A fatal crash involving former Ms. magazine editor Mary Thom highlights the perils bikers face on the road. A longtime motorcyclist, Ms. Thom, 68, was hit by a car and died at the scene. Motorcyclists are demonstrably more vulnerable to serious injuries — like head and spinal cord injuries — than drivers of closed vehicles. Aside from their own safety gear, motorcyclists have no external protection. If you were in a motorcycle accident, first seek timely and thorough medical care. Once you have received proper treatment, try to understand the legal ramifications of the accident.
Some common questions include:
Who can be held responsible in a motorcycle injury case?
Anybody who negligently caused the crash. Frequently, but not absolutely, the driver found at-fault by the responding police officer is deemed principally responsible. Less obvious parties like bike makers and government entities are sometimes held liable, too.
The negligence of the other driver is weighed independently from yours. Even if you did not wear a helmet, you are not barred from suing for your injuries. But, if you are found to have contributed to your own injuries, the damages you can claim are reduced in proportion to your fault in causing or increasing them.
How long do I have to file my case?
You must generally either settle or file your case against non-governmental, private parties within two years of your accident date. If you do not, you risk being barred forever from suing for compensation. It’s important to note that you generally have only six months within which to file suit if you are seeking compensation for your injuries against the government.
What should I do if I am contacted by the insurance company?
Consult a knowledgeable accident attorney before giving information to an insurance company or signing anything. An experienced attorney can safeguard your interests and negotiate a settlement for you.
What can I recover from my accident?
You may be entitled to:
- Medical expenses
- Physical pain
- Lost wages
- Emotional and mental suffering
- Property damage
Where will the compensation come from?
Usually, but not always, the party who caused your injury has insurance. Your own insurance policy may also contain coverage for your injuries, if you cannot access the at-fault driver’s coverage — for example, in accidents involving uninsured drivers.
This information is not a full explanation of your legal rights. As every accident and claim is different, it’s crucial you speak to a California motorcycle accident lawyer about your unique situation.