Accidents involving motorcycles are some of the most serious crashes on Arizona roads. The standard design of a motorcycle offers very minimal protection from impact with other vehicles. Potential issues that may contribute to, or cause, a motorcycle accident include driver error, improper traffic control devices, poorly designed roadways, vehicle design, and tire wear and defects.
More often than not, there are compounding causes of an accident, not simply one single cause. Although there are numerous tips to prevent injury from motorcycle accidents, this makes determining the cause of a motorcycle injury an extremely complicated process.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 5,000 motorcyclists killed in 2018. While that number is decreasing almost 5% from previous years, it still poses as a staggering number. The NHTSA published a document that shows even more shocking motorcycle crash statistics. There is a silver lining however if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident.
The following are common questions that we have been asked while representing motorcycle injury cases:
1. The day after my accident I can hardly move. Is it too late to file a claim for my injuries?
In short, the answer to your question is “no”, it is not too late to file a claim if you have not done so already. If, on the night of the accident, you provided a statement to the responding officer and said that you were all right; do not be concerned. This is common and is not a significant obstacle to face when recovering from your injuries. When your body sustains trauma, it is not unusual for you to feel “fine” immediately following the accident. It could take several hours for your body to recognize the symptoms of an injury.
It is for this very reason that most emergency rooms will issue instructions upon releasing patients. The instructions will advise the patient or caregiver to keep an eye out for various symptoms that could indicate that their condition is worsening. Should they encounter these symptoms, they should immediately return to the hospital to be examined. It is a commonly accepted notion that symptoms present as minor, and then increase in severity as time progresses. Examples of injuries that present with minimal symptoms and then worsen over time include the swelling of the brain and the swelling of the discs in your back.
2. What if several weeks have passed, and I am just now beginning to experience pain in my back and neck?
This is an extremely common phenomenon, especially if you also experienced another trauma at the time of the accident such as an injury to an arm or a leg. When in an accident, your brain has to quickly process a large amount of information. It may only register initial, immediate, or visible pain, such as scrapes, bruises, and broken bones.
You may not be completely aware that a more serious back or neck injury has occurred. Also, because your entire body is most likely very sore, it may take weeks for the back and neck injury symptoms to be distinguishable from the other pains. At this point, the weakened body part may have given out completely due to the strain of constantly being used while injured.
3. What if I was not wearing my helmet when the accident occurred?
There is currently no regulation in the state of Arizona that requires you to wear a helmet while operating a motorcycle, so you have not violated any laws. Even so, if this is the case you will want to find a competent and experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your claim. The insurance company may pose the argument that by not wearing a helmet you have contributed to your own injuries. You would then be considered partially at fault for your accident. This implication may possibly reduce the amount of money you can receive for your claim.
The insurance company is likely unable to make this argument for most bodily injuries because they would still have occurred even if you were wearing your helmet. A motorcycle accident lawyer who has encountered this situation before will be able to argue your claim more adequately and successfully than one who has not. They will be able to recover all of the funds you deserve.
4. What if I was only a passenger, and a friend or family member was driving the motorcycle?
In a perfect world, every driver would be insured, and you would collect compensation for your injuries directly from the insurance company. If they do not have auto insurance you can take them to court personally in order to collect for expenses incurred such as medical bills, damages, and pain and suffering. It is rarely a pleasant experience when suing a friend or a family member, but someone will need to pay for your injuries.
Even if your friend or family member was found to be at fault for the accident, you should still be adequately compensated as a passenger in an accident. One possible setback is if they had purchased an insurance policy that has a “family member exclusion” written directly into the policy. This may limit the amount that you are able to recover for your claim.
Contact a Motorcycle Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident as either the driver or passenger, even if you were at fault or not, give the legal team at Hutzler Law a call immediately. We will spend 30-60 minutes during a free consultation to go over your case from top to bottom and come up with the best-case scenario in getting you the maximum compensation for your injuries. Call Hutzler Law today at 602-730-4530 and we can immediately assist you.