Topic: Filing a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim
If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident Our Attorneys Can Help
Choosing the right Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers to represent you for the injuries you sustained is critical. Our law firm has gone to battle with insurance companies for over 30 years, and has represented hundreds and hundreds of motorcycle accident victims. We have the experience, legal knowledge, and financial stability necessary to go to war with insurance companies.
Most motorcycle accidents involve significant injuries and damages. Motorcycle drivers and passengers are less protected than those in a car or truck. With this type of accident claim, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel to aid you in recovering from your injuries and developing your case.
Remember: Big liability insurance companies are not your friends. They don’t exist to help you recover. They don’t exist to pay you a fair amount of money for your injuries, pain, and suffering. They exist solely to make money for their shareholders and executives. To that end they often delay and deny motorcycle personal injury claims.
Q: Are motorcycle accident claims similar to car accident claims?
A: They are very similar. Most insurance coverage and available damages will be the same. After reviewing this Practice Area we also suggest you click on the Practice Area for Car Wrecks for additional information.
How We Can Help You: In most motorcycle accident cases the at-faulty party’s insurance carrier will attempt to argue that you were also at-fault for the collision at issue. They can suggest you were speeding or not wearing a helmet. It is very important, therefore, that liability on the at-fault party be strongly established. Our Dallas motorcycle accident attorneys have a full-time private investigator to investigate the accidents our clients have been involved in. He will request a copy of the police report (if one exists), contact potential witnesses (if contact information is already available, canvass for potential witnesses (if no witnesses have been identified), and perform an extensive search on the driver and/or company responsible for your injuries.
Remember: Even though car accident claims and motorcycle claims are very similar we have found that insurance companies are often biased against bikers.
Q: What should you do if you were just involved in a motorcycle accident?
A: Get out of the road and off to the side to check for injuries and to verify you do not have a life-threatening injury. Make sure the other driver is safe and contact 911. Specifically request that police be sent to the scene. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort whatsoever inform the investigating officer(s). Of course, if you suffered a substantial and immediate injury let the 911 operator know.
Q: Should you move your motorcycle from the scene of the wreck?
A: Before moving your motorcycle or allowing at-fault party to move his or her car you should take a bunch of photographs of the scene of the accident/collision.
Important: Don’t allow any involved vehicles to be moved until the police have had a chance to investigate the scene. If that is impossible make sure you to take lots of pictures of the scene before the vehicles are moved.
Q: Should You Call Police to the Scene?
A: Preferably. The results of the cop’s investigation of the motorcycle accident will be written down in a Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report. This Police Report can greatly aid in the determination of who was at-fault for the wreck in question.
Remember: If the police refuse to come to the scene of the motorcycle wreck be sure to get the following from the at-fault driver: name, address, driver’s license number, date of birth, liability insurance carrier, and policy number.
Q: Are Witnesses Important to Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
A: Yes – especially if the insurance company attempts to deny liability on your claim or suggests you were more than 50% at fault for the wreck. You must remember to ask witnesses to provide a date of birth and driver’s license number in addition to his or her name, address, and telephone number.
How We Can Help You: Our law firm’s investigator will seek to locate witnesses to the motorcycle accident even if the witness has not been included in the police report. Our investigator has experience in canvassing motorcycle accident crash scenes and/or locations to discover possible witnesses.
Q: The insurance company will just assume I was injured if I was involved in a motorcycle accident right?
A: No. They will not just assume you were injured. They will make you prove you were injured. It is imperative that you seek medical care as soon as you first experience any symptoms whatsoever that you attribute to the motorcycle accident.
Important: If you delay seeking medical treatment for your injuries the insurance company is likely to argue or suggest that your claim involves a “gap in treatment” – or period of time where you received no medical treatment. They often use a gap in treatment to suggest you were not really injured in a motorcycle accident.
Q: If the police officer can’t figure out who was responsible for the motorcycle and/or bike accident can I still recover damages for personal injuries?
A: Yes. A jury could determine your version of the accident is more credible. Unknown witnesses might be discovered. An accident Reconstructionist could establish liability on the at-fault party through the use of various calculations and measurements.
How We Can Help You: Our firm employs a private investigator to develop “swearing match” cases. Witnesses you know of can be quickly interviewed and various businesses or homes near an accident site can be canvassed to determine if anyone witnessed the wreck. Our Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers can retain an accident Reconstructionist expert if necessary at no up-front cost to you if supported by the facts and circumstances of your case.
Q: What agencies and/or organizations might have records relating to my motorcycle accident, or At-Fault Driver?
A: Depending on the facts and circumstances of your motorcycle accident the following agencies or organizations could be in possession of various documents that could be helpful: Texas Department of Public Safety, United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Texas Department of Transportation, and Texas Transportation Commission.
