What Should You Do if You or a Loved One Has Been Injured or Killed in a Motorcycle Accident?
Unfortunately, there are very few “minor” motorcycle accidents. When there is a motorcycle accident near Huntsville or Decatur, Alabama, we typically hear from a wife or children of the deceased rider. Most of the callers are distraught and overwhelmed by the incident. Injured parties or their family members have to deal with medical treatment and bills, health and motorcycle insurance, powers of attorney, wage loss issues and possibly funeral arrangements and life insurance. Often times we have to meet with our clients at the hospital or their home. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motorcycle accident in Alabama, be informed of your rights, follow these steps and retain counsel as soon as possible.
The Hospital is Not on Your Side
When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you expect the hospital to be on your side. Unfortunately, nothing is further from the truth. From the minute you arrive at an Alabama hospital, the hospital is doing everything they can do to maximize how much money they will make from you, your automobile insurance and the liable parties automobile insurance. Even if you have health insurance, which should help to keep costs low, the hospital will ignore the health insurance and try to claim as much of the injured motorcyclist’s settlement as they can get. Did you you know that the hospital only has to bill your health insurance if you have Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama? If you have any other health insurance, they can file a lien against you to recover the full amount of your bills. For instance, if you have a $20,000.00 bill and your health insurance pays it, they could receive $2,500-$5,000.00 or less from your health insurance. If they bill you or the other driver, they ask for the full amount of the bill. Why, because Alabama allows it. When you settle your case, the hospital will try to get as much of your settlement as they can get. Hospitals will do everything in their power to charge victims the absolute maximum that they can. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure you only give your loved one’s health insurance to the hospital; not the motorcycle insurance or the other driver’s insurance. Make sure you tell the hospital that they only have your permission to bill the health insurance.
Do Not Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
The adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side. They are trying to protect their interests only. They will do almost anything to deny your case or pay as little as possible. Under no circumstances should you or your loved one give a recorded statement without an attorney. If they try to contact you and take your statement, tell them you want to talk to an attorney first. Further, only tell your insurance company the bare minimum. They are often not on your side either. Your own insurance company will do all they can to limit the amount that they pay you. Notify them of the accident, give them as little information as possible, and call a personal injury attorney for advice.
It is very important for you to gather as much information about the accident as possible. After you hire an attorney, they will locate and talk to witnesses, obtain medical records, accident reports and hire experts. However, getting pictures of the scene, pictures of injuries and witnesses information can be useful. It is often too late to get this information after you hire an attorney. The accident scene has been cleaned up, the witnesses are gone, and the injuries have healed.
Hire an Attorney
You should never handle a motorcycle accident on your own. The adjusters and attorneys who represent insurance companies are highly trained to do everything in their power to protect their insured. You need experience on your side when dealing with a traumatic motorcycle accident. An experienced attorney can explain the law, prepare your case and deal with the insurance company, while you recover from your accident.
Types of Compensation for Motorcycle Injuries and Wrongful Death
It is important to keep all bills, receipts and employment documents after an accident. The plaintiffs in motorcycle accident can obtain compensation for the following:
- Lost income
- Future lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Existing medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation and therapy
- Special equipment to accommodate disabilities
- Physical and/or mental impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Loss of use
- Workers compensation
- Wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Punitive damages in case of wrongful death
What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
Common causes of motorcycle crashes include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Negligent left-hand turns
- Drunk driving
- Speeding and unsafe driving
- Loose cargo
- Design or manufacturing defects
- Defective equipment
Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Almost all motorcycle accidents cause serious injuries or death. The most common catastrophic injuries caused by motorcycle accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Broken bones
Call a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If your loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you should call a motorcycle injury attorney as soon as possible. The insurance companies do not care how badly your loved one was hurt. They have teams of lawyers who are trained to find ways to deny your case. Our Huntsville and Decatur motorcycle injury lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Backed by more than 60 years of combined experience, you will enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your rights will be protected from start to finish. We will do everything in our power to secure the maximum compensation for you or your family members. Call 256-534-3435. We can help.