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Riding a motorcycle is not unlike the spiritual high that surfers, mountain climbers, parachutists, or others who engage in certain hazardous activities experience. Riders often express feelings of freedom and a natural connection to the world as they become attuned to the odors, sounds, and sights around them in an open environment. Besides riding for recreation, motorcyclists also use their bikes to commute or to enjoy the ease of maneuvering in traffic and for finding parking, not to mention the savings in gas consumption.
However, riding a motorcycle does come at a price, since motorcycles are often regarded as presenting an inherent risk to your health and safety. There is nothing between you and an unforgiving road and nothing that shields your body from directly colliding with another vehicle or some other object in the road, making you highly susceptible to life-altering injuries or death.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Motorcycles do present a dilemma to other motorists. They are smaller than passenger vehicles and can appear suddenly in an adjoining traffic lane when a motorist is changing into that lane. Uncontrolled intersections are the site of many accidents, since motorists often misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle, if they even observe it, and will turn directly into its path.
Accident statistics on motorcycle accidents are sobering. Consider these facts from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the risks of motorcycle riding:
Wearing a helmet is only mandatory in Arkansas if you are under the age of 21, though all riders are required to wear eyewear. However, wearing a helmet only reduces your risk of suffering a fatal injury by 37% and of sustaining a head injury by 69%. In any collision, you are virtually guaranteed to be ejected from your seat where you will either contact the road at a high speed;collide with another vehicle, median, tree, or other object; or suffer a crush injury if you do manage to stay with your bike.
Factors in Motorcycle Accidents
Numerous motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. Factors that can cause an accident are:
In many accidents, your attorney from Green & Gillispie will retain an expert in accident reconstruction to support liability if there are conflicting versions of how the accident occurred.
Keeping Safe While Riding a Motorcycle
Riders can minimize their risk of being in an accident by following some commonsense practices:
What to Do Following an Accident
A motorcycle accident can result in substantial damages. You can preserve your injury claim by following these measures:
Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Wearing a helmet and protective clothing are certainly essential in preventing serious injuries. Still, many motorcycle riders suffer serious injuries including:
Because so many motorcycle injuries are serious or catastrophic, having an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer from Green & Gillispie who can carefully and thoroughly demonstrate the nature, extent, and severity of your injuries will give you the best opportunity to get the most compensation for your injuries.
Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Personal Injury Claims
If another party is found liable for the accident, then you can seek compensation for your damages. Damages in a motorcycle accident can be substantial. They typically include:
Wrongful Death Claims
If there was a fatal injury, Arkansas law divides a wrongful death claim into to two categories. One claim can be brought by the administrator for the decedent’s estate to seek compensation for damages the decedent sustained that include:
Any recoverable damages go to the estate to pay off debts and to be distributed according to any will left by the decedent or by the laws of intestacy if the decedent had no will.
A second claim can be brought directly by the surviving, immediate family members. The damages that the family can claim are:
You can plead and recover punitive damages in an Arkansas personal injury or wrongful death claim if the defendant’s conduct was particularly malicious or exhibited a reckless and willful disregard for the consequences. This is often a high burden to demonstrate and any award would have to come from the defendant’s personal assets since insurance will typically not cover punitive damages.
Arkansas has a three-year statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury lawsuit but only one year from the date of the accident in a wrongful death claim. The statute can be extended in some circumstances.
Results from Green & Gillispie
Everyone wants an attorney with a proven record of results. The personal injury and motorcycle accident lawyers from Green & Gillispie have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for their injured clients and their families over the years. Just recently, our attorneys recovered $500,000 in damages for a motorcyclist who sustained a leg injury in an accident.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Lawyer from Green & Gillispie
In many motorcycle accidents, the issues are different than those found in typical car accidents. Your motorcycle accident lawyer from Green & Gillispie may have to deal with biased and skeptical traffic officers and insurance adjusters. It is not unusual for your attorney to retain an expert in motorcycle accident reconstruction to prove liability and to possibly find that other parties may have contributed to the accident.