How We Can Help You: Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Dallas, Plano, Frisco and Fort Worth regularly submit records requests to the government entities above any many others. If you hire us we quickly request all available documents arising from the motorcycle accident you were involved in as well as searching for public documents linked to the at-fault driver(s).
Q: What is a liability claim?
A: You file a liability insurance claim with the carrier for the at-fault party, i.e. the operator of the motor vehicle or commercial vehicle that hit you.
Remember: If the driver of the vehicle that hit you did not have a driver’s license you may be able to file a claim against the owner of the vehicle that hit you for negligently entrusting said vehicle to an unlicensed or incompetent driver. In addition, if the at-fault party was in the course and scope of his or her employment you can file a liability claim against that person’s employer under the recognized doctrine of Respondeat Superior.
Q: What claims are First-Party claims?
A: First-party insurance claims are those filed with your own insurance company and/or the insurance company for the owner of the vehicle you were operating. They could include:
- PIP (“Personal Injury Protection”) claims – This is “no-fault” insurance to reimburse you for medical bills and/or lost wages. (Remember: PIP coverage of $2,500.00 must be afforded to you unless your insurance company can produce a signed document showing you waived this coverage.); and
- MedPay claims – Similar to PIP claims but the insurance carrier is entitled to an offset if you recover against a third-party;
- UIM – A UIM claim is also known as an underinsured motorist claim. To recover UIM damages you will first need to obtain a policy-limits offer from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. You are entitled to this coverage in the amount of $30,000.00 unless your insurance can produce a signed document showing you waived this coverage. (Remember: You must get permission from your insurance company to accept a policy limits settlement offer from the liability carrier. Failure to do so could result in a denial of coverage under your own policy of insurance.)
- UM – A UM claim is also known as an uninsured motorist claim. This coverage is applicable if the person that hit you did not carry insurance as required by law. (Remember: If you were involved in a “hit-and-run” it is imperative that the at-fault party made actual physical contact with your motorcycle or person – otherwise coverage will likely be denied. In the context of a liability claim, however, no actual physical contact is necessary. If a driver came into your lane, for example, and you laid your bike down to avoid being hit you could still pursue the negligent driver for damages.)
Q: What are the minimum liability limits involved in a motorcycle collision claim?
Texas law requires motorists to carry at least $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident liability limits. Many times the at-fault vehicle will have significantly higher coverage limits of $250,000 per person / $500,000.00 per accident or higher.
Example: If you and a passenger were both injured in the same motorcycle accident and the at-fault driver’s policy limits are $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident the most you or your passenger could get a piece under the insurance policy is $30,000 and the most the liability carrier would have to pay out in total is $60,000.00 – even if, for example, one of you broke several bones in the wreck.
How We Can Help You: It is exceedingly important to identify all sources of available insurance coverage. Our Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers will file all available claims or potentially available claims at the onset of your case to protect your legal rights. In addition, our firm performs asset searches on at-fault drivers with low liability limits who may have assets that could be acquired in addition to the available insurance monies.
Q: Should you take your motorcycle or bike to the body shop recommended by the at-fault driver’s insurance company?
A: Never. The body shop recommended by the liability insurance carrier is being recommended for a reason. They generally charge the insurance company less for repairs or do not utilize the best available parts or have the most qualified mechanics. The liability insurance company wants the property damage to be as low as possible so they can argue later that you were not injured. (The Property Damage Denial: “There was only $750.00 in damage to the motorcycle. How could you be injured?) Take your motorcycle to the dealership where you purchased it or a qualified service facility of your own choosing. You get to pick who repairs your vehicle.
Q: Do you get a rental vehicle if you are involved in a wreck with an 18-wheeler or truck?
A: Yes, but usually only if your motorcycle can be repaired. If your bike has been totaled you likely will not be entitled to a rental vehicle from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier but you could have rental coverage on your own policy that would be applicable.
Q: Can we assist you in obtaining a rental car?
A: Yes, we routinely assist clients in obtaining a rental car while the liability carrier for the at-faulty party is determining whether your motorcycle is a “total loss”.
Q: Can you claim your motorcycle has diminished in value because of the collision?
A: Yes, but this usually requires obtaining an expert to establish the amount of diminished value. We routinely advance money to clients to help establish diminished value if the diminished value is significant.
Q: What can you recover if your motorcycle has been totaled?
A: If your motorcycle is deemed a “total loss” by the at-fault party’s insurance carrier or your own insurance carrier you are entitled to recover the fair market value of your vehicle or damages equal to what like and similar motorcycles are being sold for in the open market. This is not measured by KBB or NADA.
Q: Can you take a loan out with a company by assigning them an interest in your settlement proceeds?
