Motorcycle accidents are considered one of the most dangerous personal injuries in the United States. This is because of the nature of motorcycle crashes compared to a traditional vehicle. With a car accident, passengers have additional protection because of the interior of the vehicle. The accidents are still bad, but with a motorcycle, you are more likely to get seriously injured because you are more exposed. Accidents are also more likely to occur with a motorcycle because riders are harder to spot than drivers, and factors such as weather or poor road conditions can cause more issues for a motorcycle versus a car.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. There are many ways an attorney can help you after an accident. In addition to making sure you receive proper compensation; your attorney can help you find medical help and gather evidence to support your case. If the accident involves another rider or driver, your attorney will also prevent you from being held responsible and charged for the accident.
Types of Damages from a Motorcycle Accident
To get compensation for your motorcycle accident, you must be able to prove the damage from your accident. Because of the severity of motorcycle accidents, the biggest damage typically comes from medical expenses. After an accident, you may need treatment for a concussion, damage from whiplash, broken or fractured bones and burns. In the most severe accidents, your medical expenses may also include treatment for internal bleeding, disfigurement or traumatic brain and spinal cold injuries. Even minor injuries typically cost several thousand dollars, so it is important to accurately get a list of all the damages to avoid expensive, out of pocket costs.
In addition to the base costs for any examinations or procedures, your damages can include hospital visits. Even in less severe motorcycle accidents, it is common to spend a few days in the hospital for treatment. There is also the cost of additional checkups to consider. If your treatment involves physical therapy or other forms of rehabilitation, your attorney can also include these expenses as part of your damages.
Medical expenses are not limited to physical recovery. For many riders, experiencing a motorcycle crash is a traumatic experience and requires therapy. Any psychological care relating to your accident can be classified as damages and deserves compensation.
While medical expenses may seem obvious, there are other damages you may not think to claim without the assistance of an attorney. If you are unable to work because of your injuries, either due to a new disability or having to miss time while you recover, your attorney can add lost wages to your damages. Any sort of fees associated with the accident, such as motorcycle removal fees are also classified as accident damage. Your attorney can also help you claim damages relating to pain and suffering or a decreased quality of life. Because these are more abstract concept, it is important to have an attorney help you classify these damages, as they can use past cases as a precedent to produce an appropriate charge.
How much you can get for your accident will vary depending on the exact circumstances, but on average riders get around $60,000 to $75,000. For more severe accidents, you may be eligible for anywhere between $200,000 and $250,000.
Costs of Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney
Many riders are afraid to hire an attorney after an accident because of the legal fees. While lawyers are famously known for being expensive to hire, the actual cost of legal fees are often misrepresented. Attorneys use different methods to charge clients. With the first option, you pay a fixed hourly rate, which on average costs between $100 and $300 depending on the firm. Your attorney may also ask for a retainer fee, which is the equivalent of a down payment.
Another option is to pay a flat fee for representation. This option is typically not used in motorcycle cases, due to the greater variance in potential costs compared to other types of personal injury. The final option, which is most common for motorcycle accidents, is a contingency fee. With a contingency fee, you pay your lawyer after the case is won, sharing a percentage of your winnings. This is on average between 25 and 40 percent. Your attorney will calculate legal fees as part of your damages, so you are not forced to use funds meant for medical services or other important expenses to pay your lawyer. In addition, you only pay if you win the case, ensuring your lawyer remains focused on representing you and getting the best compensation possible.
There are several resources to help you find personal injury attorneys for motorcycle accidents. Enjuris and FindLaw are two of the best resources to look for attorneys. You can also search your state bar association to find attorneys in your area, but this is less refined than a personal injury lawyer directory.
In addition to paying for legal representation, you can also search for a pro bono attorney. With a pro bono attorney, either your lawyer agrees to waive all the legal fees to take your case, or the costs are covered by a nonprofit group. In many cases, you are only able to hire a pro bono attorney if you meet certain income requirements. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) helps lower-income riders find free legal assistance.
Finding the Right Attorney
It can be stressful searching for an attorney, especially right after a motorcycle accident, but you do not want to hire the first lawyer you find. A common mistake injured riders make is rushing to hire an attorney because they are afraid, they will not be able to claim damages if they wait. This is not the case. Any expenses you occur before you hire an attorney can still be included and will be compensated if you win your case.
Most attorneys provide free legal consultations. This allows you to discuss your case and ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your attorney’s experience. Make sure they have covered previous motorcycle accidents before. You can also ask about how much their previous clients received, as well as how much they believe you can get for your case.
When you are speaking with your attorney, be open and honest about the accident. Hiding details or misleading your attorney will only hurt your case, which can directly impact how much you receive, or even whether you win or lose the case. When discussing fees, get an upfront estimate of their costs. Ask if there are any additional fees you are responsible for paying, such as research or miscellaneous expenses.