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Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

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Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

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Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

When you are considering Phoenix motorcyle accident lawyers to represent your injury case, you should be looking for what sets a lawyer apart. You can find credentials, experience and results that impress you, but you should also consider what kind of firsthand experience the lawyer has with motorcycle.

We Know Motorcycles

The Lamber-Goodnow Injury Law Team includes motorcycle riders. We know what it’s like to be respected on the road — or not. We also know from our experience as serious injury and wrongful death attorneys how devastating it is when a friend or family member is seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. Our first-hand experience helps us structure successful legal arguments for our injured clients and their families.

Our lawyers and the motorcycle accident attorneys at our co-counsel firms are committed to protecting the safety of motorcyclists on the road and fighting for their financial compensation and recovery in litigation. You need a tough lawyer to advocate for your rights and interests.

An automobile driver’s excuse of “I didn’t see the biker” is not acceptable. We don’t allow negligent parties to get away with flimsy excuses that blame the biker for the accident or attempt to deflect blame from their own actions. We are aggressive motorcycle and auto accident litigators in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. Our goal is to hold negligent parties accountable for our clients’ injuries and damages.

What Can Financial Compensation Cover?

If the negligence of another driver, poor road conditions or a defective bike part caused your motorcycle crash, you may be entitled to recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Damage to your future earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of life’s enjoyment
  • Psychological damages
  • Permanent injury and disability
  • Living expenses while you recover

We Fight for the Interests of Motorcyclists

Our Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers work to gather evidence quickly and obtain witness statements before accuracy is lost. Time is of the essence in any accident case, and swift action is particularly important in motorcycle accident cases. When necessary, we retain the expert services of accident reconstructionists, engineers and medical experts under motorcycle crash circumstances such as:

  • Sudden lane changes by other drivers
  • Unexpected left turns
  • Cutting a corner too close
  • Tailgating
  • Sudden stops
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Dangerous road conditions
  • Manufacturing defects of motorcycles and motorcycle safety equipment

Our team carefully analyzes the circumstances of each case we handle. We preserve resources while also going to the greatest length necessary to obtain the compensation our clients deserve for maximum possible recovery.

Motorcycle Accident Law in Arizona

There are over 3,000 motorcycle crashes in Arizona every year, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. These statistics are significant. Motorcyclists are more likely to be injured and killed in roadway accidents than drivers of all other vehicles. When other drivers do not give motorcyclists space on the road, forget to look for motorcycles or disrespect riders in any other way, the dangers to riders accelerate dramatically. Laws are different in each state, please see our page on Denver Motorcycle Accident Lawyers for additional information.

FAQs: Motorcycle Accidents

Being involved in a motorcycle accident in Arizona can be both overwhelming and confusing.

If you suffer serious injuries or lose a loved one in a motorcycle crash, you will likely have many questions. At Lamber Goodnow, we have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions that we have encountered about motorcycle collisions. By reading these questions and answers, you might gain a better understanding of your motorcycle accident.

Q: Who is most commonly at fault for motorcycle accidents?

A: A common misconception that many people have is that motorcyclists are frequently at fault for causing their own accidents. The public has a perception that motorcyclists are likelier to take risks and to be responsible for the collisions in which they are involved. However, a landmark study about the causes of motorcycle crashes called the Hurt Report revealed the opposite to be true. This study, which was commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the late 1970s, found that motorists were responsible for causing two-thirds of all of the motorcycle crashes in the study. While the study is decades old, it is the largest study that has ever been conducted into the causes of motorcycle crashes and is still relevant. It is important to understand that because of the misconceptions that people have about motorcyclists, proving that the motorist was at fault in your case instead of you may require strong evidence to present to the jury. The attorneys at Lamber Goodnow understand how to gather evidence that can support the liability of the motorist that caused your crash.

Q: Do I have to wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle in Arizona?