A: Yes. Our Dallas motorcycle accident attorneys advise clients to avoid these loans if possible – especially from law loan companies who do not cap the amount of interest monies a person might be required to pay eventually.
How We Can Help You: We direct clients to a new law loan company that charges a flat fee to obtain a loan – which in the past has saved some of our clients thousands of dollars. This company, however, generally requires you to be represented by counsel to obtain a loan.
Q: Should you go to the emergency room if you have any pain whatsoever after being involved in a motorcycle accident?
A: Yes. Play it safe and get checked out. It is important that your onset of pain be documented and if you don’t go to the hospital the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim is likely to argue you weren’t that hurt if you don’t go to the emergency room.
Q: What sort of injuries could you have sustained in the motorcycle crash?
A: We have noticed that injuries to the spine are fairly typical in motorcycle cases. These spine injuries can be soft tissue type injuries or more serious in nature such as a herniated disc or protruding disc. Of course, road rash injuries, cuts, and lacerations are also common in motorcycle collisions. Other frequent injuries we have observed include:
- Broken or fractured bones;
- Lumbar (low back) injury requiring fusion or discectomy;
- Cervical (neck) injury requiring fusion or discectomy;
- Broken ribs;
- Torn muscles in the knee;
- Torn rotator cuffs; and
Q: Can you get medical treatment even if you don’t have health insurance or can’t afford to pay your deductible because it is too high?
A: Some medical providers specialize in treating motorcycle and car accident victims and delay billing for services until the conclusion of a claim or case.
How We Can Help You: Whether you need a surgery, physical therapy, injections, imaging studies, chiropractic care, pain management, or other medical services our firm can assist in locating a doctor, orthopedic, surgeon, chiropractor, or facility to provide services to you. These medical providers will delay payment until the conclusion of your claim so that you have no out-of-pocket expenses while you are recovering from your injuries.
Q: Can you recover damages for money you lost because you couldn’t work following the motorcycle collision?
A: Yes. It is imperative, however, that these damages be “proved-up” or established by a preponderance of the evidence.
How We Can Help You: Our Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers can provide you with documents to give to your employer to assist you in establishing your lost wages.
Q: Can you recover damages for wages you will lose in the future due to the injuries sustained in the motorcycle wreck?
A: Yes. These damages are referred to as Loss of earning capacity.
How We Can Help You: Our firm often retains an Economists, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, or both to help clients establish lost earnings in the past or loss of earning capacity in the future.
Q: Are you potentially entitled to other economic damages as a result of the motorcycle accident?
A: If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck you might also be entitled to these additional economic damages:
- Past medical expenses (“Reasonable and Necessary”);
- Future medical expenses (“Reasonable and Necessary”);
How We Can Help You: Our law firm has utilized a Life Care Planner on traumatic injury cases in the past. We front this expense for you to help establish the necessity of life-long accommodations as a result of the accident.
- Motorcycle repair cost;
- Replacement motorcycle cost; and
- Diminished value to your motorcycle.
Q: Can you recover non-economic damages for your injuries?
A: If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth or anywhere in the DFW area, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Past and future pain and suffering;
- Past and future mental anguish;
- Past and future physical impairment; and
- Loss of consortium.
Remember: The above damages are not easily quantifiable. You never know what kind of jury you might get. Unlike damages for your medical bills (which are easy to calculate) no attorney can absolutely state what a jury would award for the above damages as it could differ wildly based on several factors.
How We Can Help You: Our Dallas motorcycle attorneys monitor recent verdicts to use in evaluating cases. Even more importantly, our firm has over 30 years of past results that allow us to evaluate cases in light of prior similar cases with similar injuries. Our attorneys will zealously advocate for non-economic damages and will work with you to develop the theme of your case.
On motorcycle accident cases we often prepare and utilize “day in the life videos”. These videos track a client throughout his or her day – demonstrating how the motorcycle collision has impacted every aspect of life. These videos let the insurance adjuster better understand your claimed injuries and limitations.
Q: What are exemplary damages?
A: Exemplary damages – better known as punitive damages – are difficult to obtain but are meant to punish at-fault parties. They require a finding of gross negligence or recklessness.
Q: In a motorcycle accident claim when might punitive damages be recoverable?
A: Some situations where punitive damages could be argued and/or awarded include:
- If the Defendant was drinking and driving and/or intoxicated;
- If the Defendant hadn’t slept for an extended period of time;
- If the Defendant was on his cell phone and excessively speeding;
- If the Defendant was racing another vehicle; and
- Any other situation in which the Defendant was reckless or grossly negligent.
Our Guarantee: We will fight passionately for you. There’s a reason we’ve been helping injured motorcycle victims for over 30 years – we get results. Due to the results we obtain we are fortunate to have the majority of our new clients referred to us by former satisfied clients.
