Motorcyclists aren’t protected by anything but a helmet and possibly leather gear. If other drivers are careless or intentionally aggressive, the consequences of a collision are often extremely serious or fatal.
If you or a loved one were injured in a motorcycle accident, the Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates can help. Our firm has a long history of fighting for the injured and has secured over a billion dollars in injury settlements. Contact us today to discuss your case.
Steps to take after being in a crash
After a motorcycle accident, it’s essential that you follow these important steps to help ensure your safety and assist you in making an insurance claim or filing a lawsuit later with the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer in Chicago.
1. Get to a safer location
If the accident occurs in traffic, move yourself and your motorcycle, if possible, to the side of the road to avoid further accidents and injury.
2. Keep on your safety gear
Don’t remove your safety gear at the scene of the accident unless later instructed to by emergency medical personnel. Keeping on your gear may help prevent certain injuries from worsening.
3. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
Call the authorities. You must report the crash if you or the other driver experienced injuries or more than $1,500 of property damage, which is easy to do in the case of a motorcycle accident. The police will make a report of the accident, which may assist in an insurance claim or being able to file a lawsuit later.
4. Tell your side of the story to the responding police officer
When speaking to the police, remain calm and respectful, and relate as much of the events of the accident as you are able. However, you do not need to admit fault or speculate as to why the accident may have occurred.
5. Gather evidence at the scene
Document the scene. If possible, take photos of the accident scene and of your injuries and damages. Photos can help the courts and insurance companies make decisions later. Keep a copy of the police report and exchange contact information with any witnesses and the other driver.
6. Notify your insurance company
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Most policies have a time limit for when you must report an accident. When making your report, don’t provide any information about the accident beyond the basics such as the date, time, and location of the accident and the names of the involved parties because anything you say may be used against you later.
7. Visit Urgent Care or your primary care physician
Seek prompt medical treatment for your injuries. Unless your injuries are life-threatening, only leave the scene once cleared to do so by the authorities. Keep all treatment documentation for future reference.
8. Meet with a motorcycle accident attorney to understand your legal options
If your accident occurred due to another driver’s negligence, if you were seriously injured, or if the other driver didn’t carry insurance, you will likely benefit from speaking with a Chicago personal injury attorney regarding a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Make sure you file a claim on time
In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. Once this deadline has passed, you’ll no longer be able to file a claim.
There are some exceptions to this rule, but it’s best to avoid assuming any exception applies in your case and to contact a motorcycle accident attorney in Chicago as soon as possible.
Possible damages you can claim
The primary purpose of filing a personal injury claim is to receive compensation for the losses you’ve suffered due to the accident. These losses — formally known as damages — are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to any financial losses you’ve suffered due to the accident. They’re tangible, easy-to-calculate losses, such as medical treatment expenses, lost wages due to being unable to work, and repair or replacement costs for your motorcycle.
Intangible losses that can’t be easily assigned a dollar value are known as non-economic damages. These include physical pain, emotional suffering, lost enjoyment of life, loss of consortium (loss of companionship and relations), and scarring or disfigurement.
Parties who may be liable for your injury
Your personal injury claim is usually filed against the at-fault driver, but there may be other parties who can be held liable for your injuries. For example, if the at-fault driver was working for an employer at the time of the accident, the employer may be liable in certain circumstances.
Additionally, if the accident was caused by a defective part on your motorcycle, the manufacturer may be liable for your damages. And if the accident was caused by a dangerous road condition, poor signage, or inadequate lighting, the municipality responsible for maintaining the roadway may be liable for your damages.
How our Chicago attorneys prove negligence
To recover compensation, you must be able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent. Negligence occurs when someone fails to exercise reasonable care, which results in harm to another person.
When proving negligence, your attorney must be able to answer three specific questions:
- Did the at-fault party owe you a duty of care?
- Did they breach that duty of care through their actions or lack of actions?
- Did their breach cause the accident?
- Did you suffer injuries in the accident due to their breach of duty?
Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Chicago will investigate your case, gather evidence, and interview witnesses to satisfy the above requirements and prove negligence. When necessary, we may also use expert witnesses to provide testimony on your behalf.
We fight the insurance company to get you the maximum compensation
Most motorcycle accident claims are filed against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. While insurance companies have a duty to provide fair compensation to accident victims, they’re also in the business of making profits. For this reason, insurance companies will often try to minimize the amount they have to pay out.
That’s where we come in. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Chicago are experienced negotiators who know how to fight insurance companies and get you the compensation you deserve. We’ll stop at nothing to advocate for fair compensation, and if the insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair settlement, we won’t hesitate to bring your case to trial.
Motorcycle accidents are more frequent and more dangerous
According to the National Safety Council, motorcyclists account for approximately 14% of all traffic fatalities in the United States despite making up only 3% of all registered vehicles. And that’s not all — the number of fatal motorcycle accidents is rapidly rising, with an 11% increase in fatalities from 2019 to 2020 alone.
Given the growing frequency and severity of motorcycle accidents, it’s essential to have representation from a skilled attorney who understands the unique nuances of this type of accident. Motorcyclists are disproportionately blamed for accidents, even when they’re not at fault, and having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
Common motorcycle accident injuries
Injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents are often more severe than those from other types of accidents. Motorcyclists lack the protection of airbags and seat belts provided by other motor vehicles, so they’re more susceptible to life-altering injuries. Common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Friction burns and skin abrasions
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
Not all motorcycle accident injuries can be seen. Chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression are also common among those involved in motorcycle accidents.
“Dos” and “don’ts” of dealing with insurance after a crash
Anything you say to the insurance company can be used against you, so it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities before speaking with an adjuster.
- Talk to an attorney before speaking to the insurance company
- Keep all copies of documents and correspondence related to the accident
- Provide only factual information and avoid making assumptions
- Sign any document without first consulting an attorney
- Accept a settlement offer before talking to an attorney
- Admit any fault or make assumptions about liability
- Provide a recorded statement without consulting an attorney
- Wait too long to file a claim — it’s important to act quickly!
When in doubt, consult a lawyer. Our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys are here to help you navigate the insurance process and prevent the insurance company from taking advantage of you.
Cost of hiring a Chicago motorcycle accident attorney
We understand that the cost of hiring a lawyer may be a concern for motorcycle accident victims. You’re already dealing with medical bills and other expenses related to the accident, so we want to make getting legal help as stress-free as possible.
That’s why we offer our personal injury services on a contingency fee basis. We don’t charge any upfront fees — instead, we take a percentage of the settlement or award you receive. If we don’t win your case, you don’t have to pay anything. It’s as simple as that!
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
One of the most important steps you can take immediately after a motorcycle accident is to visit a doctor — even if you don’t think you’re injured. Waiting to seek medical attention can have serious repercussions down the line, so it’s essential to get checked out as soon as possible.
Some types of injuries, such as internal organ damage and whiplash, may not present any symptoms until days or weeks later. By visiting a doctor soon after the accident, you can ensure that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated before they get worse.
It’s also important to document your medical treatment for insurance purposes. Medical records are often essential in establishing the extent of your injuries and the impact they’ve had on your life. They can also serve as evidence that the injuries were directly caused by the accident, which may be more difficult if you wait to seek medical attention.
Why work with the Chicago motorcycle accident attorneys at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates
You will need help after being seriously injured or disabled in a motorcycle accident. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates has the resources to undertake every task necessary to build a compelling case on your behalf.
You won’t be asked to pay until we have achieved a settlement or verdict in your favor. Contact us at (800) 985-1819 and get on the path to the compensation you deserve.