A: The helmet laws in Arizona are found in A.R.S. § 28-964. Under this statute, motorcycle riders and operators who are younger than age 18 must wear helmets. The Arizona helmet laws currently do not require riders or operators who are over the age of 18 to wear helmets. However, it is a good idea for you to wear a helmet when you ride on or operate a motorcycle at all times. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, helmets are 67% effective at preventing traumatic brain injuries and 37% effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities. The helmet law in Arizona might soon change. Currently, a proposed bill might mandate that riders of all ages wear helmets when they ride or pay fees to avoid wearing them. HB 2246 was proposed in the legislature on April 22, 2019. While there is no guarantee that it will pass, all riders will be required to wear helmets if it does. Regardless of the law, however, wearing a helmet at all times can help to prevent serious injuries and fatalities.

Q: Who is at fault when I collided with a car that turned left in front of me?

A: Motorists owe a duty of care to watch for oncoming traffic when they are turning left from a side street onto a roadway. When a motorist turns left onto a highway in front of an oncoming motorcyclist, it can cause the motorcyclist to collide into the motorist's vehicle. In most cases, the motorist who turned left in front of the motorcyclist will be at fault in causing the motorcycle crash. In cases in which the motorcyclist was speeding, he or she might share some liability in the accident.

Q: Besides helmets, do motorcyclists need to wear other safety gear?

A: While the current helmet law only requires motorcyclists who are younger than age 18 to wear helmets, it requires all motorcyclists to use other types of safety gear. You must wear protective goggles or a clear face shield when you are operating your motorcycle unless it has a protective windshield. While the law doesn't mandate that you use any other safety gear, it is important for you to choose to wear it anyway. You should wear certified motorcycle boots when you ride. Other important items that you should wear include protective pants that are made out of leather or Kevlar, a motorcycle jacket, and motorcycle gloves. You should have rain gear available in the event that you run into weather and cold weather gear if you plan to drive in the mountains. While safety gear will not prevent accidents from occurring, it can help to prevent more serious injuries. It is best to make certain that you wear safety gear that can protect you from the environment in the event that you are involved in an accident.

Q: Do I need to see a doctor if I don't think I'm injured after a motorcycle accident?

A: You should always see a doctor after you have been involved in a motorcycle crash. In the immediate aftermath of a wreck, many people experience a rush of adrenaline. This is how your body reacts when it is presented with a dangerous situation in preparation for a fight or flight reaction. When you experience an adrenaline rush, it can prevent you from noticing that you are injured. Some injuries that are potentially serious may not immediately show symptoms. You could have internal injuries that could potentially worsen if you do not seek immediate medical attention. A doctor can examine you and check for hidden injuries that you might have suffered. Getting immediate medical attention can also help your subsequent accident claim by showing a link between any injuries that you have suffered and your accident. If you do not get immediate medical attention, the insurance company might claim that your injuries were caused by an earlier or an intervening event instead of your accident.

Q: What do you do when the other motorist flees?

A: Unfortunately, some motorists who hit motorcyclists flee the scene of the accidents. This is especially problematic because it can leave you without a source of recovery for your losses. The state recognizes the importance of remaining at the scene of an accident. Under A.R.S. § 28-661, all drivers who are involved in accidents with other vehicles are mandated to remain at the scene of the accident when the accidents result in deaths or severe personal injuries. Drivers who cause a serious injury or fatality accident and who flee the scene may be charged with a class 2 felony. If you are seriously injured in a motorcycle accident with a motorist who flees, try to write down his or her license plate number or memorize it. Notice details about the vehicle such as its color, make, model, and any distinguishing characteristics. If you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you can submit a claim to your own insurance company when you are hit by a driver who flees. Make sure to report the accident to the police, and encourage any witnesses who saw what happened to stay at the scene. Get the names and contact information for all of the witnesses, and schedule a consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at Lamber Goodnow.

Q: What happens when you have a motorcycle accident when you were not wearing a helmet?

