Can I File a Personal Injury Claim After a Motorcycle Accident?
- November 17, 2022 |
- Personal Injury
Riding motorcycles is fun and exhilarating. Whether you’re just commuting to work every day or taking the open road for a joy ride, motorcycles provide an exciting way to travel.
One of the only downsides to motorcycles is the lack of safety features, resulting in severe injuries after a motorcycle accident.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, you’re likely wondering how you’ll be able to cover your medical expenses and financial losses. This may lead you to wonder, “can I file a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident?” Luckily, you may be able to file a claim for monetary recovery.
The attorneys at Cava Law firm are ready to help you fight for your right to fair compensation.
How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycle accidents can happen for various reasons, usually in a matter of seconds. In many cases, other motor vehicle drivers cause accidents for one of the following reasons:
- Aggressive driving;
- Distracted driving; and/or
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Drivers have a duty to drive carefully and respect others on the road, especially motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are smaller and therefore harder to spot, drivers should pay closer attention. One wrong move on the road could impact a motorcycle rider’s life forever.
What Are Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries?
Any kind of accident, whether it involves cars or trucks, can cause severe injuries to victims. However, injuries from a motorcycle accident tend to be even more significant in many cases, as motorcycle riders have little to no protection.
Unlike vehicles that offer protective features, like seatbelts and airbags, motorcycles don’t provide any protection to riders. Because of this, riders are at risk of suffering substantial, life-altering injuries.
The following are some of the most common types of motorcycle accident injuries:
- Fractured or broken bones;
- Head trauma;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Neck injuries;
- Road rash;
- Crush injuries;
- Amputation injuries; and/or
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis.
In the worst cases, riders face long roads to recovery and may not ever live their lives in the same manner as before their accidents. The injuries pose several challenges on their own, but the financial burdens are also tough to bear.
Obtaining Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
To understand how obtaining compensation after a motorcycle accident works, it’s helpful to know how insurance works in Massachusetts.
In Massachusetts, motorcycle insurance, like car insurance, is required. Without insurance, you’re unable to register a motorcycle or legally ride on the road.
Massachusetts law requires riders to carry bodily injury protection and protection for property damage. However, motorcycle insurance excludes Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, meaning regardless of who caused the accident, your insurance initially pays for your medical expenses. On a motorcycle this is different because there is no PIP coverage. Therefore, you can either add “medical pay” coverage to your policy or use health insurance.
Regardless of Massachusetts’ being a no-fault state, this does not mean no one will ever be at fault. If you’re in a motorcycle accident and the other vehicle driver is at fault, you may be able to step outside Massachusetts’ no-fault system if either of these is true:
- You’ve incurred over $2,000 in medical expenses.
- You’ve suffered a serious or permanent disfigurement, disability, broken bone(s), or loss of hearing and/or sight.
If you’re able to prove one of the above, you may have the opportunity to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
What is a Personal Injury Claim?
Suffering a personal injury means sustaining injury caused by another’s negligent or intentional act or omission. Personal injury law exists to protect individuals who have suffered harm at the hands of another.
If you’ve met the Massachusetts threshold requirement for filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for your motorcycle accident, an attorney that’s experienced in handling these types of claims can help you pursue the financial recovery you deserve.
Steps to Take in a Motorcycle Accident Personal Injury Claim
If your personal injury attorney determines you’re able to take legal action against the other driver, the following steps are taken to help you seek compensation.Sending a Demand Letter
The first step in a personal injury claim isn’t going to court to open your case. Rather, your personal injury lawyer must draft and send the at-fault driver’s insurer a demand letter.
A demand letter informs the driver’s insurance company that you’re willing to take serious legal action should they not adequately respond to your demand for compensation. A demand letter includes several key pieces of information, including:
- The reasons their insured is responsible for your accident
- Evidence to support your reasoning
- The extent of your injuries
- The financial losses you have experienced as a result of their insured’s actions.
Along with investigating your accident, your lawyer examines several factors to calculate how much your case is worth. The letter includes this monetary figure, detailing what expenses and losses you’ve incurred.
Upon receiving the demand letter, the insurance company can either respond and agree to settle, initiate settlement negotiations, or deny the claims and refuse to settle. How the insurance company responds determines how your attorney proceeds.
If possible, your lawyer will settle your case before ever formally filing a personal injury claim in court. However, if the insurance company is difficult or unwilling to settle, your attorney can proceed with filing your claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If necessary, your personal injury attorney will draft a complaint and file it with the court to officially open your case. Once the paperwork is filed, your lawyer must serve the opposing party with copies of the complaint. This serves as notification of the impending case.
The insurance company then typically has 20 days to file their response to your complaint with the court.
Engaging in the Discovery Phase
After the insurance company has submitted its response, the case moves on to the discovery phase.
The discovery phase is the most critical time in a personal injury case, as it is a time for both parties to further investigate the accident and obtain pertinent evidence. During discovery, the following are helpful tools both parties can utilize to seek information:
- Requests for admission
- Requests for production
The discovery phase is usually the longest part of a lawsuit. It can take several months for both parties to get the details and evidence they need to proceed.
Revisiting Settlement Negotiations
After the conclusion of the discovery phase, both parties have all the information they need regarding your accident. Therefore, your personal injury attorney can attempt to revisit settlement negotiations.
Fortunately, a majority of personal injury claims are resolved through pre-trial settlement negotiations, meaning the case never has to see the inside of a courtroom. It is only when a settlement cannot be reached that the case moves forward to trial.
At trial, both parties have the opportunity to present their case in front of a judge and jury. Once they’ve heard from both sides and examined all the evidence and testimony presented, the jury can make determinations regarding your case, concluding your matter.
Whether your case settles outside of court or goes to trial, your personal injury attorney will continue to represent your best interests and fight for your right to fair financial recovery.
Damages Available for Motorcycle Accidents
Financial compensation for your claim depends on the details of your accident. Your damages may either represent tangible or intangible losses, including any of the following:
- Past and future medical bills;
- Rehabilitation expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning potential;
- Property damage;
- Pain and suffering; and
- Emotional distress.
Your personal injury lawyer can determine the monetary value of your injuries and losses and obtain sufficient evidence to prove them as well. Building a strong case can significantly help reach a favorable outcome and maximum compensation.
How Long After an Accident Can You File a Claim in Massachusetts?
If you wish to file a personal injury claim for damages, you have limited time to do so. The statute of limitations in Massachusetts for motorcycle accidents is three years from the date of the collision.
Failing to file your lawsuit within the given time can result in losing your right to seek compensation altogether. Therefore, it’s particularly important to consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your case.
Discuss Your Case with a Qualified Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The legal team at Cava Law Firm has extensive experience helping injured clients get the fair financial compensation they deserve. We take a personalized approach to every case, as we understand that every client and their needs are unique. Our personal injury lawyers will see your case all the way through, whether that means settling or going to trial.
You may have suffered an accident, but with Cava Law Firm, winning is NO accident!
Contact us today at (413) 737-3430 or (413) 781-CAVA to request a complimentary consultation.