Delaware Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Motorcycle Riders
While motorcycle owners love the feeling of freedom they have on their bikes, the unenclosed nature of a motorcycle means that the rider is more exposed than a driver of a vehicle, so they are more likely to experience serious injuries in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 80% of reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. Motorcycle accidents are frequently caused by the actions of negligent motorists who are careless or distracted, claiming they “did not see” a motorcycle. A second of inattentiveness by a driver can lead a motorcyclist to many severe injuries with a long recovery period, lifelong scars, and stacks of medical bills.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, it can be very frustrating and overwhelming. You may find yourself tempted to just accept the money offered by the driver’s insurance company, even though it doesn’t begin to cover all of your medical costs. But you don’t have to navigate this situation alone. At Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC, our personal injury lawyers take pride in helping Delaware motorcycle accident victims get the compensation they deserve, so they can get their lives back and hopefully get back out on the road. Contact us today at (302) 428-8800 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Most motorcyclists know the risks of riding a motorcycle and take the necessary precautions while out on the roads. Bad roads caused by weather, nighttime driving, and even large animals can increase the danger of riding a motorcycle. Unfortunately, according to motorcycle accident statistics, a leading cause of motorcycle crashes is actually the drivers of other vehicles on the road. Typically these drivers are distracted, impaired, or fail to notice the motorcyclist. According to the Hurt Report, a safety study on motorcycle accidents in the US, other statistics for nationwide motorcycle accidents include:
- 75% of accidents involved a motorcycle and a car or truck. The other 25% of accidents were single motorcycle accidents.
- In two-thirds of the multiple-vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident by violating the motorcycle’s right-of-way.
- Almost 50% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol use, and the seriousness of the injuries increases with speed and motorcycle size.
- Less than 3% of motorcycle accidents are due to vehicle failure. Most of those were single-vehicle accidents where the driver lost control due to a punctured tire.
- Wearing appropriate safety gear, especially helmets and durable protective garments, significantly reduces crash injuries.
While a motorcycle rider can somewhat improve their chances of being detected and recognized by other drivers by wearing jackets with high-visibility colors and using the motorcycle’s headlamps during the day, it is still up to other motorists to see the motorcycles which are sharing the road with them and drive safely around them. Riders frequently get hurt when other vehicles merge unexpectedly into their lane, and they have to take evasive action, such as laying the motorcycle down at speed or swerving, which can result in hitting the median or other obstacles.
What Are Common Injuries for Motorcycle Accident Victims?
Because motorcycles do not have the safety equipment found in other vehicles, such as airbags and seat belts, the injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident can be severe. Even with protective gear like DOT-approved helmets and thick leather chaps and jackets, a motorcyclist is still likely to have some injuries from a crash. These injuries can lead to permanent impairment and chronic pain in some cases.
Some of the most devastating injuries possible in a motorcycle crash are head injuries. These can range from mild to severe and can cause permanent physical and mental disabilities. Head injuries often require lengthy and expensive treatment and rehabilitation. If a motorcyclist is thrown from their vehicle, they may suffer skull fractures and other head trauma, which can lead to brain damage and, in the worst cases, death. Other potential head injuries from motorcycle accidents include concussions, traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, brain swelling, seizures, and coma. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident and begins displaying symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, unconsciousness, convulsions, headaches, slurred speech, dilated pupils, or loss of coordination, you should seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Other injuries that motorcycle riders may suffer in an accident include:
- Road rash. This is the name given to lacerations caused by sliding across the pavement at speed.
- Broken and fractured bones.
- Facial injuries.
- Collapsed lungs.
- Spinal injuries.
- Injuries to internal organs.
- Severed limbs and extremities.
What Specific Laws Apply to a Delaware Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Every state has different laws governing motor vehicles and accidents, which is why it is important to work with a law firm that has experience trying cases in your area – especially since state laws are subject to change. According to Delaware state law, with very few exceptions, the plaintiff has two years from the date of the accident to file a suit. If you wait beyond this time, you will lose your opportunity to seek compensation for the accident. Delaware is an at-fault state, also known as a tort state – which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for compensating the other individual(s) involved for their losses, including medical expenses. This can be done out of pocket or, more typically, by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance.
What Documents Are Helpful When You File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
While your first thought after a motorcycle accident should be caring for your own safety and well-being, there are certain actions you can complete if you are able that may help your case. It is important to remember that even if you feel uninjured after a motorcycle accident, you should still get an immediate medical evaluation. The documentation from this exam may be needed later. You should also contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you can to get their guidance on your next steps. Some other documents that may be useful for your lawyer include:
- Medical records of your injuries and any ongoing care needed.
- Medical bills.
- Names and phone numbers of eyewitnesses and copies of their statements.
- Names and insurance info of the other driver(s) involved in the accident.
- Photographs and video of the accident scene.
- Police reports.
Remember that you should never discuss fault after your accident, which includes apologies. This can be used against you if you bring a lawsuit. Also, do not agree to give a recorded statement to the insurance company or sign any type of settlement documentation before consulting with an injury attorney.
What Damages Can Be Recovered After a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycle accident victims may have severe and life-changing injuries. You could be stuck with huge medical bills and suffer from chronic pain and flashbacks. If your accident was caused by negligent actions on the part of another driver, a good motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get the justice you need and the maximum compensation you deserve so you can begin to put your life back together. Depending on the details of your accident, you could be eligible for one or more of these types of compensation:
- Lost wages: If the accident caused you to miss work or lose your job, you might be compensated for your lost income. If you are permanently disabled and can no longer work, the court may consider compensation for the loss of your earning capacity.
- Medical expenses: This includes any bills you incurred from the treatment of your injuries from the motorcycle accident, including hospital and ER stays, surgeries, rehabilitation, follow-up visits, and other medical care. Future medical expenses could potentially be included if you will need ongoing care.
- Pain and Suffering: Depending on the severity and duration of your injury, you may be awarded money to compensate for the distress and discomfort you endured.
- Mental Anguish: If the accident or your subsequent injuries caused you to feel shame, embarrassment, anxiety, depression, or other mental distress, you might be eligible for this type of compensation.
- Punitive damages: If the driver of the car or truck in the accident is found to have been reckless, impaired, or negligent, then the court may assess punitive damages. These are meant to punish the offender for their actions and act as a deterrent to keep them from ever doing the same thing again.
- Wrongful death: If your loved one perished in the accident, you could be compensated for the loss of their companionship and income.
Why Should You Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
At Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC, we have more than 50 years of experience representing injured motorcyclists. Injuries from motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic and life-changing, resulting in the need for long-term recovery. If you have been injured in a serious motorcycle accident, you deserve to have an experienced law firm on your side. The injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident can be life-long, and we believe that those who were at fault should be held accountable for their actions, so they can be made whole. You deserve adequate compensation for what you have endured. If there is no recovery in your case, you will not owe us any legal fees. Please call Hudson, Castle, & Inkell, LLC, at (302) 428-8800.