A: If you are over age 18, you are not required to wear a motorcycle helmet in Arizona. You may still be able to recover compensation from the other motorist when he or she was responsible for causing the collision. To prove your claim, you will need to be able to show the jury that the other driver was negligent. This involves proving that the driver owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner and failed in that duty. You will also need to show that the other driver's failure caused the accident to occur and that you were injured and suffered financial harm as a result. Once you have proven that the motorist was at fault, you will then need to prove that your injuries were caused by the motorist's negligence. If you were not wearing a helmet, the other motorist may be able to argue that your injuries would not have been as severe if you had chosen to wear a helmet that was available to you. This might result in a reduction in the amount of damages that you might ultimately recover, but it should not prevent you from recovering compensation altogether.

Q: What happens when the motorcyclist and the motorist share fault?

A: In some motorcycle crashes, the motorcyclist and the motorist will both share some fault for causing the accident. If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle crash and were partly to blame, that does not preclude you from the ability to recover compensation from the other motorist. Under A.R.S. § 12-2505, you are able to recover compensation from another motorist who shares some of the blame even if you are partly at fault. This is because Arizona follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. The question of fault is left to the jury. If the jury decides that the motorist and you both share some fault, the jury members will decide the percentage of fault that each of you has. If the jury returns a verdict award in your favor, your gross award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you had in causing the accident. For example, if the jury determines that you were 10% at fault and returns a verdict in your favor of $1 million, your verdict will be reduced by 10% to give you a net award of $900,000. It is important to note that defendants will often try to argue that the plaintiffs share some of the fault in order to try to reduce the total amount that they will be forced to pay.

Q: Can injured motorcycle passengers recover compensation?

A: Motorcycle passengers are also able to recover compensation when they are injured in motorcycle crashes. Injured passengers might not know who to file claims against for their injuries and losses. In many cases, the passengers may file claims against both the motorcycle operator and the other motorist for the accident. Under A.R.S. § 12-2501, injured victims are allowed to name two or more parties as defendants to their lawsuits when they have each contributed to the cause of the accidents. The jury will determine the percentage of fault that is attributable to each at-fault party so that you can recover compensation from both the motorcycle's operator and the motorist for your losses. Since multiple parties might be at fault in causing your injuries and losses, it is a good idea for you to get help from an experienced injury lawyer. An attorney can analyze the facts of the accident in order to identify all of the defendants that should be named in a lawsuit. If you do not name all of the responsible parties, you will lose your right to recover from a party that is partially to blame if the unnamed party is assigned any fault by a jury.

Q: The insurance company gave me an offer right after my motorcycle accident. Should I take it?

A: In general, it is never a good idea to accept an offer from an insurance company immediately after your accident. Insurance companies sometimes extend quick offers that are unreasonably low. They do this to both convince you that your accident is worth less than it is and to try to get you to accept less money than what you might recover if you pursue your claim. If the at-fault driver's insurance company tries to get you to sign documents or to accept an offer, you should not agree to sign anything or to accept an offer without talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer at Lamber Goodnow. We can advocate on your behalf with the insurance company and review any offers that you might receive. We can also value your claim so that you can understand whether an offer that you receive is enough to fairly compensate you for all of your losses, including both the economic losses that you have suffered and the noneconomic losses that are related to your accident.


 

Our team knows how to prove negligence. We know what to look for, and we know how to protect our clients’ rights and interests in every legal situation. Call us for expedient, dedicated help in your case.

Those who have been in a motorcycle accident in Arizona may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the motorist or other person who caused the accident. This case will go through the civil court system, which may or may not find one person legally responsible for the accident. When this occurs, the court will order the guilty party to pay restitution to the injured party. The court may also impose other penalties or fines upon the guilty person, depending on the evidence presented and the situation.

In most cases, however, motorcycle accident injuries never go to court. Instead, the two parties meet and settle informally before filing a lawsuit in order to save time and money. In some cases, accident victims may not be able to speak to a lawyer right away due to injuries. In Arizona, there is a statute of limitations on motorcycle accidents that is laid out in section 12-542 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. It states that those injured in a motorcycle accident have two years from the date of the accident to seek restitution in a civil case. This statute applies equally to injury, wrongful death, and damage. In the case of death, the statute of limitation begins on the date the person died.

