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Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Phoenix
Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Your passion for riding comes with great responsibility. Choose a partner as dedicated to the freedom of the open road as you are.
“Never Saw You” is no excuse in our book.
When you are considering Phoenix motorcycle 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 accidents.
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.
“Defending the rights of motorcycle riders is not just our duty, it’s our passion. Every twist of the throttle echoes our commitment to seek justice, our pledge to hold the reckless accountable. As Arizona’s most seasoned personal injury law firm, we ride the road of legal battles fearlessly. We believe in the spirit of two wheels and the power of justice, merging them to form an unbreakable force.”
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We Fight for the Interests of Motorcyclists
In Phoenix, people who ride motorcycles enjoy multiple benefits. They get to experience the year-round warmth, gorgeous scenery, and numerous iconic motorcycle routes in the surrounding area. Motorcyclists also enjoy great fuel economy and a more affordable mode of transportation to reach their desired destinations.
While there are numerous benefits of riding motorcycles, doing so also comes with significant risks. Motorcycles do not have the same types of safety features offered by other types of motor vehicles, including seatbelts, airbags, or metal frames. Because of this lack of safety features, motorcycle riders are much likelier to be seriously injured when they are involved in accidents. Accidents that might be minor fender benders for cars could be catastrophic for people riding on motorcycles.
People who sustain injuries in Phoenix motorcycle collisions because of the negligent actions of others are entitled to pursue compensation by filing injury lawsuits against the responsible parties. Working with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix at the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers can greatly increase the chances that you will be fairly compensated for the losses you have suffered.
Our team of skilled attorneys has represented motorcycle crash victims for years and is prepared to fight for justice on your behalf.
As a division of Fennemore Craig, P.C., our firm has extensive access to resources and the legal knowledge and skills required to mount the strongest possible case to recover maximum compensation for you.
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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 motorcycle accident attorney in Phoenix 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.
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: 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 motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix 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.
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 Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney. 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.
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
Every year, the open roads of Arizona witness thousands of vehicular accidents, a significant number of which involve motorcycles. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the figures for motorcycle-related crashes are both revealing and alarming. Our aim here is to delve into these statistics, shedding light on the realities of motorcycle crashes in Arizona and the pressing need for knowledgeable legal representation for victims.
An In-Depth Look at the 2021 Data
During the year of 2021, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available, the ADOT recorded a staggering 2,594 motorcycle crashes across the state. Out of these unfortunate incidents, a substantial 2,052 were injury collisions, resulting in harm to an alarming 2,206 individuals. Even more distressing is the fact that 159 of these collisions were fatal, tragically ending the lives of 160 Arizonians.
A Closer Look at Maricopa County
Peeling back the layers of these figures, we find that the majority of these crashes happened in the populous Maricopa County. Of the total motorcycle accidents in 2021, a concerning 1,576 occurred within the county’s boundaries. These incidents led to the unfortunate demise of 95 people, and caused injuries to an additional 1,307.
Implications and Action
These sobering numbers serve to highlight the harsh reality that motorcyclists face on Arizona’s roadways. The alarming rate of accidents underscores the critical need for effective safety measures, proficient driver education, and diligent law enforcement.
However, it’s not just about preventing accidents. It’s equally important to ensure that when accidents do occur, victims receive the necessary legal support. This is where our expertise as personal injury attorneys comes in. We are deeply committed to helping accident victims navigate the complex legal landscape that comes with pursuing just compensation.
An Urgent Call to Action
Understanding these statistics is more than a mere academic exercise. It’s a call to action for every motorcyclist, every driver, and every pedestrian to be more aware, more cautious. It’s also a reminder that if you or your loved one ever become part of these statistics, you are not alone. We’re here to guide you, to fight for your rights, and to work tirelessly in pursuit of the justice you deserve.
