Chandler Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Riding motorcycles is a favorite pastime of many Chandler, Arizona residents. Unfortunately, however, motorcyclists are much likelier to be seriously injured or killed when they are involved in collisions. If you were injured in a motorcycle wreck caused by someone else, you should understand the types of qualities you should look for in a Chandler motorcycle accident lawyer, including their credentials, experience, record, and firsthand knowledge they have about motorcycles.
Our Knowledge of and Experience With Motorcycles
While we are highly experienced with motorcycle accident lawsuits, some of the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow also regularly ride motorcycles. We understand the sense of freedom you can feel when you ride, and we also understand the financial and emotional devastation victims of motorcycle accidents experience when they are injured in collisions. Our experience as both motorcyclists and accident lawyers allows us to create successful legal arguments for our clients to help them recover maximum compensation for their losses. Our motorcycle accident lawyers and the attorneys at our co-counsel firms focus on protecting the rights of our clients. When motorcyclists are seriously injured because of the negligence of other motorists, we do everything possible to help the victims and hold the motorists accountable while recovering compensation.
Our attorneys believe that negligence victims deserve to be fully compensated when they
have been harmed by others. We have dedicated attorneys who represent motorcycle crash victims in Chandler, Phoenix, and across both Arizona and the entire Southwest. Contact Lamber Goodnow in Chandler today to learn about the help we can offer.
Available Compensation in Motorcycle Accident Claims
The available compensation in a motorcycle accident claim will depend on the facts and circumstances of what occurred. Every case is unique, so there isn’t a set value that a claim might be worth. Your claim’s value will depend on the factors involved in your case, including the severity and nature of your injuries, whether you will fully recover from them, whether you were forced to miss work, whether you will be able to return to work in the future, the nature of the defendant’s conduct, and others. If your accident and injuries were caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of someone else, you might be entitled to compensation.
There are two categories of compensatory damages in motorcycle accident claims, including special damages and general damages. Special damages include monetary awards that are designed to reimburse you for your pecuniary losses. General damages are monetary awards that are designed to reimburse you for your non-economic losses and are more difficult to value. The following are examples of the special and general damages that might be available in a motorcycle accident case:
- Past/future medical bills for accident-related treatment
- Past/future physical therapy/rehabilitation expenses related to the accident
- Past/future wage losses
- Property damage
- Reduced ability to earn income in the future
- Psychological trauma/emotional distress
- Reduced ability to enjoy life
Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages, which are designed to punish defendants, might also be available. These damages are rarely awarded, however. Instead, they are generally only awarded in cases in which the defendants acted willfully, wantonly, or with gross negligence. Your attorney will analyze your case, value it, and explain the types of damages that might be available to you.
How Our Attorneys Handle Motorcycle Accident Claims
When you work with a Chandler motorcycle accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow, your lawyer will work to preserve and gather evidence to support your claim before it is lost or spoliated. Our attorneys work with experts and accident investigators to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and build the strongest possible claims on behalf of our clients. We know that time is of the essence in motorcycle accident cases. We send preservation letters to defendants and their insurers to prevent critical evidence from being lost and partner with accident reconstruction and medical experts to help us understand and prove liability. Our approach helps us prove our cases and convince insurance companies that it might be better for them to agree to fair settlements instead of risking losing to us at trial.
The following are some of the types of motorcycle accident scenarios that might be involved in claims:
- Sudden lane changes by motorists causing accidents
- Left-turning motorists causing motorcycle wrecks
- Motorcycle collisions caused by cars cutting corners too closely
- Motorcycle accidents caused by cars tailgating them
- Collisions caused by cars suddenly stopping
- Motorcycle wrecks caused by cars running stop signs or red lights
- Motorcycle crashes caused by defective motorcycle or car components
- Dangerous road conditions caused by poor maintenance leading to wrecks
Our lawyers will carefully assess your case and help you understand whether you have a viable claim.
Motorcycle Collision Statistics in Arizona
In 2020, the Arizona Department of Transportation reports that 2,373 motorcycle wrecks caused 1,855 injuries and 163 fatalities. Out of all of the accidents that occurred, only 15% did not involve injuries or death. By comparison, there were a total of 129,744 accidents involving other types of motor vehicles in Arizona in 2020. Out of those, nearly 70% did not involve injuries or deaths.
This difference demonstrates the relative dangers motorcyclists face as compared to the occupants of other types of motor vehicles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 29 times more likely to be killed in crashes per vehicle mile traveled than other vehicle occupants.
When motorcyclists are seriously injured or killed in Arizona accidents caused by the negligence of someone else, the victims or their families might be entitled to recover damages for their losses. Most motorcycle accident claims are settled outside of court. However, when they do go to trial, the judge or jury will decide whether the defendant was responsible and liable to pay damages.
