has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and are deciding whether to file a lawsuit to recover damages. But, you may be wondering how much you could really receive. Frankly, it is a difficult question to answer because each case is dependent on its individual circumstances. But, here is what to consider:
Like other vehicle accidents, the negligent party is held responsible in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Consider negligence liability when deciding who should be responsible for accident damages. If both parties are somewhat at fault, there may be comparative negligence. Your attorney will need to decide to what degree each is liable for damages.
Unlike other motor vehicle accidents, product liability is more common among motorcycle accidents. An issue with design or performance in a vehicle likely just means that it needs to go to a shop, but for motorcycles, there are serious consequences. If your motorcycle wreck was due to a malfunction in your bike, you may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer.
As mentioned above, if you were partially at fault for the accident, your ability to recover compensation may be reduced. For example, when determining liability, it is decided that you were 10% at fault for the accident because of your failure to reduce speed on a curve. However, the other vehicle crossed the dividing line and hit your motorcycle, meaning they were 90% at fault. When compensation is awarded, it is likely your gross amount will be reduced by 10% per the comparative negligence rule. So, if you were awarded $100,000, you will only receive $90,000 because of your partial involvement in the accident.
Physical, financial, and emotional damages all qualify for compensation. In a motorcycle accident lawsuit, damages are generally categorized into two categories:
Both liability and damage calculation plays a vital role in your motorcycle accident lawsuit. The legal industry can be confusing. It is important to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to navigate the intricacies of your case.
Motorcycle road laws and insurance laws differ in every state. Even within your state’s automobile laws, motorcycle laws are likely a separate entity from other motor vehicle laws. It is helpful to seek consultation with motorcycle accident attorneys who are familiar with the road laws regulations that apply to you. Additionally, their experience will make them skilled in negotiating motorcycle accident cases with an insurance company and other defendants.
The steps necessary to compile a product liability case are extremely complex. Do you believe that you were an accident victim due to a malfunction in your motorcycle? Contact an attorney to help make a motorcycle accident claim against the manufacturer.
At TorHoerman Law, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you with your motorcycle accident lawsuit.
"Facts + Statistics: Motorcycle Crashes." III, Insurance Information Institute, www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-motorcycle-crashes.
"MOTORCYCLE HELMETS." Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, saferoads.org/issues/motorcycle-helmets/.
"Motorcycle Safety." NHTSA, United States Department of Transportation, 15 May 2019, www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycle-safety.
"Motorcycles." IIHS, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, www.iihs.org/topics/motorcycles#helmet-laws.
Last Modified: February 12th, 2020 @ 02:10 pm
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