Riding a motorcycle can be thrilling and exciting, which is one of the reasons why so many people love getting on the bike. Unfortunately, there are risks associated with motorcycle riding in Indiana, and motorcycle accident injuries can be life-changing.
A motorcycle accident could leave you struggling with pain, scarring, huge piles of medical bills, and lost wages.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident in or near Hammond, Indiana, you should consider working with a motorcycle accident injury lawyer. Yosha Law offers compassionate, results-focused legal services for motorcycle riders in Hammond.
Can you get compensation if you were partially at fault?
Each state sets its own rules regarding compensation following an injury. In some states, contributory negligence statutes determine that if a plaintiff in an injury lawsuit was even 1% responsible for their injuries, and the defendant was 99% responsible, then the plaintiff cannot be awarded any damages.
Fortunately, Indiana’s negligence laws are much more fair.
Indiana uses what is called modified comparative fault. After a motorcycle accident, the courts will determine what percentage of responsibility can be assigned to each party. As long as the plaintiff is responsible for less than 51% of the fault for the accident, they can sue and request damages.
If, however, they are more than 51% responsible for the accident, they cannot collect damages.
When you were the victim of another driver’s actions, your lawyer can demonstrate to the courts that the other driver bears more than 51% of the responsibility.
How does comparative fault affect your settlement?
Your settlement will be based on your percentage of the fault.
If you are found to have been 20% responsible for the accident, then your compensation will be reduced by 20%.
When to Call a Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident
The best time to contact a personal injury attorney after your accident is as soon as you can after your accident.
Your lawyer can get started right away. Your legal team will need to investigate the accident, collect evidence, review documentation, examine insurance claims and findings, and identify who was at fault for the accident. All of that comes before they can file claims and help you navigate the court proceedings.
Each step takes time.
Important note: don’t panic if some time has passed since your accident. We understand that there are often more urgent things to take care of in the aftermath of an accident, including seeking medical attention and taking the first steps toward recovery from serious injuries.
Indiana’s statute of limitation extends for two years after the date of the accident. That gives you two years to file a lawsuit for compensation. After two years, you will have missed your opportunity to seek compensation for damages.
What compensation is available after a motorcycle accident?
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, the costs can add up fast.
A good legal representative can help you maximize the available compensation for your injuries. It’s not just about paying your medical bills, although that is very important! You also want to consider all the ways that the accident has affected your life negatively.
Your settlement or judgment may include compensation for the following costs:
- Medical bills (current and future)
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages (since the accident and ongoing)
- Occupational therapy
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Mental health therapy and counseling
Even though money can’t heal your injuries or bring a loved one back to you after a tragic death, compensation for your suffering can ease the accompanying financial burden.
What About Your Insurance Company? Will They Cover the Damages After a Motorcycle Accident?
Indiana requires all motorcycle drivers to carry a motorcycle insurance policy.
The minimum coverage limits for a motorcycle accident are:
- $25k bodily injury (per person)
- $50k total bodily injury (per accident)
- $25k property damage (per accident)
If you want to have higher coverage, you will have to pay higher premiums.
Your insurance company will pay out the amount of coverage that they find is within your policy limits. They will not exceed the coverage you have paid for with your premiums. Unfortunately, it is very easy for most accident victims to quickly surpass the amount of coverage they have from their insurer.
If you feel like your insurance company is not taking you seriously or is trying to say you are at fault for something you didn’t do, please contact a motorcycle attorney right away.
Your attorney will help you deal with the insurance company.
Your insurance company is not your ally. Although insurance companies play an important role in getting some of your bills paid, their goal is to process your claim as quickly as possible – and spend as little as they possibly can.
Some of the tactics we have seen from insurance companies include:
- An adjuster “lowballing” you, especially for the first offer
- The insurance company trying to get you to provide a recorded statement about the accident, which they will use to try to assign liability to you instead of to the at-fault party
- Overlooking important information from the accident
Don’t accept your insurance adjuster’s first officer, and don’t give them any recorded statements. Contact a Hammond motorcycle accident attorney to discuss your options before getting low-balled by your insurance company.
Common Motorcycle Crash Injuries
Motorcycle riders can take precautions to stay safe on the road, including always wearing a helmet, obeying the rules of the road, wearing safety gear like gloves and jackets, and practicing defensive driving.
Even so, in the event of an accident, motorcycle drivers are at high risk for serious injury and even death.
Yosha Law Firm represents victims of these accidents in Hammond, Indiana and beyond. These are some of the most common injuries we see:
- Open and closed brain injuries (including Traumatic Brain Injury/TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries (with or without paralysis)
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Broken ribs and bones
- Amputated limbs
- Internal bleeding
- Soft tissue damage
- Organ damage
- Facial disfigurement
- Scarring from road rash and post-accident surgeries
- Burn injuries
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)
This is not a comprehensive list. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident but your specific injury is not on this list, that doesn’t rule out compensation for your specific injury.