During a motorcycle accident case, a Phoenix car accident attorney may use the following Arizona laws:

  • Statute of Limitations – Injury to a person, death, property damage – two years (ARS 12-542)
  • Comparative Fault System (ARS 12-2501)
  • Arizona Auto Insurance – Mandatory (ARS 28-4009)

Arizona Minimum Insurance Requirements

In many cases, motorcycles are governed by the same laws that apply to all other vehicles. Those who are in a motorcycle accident, then, may seek restitution through a number of different options. They may file a claim with their auto insurance company or with the insurance company of the driver who was at fault in the accident.  They may also take the other driver to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Arizona, all motorcycle drivers or passengers who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet (ARS 28-964). Insurance coverage does not affect or change this requirement in any way. Likewise, it does not affect the law stating that all motorcycle riders must wear protective glasses or a transparent face shield unless the motorcycle is equipped with a transparent windshield.

Insurance is required in Arizona for all motorcycle operators. This insurance will cover the driver, other people, and property in the event of an accident. According to ARS 28-4009, all drivers regardless of vehicle type must carry liability insurance.

The Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles lists the following as the minimum required liability coverage for a motorcycle:

  • $15,000 bodily injury coverage for one person in one accident.
  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage for each accident that includes two or more people.
  • $10,000 property damage coverage for each accident.

In Arizona, all motorcycle drivers or passengers who are under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet (ARS 28-964). Insurance coverage does not affect or change this requirement in any way. Likewise, it does not affect the law stating that all motorcycle riders must wear protective glasses or other type of transparent face shield unless the motorcycle has its own windshield.

These minimum liability coverage amounts will protect you in the case of an accident if you are found to be at fault. They will pay for the injuries, property damage, and other costs associated with the other person’s (or people’s) injuries. They will not, however, cover your own injuries or damage to your vehicle if you are at fault. For that, you will need additional coverage.

In Arizona, you are not required to purchase underinsured liability or uninsured liability coverage. This coverage provides protection in the event that the person found at fault does not have insurance or does not have the correct amount of insurance needed to cover your injuries and other costs. According to ARS 20-259.01, no motorist is required to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist insurance, but every insurance company must provide, in writing, the option to do so. A motorist is required to submit a Department of Insurance document to the insurer stating their intention to accept or reject this additional coverage.

Motorcycle Accident Victims Beware: Liens

We, like most Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers, spend a significant amount of time working on liens and health insurance reibursement claims.

Most individuals in Arizona do not understand a vital part of Arizona statutory law, the Arizona Revised Statutes. ARS 33-931 through ARS 33-936 outline how a hospital or other medical facility can place a healthcare lien against a person. In Phoenix, nearly every healthcare provider automatically files one of these liens against the person when they are admitted due to a car or motorcycle accident. These liens are filed without checking the person’s insurance coverage, which means they are filed against even those who have the appropriate amount of health insurance to cover all of their costs.

The point of these liens is to give healthcare providers a way of placing a lien against a patient’s third party personal injury claim. These liens do not affect anything other than what you may receive from a personal injury claim. A healthcare lien cannot be used to seize your wages, your home, your car, or any other personal property or income that does not come from a case connected to your current injury. You are only required to pay the lien if you receive any money from the lawsuit, and even then, there is usually a cap on the amount you must pay because the lien only secures the customary charges for the provider. Any charges over this amount do not have to be paid.

Also, note that most of these liens can be waived or negotiated through a number of different equitable or legal arguments. Legal experts may be able to show that the healthcare provider did not timely record the lien, that they did not include a statement as to whether or not the patient would continue to receive treatment, or that the provider made errors in the amount of the lien. If the treatment was not necessary or was not related in some way to the accident, the lien may also be waived.

Note that many health insurance plans also state that the insurer may ask for reimbursement for any amount of money they pay out on the behalf of the insured. However, this issue is quite complicated due to a number of different laws that govern healthcare liens and reimbursement. Because this state is an anti-subrogation state, the insurance company may not be able to step in and act on behalf of the injured in this case. In some cases, however, federal law may supersede state law and allow the insurer to collect reimbursement.