As we review these figures, the increasing number of motorcycle crashes in Arizona, and particularly Maricopa County, shows a worrying trend. The data compels us to act, to ensure victims have a voice, and to strive for safer, more secure roads. At our law firm, we’re more than ready to answer that call.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Some people view motorcycle riders as risk-takers and believe that they are likelier to be at fault when they are involved in accidents. However, this is not the case. Instead, the other motorists involved in accidents with motorcycle riders are much likelier to be at fault.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) commissioned a comprehensive study of the factors leading to motorcycle crashes, which is commonly referred to as the Hurt Report. After studying the factors that contributed to more than 4,500 motorcycle crashes in Los Angeles, the researchers found that the other motorists were at fault in 66% of all of the collisions. Most of the accidents occurred when the other motorist violated the motorcyclist’s right of way.
While many things can cause motorcycle collisions, the following are some of the most common contributing factors:
- Motorist failing to check for oncoming motorcycles and turning left in front of a cyclist
- Failing to check for the presence of a motorcycle in an adjacent lane before changing lanes
- Drunk or drugged driving by either the motorcyclist or the motorist
- Drivers parked on the sides of streets who open doors in the paths of oncoming motorcycles
- Drowsy driving
- Running stoplights or stop signs
- Distracted driving
- Inattentive driving
- Aggressive driving
Many drivers fail to notice motorcycles because of their smaller profiles and sizes as compared to other motor vehicles. Because of this issue, riders should make themselves and their bikes as noticeable as possible to reduce the risk of accidents. You can make yourself more visible by wearing brightly colored clothing whenever you ride and using reflective tape on your helmet and clothing while riding at night.
Why Your Attorney Should Have Experience With Motorcycles
Whenever you are searching for a motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix, you should ensure the attorney you retain has experience with both handling motorcycle accident cases and riding motorcycles. A lawyer who rides on motorcycles will be more aware of the specific types of risks that riders face and can use that insight when investigating motorcycle crashes to identify all of the contributing factors and liable parties.
At the Lamber Goodnow Injury Lawyers law firm, several of our attorneys are also avid motorcycle riders. We understand the dangers involved with sharing the road with other types of motor vehicles and aggressively advocate for our clients to protect their interests. We thoroughly investigate every motorcycle accident claim we handle and have established a strong reputation as fierce protectors of motorcycle collision victims. Because of our deep bench of legal knowledge, litigation skills, insight as motorcycle riders, and willingness to put in the hard work, we have established a winning record on behalf of our clients.
Important Arizona Laws to Know
Former Governor Doug Ducey signed S.B. 1273 into law in 2022, which became effective in September of 2022. This law modified ARS 28-729 and ARS 28-903. Under the current law, motorcyclists in Arizona are permitted to pass a motorist operating in the same lane of traffic and move between the two lanes of traffic in the following circumstances:
- The road has at least two lanes traveling in the same direction.
- The motorist the cyclist wants to pass is stopped in the same lane of traffic as the motorcyclist.
- The speed limit on the road is not more than 45 mph.
- The motorcyclist passes between the lanes while traveling at speeds of no more than 15 mph.
Under Arizona’s tort laws, motorcyclists who are injured because of the negligent or reckless actions of other motorists are entitled to pursue compensation by filing motorcycle accident lawsuits against the at-fault drivers.
Comparative Fault in Arizona
Arizona has a comparative fault system for negligence lawsuits under ARS 12-2505. According to Arizona’s comparative fault statute, injured accident victims can recover compensation for their losses caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of others. Even when a motorcyclist shares a portion of the blame for an accident, the cyclist’s contributory negligence will not bar recovery. However, the victim’s gross verdict award will be reduced by the percentage of fault allocated to the motorcyclist by the jury or judge.
For example, if a motorcycle accident victim is found to be 10% at fault while the other motorist is found to be 90% at fault, the motorcyclist’s award will be reduced by 10%. If the jury awards a gross verdict of $150,000 to the injured cyclist, their award will be reduced by 15% for a net verdict of $135,000.
