Riding a motorcycle down the open roads of Elkhart, Indiana can feel like exhilarating freedom. However, the freedom of the ride also makes you particularly vulnerable to both the elements and a potential accident.
All vehicle crashes are scary and traumatic. Nevertheless, in the aftermath of a motorcycle collision, you may find yourself dealing with significant injuries as a bike doesn’t offer the same protection against impact as a car or truck can.
You may find that your life is instantly transformed and wonder how you can receive justice for the negligence of another driver. Mounting bills and painful injuries can prevent you from focusing on your recovery.
An Elkhart motorcycle lawyer can help you navigate through the legal process and receive the compensation you’re owed.
What you need to know about Elkhart motorcycle accidents
Operating a motorcycle requires extreme use of caution and compliance with safety protocols. Even in the most spacious and rural areas of Elkhart, it’s impossible to control the weather or the negligent actions of other drivers.
In 2020, motorcycle accident fatalities in Indiana increased by 23% and accidents that resulted in injury increased as well. Most of these accidents were the result of multi-vehicle collisions, and most motorcyclists who suffered significant injury were not wearing helmets.
Consulting a motorcycle lawyer in Elkhart may help you to determine what legal steps to take to receive just compensation for your pain and suffering.
- How an Elkhart motorcycle accident lawyer can help
- How to determine liability after a motorcycle accident
- Yosha Law motorcycle accident attorneys
- Indiana laws you should know
- Compensatory damages after an Elkhart motorcycle accident
- Contact Yosha Law
How an Elkhart motorcycle accident lawyer can help
If you choose to retain an attorney to help you with your legal claim, you might find you’re free from some of the burdens you face after your accident. An Elkhart motorcycle accident lawyer can help to calculate the compensation you should seek based on your pain and suffering.
It’s tempting to accept an initial, low offer an insurance company makes for your injuries, as a lump sum payment may take care of your immediate bills. However, you need to factor in the emotional trauma you’ve endured that may not have a set monetary value.
You also need to predict that you may face ongoing costs for medical treatment and a lowball settlement offer may not cover that. Remember, once you’ve agreed to a settlement, you may not have legal recourse to recoup any future expenses related to your accident.
How to determine liability after a motorcycle accident
Statistics show that motorcycle accidents are often multi-vehicle crashes. Thus, proving liability can prove complex. If you choose to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit on your own, you may find it’s near impossible to discern which parties hold fault.
An Elkhart attorney can help determine liability and prove negligence in your accident through the following steps:
- Establishing duty of care:
Duty of care is the legal responsibility we each take on when we operate a vehicle. If another driver is negligent in your motorcycle accident, it means they’ve neglected this duty, which includes the universal standard of attention, caution, and prudence mandated for every driver.
- Showing causation:
Another party may be determined liable for your collision if a lawyer can prove that they breached their established duty of care and this breach caused your accident.
- Proving damages:
Once duty of care has been established and your lawyer can prove that a breach of this duty caused your accident, they must then prove that your injuries are a direct result of the breached duty and causation. Proving damages means the compensatory monetary amount you seek is a direct result of another’s negligence.
Yosha Law motorcycle accident attorneys
At Yosha Law, our team of motorcycle accident attorneys understand how hard the road to justice can feel. Your individual needs for specific compensation matter to us, and we will fight for what you’re rightly owed.
In the aftermath of your accident, our Elkhart lawyers can help by:
- Exploring the merits of your case:
In your initial consultation, we can help you discern the strength of your case so that you can make an informed decision about your next step.
- Consulting forensic experts:
Medical experts and crash reconstructionists may be able to shed light on your accident and help us to prove liability.
- Collecting evidence:
We will gather evidence from the scene of your accident, including — but not limited to — photos, videos, and police reports.
- Filing all paperwork:
As your claim progresses through legal channels, filing time sensitive paperwork may be necessary. We’ll take care of these documents so that you can concentrate on your recovery.
- Representing you in negotiations and meetings:
We will act as your representation in any negotiations with the insurance companies and meetings with any named defendants.
