Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?

Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident
Posted: June 15, 2024

How an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights

After a motorcycle accident, you may wonder whether you really need to hire a lawyer.

The unfortunate reality is that motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries with long-lasting impacts. Motorcyclists lack the protections that occupants of passenger vehicles have, making them highly vulnerable in a crash.

Catastrophic injuries like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, compound fractures, and permanent disfigurement are all too common when a motorcycle collides with a larger vehicle.

After a serious motorcycle wreck, you may face a long road to recovery, extensive medical treatments, inability to work and earn income, and a great deal of pain and suffering. The last thing you need is the added stress of handling a complicated legal claim alone.

This is why you should always hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you. While you focus on healing and putting your life back together, your attorney will advocate for you, working diligently to pursue the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.

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How a Lawyer Can Help You

Here are some of the key reasons why you need a lawyer for your motorcycle accident case:

1. Determining liability for the accident

One of the first and most important things your lawyer will do is thoroughly investigate your motorcycle accident to determine who was at fault and who you can hold liable for your injuries and damages.

Proving liability is essential for recovering compensation. Your attorney will gather and analyze evidence like police reports, scene photos, surveillance footage, witness statements, vehicle damage, and more to build a strong case demonstrating the other party’s negligence.

Drivers of passenger vehicles and trucks who fail to share the road safely cause many motorcycle accidents.

Common examples of negligence that lead to motorcycle wrecks include:

Your lawyer will work to show exactly how the other party’s negligent actions directly caused the crash and your resulting injuries. Proving clear liability gives you the leverage needed to demand maximum compensation, either through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.

2. Identifying all liable parties

How a Lawyer Can Help YouIn some cases, you can hold several parties liable for motorcycle accident injuries beyond the negligent driver, such as:

  • Vehicle or parts manufacturers: In some cases, a defect in the motorcycle or another vehicle involved in the crash may have caused or contributed to the accident. Examples include faulty brakes, tire blowouts, steering system failures, accelerator malfunctions, and other defective vehicle components. When this happens, the manufacturer of the motorcycle, car, or defective part may be held responsible under product liability laws.
  • Government entities responsible for road maintenance: Motorcycle accidents are sometimes caused by poorly maintained roads rather than another driver’s negligence. Hazardous road conditions like large potholes, uneven pavement, lack of signs or lighting, broken guardrails, or malfunctioning traffic signals can easily cause a motorcyclist to crash. In these situations, the local government agency tasked with designing and maintaining the roadway may be liable for injuries.
  • Employers of negligent parties: If the driver who caused your motorcycle accident was operating a vehicle as part of their job duties when the crash occurred, you can hold their employer liable for your injuries. Employers bear responsibility for the negligence of their employees as long as the employee acted within the scope of their job.
  • Bars or restaurants that overserved alcohol: When a drunk driver causes a motorcycle wreck, the establishment that overserved the visibly intoxicated person may be held liable under dram shop laws. These laws state that you can hold vendors responsible for serving alcohol to obviously intoxicated individuals who go on to injure someone else in a drunk driving accident. So, if a bar overserved the driver who hit you, that business may need to pay for your damages.

Determining all liable parties is one of the most critical jobs of your motorcycle accident lawyer. The more defendants that can be held responsible, the better your chances of recovering full and fair compensation for your injuries.

3. Identifying all potential sources of compensation 

Another key benefit of hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer is their ability to identify every potential avenue of compensation to ensure you receive the full amount you’re owed.

Depending on the specific circumstances of your crash, you may recover money from:

  • The at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy
  • Your own motorcycle insurance if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  • The at-fault party’s personal assets
  • A third party’s insurance, such as a company’s policy if the crash involved a commercial truck

An experienced attorney will know how to uncover all possible sources of compensation so no money is left on the table. You especially need this if your case involves serious, life-altering injuries requiring extensive ongoing care.

4. Valuing your claim to pursue maximum compensation

Motorcycle accidents often cause substantial economic and non-economic damages for victims. However, calculating the true long-term costs requires an experienced lawyer. Injured motorcyclists can vastly underestimate what their case is actually worth.

A skilled motorcycle accident lawyer will know how to properly value your claim, accounting for damages like:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses related to the accident
  • Lost wages from missing work
  • Reduced future earning potential if you’ve been left disabled
  • Property damage to your motorcycle
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and distress
  • Lost enjoyment and quality of life
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Permanent impairments

Your attorney will likely bring in expert witnesses like medical professionals, life care planners, economists, and vocational specialists to help substantiate your damages and project your future needs.

