Rely on

Louisiana’ premier
personal injury lawyer

Request Your Free Consultation

When Should You Contact a Lawyer For Motorcycle Claim Injuries?

Posted in Motorcycle Accidents on March 24, 2023

Data from the National Safety Council shows that recent years have each seen at least 89,000 injuries and a sad 4,500 deaths from motorcycle accidents across the US. This data means we have at least 93,000 cases yearly where claims for damages on motorcycle accidents may have been brought to the court or insurance companies for a settlement. 

What’s more astonishing is that these claims average tens of thousands of dollars, with some even worth hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the injury suffered. Given how severe motorcycle accidents can get, many people beckon the crucial question — “when is the best time to contact a lawyer to get the most compensation from a claim or the best protection from the claims of other parties?”

The Best Time to Get a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Our answer is simple. Get yourself a lawyer immediately after an accident occurs. The earlier an individual gets a legal professional by his or her side, the better the chances are at full and fair compensation from both the law court and insurance companies.

What Type of Motorcycle Injuries Require Legal Assistance?

Seeking legal assistance for motorcycle accidents is almost always the default inclination when a victim suffers severe injuries. Severe injuries include conditions like a broken rib, dislocated body parts, physical/mental disabilities, or any other complication that summons high medical bills. It may also include the death of a loved one or immense property damage.  

Now, it’s easy to disregard claims on motorcycle accidents when the damage or injury suffered is seemingly small. George Clooney decided not to seek a claim when he had a motorcycle accident in Italy back in 2018, even after suffering injuries to his pelvis, knee, and arm. However, everyone should note that no injury is ever “small.”

Every victim or party to a motorcycle accident needs to seek consultation or legal advice immediately after the accident occurs, regardless of the injury suffered. A “minor” head injury could turn out to be a severe case of brain damage, and certain policies of the state or insurance company may prevent you from seeking compensation.

Why You Need to Always Call a Lawyer Immediately

There are many scenarios a victim has to deal with in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident. These scenarios revolve around factors like:

The Attitude of Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may seem like saviors that take victims out of their dire times of need. However, everyone should understand that these companies don’t have the victim’s best interest at heart. On the flip side, they need to protect their business goals, which is to pay as little as possible on insurance claims. Here are the challenges a victim may face due to this inclination. 

  • The insurance company may quickly provide a lowball settlement offer after the crash. Without legal advice, the victim most likely appends his or her signature on the offer out of desperation, and this action cuts the worth of the claim down by miles. 
  • The insurance company may downplay the severity of an injury or even claim an apparent injury wasn’t caused by the accident.
  • Low effort may be put into an investigation by the insurance company into gathering the facts of the motorcycle accident. 
  • The insurance company may try to blame the victim through arguments on reckless or negligent driving.
  • The insurance company entirely rejects a victim’s claim for compensation. 

In each of these scenarios, a lawyer will always help to negotiate better. A legal assistant understands the strategies used by insurance companies and also knows the arguments to counter these unfair strategies. 

Claims From Other Parties to the Accident

In October 2011, a woman backed her Mercedes GLK 350 into Keanu Reeves’ parked Norton Commando 750 motorcycle. She tried to blame him for wrongful parking, which would’ve rendered him negligent and liable for the accident. 

When he returned to pick his bike up, however, he, alongside the Beverly Hills police officers, cleared up the situation rather quickly. The situation teaches one thing — a victim can be innocent and the other party to the motorcycle crash may try to blame him or her for the accident. 

For someone other than Keanu Reeves, the false accusation could have turned out to be more serious and a claim for damages may have been brought against him. Calling in a lawyer immediately helps a victim assess the crime scene better and prevent the situation from escalating. 

Difficulty Gathering Evidence

Now, whether a victim takes a claim to the law court or an insurance company, the success of the claim depends on the quality of evidence gathered. Lawyers know the elements of negligence that the courts and insurance companies look for in making decisions on a claim and we help victims scale through the situation better. 

For instance, the Louisiana Revised Statute 32:190 requires all motorcycle drivers and passengers to wear helmets when on the road. It also requires that the helmet be designed specifically for the type of motorcycle driven and also fastened with a chin strap. In a motorcycle-on-motorcycle accident and without a lawyer, these specifics to the rule could be ignored when gathering evidence and the victim’s claims of negligence at the court or with an insurance company weakens. 

