If you have been the victim of a motorcycle accident in Vermont, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
At Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, we understand how devastating a motorcycle crash can be. We also know that you may never have had to hire an attorney to represent you before. Don't worry, we're here to provide knowledgeable and responsible counsel. Let us handle the conflict while you focus on healing. We know that most people simply want to move on with their life after an accident.
Even though motorcycle riders understand the need to ride their bikes with care and skill, sometimes there isn't enough that can be done to protect yourself from other negligent or reckless motorists on the road.
If you've been injured through no fault of your own, you shouldn't have to bear the financial consequences of medical bills, missed work, repairs or replacement of your bike, and other losses. Let our Vermont motorcycle accident lawyer be your voice during the complex process of recovering from a catastrophic motorcycle accident. Our firm takes a down-to-earth approach to cases so that you fully understand your rights and can feel confident in pursuing a claim for compensation.
Contact our firm today to set up a free case evaluation to learn more about your rights and options. We are ready to discuss how we can help you seek the recovery you deserve following a Vermont motorcycle accident.
You may think that motorcycle accident claims shouldn't be any different from other kinds of motor vehicle accidents. In reality, claims for damages arising from a motorcycle crash often become far more complicated than claims involving the average car accident.
First, motorcycle riders often suffer far more serious injuries than other people involved in motor vehicle accidents. Riders are completely exposed to an impact with another vehicle and don't have safety features like airbags or seat belts to help absorb the force of a collision.
When motorcycle riders suffer serious injuries, two complications are added that affect a claim for compensation.
- One, more serious injuries mean greater damages - Injured bikers run the risk that their total damages will exceed the limits of an at-fault driver's insurance coverage. In order to obtain full compensation, the rider may either have to pursue the at-fault driver directly, which often proves difficult if not impractical, or try to file an underinsured motorist claim with their own insurance company.
- Two, serious injuries mean a longer recovery time - Injured motorcyclists are often still undergoing treatment by the time their claim reaches settlement negotiations or goes to court. As a result, any settlement or verdict award must include the future damages for medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and lost quality of life that the rider is likely to incur.
Second, motorcycle accident claims often become complicated because at-fault drivers try to unfairly shift blame or liability for the accident onto the motorcycle rider. Drivers and their insurance companies may try to play on stereotypes of motorcycle riders to claim that the injured rider was speeding or recklessly weaving through traffic, for example.
When you've been in a motorcycle crashed that was caused by another vehicle, you will need to prove the other driver's fault for the accident, as well as your injuries and damages. Most motorcycle accident claims allege that the other driver negligently caused the accident and resulting injuries.
In order to prove the other driver's negligence, you will need to establish four elements:
- You must establish that the other driver owed you a duty of care. In motorcycle accident cases, the duty of care is usually assumed, since every motorist owes all others on the road a duty to drive in a careful and lawful manner.
- You must prove that the other driver breached his or her duty of care. This often requires showing that the driver broke the law - such as by speeding or driving under the influence - or otherwise drove in a careless or reckless manner, such as cutting you off while changing lanes.
- You must show that the other driver's actions directly and proximately caused the accident and your injuries. Even though you may have been impacted by a particular vehicle, that driver may have collided with you due to the negligent actions of another motorist on the road, who may be the true at-fault party for your accident.
- You must establish that you have suffered damages such as medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering are also compensable damages.
A motorcycle crash can leave you with serious, lasting injuries. If your accident was caused by another motorist or was someone else's fault, you deserve to be fully compensated for the losses you've incurred. Damages you could receive compensation for in a motorcycle collision claim include:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgeries, pain management, physical and occupational therapy, and mobility equipment
- Costs of personal care
- Lost wages, income, or business opportunities due to missed work while recovering from your injuries
- Lost earning capacity, if your injuries leave you with disabilities that make it difficult for you to return to work
- Lost enjoyment or quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage, including the costs to repair or replace your motorcycle damaged or destroyed in the crash, along with your other property, like your helmet and riding gear, cell phone, etc.
If you are found to have been partly at fault for the motorcycle accident, that doesn't necessarily mean you cannot seek compensation for your injuries and damages.
Vermont follows the modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, an injured party who was partially at fault is not barred from bringing a claim for compensation, so long as their share of fault does not exceed the share of fault of the other responsible parties. However, the injured party's share of compensation will be reduced to reflect their share of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages but are found to have been 20 percent at fault for your accident, your award will be reduced by $20,000.
Our northern Vermont motorcycle accident lawyer is prepared to work hard on your behalf. He can argue against claims by the other driver that you were at fault or share some of the fault for your accident, so that you receive the full compensation you deserve.
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be disorienting, especially if you've been seriously hurt in the crash. But there are steps you can take in the hours and days following your motorcycle accident that can help protect your legal rights and options for seeking compensation.
- If you've been hurt, call 911 or have someone else call 911 to summon paramedics to the scene.