Armed with a comprehensive accounting of the compensation you deserve, your lawyer will aggressively negotiate with the insurance company for a maximum settlement offer. If the insurer refuses to make a fair offer, your attorney can file a lawsuit and present a compelling case for full damages at trial.

5. Handling communication and negotiation with the insurance company 

Never try to deal with the insurance adjuster on your own after a motorcycle accident. These companies are not looking out for your best interests. They aim to settle your claim as quickly and cheaply as possible to protect their bottom line.

Insurance adjusters frequently try to take advantage of unrepresented accident victims who are in a vulnerable state. They may pressure you to provide a recorded statement in hopes you say something damaging to your claim. Or they’ll offer a fast, low-ball settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries, getting you to sign away your rights to future compensation.

Rather than falling into these traps, you need an aggressive motorcycle accident attorney to handle all communication and negotiation with the insurance company on your behalf.

Your lawyer will make sure you do not say or sign anything that jeopardizes your case. With an attorney fighting for you, the insurer will know they won’t get away with undervaluing your claim. Let your lawyer take on the insurance company while you take the time you need to rest and recover.

6. Ensuring your claim is filed properly and on time

Motorcycle accident cases involve many complex legal procedures and paperwork. Even a small mistake or missed deadline could hurt your claim. For example, someone must gather and preserve important evidence right away before it becomes lost or destroyed. Someone must record witness statements while details are still fresh in their minds.

Most importantly, you have a limited time window to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Each state has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases. In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a motorcycle accident case is three years. If you miss this strict deadline, the court will permanently dismiss your case.

With everything else you’re dealing with after a crash, it’s easy for time to get away from you. When you have an experienced lawyer handling your case from the start, you never have to worry about missing key deadlines. Your motorcycle accident attorney will ensure every aspect of your claim is handled properly and filed on time to protect your rights.

7. Advocating for you in court if needed

Most motorcycle accident cases are settled out of court through negotiation with the insurance company. However, if the insurer refuses to make a fair settlement offer, you need an attorney who will fully prepare to file a lawsuit and present a compelling case for damages at trial.

Motorcycle accident trials are highly complex. Issues like liability, causation, and damages must be conclusively demonstrated using solid evidence and expert witness testimony. The defense will aggressively argue against your claim, attempting to pin the blame on you and downplay the extent of your damages.

You need a battle-tested trial lawyer who can build and present a persuasive case to the judge and jury. Over decades of experience, your motorcycle accident attorney will have honed the legal strategies and courtroom skills needed to successfully prove every element of your claim.

And with an accomplished lawyer in your corner, the insurance company will know you mean business and may settle for a fair amount rather than risk a larger verdict at trial.

8. Contingency fee arrangements

Contingency Fee BasisFinally, one of the most important reasons to hire a lawyer for your motorcycle accident case is the fact that most attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay no upfront costs to retain their services. Instead, your lawyer only collects a fee if they successfully recover compensation for you, either through a settlement or court award.

Contingency fees are typically calculated as a percentage of your total recovery. You’ll agree to the exact percentage when you hire your attorney. The fee comes out of your settlement or verdict, with the rest going to you. If your lawyer doesn’t secure compensation, you pay nothing.

This arrangement makes hiring an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer risk-free. You get access to skilled legal representation with no out-of-pocket cost.

Contingency fees enable anyone to afford high-quality legal counsel, regardless of their financial situation. Rather than attempting to take on the insurance company alone to save money, you can put a seasoned attorney in your corner who will fight to maximize your compensation.

Another benefit of contingency fees is that they motivate your lawyer to recover the highest amount possible for you. The more compensation your attorney secures, the more they earn as well. You can trust that your lawyer is working hard on your case with your best interests in mind.

Get the Legal Advocacy You Deserve

Ultimately, hiring a lawyer after a motorcycle accident is the best way to protect your rights and maximize your compensation. Motorcycle crash cases are high-stakes, with life-changing injuries and extensive damages on the line. Trying to take on the insurance company alone is simply too risky when your health, finances, and future are at stake.

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will have the knowledge, skills, resources, and tenacity to hold the at-fault party fully accountable and fight for every dollar you deserve. Rather than accepting a fraction of what you’re truly owed in an inadequate settlement, put an aggressive legal advocate in your corner who will go to bat for you.

At William Mattar Law Offices, our compassionate attorneys have stood up for injured motorcyclists and their families for over 30 years. We understand the unique challenges motorcycle accident victims face and are committed to pursuing the justice and compensation they need to heal and move forward with their lives.

If a motorcycle wreck hurts you or a loved one, don’t go it alone. Contact William Mattar today at (716) 444-4444 or through our online form for a free consultation. We’re here to help you through this difficult time and fight for the full financial recovery you need and deserve.

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