Q: How much is my motorcycle accident claim “worth”?
A: Be weary of injury attorneys who immediately try to guarantee you results or tell you what your case is “worth.” Case value is dictated by several factors – including arguments raised by the insurance adjuster. One of our Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers will personally analyze each and every case in the office and review the settlement proposal submitted to the insurance company(ies) on your behalf.
Remember: We offer clients a contingent contract with no attorney fees due unless we obtain you a recovery. We are on your team and our primary goal is the same: Obtain the highest possible settlement we can for you.
Q: What factors impact motorcycle accident claim / case value?
A: Many factors can influence the value of a motorcycle accident case. They include some of the following:
- Arguments raised by the insurance adjuster / defense attorney;
- Gaps in medical treatment;
- Comparative negligence;
- Subjective injuries (soft-tissue and sprain/strain) vs. Objective injuries (broken or fractured bones);
- Amount of medical bills incurred;
- The amount of future expected medical bills;
- Liability factors (Defendant on telephone at time of motorcycle wreck, for example); and
- Emotional aspects of your story (For example, if collision caused you to lose your house).
Q: Is the insurance company likely to argue you were also negligent?
A: If they can they will. Insurance companies know people often have bias against bikers and just assume they all speed. The insurance company is likely to argue somehow someway you were also negligent – called comparative negligence. They can say you were speeding….were inattentive….should have proceeded through an intersection more carefully.
Remember: If you are also determined to have been negligent in the motorcycle wreck your percentage of fault will be deducted from the total damages awarded. For example, if a jury awarded you $250,000.00 in damages but determined you were 40% at fault the final verdict would be adjusted to $150,000.00.
Q: Can you recover damages if you are 60% responsible for the wreck?
A: No. You can only recover damages if it is argued or a jury determines you were not more than 50.0% at fault for the motorcycle accident.
Q: The insurance company won’t fight the amount of my medical bills right?
A: Wrong. Insurance companies offer retain “independent” doctors (who just happen to mostly work with insurance companies) to perform peer reviews. These hired guns – or the insurance adjuster himself or herself – will likely argue at least some portion of your medical treatment was unnecessary or at least some portion of your medical bills were unreasonable.
Q: If you injured your back in a motorcycle accident but previously had an injury to your back can you still recover damages?
A: Yes. Texas recognizes the “Eggshell Plaintiff” doctrine. In short, you take the Plaintiff as he or she is meaning if a person is more susceptible to injury due to some other injury or condition you are still responsible for additional damages that might result. For example, you could have degenerative disc disease that was asymptomatic before the motorcycle accident but became painful after the wreck. Another example would be a prior injury that you had recovered from but reappeared after a motorcycle accident.
How We Can Help You: Our injury lawyers are familiar with the “Eggshell Plaintiff” doctrine and often request prior medical records to demonstrate injuries were aggravated by a motorcycle or car accident collision. Attorneys often assist clients with preparation of witness fact affidavits from friends and family members detailing how the collision at issue subsequently impacted your life.
Q: Should you settle your claim or file a lawsuit?
A: Whether to accept the insurance company’s final offer is dependent on several factors – including additional attorney fees and case expenses associated with the filing of a lawsuit.
Our Guarantee to You: We will advise you the same way we would advise a good friend or family member. We will recommend the course of action that is best for YOU. Your injury attorney will undoubtedly recommend the course of action that he believes will put the most amount of money in your pocket. The final decision, however, is completely yours to make.
Q: What generally happens if a lawsuit is filed?
A: Litigation entails several things:
- Lawyer fees generally increase;
- Expenses on your case generally significantly increase;
- You begin a process that generally lasts 6-9 months if the case settles or – possibly – over a year if a trial is necessary; and
- You must typically assist in answering written questions, participate in a deposition, and attend a mediation session.
Q: Can insurance adjusters or jurors potentially be biased against motorcycle drivers?
A: Absolutely. Some insurance adjusters and some jurors may have a natural tendency to associate all bikers with those they have seen flying down the highway. It is important, therefore, to make sure evidence is developed demonstrating you were following the rules of the road and operating your motorcycle in a safe and reasonable manner.
Q: Does it matter if you were wearing a helmet?
A: Yes. Insurance adjusters could argue and/or a jury could determine you were comparatively negligent for not wearing a helmet. The insurance company will undoubtedly suggest your injuries were made worse because you didn’t follow the law and wear a helmet.
Experienced Dallas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
We have offices in Dallas, Plano, and Fort Worth, and have the experience to handle your motorcycle accident case right. Initial consultations are always free. There is never a fee unless we obtain a recovery for you, and we also offer a discounted 28% contingency fee on cases that don’t require litigation when you mention this ad upon hiring us. Contact us now to find out how our attorneys can help you!