- If no one in the accident needs emergency medical attention, you should contact the local police department. If on the highway, contact the Vermont State Police to send an officer to your accident scene to fill out a police accident report. Make sure you request a copy of the report from the police department after your accident.
- Take down the names, contact information, vehicle/license information, and insurance information from each of the motorists involved in the accident.
- If any bystanders witnessed the accident, get their names and contact information as well, in case you later need to ask them for a statement about the accident.
- If it's possible and safe to do so, take photographs or video of the accident scene, including details such as the positions of the vehicles after the accident, damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road, the traffic controls and road lines at the scene, any obstructions to your or the other driver's visibility prior to the accident, the weather/lighting/traffic/road conditions at the time of the accident, and any visible injuries you may have suffered.
- If you don't get checked out by paramedics at the accident scene, you should get a complete physical exam from your doctor, even if you don't feel like you were hurt. In an exam, a doctor may be able to diagnose injuries that you didn't even know you had suffered.
- Get a free, no-pressure consultation with a Williston, Vermont motorcycle accident lawyer from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC to go over your rights and options following your accident.
In Vermont, you have three years under the state's statute of limitations to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries and losses you suffered in a motorcycle accident. If you don't file suit before the statute of limitations expires on your claim, the court will likely permanently dismiss your suit and you will lose your right to claim compensation.
Motorcycle accidents often lead to serious, debilitating, and even life-threatening injuries for riders. Some of the most common injuries experienced in motorcycle crashes include:
- Burns caused by contact with hot engine surfaces
- Road rash, or cuts and abrasions on skin caused by contact with the road surface or ground (This can lead to infections if not properly treated.)
- Bone fractures
- Dislocated joints
- Muscle, tendon, and ligament sprains or tears
- Neck and back injuries, including herniated or ruptured discs
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Head injuries, including fractured skulls or eye injury
- Traumatic brain injury
Most motorcycle riders understand the risks of getting on a motorcycle and so take every precaution to ride in a safe, careful manner. Unfortunately, riders still face the risk of other negligent or reckless motorists on the road.
Some of the most frequent causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Speeding, which makes it more difficult for a car to safely stop
- Following too closely (tailgating), which is very dangerous for motorcycles that can slow down and stop more quickly than other vehicles
- Unsafe lane changes or turns, including failing to signal, failing to check mirrors and blind spots, and failing to yield to oncoming motorcycles (usually due to failing to properly judge the motorcycle's distance and speed)
- Drowsy or fatigued drivers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Distracted driving, including texting-while-driving
- Reckless driving, such as weaving through heavy traffic
- Unsafe passing of a motorcycle
- Opening street-parked vehicle doors in front of an oncoming motorcycle
- Inattentive drivers
Often other drivers fail to see a motorcycle to avoid collision. They are accustomed to looking for other cars or trucks and can be inattentive in discerning a motorcycle or determining what driving maneuver the cyclist is going to make. This is no excuse or reason to blame the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist has the same right to use the roadways as all other drivers. They are though simply at greater risk because their vehicle is small. Drivers may also not be prepared for the unexpected, given that in cold climates, such as Vermont, drivers do not see motorcycles on the road for four or five months of the year.
All drivers should drive defensively. A motorcyclist can take some additional precautions for their own safety. They should always have their lights on even in the daylight, so they are more readily visible. A motorcyclist should use both hand and directional signals when possible and safe to apprise other drivers of their driving intentions.
Other causes of motorcycle accidents not related to driver negligence include design or manufacturing defects in motorcycle parts, inadequate road maintenance leading to broken pavement and potholes, and adverse weather conditions.
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, your focus will understandably be on your physical recovery and on getting back to your regular life as quickly as possible. You may not even consider making an effort to ensure you receive full compensation for all the damages you've incurred due to your crash.
Let our Vermont motorcycle accident attorney help you pursue the fair outcome you deserve by:
- Conducting an independent investigation of your accident to ensure we have all available evidence at our disposal
- Working with experts to develop a persuasive accident reconstruction that explains how your accident occurred and identifies the at-fault party or parties
- Helping you collect the necessary paperwork to establish the full scope of damages for which you deserve compensation
- Making ourselves available to talk with you at your convenience to answer your questions and keep you updated on the progress of your case, as well as advise you on next steps
- Filing your claims with the insurance companies of the other parties and negotiating with adjusters on your behalf to try to get you fair and full compensation as swiftly as possible
- Advocating on your behalf at trial, if necessary
When you choose our firm to help you with your Vermont motorcycle accident lawsuit, we won't charge you any fees until we win your case and get you compensation.
After you've been hurt through no fault of your own on a motorcycle, schedule a free consultation with a Vermont motorcycle accident lawyer from Lynch Legal Services, PLLC. We'll discuss your case and how our firm can help you. We're ready to use our decades of experience to help you recover the compensation you need.