Remember, even if your insurance company is claiming that you must reimburse them, they may not legally be entitled to make any claims on your money. Speak with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to learn if the insurer does have a valid claim.

Steps Your Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer May Take

If you plan on taking your motorcycle accident to court, which is not always a clear-cut decision, there are a number of steps you and your attorney will need to take:

  • File an official complaint with the court clerk outlining why the plaintiff is suing the defendant and what outcome the plaintiff would like.
  • State if the case is eligible for arbitration. If so, both parties may agree to meet with an impartial third party prior to going to trial. The arbiter will assist in settling the dispute out of court. The parties will need to agree that the arbiter’s decision is binding.
  • Serve the defendant with a copy of the complaint and a court summons.
  • File a written answer that either confirms or denies the complaint.
  • Provide the information requested during the discovery process.
  • Go before a judge or jury.
  • Provide testimony as needed during the case.
  • Accept the decision of the judge or the verdict of the jury.
  • The losing party may make an appeal to the next level of the court if they wish to do so.

Where Do Accident Victims File Motorcycle Accident Cases in Arizona?

In Arizona, you will file your personal injury claim for motorcycle accidents in either the state or the federal court. Most cases, of course, do not reach the court. In most circumstances, the case is resolved prior to going to trial. However, there are times when this is not possible.

AZ State Court System

Most motorcycle accident cases filed in Phoenix will go to Maricopa County Superior Court. It falls under the Superior Court of Arizona, the general jurisdiction court for the state that has locations in every county of Arizona. Each county has one or more superior court judges who act as the appellate court for cases from the municipal or justice courts that have been appealed. These judges must meet a number of requirements to guarantee that they are experienced with the law.

There are two different courts that can hear appealed cases. The first is the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1. This court is split into Division 1, which is located in Phoenix and is made up of 16 judges, and Division 2, which is in Tucson and has six judges. Each case heard by the Court of Appeals will be heard by a panel of three judges. In most cases, appealed decisions from the Superior Court are heard by the Appeals Court, although there are some, such as death penalty cases, that go directly to the state Supreme Court.

The Arizona Supreme Court is the court of last resort. In order to appeal a decision from the Court of Appeals, one has to file a Petition for Review. The justices of the Supreme Court will evaluate this petition and decide if the appeal has merit. If it does, they will review the case. If it does not, the decision of the Court of Appeals stands.

AZ Federal Court System

While most personal injury cases are heard by the state court, there are some instances in which a Phoenix resident could file their case in federal court. Arizona is a part of the United States Ninth Circuit, which means all federal cases are held in this District Court. The Ninth Circuit has courts in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson, and Yuma.

When filing in federal court, the case is first heard by one of the 94 district courts. These courts are jury trials. Unlike Arizona, where a jury is made up of eight members, a district court jury can be anywhere from six to twelve selected individuals. Unless both parties agree otherwise, the jury’s verdict must be unanimous.

Any decision made by a district court can be appealed to one of the 13 appellate courts. All decisions from these courts are made by a panel of three judges rather than a jury. If a party wants to appeal a decision further, it goes to the United States Supreme Court. Like the Arizona Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court does not have to hear every case that is appealed to it.

Not every claim is eligible to be heard in federal court. If the court does not have jurisdiction in the matter, then it cannot hear the case. If you would like to make your case in federal rather than state court, you will need to meet with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer to discuss the circumstances around your case. If there is any type of federal question involved or if the case can be classified as a diversity of citizenship case, then a federal court will have jurisdiction. If someone involved in your case is a citizen of a different state, and the amount of money in question is more than $75,000, it may be considered a diversity of citizenship case.

In most cases, your motorcycle injury case will be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court because, in jury trials, there is no need for the verdict to be unanimous.

Free Initial Consultations | No-Fee Promise

Would you benefit from speaking with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer?  If so, you should consider speaking with our team before agreeing to anything with any insurance provider. We will meet you at your home or in the hospital if you cannot come to us. Our law firm also fronts costs of litigation. You pay us nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement or verdict in your case.

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