The Statute of Limitation on Claims In Motorcycle Accidents

What’s more, the window to claim damages on motorcycle accidents also expires. The statute of limitations in Louisiana requires all delictual/civil claims to be brought to the court within a year from the day of the motorcycle accident. With insurance claims, it depends on the company involved and a delay in both cases means a victim can’t receive injury compensation. All expenses come out of his or her pocket. 

Types of Damage/Losses Covered In a Motorcyclist’s Claim

A victim’s claims in a motorcycle accident can be distinguished on two separate grounds. 

The first ground is on who suffered the injury upon which damages are claimed. Here, a victim either claims personal injury or wrongful death. 

Personal injury

Personal injury claims are brought to the court or insurance company by the individual who has suffered the injury. In 2019, Gerard Butler sued a woman who caused his motorcycle accident by cutting him off in traffic, resulting in five fractures in his right foot alone. George Butler’s suit is a personal injury claim for damages due to negligent road use. 

Wrongful death

Wrongful death claims, on the other hand, are brought in cases of fatal accidents on behalf of the deceased. These claims have the same essence as personal injury claims (i.e, they depend on negligence and seek financial compensation for physical and mental distress). However, they are brought by the family members or the estate of the deceased involved in the motorcycle accident. 

Now, the second ground on which claims in motorcycle accidents may be differentiated is the nature of loss suffered. We have two categories here, comprising general damages and special damages. 

General Damages

General damages are non-economic damages claimed on injuries that ordinarily arise from the natural effects of a motorcycle accident. Some examples of these injuries are:

  • Physical distress, such as pain from a broken rib or fractured kneecap
  • Physical disability or disfigurement
  • Mental/emotional distress, trauma, or disability
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Wrongful death, where claims are brought based on non-physical distress suffered by family members. 

Special Damages

Special damages are economic damages claimed on injuries that affect the present and future finances of the victim of a motorcycle accident. These special damages include claims on:

  • Past and future medical bills, such as expenses for surgeries, hospital stays, physical therapy, prescription medication, and appointments, to mention a few.
  • Expenses for fixing damage on the motorcycle or vehicle the victim drove during the accident if any
  • Expenses for replacing the vehicle
  • Lost wages during the time of injury
  • Loss of earning capacity for the future

Also understand that, as expected, the nature of general damages makes them more difficult to financially estimate than special damages. It is in such complex but crucial stages of motorcycle accident claims that a lawyer becomes much more needed. 

How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer?

The best lawyer or firm for any motorcycle accident victim is one that comfortably fulfills several criteria. Victims in New Orleans, for instance, should always look for the following: 

  • Excellent experience within the jurisdiction of Louisiana, evidenced by a track record of success in securing motorcycle accident claims
  • Non-exploitative fees charged on services, with the safe average between 33% to 40% of compensation from the claim. 
  • Clear communication where the legal assistant opts for layman’s explanations in place of legal technicalities 
  • The possession of a physical office where everyone may raise and address issues. The physical office helps a victim to understand the level of professionalism within the representative’s legal business. 
  • The absence of disciplinary actions against a lawyer or complaints from peers or clients on the quality of work. 

A lawyer or law firm that satisfies every one of these criteria is the perfect fit for victims of motorcycle accidents within New Orleans or Louisiana at large. 

Protecting Your Claims in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle Accident Law

Per mile traveled, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says motorcycle accidents are four times more likely to cause an injury and 16 times more likely to cause the loss of life when compared to car accidents. The severity of the claims on motorcycle accidents makes it apparent that victims or parties to one need to protect themselves and their claims as soon as possible. 

“As soon as possible” means immediately a crash occurs and “protect themselves and their claims” means hiring a highly-qualified lawyer. This lawyer is a representative that helps to gather the right evidence and make the right arguments. The best lawyer is one that helps victims to avoid wrongful accusations and successfully recover both special and general damages from the law courts and insurance companies. Contact the firm today at (504) 500-5000 or at our website to schedule an appointment.