Motorcycle Accidents – What You Need To Know

motorcycle accident settlement

June 3  

Motorcycle Accidents

Recent Motorcycle Crash?

My whole family’s been riding motorcycles for as long as I can remember. My brother and I started riding motorcycles when we were 9 or 10 years old. And, for people who’ve never ridden a motorcycle, they don’t realize how unprotected you are.

If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash, you need to hire a lawyer who knows what it’s like to be on a motorcycle and has seen what other motorists do when they’re in the presence of a motorcyclist.

The short answer, of course, is that people don’t pay attention to motorcyclists the way they ought to. Motorcycles are smaller than cars or trucks and unfortunately, people in cars and trucks often don’t pay any attention to motorcycles.

That’s why, I think, sometimes you’re safer on a loud Harley Davidson than you are on a quieter motorcycle, or even one of those new electric bikes.

Important Things You Need To Know

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, there are several things you should know heading into an injury claim.

Motorcycle accident cases are similar to other kinds of motor vehicle crashes, like car accidents or truck accidents. But there are differences you should be aware of. Here are the three things you need to know if you’ve been involved in a motorcycle crash.

First, hire a lawyer who knows something about motorcycles and motorcycle crash cases. You know, having a lawyer who has experience in the particular area of injury law where you need help is absolutely essential.

Attorneys like that know what to look for and what to avoid, as far as putting evidence in and they understand that jurors are often very biased against motorcyclists. Hiring an attorney who has some experience in the are of law like motorcycle crashes is very important.

If you have your irrefutable proof that the crash was the other guy’s fault, the insurance company may try to make a quick settlement with you by offering you less than what your case is really worth.

They will definitely try to take a recorded statement from you before you have a chance to consult with an attorney. My honest advice is that you should have a free case evaluation with an experienced injury lawyer before making any decisions like that.

The second thing I wanna tell you is that it’s important to tell your doctor about all your injuries.
A common issue I see in motorcycle crash cases is that people will talk to their doctor. For example, if they have a broken ankle, all of the treatment is focused on the broken ankle.

But, if you have problems with your foot, or problems with your shoulder or your elbow or something like that, you have to make sure that the doctor documents those injuries and addresses them.

Keep this in mind even though it’s natural in medicine for a doctor to treat the most serious injury first. If you’ve got a little pain in your shoulder or your elbow but a fractured ankle, of course the doctor is going to address the ankle first.

However, it’s important to get all of your injuries documented in the medical records. This is because otherwise, the insurance company will say that maybe your shoulder or elbow injury wasn’t related to the crash.

Always make all of your complaints to the doctor and make sure that they get documented, even if they defer the treatment. The third thing you need to know about motorcycle crash cases is that having a witness is key.

Having an independent witness who says you were driving the speed limit, you were obeying all safety rules and that it was the other person who crashed into you is really important in a motorcycle crash case.

If you keep this info in mind, you are definitely helping yourself and your case if you get hurt in a motorcycle crash.

Prejudice Against Motorcycle Riders

Any lawyer or judge who handles lots of injury cases in court can tell you that juries think that motorcycle riders are risk takers and are more likely than the driver of the car or truck to speed or drive dangerously.

In an injury case, you have to prove that the other driver caused the collision, not you. How do you fight a case when the jury, or most of them at least, have a preconceived idea that you were probably at least partially at fault?

In my motorcycle accident cases, I stress my client’s experience riding. The number of years he or she has been riding is also important. I also find being very precise about where the crash occurred and exactly what my client was doing is very important.

Even more than any other kind of case, establishing that you are an experienced and safe rider is key to a good outcome for you in a motorcycle crash injury case.

Size And Visibility

In most motorcycle crash cases I handle, the other driver at some point claims that the motorcycle “came out of nowhere,” so he must’ve been speeding. Just because the other driver did not see you, does not mean that you are doing anything wrong.

But that is certainly the impression the insurance defense attorney will attempt to create with the jury.

I always make sure that the jury understands that motorcycles are much smaller than cars and trucks. It is the duty of the other driver to pay attention to all motor vehicles and people on or near the roadway, not just the ones who are in larger vehicles.

I will also often argue that if a driver doesn’t think he should have to see a vehicle as small as a motorcycle, then does he think it is okay to run over a pedestrian? Pedestrians are even smaller than motorcycles.

The rules of the road in Illinois require drivers to maintain the lookout for other vehicles on the roadway. It is no defense to say that a driver did not see the motorcycle rider.

Motorcycle Crash Injuries

You have a potentially dangerous combination when riding on a vehicle in the open air, which is also powered by a powerful motor. That means you can go much faster on a motorcycle than you ever could walking, running, or even riding a bicycle.

But unlike when you are riding in a car, if there is a collision that throws you from the motorcycle, your body will be much more exposed to impact with the ground and suffering “road rash,” which can leave scars.

You have much less protection on a motorcycle, so if your motorcycle is impacted by another vehicle, that force is translated to your body. It is not uncommon in serious motorcycle accident cases for the rider to be thrown from the motorcycle, tens of feet or perhaps even more.

Most motorcycle riders I know wear a helmet and wear protective gear and believe it or not, juries like to hear this. But even with protective gear, the forces involved in a crash are directly applied to your body.

Head injuries are the most common serious injury I see in motorcycle accident cases. I also see lots of broken bones, usually broken legs. Obviously, the seriousness of the injury can vary greatly. In the most serious of motorcycle crashes, people are killed.

Literally, the human body cannot withstand the forces involved. But paralysis and other permanent brain injuries can result as well. Sometimes, a rider involved in a motorcycle accident gets lucky and suffers only bumps and bruises and temporary sprains and strains.

I offer a free case evaluation where I can answer all of your questions and we can talk about what I can do for you. My goal is to provide injured people with helpful information and to represent them if they want me to. If you need help, please don’t hesitate to call.

Give us your name and mailing address and I will mail it to you free of charge and with no obligation. If you are ready to talk, call that same number and ask to speak with me!


"Hiring Scott was one of the best moves I have made in my life.   Scott is a down to earth person and attorney.  Scott is a 5 star first class act who really knows his stuff.   The Judge said his presentation was one of if not the best he had ever seen.   Take my advice, hire Scott. I’m sure you’ll be 200% satisfied.  I was."

Richard Lange

Cab Driver, Fall Down                  

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

I've been helping injured people just like you for my entire 20+ year career in all kinds of injury cases, and I can probably help you, too.

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