Relevant Laws in Arizona Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident cases might be affected by several important laws in Arizona. Immediately following a motorcycle crash, it might be difficult for a victim to talk to a lawyer because of their injuries’ severity. However, you should understand the statute of limitations so that you can preserve your ability to file a claim.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including motorcycle accident claims, is found at A.R.S. § 12-542. Under this law, you have two years to file a motorcycle collision lawsuit from the date of your accident. If you miss this deadline, you won’t be allowed to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses. If a case involves a death, the family members must file a lawsuit no later than two years after their loved one’s death. It is important to note that the wrongful death statute of limitations runs from the date of death instead of the date of the accident.
Another major law that is relevant to motorcycle accident cases is Arizona’s comparative negligence statute, which is found at A.R.S. § 12-2505. Under this law, each individual is responsible for their negligence in an accident. While being partially at fault won’t prevent you from recovering compensation, your award will be reduced by your percentage of negligence. For example, if a jury finds that your gross damages amount to $100,000 but finds that you were 10% at fault, your net verdict will be reduced to $90,000.
Insurance Issues in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Arizona has established minimum liability insurance requirements for motorists driving in the state found in A.R.S. § 28-4009. Under this law, all Arizona drivers are required to carry auto insurance in at least the following liability amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one victim
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $15,000 for property damage
When someone is seriously injured in a motorcycle crash, the other motorist’s minimum liability coverage might be insufficient to fully pay for the victim’s losses. Other motorists might cause serious accidents while being uninsured.
To guard against these types of situations, it is a good idea to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) when you buy your policy. Under A.R.S. § 20-259.01, this type of coverage must be offered at the time you buy your policy, but it isn’t mandatory. You should still purchase it to protect yourself from being injured in accidents caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. If you have UM/UIM coverage, you can file a claim under your policy if the at-fault party is uninsured or lacks sufficient insurance to pay for all of your losses.
FAQs: Chandler Motorcycle Accident Cases
Motorcycle accident victims and surviving family members often have questions about their rights and the legal process. Here are some of the most common questions the attorneys at Lamber Goodnow in Chandler receive about motorcycle collision claims.
Q: What if I Wasn't Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet?
A: Under A.R.S. § 28-964, motorcyclists over the age of 18 in Arizona are not required to wear helmets when they ride. However, those who are under age 18 and their passengers must wear helmets. While it might be legal for you to ride your bike without a helmet when you are over age 18, the insurance company could argue that your failure to wear a helmet contributed to the severity of your injuries to try to reduce your claim. This type of argument might be more effective if you suffered a traumatic brain injury or other types of head injuries. However, it should not be a bar to recovering damages when the motorist negligently caused your accident.
Regardless of your right to ride your bike without a helmet, doing so is not a good idea. Helmets have been shown to reduce the incidence of fatalities by 37% and serious injuries requiring emergency treatment by 41%. The best idea is to ride with a helmet on at all times.
Q: Who Is at Fault in a Motorcycle Crash?
A: While many people have the mistaken belief that motorcyclists are usually at fault for their accidents, research has shown that is not the case. The NHTSA commissioned a large study of the causes of motorcycle crashes called the Hurt Report. The researchers found that the motorcyclists were at fault in only 34% of the crashes, and the other vehicle drivers were at fault in the remaining 66%.
While motorcyclists are normally not at fault for their accidents, insurance companies know that jurors frequently are biased against motorcyclists and tend to believe they caused their crashes. Because of this potential bias, insurance companies often try to extend unreasonably low offers to motorcycle accident victims. Our lawyers understand how to gather and present evidence to clearly demonstrate the fault of the other drivers so that our clients can receive fair compensation for their losses.
Q: What Should I Do if I Have a Motorcycle Crash With Another Vehicle?
A: If you are involved in a motorcycle accident with another driver, it is important for you not to accept blame or apologize. Even if you think that you might be partially or wholly at fault, something might have occurred that you are not aware of. Instead, you should do the following things after your motorcycle crash:
- Call 911 and stay at the scene.
- Check yourself and others for injuries.
- Exchange driver’s license, insurance, and registration information with the other motorist.
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed what happened.
- If you can, take photographs of the damage to your bike and the other car, the other vehicle’s license plate, make, and model, the broader accident scene, and any relevant details.
- Report the facts to the responding officers, but avoid speculation.
- Go to the emergency department or an urgent care center immediately to get a diagnosis and prompt treatment.
- Call a Chandler motorcycle accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow.
Q: Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster?
A: If you are contacted by a representative of the other driver’s insurance company and asked about your accident and injuries, remember that you are not their insured and thus do not have a legal obligation to talk about your accident or injuries. You should avoid giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The company will use anything you say against you in your claim. Similarly, you should not sign an early settlement offer or a medical authorization form the other company might send to you without talking to an attorney first. Retaining a lawyer can help to keep you from making mistakes that could harm your ability to recover damages.
Talk to a Chandler Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycle accidents can permanently change your life. You might have lifelong disabilities because of a motorcycle crash and staggering medical expenses and other losses. If you were injured in a motorcycle crash or lost your loved one, you should speak to a Chandler motorcycle accident attorney at Lamber Goodnow. Call us today for a free case evaluation to learn about your legal rights and options.