- Fighting for you in court:
Although 95% of personal injury claims are settled before trial, if your case cannot be settled, we’ll fight for justice on your behalf.
Indiana laws you should know
In Indiana, the laws surrounding motorcycles and personal injury claims could impact your motorcycle accident case. It’s vital that you remain informed of these laws before determining what steps to take.
Indiana motorcycle helmet laws
Although minors are required to wear helmets and eye protection when on a motorcycle, Indiana doesn’t mandate helmets for all riders. However, a motorcycle accident could result in significant injuries for an adult who isn’t wearing protective equipment.
Traumatic brain injuries and catastrophic injuries could occur — even in a minor accident. Protecting yourself as you ride may be the first step in avoiding major trauma in a collision.
Indiana statute of limitations
The statute of limitations on filing legal claims can vary from state to state. Nevertheless, this time limit protects both plaintiffs and defendants in a personal injury case: It enables plaintiffs to see the wheels of justice turn quickly, and it protects potential defendants from getting blindsided by a decades old, frivolous claim.
In Indiana, § 34-11-2-4 mandates that all personal injury claims should be filed within two years from the date of the accident. However, if you’re filing a claim on behalf of a minor or a mentally incapacitated adult, the statute of limitations does not apply.
An Elkhart motorcycle accident lawyer can ensure that you file all necessary documentation in a timely manner.
A comparative negligence (also known as comparative fault) law is in effect in a dozen states -– including Indiana. This means that the amount of your compensation can be impacted by the amount of fault you may hold for your motorcycle accident.
For example, if you’re at least 50% liable for your accident, you may not have legal recourse for a valid claim. If you’re at fault for 0% – 50%, your compensation may be reduced, even if another party is over 50% responsible for your collision. If you are determined to hold no fault in your accident, your compensation will not be impacted by this law.
Compensatory damages after an Elkhart motorcycle accident
The compensation you could receive after an Elkhart motorcycle accident is broken down into three categories known legally as damages. Each category refers specifically to the losses you’ve incurred as a result of your collision. A lawyer can advise you on what damages to seek. Here are the types of damages covered in a personal injury lawsuit.
General, or non-economic, damages allow you to receive compensation for losses that don’t have a set monetary value. For example, if a loved one tragically loses their life as a result of your motorcycle accident, their wrongful death is considered a general damage.
Although this compensation cannot make up for what you’ve lost, it can help to relieve your financial burden. Here are some examples of general damages:
Special, or economic, damages have a set monetary value and refer to the quantifiable financial costs you’ve incurred after a motorcycle accident. For example, the funeral and burial costs of a loved one lost in your collision are considered special damages.
Special damages can include:
- Lost wages (including bonuses and tips)
- Medical expenses (including doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, prescriptions, surgeries, and treatments)
- Property repair or replacement costs
- Home care (if you need assisted living as a result of your accident, the bills you incur may fall under special damages)
- Transportation costs (if you need to rely on public transportation, a rental car, or ride shares, this is considered a special damage)
Punitive damages are rarely sought in a court case, but a judge or jury may hand them down as punishment to a defendant who exhibited gross negligence in your motorcycle accident case.
For example, if a driver was intoxicated or hit you while operating a vehicle at extremely excessive speed, the courts may find punitive damages are a necessary consequence for the driver’s negligence.
Punitive damages are added in addition to the compensation you’re awarded. In Elkhart, 25% of these damages go directly to a plaintiff, and the other 75% are allotted to the Indiana Violent Crimes Victim Compensation Fund.
Contact Yosha Law
At Yosha Law, we understand how the trauma you’ve experienced as a result of a motorcycle accident can detrimentally impact every area of your life. We can walk alongside you and ensure you don’t have to navigate the legal process on your own.
Our team of Elkhart motorcycle lawyers are passionate about finding you the justice you deserve, and we understand that every client has different needs and experiences pain and suffering in various ways. Our clients become a part of our extended family, and we care about your well-being — long after we’ve won a verdict in your favor.
If you feel stressed and confused about the steps to take after your motorcycle accident, contact us for a free consultation. Your journey to recovery begins today.