When the unthinkable happens and you are hurt in a motorcycle accident, turn to a legal team that has the right experience and the resources to fight for the justice you deserve. The Memphis motorcycle accident lawyers at Reaves Law Firm, PLLC are here to make sure that your voice is heard.
We stand up for the rights of injured motorcyclists, who often face an uphill battle with severe injuries and insurance companies that try to blame them. Our skilled attorneys demand maximum compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, future anticipated losses, pain and suffering, and more.
Drivers have a responsibility to look out for motorcyclists and respect their space on the road. If drivers fail in this duty, they can and should be held accountable. If you or your loved one has been injured by someone else’s negligence, the motorcycle accident attorneys of Reaves Law Firm, PLLC are here to help. Contact us today at (901) 352-0333 to schedule a free consultation.
Why Are Motorcycle Accident Claims More Complicated?
Motorcycles have some advantages over passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks, including being more maneuverable, quicker to stop, and more fuel efficient. Unfortunately, motorcycles have none of the crash protection that passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks have.
As a result, motorcycle accidents often result in much more severe, life-threatening, long-lasting injuries for motorcycle riders, as compared to the injuries suffered by occupants of other vehicles. Thus, calculating the monetary damages from a motorcycle accident can be very complicated.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Motorcycle Crash
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash, the first thing you should do is call 911.
Officers who respond to the scene will file an accident report documenting their observations.
You should also seek medical treatment right away.
Not only is it important to start treatment and recovery as quickly as possible, but diagnosing and treating your injuries immediately after your accident will allow you to more easily show that your injuries were caused by the accident and not some other incident.
You should also collect any evidence related to your accident.
This starts with taking photographs of the accident scene as soon as possible after the crash, including while vehicles are still on the scene. You should also take photos of your injuries and get the names and contact information for any witnesses.
Keep track of your medical expenses and of the time you’ve missed from work.
You may also want to keep a journal of the accident and everything that happens after, jotting notes down as soon as possible after it happens while your memory is still fresh.
Finally, you should talk to an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Memphis.
An attorney can help you to collect evidence relevant to your legal claim, negotiate with insurance companies and attorneys on your behalf for a settlement, and, if necessary, argue your case at trial.
In addition, the drivers of other vehicles may try to contest liability, arguing that if they didn’t see you, then you, the rider, must also have been doing something wrong. However, many times, that isn’t the case – drivers of vehicles just aren’t usually looking out for a smaller motorcycle. As a result, trying to prove the other driver’s fault for the accident can be a much longer and more complicated affair.
Our seasoned Memphis motorcycle accident attorneys have a long track record of success in taking on insurance companies that try to shortchange injured riders. As former insurance defense attorneys, we know all the tricks and tactics insurance companies use. This insider knowledge empowers us to make smart moves for our clients.
What If I Am Being Blamed for the Crash?
The other driver or the insurance company may try to argue that you were responsible, at least in part, for your motorcycle crash. This is because Tennessee law uses what is known as a comparative fault system for motorcycle accident claims.
Under comparative fault, a jury or judge will determine the percentage of fault of each party involved in the accident. If you are found to be partially at fault, the damages you are ultimately awarded may be reduced by your percentage of fault. You will not be permitted to recover any damages if you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault for the crash.
For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but were found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, your award would be reduced by $25,000.
Insurance companies will try to use comparative fault to push blame onto you, with the hopes of reducing or eliminating your right to compensation after a motorcycle wreck.
What You Need to Know about Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may soon be contacted by adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company, or even from your own insurance company. They may offer you a check right now so that you can pay off the medical bills you have incurred and help defray income you’re missing from lost work. Or they may tell you that you need to sign paperwork to begin processing your claim.
Often, insurance adjusters are trying to get you to sign away your legal rights for little or no money. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they can maximize their profits by paying out as little as possible in claims. The insurance companies will try to leverage the fact that you may be in a difficult financial situation to accept the first offer of money that’s put in front of you.
Before you sign any paperwork from the insurance company or accept any money, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Memphis. An attorney can help you understand if you are signing away any legal rights, and whether the compensation the insurance company is offering you is a fair approximation of the value of your claim.
How Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Can Help You
The experienced motorcycle accidents attorneys of Reaves Law Firm, PLLC are dedicated to helping crash victims fight for the compensation and justice they deserve.
At a free initial consultation, our attorneys can help you understand your legal options and the kind of compensation you may be entitled to receive.
If you hire us to advocate on your behalf, we charge no upfront fees for representation, and you owe us nothing unless we get compensation for you.
Our attorneys are always available to answer any questions about your case and keep you informed about its progress.
We will work to collect all the evidence in your case and put together a solid claim for compensation.
Our team will negotiate aggressively with the insurance companies with the goal of obtaining a full and fair motorcycle accident settlement.
If necessary, our respected litigators will take your case to trial to ensure your voice is heard in court.
Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident
As with all other types of personal injury claims, compensation for injuries and damage from a motorcycle accident typically falls into four main categories:
Medical expenses include both past and future expenses for surgery, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, physical/occupational/speech therapy, medication, durable medical equipment, and even renovations made to the home to accommodate disabilities caused by injuries suffered in the accident.
Lost wages include both past and future income lost while a motorcycle accident victim is out of work for recovery from injuries. Additionally, if the victim must return to work with fewer hours or in a job with lower pay than before the accident, he or she may be entitled to recover the difference in income.
Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate the victim for pain suffered as a result of the injuries, as well as for the loss of the ability to participate in activities that the victim enjoyed prior to the accident, such as sports and recreation.
Loss of companionship damages may be available depending on the victim’s family and marital status. The spouse and/or family may be entitled to claim compensation for the loss of the victim’s companionship, society, and service to the family as a result of injuries.
Other damages you may be able to claim include the costs to repair or replace your motorcycle if it was damaged or destroyed in the accident, along with any other personal property that may have been damaged or destroyed.
If you take your motorcycle accident case to trial and a jury finds by clear and convincing evidence that the other driver acted maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly in causing the accident, you may be awarded punitive damages, which are intended to punish egregious behavior and deter future conduct. Under Tennessee law, punitive damages may not exceed the greater of two times the total amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, except in unique circumstances.
Time Limit for Filing Motorcycle Accident Claims in Tennessee
There is a time limit for filing a lawsuit for personal injury claims arising from your or your loved one’s motorcycle accident, known as the statute of limitations. In Tennessee, you generally have one year from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit for your injuries or for the wrongful death of a loved one killed in a motorcycle accident.
As a general matter, if you fail to file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you will forever lose your ability to collect compensation through a claim.
Investigating a crash and building a strong case for maximum compensation take time. That’s why it is crucial to speak with a knowledgeable Memphis motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to get started on your case.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
More than drivers of passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses, motorcycle riders must be extremely vigilant to avoid becoming the victim of an accident. Unfortunately, even when riders take every necessary precaution, they can still be hurt in a serious accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, some of the common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
Lack of visibility
Other motorists turning into the path of a motorcycle
Other motorists changing lanes into the path of a motorcycle
Other motorists failing to give the full lane to a motorcycle
Poor road surface conditions
Failing to yield the right of way
Violation of traffic laws
As long as your crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue a personal injury claim for compensation.
Required Motorcycle Safety Equipment in Tennessee
Tennessee law requires riders to wear and have certain safety equipment, including additional safety equipment if the motorcycle is transporting a passenger. Safety equipment required under Tennessee motorcycle law includes:
Eye protection, unless wearing a helmet equipped with a windshield
A headlight, which must be active at all times including daytime
Left and right side mirrors
Mufflers; cutouts are prohibited
Designed seating and footrests for both rider and any passengers not riding in a sidecar
Violation of these requirements can increase the risk of accidents and serious injuries. It can also make it harder for you to win compensation after an accident.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 134 motorcyclist fatalities on Tennessee roads in 2017. Of that number, 123 of those fatalities involved riders wearing a helmet. This shows that motorcycle riders are still at great risk for severe injury even when wearing all the proper protective gear and taking all the required precautions while riding.
Talk to an Experienced Memphis Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to learn about your right to pursue a personal injury claim for compensation. Contact the Memphis motorcycle accident attorneys of Reaves Law Firm, PLLC today for a free consultation to learn more about your rights and how we can fight for the maximum compensation for your claim.
Call us at (901) 352-0333 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today.