Let’s go over some critical motorcycle accident FAQ’s so that you feel more confident in your knowledge of the law and your rights as a potential claimant.
If you or a passenger on your bike was partially responsible for causing an accident, can you still file a liability claim against another driver, pedestrian, or other party?
Yes and no. Partial liability can be assessed in some cases. West Virginia employs comparative liability, meaning, if you are found to be less than 50% responsible for a motorcycle accident you can still recover for damages but less the amount you were deemed responsible. Thus, let’s say that you were 20% responsible for a crash but another party was 80% responsible. For instance, maybe your bike hit an unmarked pothole on a dangerous road maintained by the city, flipped and slammed into the guardrail and suffered broken ribs and a concussion. But maybe you were also going slightly over the speed limit and you overlooked a posted warning several hundred yards back from where the accident occurred. Whereas if the entity responsible for maintaining the road was 100% responsible, you might get $50,000; if you’re partially responsible, your claim may be pro-rated to reflect that fact and, for instance, you may only get $40,000.
Maryland and Washington D.C., however, employs contributory negligence. Essentially, contributory negligence provides that if you are in any part responsible for the motorcycle accident, even 1%, you cannot seek compensation for damages.
If you weren’t wearing a helmet when you crashed, can you still sue for damages that have resulted from head injuries?
Yes. Just because you weren’t wearing a helmet – or weren’t carrying insurance, even – doesn’t mean that you cannot seek compensation from a liable party.
Should you provide statements to your insurance company and the insurance company of the driver who hit you?
This can be dangerous territory. If you make statements to an adjuster before talking to an attorney, it’s very possible that you might say something that could down the line hurt your chances to collect awards or litigate a claim.
Who are common defendants in motorcycle accident injury cases?
Here’s an incomplete list of potentially liable parties:
- The driver who hit your motorcycle.
- The city or other municipal body responsible for maintaining the road where you had your accident.
- Your insurance company.
- The insurance company of a negligent driver.
- The manufacturer of your bike or any of its parts.
- A maintenance company who failed to correct a mechanical problem on your bike or failed to warn about potential problems with a part.
- Other third parties indirectly responsible (for instance, if a truck driver hit you, you may be able to sue the owner of the truck company).
What kinds of damages can you seek in a motorcycle injury case?
- Missed wages at work.
- Missed future wages.
- Pain and suffering.
- Medical and rehabilitation bills.
- Costs to compensate for property damages.
- Punitive damages.
Do you need to get a lawyer to help with your motorcycle accident case?
Even if the facts of the case seem cut and dry and simple, it may benefit you to consult with an attorney. Legal and logistical wrinkles have ways of appearing and can lead to unintended consequences for your matter. To get immediate assistance, contact the Baltimore motorcycle accident lawyers at the law firm of Steven H. Heisler through our website or dial the firm at (410) 625-4878.
$5,500,000.00 - Steve represented a 33-year-old single mother of one whose vehicle was struck head-on by a construction truck in 2002. The client suffered life threatening injuries and was in a coma for six weeks. She required two months of brain injury rehabilitation. The client currently has serious permanent disabilities as a result of the accident including short term memory loss, impaired speech, double vision, and right side paralysis.
She is unable to return to her occupation as a dental hygienist or any other occupation. Steve Heisler and his associate Keith Kauffman negotiated a $5.5 million structured settlement at mediation. Should the client reach her life expectancy the payout increases to $9.5 million.
$250,000 - Steve represented the family of a 15 year old Anne Arundel County boy who was killed when the vehicle he was a passenger in failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree. The defendant driver was also killed. Another passenger survived the crash. The defendant driver had a $300,000.00 liability policy. Steve negotiated a $250,000.00 settlement for the family. The remaining $50,000.00 was tendered to the surviving passenger.
$800,000 - Steve represented the estate and family of a 45 year old man who was killed when the motorcycle he was riding struck a guardrail and he was catapulted down an embankment. The estate and family alleged that a vehicle in the lane to the immediate left of the man swerved into his lane and caused a collision. The defendant strongly denied any wrong doing. The case was settled at a settlement conference for $800,000.00.
$325,000 - Steve’s client, a 45 year old Sr. Program Manager, was struck by a work vehicle that failed to yield the right of way while turning left in front of the victim in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. Steve’s client was thrown from his Harley Davidson and suffered multiple injuries resulting in two surgeries. Suit was filed and the case settled for $325,000.00.
$200,000 - Steve’s client, an elderly lady from West Virginia, was seriously injured when the car she was traveling in was struck by a negligent driver in Garrett County, Maryland. The lady suffered a broken back and detached retina. Steve negotiated a $100,000.00 settlement with the defendant driver’s insurance company and was successful in getting his client’s West Virginia insurance company to “stack” an additional $100,000.00 for a total settlement of $200,000.00.
$100,000 - Steve represented a five year old Eastern Shore boy who was struck by a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road while the boy was riding his bike. Steve's client suffered a traumatic brain injury and serious fractures which required him to spend an extended period of time in a rehabilitation center. The boy now has permanent brain damage. The case settled for the driver's policy limits of $100,000.00.
$95,000 - Steve represented a 36-year-old Cecil County man who was rear ended while stopped at a red light. The force of the impact was severe and his client’s vehicle was totaled. Steve’s client suffered a cerebral concussion, a C5-6 disc herniation, and a L2-3 disc protrusion. He received a 30% whole-body permanent disability rating. Steve settled the case with the insurance company for $95,000.00.