According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, in 2018, 47 motorcyclists lost their lives on Utah’s roads, and hundreds more were injured. Many of these accidents occurred as a direct result of the negligent actions of another driver. There is no excuse for drivers who do not drive carefully around motorcyclists, and when they are negligent, they should be held accountable for any injuries.
One minute you are riding your motorcycle and enjoying the freedom of the open road, and the next you are on your way to the hospital in an ambulance. An experienced Utah motorcycle accident lawyer can help you hold others accountable and pursue your rights to compensation.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been in a Utah Motorcycle Accident?
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident can significantly impact your health and well-being, as well as your legal rights and financial future. By working with a seasoned Utah motorcycle accident lawyer, you can ensure that you interests are protected by taking the right steps.
Get Medical Care
Your medical conditions should be diagnosed quickly. Be sure to get the medical attention and treatment you need. Follow through with the recommendations of your medical providers. Not only is this best for your health, but it is also best for your legal claim. If you fail to adhere to the instructions of your doctor, you may give the impression that you are not as injured as you say you are or that you are not willing to do what it takes to get better.
Depending on your physical condition immediately after the accident, you should attempt to collect some evidence that will likely be compromised if not done immediately. Take pictures of your injuries, your motorcycle, and other vehicles involved.
Take pictures of the road conditions, intersections, or anything else that may have played a role in the accident. Talk to any potential witnesses and get their contact information. Your motorcycle accident attorney in Utah can reach out to them as they may be a valuable resource in your claim.
Proving your injuries and damages involves a paper trail. Keep records in a specific file or location. Your accident-related medical bills, medical records, correspondence from insurance companies, and communications from your employer related to your time off due to the accident should all be kept together.
Take a Social Media Break
You should limit who you talk to about your injuries and what you say. This includes social media. It can be tempting to post about your accident, injuries, and recovery on social media platforms. This is an easy way to let all of your friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances know what happened to you and how you are doing, but it can be detrimental to your case.
Attorneys for the insurance company are known to hire people to be social media sleuths. If they see a picture of you at your company’s holiday party or on vacation with your family, they can use it as evidence against the significance of your injuries. If you describe the accident, they can twist your words in various ways to harm your claim.
Hire a Utah Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you do nothing else after your motorcycle accident, hire a motorcycle accident attorney in Utah who will guide you in the do’s and don’ts of this often complicated and lengthy process. Your lawyer can assist you in seeking the compensation you need for your injuries. In fact, studies show that injured individuals who hire an attorney to represent them usually receive more compensation than those who do not.
Do You Have an Injury Case?
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash that was caused, even partially, by another driver, you likely have an injury case. If you are not sure if you have a valid legal claim or not, it is wise to schedule a case evaluation with our knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney who can help you make this determination. If you do have a case but do not receive legal advice, you might be leaving money on the table that you could use to pay for your damages.
In general, personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident cases, have the following elements that your Utah motorcycle accident attorney will work to prove:
- Duty: The other driver owed you a duty of care such as yielding the right of way or obeying the speed limit
- Breach of duty: The other driver breached their duty to you
- Injuries: The driver’s breach of duty caused your injuries
- Damages: You should be fully compensated for your injuries
Utah Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Injury Claims
A statute of limitations is a law restricting the time allowed to file a personal injury claim. In Utah, the statute of limitations for motorcycle injury claims is four years from the date of the accident.
The statute of limitations is strict, and no extensions are allowed. Contacting a well-versed motorcycle accident lawyer in Utah as soon as possible after your accident will help ensure that your case is filed within the statute of limitations.
Who Pays for Your Medical Bills?
Motorcycle accidents can result in thousands of dollars of medical expenses. Most people struggle to pay their medical bills as well as their necessary expenses after a motorcycle accident. If you were recently injured in a motorcycle accident, you might be overwhelmed and anxious about how you will pay all of your bills.
PIP or personal injury protection coverage is mandatory on vehicle insurance policies in Utah, except for motorcycle policies. Sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance, this portion of your policy provides for your medical bills, lost wages, and lost household services if you are in an accident. Even though you are not required to carry PIP on your motorcycle insurance policy, you do have the choice to carry it. If you are in a motorcycle accident, your motorcycle accident lawyer in Utah can examine your policy to determine if you have elected this helpful coverage.
Liens for Medical Treatment
Medical bills can be particularly burdensome while you wait for compensation for your injuries. To help alleviate this stress, some hospitals, and medical providers will agree to medical treatment on a lien. They agree to provide your medical care and not to pursue further collection efforts in return for a lien on a portion of your motorcycle accident settlement or court award.
Once you receive your compensation, they are entitled to a portion of the monies based on that lien. When you hire legal counsel, they can assist you in getting these liens set up and ensure that they are fair to you.
