According to the National Safety Council (NSC), only 3% of registered vehicles in the U.S. are motorcycles. However, motorcyclists account for around 14% of all traffic fatalities, 18% of occupant fatalities, and 4% of occupant injuries each year.
If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident in Tucson, AZ, an attorney can help you fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Yet, you might wonder when to reach out to one. Does every accident require legal counsel?
Choosing to hire a lawyer for motorcycle accidents is a smart idea, regardless of the scale of your collision. Today, we’re sharing a few key signs that it’s time to make the call.
1. You Were Not Responsible
Did you suffer a personal injury or property damage due to a collision on your motorcycle that wasn’t your fault? If so, it’s time to review your options for lawyers.
If someone else is responsible for your damages, their insurance company should compensate you accordingly. However, this step isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
The other motorist might not have enough insurance to adequately cover your losses. Or they might not have any insurance at all. Even if their coverage is sufficient, the insurance company could deny you the full extent of the settlement you’re due.
If any of these issues occur, you’ll be happy to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
This legal expert will know exactly how to communicate with the insurance company and will fight to ensure the negligent party is held responsible for their actions. If necessary, they can even help you take your motorcycle accident case to trial and represent you in court.
2. Fault Isn’t Clear
Sometimes, even if you know that you didn’t cause an accident, liability isn’t always cut-and-dry.
For instance, the police report might contain murky details about the actions that occurred right before the crash. The report could even get those details wrong.
If there’s any indication at all that the other driver wasn’t 100% at fault, their insurance company will try a range of tactics to get you to assume a degree of the blame. You could inadvertently say something that works against your case, such as admitting that your memory around the accident is fuzzy.
When you allow a lawyer to take the reins and have these conversations for you, there’s less risk of misspeaking and misinterpreting.
Arizona is an at-fault state that follows a pure comparative negligence approach. This means that even if you’re up to 99% responsible for causing the accident, you can still recover 1% of the damages. Under this system, your settlement will be in direct proportion to your assigned portion of the liability.
Thus, it’s in your best interest to establish fault, and your lawyer can help you get there. They will carefully review the details of your case to understand exactly what happened, bringing in outside experts, such as accident reconstruction experts, as required to provide additional clarity.
3. You Suffered an Injury
If you were injured in any way as a result of the motorcycle accident, be sure to call a reputable, local lawyer. Doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, and therapy bills can add up, and it helps to have financial support during this difficult time.
Your lawyer can help ensure that the motorcycle accident compensation you receive is substantial enough to cover the full extent of your injuries, including any long-term care or lifestyle adjustments that more severe injuries may require.
This is why we always recommend scheduling a physician’s visit immediately after an accident, even if you feel OK and don’t see any noticeable injuries. Some soft-tissue injuries, including sprains and strains, can take a while to show up and manifest in your body. Plus, there will likely be adrenaline and shock pulsing through your body, and these can mask symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Even if you don’t receive immediate care at the scene, it’s not too late to visit your doctor. If you suspect that you were injured in the accident, contact a Tucson, AZ motorcycle attorney to protect your rights and receive support as you recover.
4. You Don’t Know How to Navigate the Legal System
Your memory of the collision might be crystal clear. You know you weren’t at fault, and you know exactly what types of damages you experienced as a result of the accident.
However, the idea of fighting the insurance system intimidates you. The legal jargon overwhelms you. You’re tempted to take the first settlement offer you receive and try to move on with your life.
If this sounds like you, rest assured that while the next steps might sound scary, you don’t have to take them alone. By talking to your lawyer, you’ll find that most of the work will be done for you, allowing you to rest and recoup during this sensitive time.
If you’re questioning the right move, don’t leave this decision up to chance. A lawyer can help relieve most of your stress and tension, so you can focus on what matters the most.
5. You’re Out of Work
Did your motorcycle accident result in a serious injury that leaves you unable to work, either for the short term or the long term? This lifestyle change can directly impact your finances, affecting not only you but also those who depend on you for financial support.
Things can snowball quickly, especially as medical bills start piling up. You can’t exactly stop attending your doctor’s visits, but it will become increasingly harder to afford them if you’re not bringing in a steady income.
To add insult to injury, many employers become difficult to work with when their employees are injured outside of the workplace and need to miss work. Unless you qualify for paid time off and your rehabilitation timeline fits neatly into that schedule, you may experience some pushback.
In some cases, you could even be in danger of losing your job because you’re unable to perform the work that you used to do. An experienced accident lawyer can build a strong case for you and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Not only can this assist with your immediate medical needs, but it can also help cover any type of long-term care that you require. This includes changes to your mental health, which can be negatively affected as your lifestyle shifts. For example, you might experience episodes of depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that affect your ability to function after an accident.
If this is the case, you need access to professional services that can help you process your trauma and work toward healing. These services can be expensive, and you’ll need a settlement large enough to cover them.
6. You’re Nearing the Statute of Limitations
Some motorcyclists will have the time, energy, and wherewithal to contact a lawyer right after an accident, while they’re still at the scene of the collision. Others may take a little more time to process everything that happened, and that’s OK.
According to Arizona state law, the statute of limitations for reporting a motorcycle accident is two years. That’s how long you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
While two years might sound like a long time, it can go by quicker than you’d think. This is especially the case if your recovery period is a lengthy one. You’ll have so much on your mind and plate that you might forget all about steps such as contacting the insurance company, interviewing attorneys, and comparing lawyer fees.
By the time you do get around to making that phone call, your memory of the accident might have faded somewhat. While photos and videos of the scene can help you piece together what happened, your personal recollection is extremely important.
By reaching out to a lawyer as soon as possible, you can ensure the details are still fresh on your mind. You’ll also be able to provide a more accurate recount of what happened, who was at fault, and exactly what type of damages you suffered. Don’t wait until the statute of limitations is almost up to find a legal team you can trust.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer for Motorcycle Accidents
A motorcycle’s smaller frame and lower stability make it more of a liability on the road. If you’re in an accident while riding one, it’s important to know what to do.
While it’s always best to call a reliable lawyer for motorcycle accidents, these six signs above are definite indications that it’s time to hire legal support.
A lawyer can fight for your rights, maximize your compensation, coordinate with the insurance company, and help you recover.
Our team at Sweet Law has worked on cases just like yours and is here to help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!