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Delray Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Delray Beach Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

Motorcycle riders, aka bikers, deal with prejudices on a daily basis.  The image many people have of bikers has probably been formed by them paying attention to the bikers that they have noticed.  For many people, that means that they think of all bikers as being like the bikers who catch your eye on the road.  You know the ones who do not stay in their lane, who speed excessively, who weave in and out of traffic, and who otherwise give the responsible majority of bikers a bad reputation.  Generally, these stereotypes are annoying, but do not otherwise have a negative impact on your life.  However, if you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may find yourself at the mercy of a society that presumes that you were somehow responsible for the accident, and factfinders who may be reluctant to give you the compensation you deserve and need to recover from your injuries.  At Demand the Limits, our Delray Beach motorcycle accident attorneys are not only familiar with these prejudices, but also with the increased rates of injury and damage for those involved in bike accidents.  They can help you get the compensation you need, while always showing you the respect you deserve.

What Should I Do if I Am in a Motorcycle Accident?

One of our most frequently asked questions is what you should do if you are in a motorcycle accident.  The answer depends on the severity of the accident.  Generally, we stress that you should document the accident as much as possible, including getting photos of the accident, witness names and contact information, and any conditions that may have led to the accident.  Next, we suggest medical treatment, even if you do not feel like you have been injured.  The reality is that the risk of head injuries or serious internal injuries, even for riders wearing all recommended protective gear, is significantly high.  We understand that you may not feel as if you have sustained any injuries as the result of an accident and may want to avoid the burden of bills from an ambulance ride and a trip to the ER if you do not have any injuries.  However, when the alternative could be having an unseen injury causing significant damage, we urge you to seek a medical checkup from a provider after an accident, just to ensure that you do not have any hidden injuries, especially head injuries.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me After a Motorcycle Accident?

At Demand the Limits, we are the first people to acknowledge that you do not need an attorney to help you handle every vehicle accident.  A minor fender bender with two passenger cars is probably going to be resolved favorably and quickly by the insurance companies without you having to seek the advice of a lawyer.  However, very rarely does a motorcycle accident fall into the “fender bender” category.  Most motorcycle accidents involve significant amounts of damage to your personal property, as well as a high risk of bodily injury to the driver of the motorcycle.  For those reasons, we advise bikers who have been in accidents to consult with an attorney before making any decisions about settlements.

I Didn’t See You

One of the big problems with motorcycle accidents and determining fault is that many automobile drivers are simply not paying attention to the road and are not prepared to share it with bikers.  You can have a driver who is completely at fault in a motorcycle accident, but who honestly believes the biker must have been doing something inappropriate, because the driver just did not see the biker prior to the accident.  Think about the size of a motorcycle compared to the size of a large SUV or truck; the motorcycle can be completely in a driver’s blind spot for a long period of time.  The human brain tends to fill in details to deflect blame, so it is not unusual for a driver who is at fault to fill in those blanks and come to the conclusion that the biker must have been speeding, changing lanes, or otherwise doing something to help contribute to the accident, even if that is not the case.

The Importance of Witnesses and Experts

That is why, in motorcycle accidents perhaps more than any other type of vehicle accident, it is very important to locate witnesses when they are available.  Accident reconstructions can duplicate points of impact and other important technical details, but they will never be able to replace the value of someone testifying that the driver was at fault.  However, witnesses are not always available.  That is why the motorcycle accident lawyers at Delray Beach’s Demand the Limits law firm work with accident reconstruction specialists to help demonstrate how an accident occurred and establish fault.

What is at Stake

The reason we think you need an attorney’s help if you have been in a motorcycle accident is because the stakes are high.  After an accident, the party or parties responsible for causing the accident are responsible for covering the damages from the accident.  The word damages is a legal term that refers to an award, generally money, that is paid to a person as compensation for a loss or injury.  Damages can be compensation for money that a person had to pay, such as when a person receives compensation for medical bills, but damages can also pay for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of companionship, and diminished capacity.

The Role of Insurance Companies

In a system without insurance, the dispute is between two parties: one who is claiming that the other party wronged them, often called the injured party, and the person who caused the harm.  Because a legal wrong like this is referred to as a tort, the person who caused the harm is called the tortfeasor.  Before insurance companies, if two parties were involved in a dispute and the tortfeasor was found responsible for the injured party’s injuries, then the tortfeasor would have to pay the damages.  This was bad for the tortfeasor, for obvious reasons.  However, it was also bad for the injured party, because oftentimes a tortfeasor would not have the financial resources to pay the damages.

The role of an insurance company, at least in the context of personal injury law, is to step in and pay the tortfeasor’s damages for the tortfeasor.  Generally, this is because the tortfeasor is also the insured, which is the person who has a contract with the insurance company to pay damages in the event they are held liable for causing those damages.  This is the liability insurance that people are required to have in order to operate a motor vehicle.  However, there are also different types of insurance.  For example, you can have full coverage or uninsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, which will cover damage in the event that you are the person who was responsible for causing the damage or if the tortfeasor is uninsured and does not have the resources to pay for your damages.

In short, the insurance system is great.  It not only protects people from having to pay large sums of money if they cause an accident, but also protects those who are harmed from having to pay for their damages themselves if the tortfeasor lacks the financial resources to do so.  However, insurance companies are generally for-profit businesses.  The more they pay out in settlements, the lower their profit.  While this might not make a significant difference in any single accident claim, if they can save a small percentage on every claim, it can amount to millions of dollars of difference over the course of a year.  That is why even the very best insurance companies may make initial settlement offers that are far below what you need to be whole.

What do you mean by whole?

Wholeness is a legal concept that is relatively easy to understand.  The idea is that a person who has been injured by another should be made whole by the person who caused the harm.  Being made whole is being returned to the condition you were in before the harm.

While it is a simple concept, it can be complex to apply when discussed in the context of serious accidents with serious injuries.   For example, if your bike is destroyed but you have no injuries, you can be made whole by getting the replacement value of the bike.  However, if you are injured, how can monetary damages make you whole?

In reality, they cannot.  If you suffer an injury in a motorcycle accident, particularly a serious injury, you may be dealing with physical and emotional damages that will never completely heal.  It is not unusual for the victim in a motorcycle accident to have lifelong physical damages and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or similar emotional damages related to the accident.  People who are killed in motorcycle accidents leave behind grieving family members, many of whom have not only lost a breadwinner but also a source of strength, comfort, and love.  Money does not change these things.  However, what the legal system attempts to do with monetary damages is give the victim the financial means necessary to try to fix the injuries as much as possible and compensation for those injuries that cannot be fixed.

What type of compensation is available for motorcycle accident victims?

The type of compensation that you may be eligible for depends on the severity of your accident as well as the circumstances surrounding the accident.  However, in general, there are several different types of compensation that a motorcycle victim may receive.  These include, but are not limited to: money for property damages, medical bills, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering.  Determining the appropriate amount of damages is a complex process and often involves consulting experts to get their opinions about the long-term consequences and financial costs of any injuries you have received, as well as the likelihood that you will be able to return to the workforce at the same earning capacity as when you received your injury.

Conclusion

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be feeling somewhat overwhelmed.  Chances are that you are dealing with injuries that can range from significant to severe.  You may be facing medical bills and regular daily bills piling up as you are unable to work, and feeling pressure from the insurance company and your loved ones to settle so that you can move on and try to get back your normal life.  We urge you, before you do that, to come in for a free case review with one of our Delray Beach motorcycle accident attorneys.  We can let you know whether you are receiving a fair settlement offer, and, if not, what we can do to try to help you get the compensation you deserve.