Arizona’s rule is known as pure comparative fault. This means that a motorcycle accident victim can recover compensation in a lawsuit even when the cyclist is 99% at fault, but their award would be reduced by 99%. Even though a person who is 99% at fault could ostensibly pursue compensation, it generally won’t make financial sense to pursue a claim when an individual is mostly to blame for their accident.
Statutes of Limitations
All states, including Arizona, have codified statutes of limitations. These are laws that limit the time during which negligence victims can file lawsuits against the responsible parties and applies to when the victims of motorcycle accidents must file lawsuits.
General Statutes of Limitations
Under ARS 12-542, there are two different statutes of limitations that people should know about motorcycle accidents. Under subsection (1), you must file a lawsuit after being injured in a motorcycle collision no later than two years after the date of your accident. Under subsection (2), the surviving family members of a motorcyclist who is killed in an accident must file a wrongful death claim no later than two years after their loved one’s death.
It’s important to note that the limitations period for a wrongful death lawsuit starts from the date of the cyclist’s death instead of the date of their accident. This means that if a motorcyclist survives the crash but succumbs to their injuries several months later, the limitations period for the wrongful death lawsuit will be tolled between the accident and death dates.
Statute of Limitations for Minors
For victims who are younger than age 18 at the time of their accidents, the statute of limitations will be tolled until they turn 18 years old under ARS 12-502. Once the accident victim turns 18, they will then have two years, or until they turn 20, to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit.
Deadline for Notice of Claim in Actions Against a Public Entity
Some motorcycle collisions are caused by governmental employees while they are driving for work. If you were injured in a crash caused by a public employee, different deadlines apply. Under ARS 12-821.01, a motorcycle accident victim must file a notice of claim with the government agency no later than 180 days after their accident. If they fail to file a notice of claim within that period, they won’t be able to file a lawsuit. Under ARS 12-821, the victim will have 12 months to file a lawsuit from the date of their accident.
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Auto Insurance and Motorcycle Collisions
Arizona requires all drivers to carry liability insurance with at least the following minimum coverages under ARS 25-4009:
- $25,000 bodily injury for one person
- $50,000 bodily injury for two or more people per accident
- $15,000 property damage
Since motorcycle accidents often cause severe injuries to the victims, these minimum liability coverage amounts might be inadequate to cover all of a victim’s losses. This issue makes it important for cyclists to consider adding uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to their insurance policies. Under ARS 20-259.01, auto insurers must offer UM/UIM coverage to their insureds at the time they purchase insurance coverage. While people don’t have to buy it, it’s a good idea.
UM/UIM insurance coverage kicks in when someone is injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If the motorist who caused your accident had no insurance or only had insurance with the minimum liability amounts, you could file a claim under your UM/UIM policy to recover compensation up to its policy limits.
Other Parties That Might Be Liable
Our Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers will also work to identify any other potential recovery sources during their investigation of your motorcycle accident. Some examples of other parties that might be liable include the following:
- Manufacturer and designer of a defective car or motorcycle part that contributed to the accident
- Entity that negligently maintained or designed the road
- Vehicle’s owner when the at-fault driver borrowed the vehicle from someone else
- Employer of a driver who was on duty at the time of the accident
Identifying all of the parties that contributed to an accident’s cause can help to ensure a victim recovers maximal compensation for all of their losses.
Damages in a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
The damages available in a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawsuit depend on the unique facts and circumstances of the case. For this reason, a motorcycle accident lawyer can’t give a flat quote for the value of your claim. Instead, your lawyer will need to analyze the evidence and calculate the probable range of values within which a fair settlement might fall.
Your compensatory damages are the economic and non-economic losses you have suffered because of your motorcycle accident and might include the following categories:
- Past/future medical expenses
- Past/future wage losses
- Property losses
- Past/future physical pain and suffering
- Past/future emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life
- Other losses
In some cases, punitive damages might also be recoverable. These damages are meant to punish a defendant whose conduct was particularly outrageous. As such, punitive damages are only available in rare cases. When they are awarded, they are paid in addition to any compensatory damages awarded to the victim.
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