Motorcycle accidents are often deadlier than most other types of accidents on the road. Injuries can also be more severe. As a victim of a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering what your options are. Are you entitled to receive compensation for your injuries? Can you personally sue a negligent motorist for the damages he or she caused?
If you are unsure of the next steps to take, call Kiley Law Group right away. As a rider himself, Founder Tom Kiley, Sr., understands your concerns, and his team is ready to guide you in the right direction. Our skilled personal injury attorneys have helped all types of personal injury victims win compensation for over 40 years.
Call Kiley Law Group today at (888) 988-5361. We stand ready to assist you 24/7 anytime you need us for a free case evaluation. And when we take on your case, there is no fee unless you win.
Who Can Be Sued After a Massachusetts Motorcycle Accident?
Anytime someone on the road acts negligently and causes your injuries or the death of your loved one, you can sue them. The first step is finding out exactly who the responsible party is.
There can be several potential parties who can be held liable, including:
- Another motorcyclist
- Another motorist
- A manufacturing company
- A repair shop
- A government entity, including municipalities
- A pedestrian
You might be thinking that the other motorist who hit you is to blame, but what caused the car to swerve? Maybe it was a pothole in the road. Perhaps a pedestrian ran out into the street. It could have been a faulty tire that forced the driver to lose control. Maybe he was just negligent himself. Having a personal injury attorney available to investigate the accident is sure to clarify matters.
You May Not Need to File a Lawsuit
Once you have identified the party (or parties) responsible for your injuries, the second step is to contact their insurance company. To win compensation in court can be a long, grueling process. It is not worth attempting until you can see if the insurance company is willing to negotiate a settlement first. That will be the quickest way to get paid, and it’s absolutely possible to get a fair settlement this way.
Sometimes, the insurance company does not want to make things easy. They may challenge your claims of their client being at fault. Worse, they may make a lowball offer that fails to meet both your short-term and long-term needs.
This is where working with a lawyer can help you the most. Your attorney can investigate the details of the accident and gather all the necessary evidence to prove your case. Lawyers are also skilled at negotiating with insurance companies. Your attorney will be able to determine how much you are owed and present the evidence to fight for every dollar you deserve.
How Do You Know Whether to Sue Someone?
In most cases, the best outcome for you would be to hire a lawyer to negotiate with the insurance company. Still, there are several circumstances in which a lawsuit might be the best course of action. Your attorney will be able to guide you in the right direction based on your needs. No two cases are the same, so there are a few things to consider before moving forward.
The accident was unusually severe
Motorcycle accidents tend to be much worse than other types of crashes. According to the NHTSA, you may be 28 times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than in a passenger vehicle. The statistics emphasize how bike crashes can result in more serious injuries. This means motorcycle accident victims may face a longer and more expensive recovery.
An accident victim may face:
- Current and future lost wages
- Piling medical bills
- Property damage
- Permanent disability
If your injuries are particularly severe and costly, the insurance company knows they can expect to make a large payout. They might be eager to settle quickly with an amount they think is fair. They do this because they know that, if you take the case to court, they could end up owing you a much larger amount. So you might consider moving forward with a lawsuit if your injuries were unusually severe.
The defendant has many assets
Winning a court case does not always mean you will get paid. This is one of the risks you will have to take. If the responsible party does not have the assets, they simply cannot pay you. You might get some money from them, but not the whole amount assigned in the judgment. If the defendant does not have enough assets, you should consider taking the insurance company’s offer. However, if they have plenty of assets to recover your compensation, play the long game.
Assets you may be able to collect from include:
- Business income and assets
- Personal property
- Future income
- Current wages and assets
The insurance company is playing hardball
In many cases, the insurance company will not budge on its original low offer. The problem is that you know their offer will not cover your financial losses long-term. The insurance company knows you are desperate and will play on that desperation. Times are tough, bills are piling up, and you need money as soon as possible. The company believes if they hold out long enough, you will give in and accept their offer.
If you accept the offer, the case is closed. You will not be able to go back later and ask for more money to cover unexpected bills. That is why you should never accept the first offer. Having an attorney by your side will help you through this process. They know exactly how to negotiate with the insurance company. Often, they will pay up. If they still refuse to budge, the threat of a lawsuit will sometimes do the trick.
Evidence Needed to Prove Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident
It is important to note here that going ahead with a lawsuit can be risky. Like every other type of court case, solid evidence must be presented proving the other party was negligent. Not providing enough evidence could mean a denial of additional compensation. Massachusetts is a modified at-fault state. In most cases, then, you would approach your own insurance company for compensation. You can only go after the at-fault party if your injuries are severe.
Proving your injuries are severe is only the first obstacle. According to the law in Massachusetts, the other party must be at least 51 percent at fault to sue them. The state makes this determination using a list they call the Standards of Fault. This list contains 19 standards of fault used to determine what negligent behaviors qualify. The burden of proving the other party meets the state’s classification of being at fault is on the plaintiff.
This is where having a motorcycle accident lawyer can help make your case. You will need to provide a strong case with plenty of evidence.
Specifically, your lawyer can use:
- A police report of the details
- Photos from the scene
- Eyewitness statements from those who saw the accident happen
- Documentation that reveals you missed time at work
- Medical reports that show your injuries and treatment you have received
- Testimony from experts, like medical professionals
What Happens If the Liable Party is Uninsured?
Massachusetts requires that every driver has liability coverage on their vehicle. But what can you do if you become seriously injured by someone who does not have insurance? You already know some of your damages will be covered by your own insurance company. To receive additional compensation, you may have to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.
If the other party does not have any assets to go after, you may still have a few options. Your personal injury attorney can help you take a closer look at your insurance policy. Your policy may have underinsured motorist coverage. This means if you are injured by someone who does not have insurance, you may be able to get additional benefits.
What Additional Benefits Can You Be Compensated For?
After being involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering what damages you can sue for. There are two types of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are easy to calculate. It is all the costs you have incurred or money you lost because of the accident.
The list of economic damages includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are harder to determine, but you can be financially compensated for them as well.
Non-economic damages include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Call Kiley Law Group Today
Kiley Law Group has been helping motorcycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve for over 40 years. Examine our Testimonials page to see for yourself.
As a rider himself, Attorney Tom Kiley, Sr., loves the freedom of the open road. When another rider is needlessly injured by a negligent driver, he takes it personally. His legal team is standing by 24/7 to schedule your free case evaluation.
If you have questions about your case, call Kiley Law Group today at (888) 988-5361. Remember, there is no fee unless you win.