Yosha Law’s attorneys in Hammond, IN can help, regardless of the specific kinds of injuries you may have experienced.
What are the long-term consequences of a motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle collision injuries may last for weeks, months, years, or even a lifetime.
Many accidents involve life-threatening or permanent injuries. It is not uncommon for a survivor of a motorcycle accident to be disabled by their accident.
Some of these long-term consequences include:
- Long convalescence/recovery time following the accident
- Rehabilitation costs, either inpatient or outpatient
- Expensive medical bills that just keep piling up
- Nursing home care or home health aides
- A variety of therapies, including speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health therapy
- Mental health diagnoses like PTSD and anxiety
- Extensive time off work, possibly forever
- Burn center care
Although your insurer may pay some of these medical bills, they will also be looking for ways to deny your claim or limit what they pay out for your care.
If your insurance company is not meeting your needs and covering your expenses – especially the long-term ones – consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to get more appropriate compensation for your injuries.
Wrongful death lawsuits following a motorcycle accident in Indiana
Tragically, many motorcycle accidents end up being fatal. If you lost your loved one in a motorcycle accident, nothing will ever make up for the loss of that person.
Whether your loved one died immediately or after receiving medical care, expenses can pile up.
Examples of these costs include:
- Emergency medical care
- End-of-life medical care
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of consortium, household benefits, or parental guidance
- Pain and suffering for the decedent or the survivor
Indiana’s statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is the same as a personal injury lawsuit: you have two years from the date of the accident.
The state’s wrongful death guidelines assign fault by percentage. If you are a personal representative of the victim’s estate, you can file for compensation if the victim was not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
What kind of compensation payout will you receive for a motorcycle accident in Indiana?
This is a great question, but unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer.
Every accident is different, and your lawyer should not promise a certain amount. However, your lawyer can provide you with an estimate on the possible payout you could receive by taking a number of factors into consideration.
Your lawyer will use their knowledge and experience to argue for as much compensation as you deserve for your specific situation.
Some of the factors that will be used to determine the size of your settlement or judgment are:
- How severe are your injuries?
- Do you need to have one or more surgeries following the accident?
- How much long-term care (including ongoing therapy) do you need?
- How much time will you have to take off work in order to recover?
- Will you still be able to do your job?
- Have you been left with a disability from your accident?
- Will you need to have your home modified to accommodate your new disability or disabilities?
- How much damage was caused to your vehicle?
- What percentage of the accident was your fault – if any at all?
There may be other factors involved, but these are some of the most common ones. The more details you can share with your personal injury attorney, the more help they will be able to provide.
Cost of a Motorcycle Accident Injury Attorney in Indiana
Motorcycle riders from Hammond, Indiana who have had accidents often have one big question on their minds when they seek out an attorney: how much will this cost?
Most personal injury lawyers work on contingency. That means they don’t take any payment from you to retain their services and bring your case to its conclusion – either a settlement or a judgment.
If your case is unsuccessful, contingency means that the lawyer will take the loss and you will not owe anything.
If your case is successful, they will take a contingency fee from your final compensation payout. In the event of a settlement that keeps your case from going all the way to court, your lawyer will likely take about 33% of your settlement package.
If the case has to go to court, the contingency fee may increase to 40%. This increase is due to the fact that a case that goes to court takes up more of the lawyer’s time and resources.
At Yosha Law Firm, our representative will walk you through personal injury fees in our first meeting. We don’t believe in surprising our clients with unexpected fees and expenses. At the end of that first meeting, you will know exactly how much you can expect to pay.
Why You Should Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Hammond, Indiana
You already have enough on your mind as you are recovering from a serious motorcycle accident. Your insurance company is on their own side, not on yours. And trying to handle a complex claim all by yourself? That sounds overwhelming because it is such a huge task!
When you choose to work with an experienced and qualified motorcycle attorney, you have an ally on your side. This is someone who looks out for your interests and advocates for you. Not for your insurance company.
How Yosha Law Advocates for You
Yosha Law supports you throughout your compensation process.
This means that, depending upon what is necessary, we may:
- Identify and interview witnesses to your accident
- Gather information about the scene of the accident
- Document weather and traffic conditions at the time of your accident
- Return to the scene of the accident to take pictures and collect evidence
- Create diagrams of the accident so that it is easier for everyone to visualize what happened
- Review all of the medical evidence resulting from your injuries
- Negotiate with other parties who were involved in the crash
- Negotiate with your insurance company
- Negotiate with the other party’s insurance company as needed
- Represent you in court if your case goes to trial
At Yosha Law, we have more than just the experience necessary to handle your case. We also have empathy and compassion for our clients. We know how difficult it can be to recover from a serious motorcycle injury, and we want you to know that we are on your side.
We believe in treating our clients like family. That means we will fight to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
Call Yosha Law today for a free consultation about your motorcycle accident.