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Utah Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcycle Accident Settlements and Verdicts

Few experiences can compare with the exhilaration and freedom of driving a motorcycle.  Utah has some incredible natural beauties that can be augmented by seeing and experiencing them on a motorcycle.  For example, riding one of Utah’s various canyons along the Wasatch Front or touring through the roads of Southern Utah can be an unparalleled adventure.  Some Utah tourist websites such as Discovermoab.com list motorcycle riding as one of the best ways to see that unique part of the state.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are among the most dreadful types of accidents that can occur.  The potential damage that can occur is substantial.  When driving in a normal car, the operator of a vehicle has airbags, seatbelts, car doors, and other protections that can lessen the impact of a collision.  For someone operating a motorcycle, none of these protections can ensure the motorist’s safety.  The heaving impact of a car slamming into a motorcyclist on a freeway or through an intersection can severely injure or disable the motorcyclist.  Such an accident can even result in death.

Because Motorcycle accidents can be so catastrophic, it is important to understand your legal rights, as well as the relevant insurance laws in Utah.  Laws relating to both cars and motorcycles have substantial differences even though they share the same roadway.  Similarly, one of the common problems following a motorcyle accident is not having enough insurance to cover the costs of medical bills, property damage, and other associated issues.

As with many types of accidents, motorcycle accident cases can hinge on the legal concept of negligence.  The Legal Information Institute defines negligence as, “[a] failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”  So, essentially, did someone do something stupid or behave recklessly which ultimately led to the accident?  If you were the victim of a motorcycle accident, it is possible that the insurance company will try downplay your accident so you don’t receive the amount you are entitled to.  One of the best ways to safeguard your rights is to hire a personal injury attorney with The Advocates.  Consulting with an attorney can provide crucial information and expertise during a difficult time.

Utah Motorcycle Accident Statistics

 

Motorcycle accidents affect thousands of people every year.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that motorcyclist deaths happen 27 times more often than deaths in other vehicles.  This higher number can be attributed to some of the unique difficulties faced by motorcyclists.  For example, motorcyclists are harder to see than other vehicles on the road.  Cars making a left-hand turn frequently strike motorcyclists who are going straight through the intersection or are passing the car.  These types of collisions account for 42 percent of motorcycle accidents.  Also, if the driver of a car is not paying close attention, the motorcyclists can slip into the driver’s blindspot without realizing the motorcyclist has done so.

Another unique concern for motorcycle riders is the fact that motorcyclists have less protection than the protection of an enclosed vehicle.  For example, wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops might not make much of a difference when riding in a car; however, if you are wearing such clothing and are involved in a motorcycle accident, the results can be devastating if you crash and slide out.  For this reason, Consumerreports.org recommends wearing specific gear for riding like leather or another type of reinforced jacked along with proper shoes.  Even bright colors will help motorcyclists be seen.

Obviously the thrills and excitement of motorcycle riding are attractive to many people.  According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, during the past decade, there has been a significant increase in registered motorcycle drivers in the United States.  Correspondingly, motorcycle fatalities have risen slightly in recent years.  The Insurance Information Institute reports in 2015, 4,976 people died in a motorcycle accident.  This statistic was an 8.3 percent increase from 2014.

While more and more people want to experience the adventures that motorcycles offer, the statistics cited above paint a grim picture for many potential riders.  Each time a rider gets on a motorcycle, they incur certain risks that other motor vehicle operators do not.  As Tim Huber, a writer for Ridealong.com notes, “Arguably, motorcycling requires more focus and brain function than driving a car. The act itself is both more physically and mentally draining . . . There are more variables and therefore more opportunities for error. . . . when things go wrong on a motorcycle[,] consequences can be exponentially worse.”  Fortunately, there some ways to reduce such risks.  While it is impossible to eliminate them entirely, some prevention might save someone’s life.

Motorcycle prevention has proved effective in some respects.  Wearing the proper gear, as mentioned above can make a difference.  Similarly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single most effective way for individuals to save lives and money with motorcycle accidents is wearing a helmet.  While this does not eliminate your risk entirely, helmets have proven to reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and the risk of serious head injury by 69 percent.  For example, helmets saved 1,772 lives in 2015.

Additionally, educating both those on motorcycles and those in cars can be an effective means of preventing accidents.  For example, education courses like those offered Motorcycle Safety Foundation or Utah Ridered can provide some tips and pointers for avoiding common mistakes with regard to motorcycle riding.  For example, according to the Nolo.com legal encyclopedia, majority of accidents involving motorcycles and cars occur when the car strikes the motorcycle from the front (78 percent of the time).  Understanding this can change the way you drive and can reduce your level or risk.

How Would A Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

A common problem many motorcycle accident victims run into is not having enough money to cover the resulting costs of the accident.  Unfortunately, in Utah, motorcycle insurance coverage does not include Personal Injury Protection (PIP).  There might be a few insurers that do, but the vast majority do not.  After a motorcycle accident, the victim usually has high medical bills.  These bills can exceed the insurance policies covering the victim.  For example, sometimes, between all the policies, there might be $50,000, while there are $200,000 in medical bills.  If there is not enough coverage, a personal injury attorney can try to negotiate the bills down and work with the health provider.

Following a devastating motorcycle accident, it can be difficult to undertake such complex negotiations while trying to recover and deal with the psychological stress and emotional trauma of the accident.  A personal injury attorney has to negotiate with insurance companies and medical providers on a daily basis.  Your Advocate will be comfortable in these negotiations and will know what is a fair and reasonable amount.

One of the main benefits in hiring a motorcycle accident attorney is your Advocate will have knowledge and expertise that you simply don’t have.  Motorcycle accidents can be very complex.  A qualified personal injury attorney from The Advocates will know and understand the relevant laws for your case.  Your Advocate can use these laws to ensure that your rights are protected.  It is likely that your Advocate will have dealt with a case similar to yours in the past.

 

What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Determining an exact amount for your case, without sitting down with a personal injury attorney can be a challenge.  Essentially, what your case is worth is done by calculating two specific types of damages from your accident: economic and noneconomic.  Economic damages will include quantitative values.  Things like medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other costs that you can put a number to will be combined for a specific amount.  Noneconomic damages refer to things that are more intangible.  This is why speaking with a personal injury attorney is important when determining case value.  These items are more challenging to quantify and differ depending upon the accident.  Noneconomic damages will include things like impact of the injury on life, scarring, age, disability, etc.  Each of these things will be added to the worth of your case.

Statute of Limitations

After a personal injury, victims have a specified window in which they can take legal action.  This specific time window is known as the statute of limitations.  For instance, if you were the victim of a motorcycle accident in the state of Utah, you have four years that you can pursue the claim.  If you allow this window to pass, your chance to pursue the claim passes as well.  The statute of limitations differs from state to state.  As mentioned, Utahcourts.gov  clarifies four years for personal injury cases in Utah.

Free Consultations / Contingency

Following a motorcycle accident, knowing whether or not your have a case is an important question.  Not all of the accidents we hear about are viable cases in court.  Fortunately, The Advocates offers FREE CONSULTATIONS.  In this consultation, your attorney will be able to discuss the details of your case and determine whether or not you have a case.  During this consultation, your Advocate will also be able to answer any questions you might have and give some advice if you are concerned about some details of your case.  If you are not able to come and meet with us, we can come and meet with you.

At The Advocates, our attorneys work on a contingency basis.  This contingency means that if you choose to hire an Advocate for your injury case, the attorney fees will be a percentage of the final settlement.  By working on a contingency, you do not need to worry about large legal fees bogging you down while you are trying to heal from your injuries.

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