You will also need a seasoned and experienced lawyer who can document and support the serious nature and extent of your injuries, the reasonableness of your medical expenses and care, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Damages in wrongful death claims can require even more documentation, testimony from forensic economists, and other evidence so as to sufficiently show the extent of your losses. Call our office today for a free consultation about your motorcycle accident injury.
If you purchased uninsured motorist coverage with your auto policy, then you can use that to seek compensation for your damages. Uninsured and underinsured coverage are optional in Arkansas, but your agent must have offered it to you. With an uninsured claim, your own insurer becomes your adversary and your car accident lawyer still has to prove that the uninsured driver negligently caused the accident and that you suffered injuries and other damages.
Got more questions? Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.
You pay nothing out-of-pocket. Personal injury cases are taken by lawyers on a contingency basis, or a percentage of the gross settlement or award that is spelled out in our written contingency agreement with you. If we recover nothing, then you pay nothing. In complex injury cases, attorneys will usually ask for a higher percentage because the case will require much more expense, resources, work and skills. Also, in some cases the percentage is determined by statute or state law.
It depends on the degree of liability of the other party, your own conduct, how serious your injuries are, how they affect your life, your ability to work and earn an income, the reasonableness of your medical care and costs, and if your injury will be permanent, among many other factors that are considered in evaluating a claim. Of course, what insurance is available is also a consideration. No two cases are exactly alike, and no attorney can or should guarantee that you will receive a certain amount.
You are entitled to economic or special damages that include your medical expenses, property damage, and income loss. You can also collect general or non-economic damages for your pain and suffering against the responsible party, and for how your injuries have diminished your enjoyment of life. Emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, embarrassment over scarring or disfigurement, insomnia, development of an addiction to pain medication, and other trauma are also part of your damages. If the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, malicious, or grossly negligent, you could be awarded punitive damages as well.
Few injury claims are clear-cut as to who is at fault, and there may be other parties who were responsible. But even if another party admits liability, you can harm your case by talking to adjusters and investigators and unknowingly making comments that could place some fault on yourself or that minimizes your injuries. There are also issues about the extent or seriousness of your injuries and proof of your damages that insurance companies will question and challenge. There are many factors that insurance companies consider when handling and evaluating claims. Your Green & Gillispie injury lawyer is trained and experienced in these issues and in how to deal with and negotiate with insurance companies.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer who will review the facts of your case and the applicable laws. Usually, if someone or a company acted carelessly or even intentionally in causing your injuries, you can bring a claim against that person or business personally or depending on the nature of the accident, against that party’s auto policy, homeowner’s policy, commercial liability insurance, or the person’s employer if they were on the job at the time. There may be other insurance policies that apply as well.
In Arkansas, you generally have 3-years from the date of injury or when you discovered or should have discovered your injury. Persons under 18 when injured generally have 3-years after they turn 18 to file a claim. In some complex cases, you may not realize what caused your injuries until years later but may still bring a claim under some circumstances. Keep in mind that some causes of action, such as intentional torts like assault and battery, only provide a 1-year statute of limitations.
Yes, you are entitled to be compensated based on the degree to which your injury was aggravated by the accident. If it was aggravated by a substantial degree that necessitated surgery, for example, your claim could be significant, though your settlement or award might still be dependent on other factors.
You can still collect compensation so long as your own degree of fault is less than 50%. If you are equally or 50% at fault for an accident, you cannot collect anything. Your damages are also reduced by your percentage of fault, so if you have $100,000 in damages but were 40% at fault, you would collect $60,000.
Anyone who has been injured in an accident is likely to experience many difficulties they have perhaps never experienced before, including high medical bills, lost wages because they can’t go.
Never accept a settlement offer before at least having a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Following an accident that caused you a serious injury, it is not always immediately obvious that the accident victim has plenty of grounds for a successful personal injury claim.
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