Whether you’re tooling through the Old City or are on your daily commute down I-640, riding your motorcycle is a great way to get around Knoxville. But a fun ride can quickly sour when the driver of a passenger vehicle fails to follow the rules of the road and hits you.
Unfortunately, motorcyclists usually suffer much worse injuries than the other driver, but the good news is you have options to hold them accountable and recover compensation to pay for your injuries.
Steps to take after from hurt in a motorcycle wreck
The minutes after you’ve been hit by a car are painful and chaotic, so knowing what to do is critical to your safety and the integrity of your case.
1. Move to a safer location
If you can, get yourself and your bike off the road, preferably onto the shoulder away from traffic. If you think you may have hurt your neck or back, don’t move and wait for EMS to arrive. You don’t want to worsen your injury.
2. Call 911 and ask for police and an ambulance
When you’re hit by a car, your body releases adrenaline which can mask the pain of an injury. This might cause you to believe that you weren’t hurt as badly as you actually are.
Emergency medical responders are trained to diagnose these “hidden injuries” that don’t present symptoms right away. Even if you feel mostly fine, you should get checked out by EMS.
3. Tell your story to the responding police officer
The responding police officer will create an official police report which contains the facts of the accident, including:
Time, date, and location of the crash
Road and weather conditions
Names, contact information, and license numbers of all drivers involved
The names and contact information of any witnesses
A narrative that describes how the crash happened and who is to blame
The police report may be very useful for your Knoxville motorcycle accident attorney, as it has plenty of information that they can use to build your case.
It’s important to note that police reports cannot be used as evidence in court, but they can be very helpful in convincing the insurance company to give you full compensation.
4. Notify your insurance company
Even if you’re not the driver responsible for the crash, you must report the accident to your insurance company. The deadline for reporting varies according to the terms of your policy, but most insurance carriers require that you notify them within 30 days of the accident.
5. Gather evidence at the scene
Take photos or videos of the accident scene, your injuries, the damage to the car and the other car, and the surrounding area. Jot down notes about what you remember of many events leading up to the crash, too.
6. Visit urgent care or your primary care physician
It’s important to protect your health after a motorcycle wreck. The earlier your injuries are diagnosed and treated, the better the chance you have of a full recovery. Be sure to keep all the medical records and bills so your Knoxville motorcycle crash lawyer can properly value your claim.
7. Consult with a Knoxville motorcycle wreck attorney
After you’ve seen a doctor and are stable, consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Knoxville as soon as possible. Your attorney needs to investigate the accident and collect relevant evidence so that your case is well-supported from the outset.
Make sure you file a claim on time
Tennessee state law limits the time a motorcycle crash victim has to file a lawsuit for damages to one year from the date of the accident. This is called the statute of limitations. If you don’t file before that deadline, then you’ll likely be barred from collecting damages for your injuries, even if it’s clear that the other driver was at fault.
Possible damages you can claim
Tennessee law permits victims in a personal injury case to seek compensatory relief for their accident-related injuries and financial losses called damages. These damages can be broken down into two general categories: Economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are the real and quantifiable losses you suffered after a motorcycle injury. These damages leave a “paper trail” of invoices, bills, and receipts, and may include:
Medical bills, including hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, and medications
Durable medical devices if you cannot move independently
Lost wages from time missed at work to heal from the accident
Cost of repairing or replacing your bike
You might have other losses, too, such as paying for long-term care in a rehabilitative facility or other personal property damaged in the wreck.
Non-economic damages are non-quantifiable losses from the wreck and consist of:
Pain and suffering from your injuries
Emotional trauma and mental anguish; many people develop situational anxiety or PTSD
Diminished quality of life, if your injuries are severe and impact your abilities
The other driver in a motorcycle accident is most often named as a defendant in a lawsuit, but they may not be the only party who shares responsibility for the accident. Other parties that could be liable for the collision include:
The municipality responsible for maintaining safe roads
The motorcycle manufacturing company, for releasing a poorly designed or faulty bike
The mechanic who didn’t fix your bike or the other driver’s car correctly and caused it to malfunction
How your motorcycle wreck lawyer will prove liability
You can’t just sue someone because you feel they’re probably responsible. In order to have a successful motorcycle injury claim, your attorney will need to prove that the other driver is “liable” (responsible) for the incident and therefore responsible for paying the bills that you incurred as a result.
Proving liability means proving that:
The defendant owed you a duty of care for your safety
The defendant breached that duty of care through their negligence
This breach directly led to the accident and your injuries
You suffered financial losses because of your injuries
Each of these four elements must be proven for a valid personal injury claim.
We fight insurance companies to get you full compensation
At Hotz & Associates, our goal is to secure you the full compensatory award you’re entitled to. We have decades of combined experience taking on insurance companies and the resources to see your case through to the conclusion.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, rest assured that we’ll do everything we can to make things right.
Common motorcycle wreck injuries
Motorcycle drivers lack the protective metal shield that persons in passenger cars have, so their injuries are often more serious.
Some of the most common injuries from a motorcycle collision include:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or a concussion
Whiplash or other neck injuries
Spinal injuries, including a herniated disc or full or partial paralysis
Broken bones and fractures
Crushing injuries, especially the limbs, hands, and feet
Internal organ damage and internal bleeding, which can lead to toxic sepsis
“Road rash,” or severe dermal abrasions that require skin grafts to treat
Unfortunately, many motorcyclists suffer multiple injuries from the wreck, and the road to recovery can be long and painful.
Dealing with insurance after a crash
The other party’s insurance company may approach you right after the crash and offer a fast settlement. You may be tempted, but, likely, their offer is nowhere near what your claim is truly worth. Your personal injury lawyer Knoxville can handle all communication with the other party’s insurance company and their attorneys.
Length of time you can expect your claim to settle
A straightforward motorcycle crash case can take an average of six months to settle, but if there are additional defendants or the question of liability is less clear-cut, it could take a year or two to conclude. We will give you a rough estimate to complete your case at your initial consultation.
Cost of hiring a motorcycle wreck lawyer
At Hotz & Associates, our personal injury lawyers often work on a contingency basis, which means that we collect our legal fees out of your final settlement – you don’t pay until and unless we win your case.
Why you should visit a doctor as soon as possible
Your medical records prove your injuries happened because of the crash. If you delay seeing a doctor, the other driver’s insurance adjustor may argue that the injuries weren’t sustained from the crash.
Our Knoxville motorcycle wreck attorneys are here to help
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash in Knoxville, the skilled attorneys at Hotz & Associates, P.C. can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Our legal team has decades of combined experience and deep knowledge of Tennessee personal injury law.
We have experience handling even the most complicated motorcycle crash cases and the resources to take on any defendant. Contact us today at (865) 582-0042 for a free initial consultation.