Getting Your Motorcycle Repaired or Replaced
On top of receiving medical care for your injuries, you likely need to get your motorcycle repaired or replaced. In Utah, you have the option of filing a claim with your own insurance company, called a first-party claim OR with the other driver’s insurance company known as a third-party claim. Your rights and obligations are different, depending on which type of claim you file.
If you file a first-party claim, your insurance carrier has a contract with you, and they must abide by it. On the other hand, you are not in a contract with the other driver’s insurance company, and they may try to deny your claim or compensate you less than you are due.
What Kind of Compensation Can You Get for a Utah Motorcycle Accident?
When you meet with a Utah motorcycle accident attorney for a case consultation, you can discuss how much your case might be worth. The compensation received in a motorcycle accident settlement or court award is based on your damages.
Damages represent the losses and inconveniences you sustained as a result of your injuries. Non-economic damages are those that are not capable of being measured and as such, they can be difficult to calculate. The following points are considered in determining the value of non-economic damages:
- The type and severity of your injuries
- Your mental and physical pain and suffering
- If you were kept from taking part in your normal life activities due to your injuries
- Your scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment in your life
- How likely your injuries are to continue to impact your life and for how long
Economic damages are your losses that have a calculable value. They can include your lost wages, your lost ability to earn potential income in the future, and the medical bills associated with your injuries.
The Importance of the Accident Report
No matter how minor your accident may seem at the time, it is essential to call law enforcement and ensure that they write a report. A police report is an unbiased third-party description of the accident. It usually states:
- Where the accident took place
- The date and time of the accident
- The damage to the vehicles involved
- The injuries sustained by anyone involved
- The statements of witnesses to the accident and accounts of all the drivers
- Whether citations were issued
Your chances of a successful claim will be more likely if you have the evidence contained in a police report. Your or your attorney can obtain the police report when it is ready from the law enforcement agency.
What if You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet?
Utah law mandates that anyone under the age of 21 who is riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet that complies with federal safety standards. However, Utah law also states that the insurance company cannot use the fact that you were not wearing a helmet against you in your claim. Therefore, your claim is absolutely protected, even if you were not wearing a helmet.
However, we strongly urge all Utah motorcycle riders to wear a helmet in order to protect their most valuable asset: their head and brains.
What if You Weren’t Hurt in the Accident?
If you were in an accident with your motorcycle but not injured, you do not have a personal injury claim. However, if necessary, you could file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the property damage to your bike. You have the right to have your motorcycle brought back to the condition it was in before the accident.
Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company may seem simple at first, but it can quickly become a complex matter. You might find that they do not want to pay as much as it costs to get your motorcycle repaired or replaced. They may also try to blame you for the accident.
Remember that their job is to pay you as little as possible for your claim. If you are being treated unfairly by the insurance company and do not believe you are receiving the recovery you are entitled to; it is time to seek legal help.
How Does the Whole Legal Process Work?
Filing a personal injury case may seem daunting if you are trying to recover from motorcycle accident injuries. You may be busy attending medical appointments and dealing with your pain. When you hire a Utah motorcycle accident attorney, they can seek the compensation you deserve while you focus on healing from your injuries. Your lawyer can guide you through every step of the process, answering your questions and letting you know what to expect.
Once you hire an attorney, they will gather information about the facts of your case. This might include:
- The police report
- Your medical records
- Any evidence you might have collected at the scene
- Witness testimony
Armed with information to support your claim, your motorcycle accident lawyer in Utah can send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company. This letter will include details about the accident, how their insured is at fault, as well as your injuries and damages.
From here, your attorney can work with their legal counsel to negotiate a fair settlement. The stronger the evidence you have to support your claim, the higher the chances that you will receive a settlement that fairly compensates you for your damages. You are not required to accept a settlement if you do not want to. Instead, your lawyer can take your case to trial.
How Injured Individuals Pay for their Attorney
Many injured individuals make the mistake of believing that they must have thousands of dollars on hand to pay a Utah motorcycle accident attorney upfront. At Creekside Injury Law, we only get paid if you get paid. You are not required to pay anything upfront as we work on a contingency fee only. When and if your case settles or you receive a court award, a percentage of your award will go towards paying your legal fees. This makes it possible for anyone to seek legal assistance after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Schedule Your No-Cost Consultation Today
It takes a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in Utah to help injured motorcyclists recover the compensation they are entitled to for their injuries. Our team has the experience and legal expertise required to pursue a motorcycle accident claim from your initial case evaluation all the way to the courtroom and every step in between.
Whenever possible, we fight to maximize your settlement. Our services include negotiating to lower your medical bills and liens as well as taking a smaller percentage of your settlement for legal fees than many other injury law firms. When we do this, you can have more money in your pocket to compensate you for your suffering.
Your right to file a lawsuit is time-sensitive, call, or contact Creekside Injury Law today to find out how we can help after your motorcycle accident.
DISCLAIMER: this article is for general informational purposes only. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship with the reader. No representations or warranties are made about the accuracy of this article.