Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accident Cases in Indiana
Below are the answers to common initial questions many clients have when they first contact Keller and Keller about a potential motorcycle accident case. We hope that the information below address many initial concerns you may have, but if you don't find the answers here, please contact us with questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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What evidence is needed to prove fault in an Indiana motorcycle crash?
You enjoy the days when the weather allows you to ride your motorcycle in Indiana, whether it’s to work or just for fun. However, you are always aware that you are at the mercy of other drivers. If your luck runs out one day and you are hit or run off the road by a careless driver, you need to be prepared to protect your claim for compensation. If you are physically able, we recommend that you do your best to gather some evidence of the other driver’s fault at the scene of the crash.
Important Evidence to Collect at the Scene of an Indianapolis Motorcycle Crash
Unfortunately, motorcycle accident victims are often unable to take steps to protect their recovery at the scene because of the seriousness of their injuries. However, if you are conscious and able to move around, your claim against the negligent driver will be strengthened by the following types of evidence:
- Pictures. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the scene before anything is moved. You will want pictures of your bike from a variety of angles to show the damage and shots of any other vehicles involved in the crash. You should also take pictures of the entire scene from a distance and document your own injuries with photos.
- Witness statements. Get statements from any and all witnesses that will collaborate the date, time of day, road conditions, actions of the other driver, and other details of the crash. You should also write down your own observations about weather conditions, type of road, speed of travel, and so on.
- Medical records. It is important that you see a doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Not only will you get the medical treatment you need, but your visit will also establish the nature and extent of your injuries, which can be presented as part of your injury claim later on.
You can be sure that the defendants’ attorneys will try to establish that some other factor contributed to the accident, so you must be prepared to refute that.
How the Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Keller & Keller Will Help
Along with the evidence you have gathered, a prompt investigation is essential. This is because the insurance company will always attempt to prove that the motorcyclist was to some extent at fault to diminish the value of the motorcyclist’s claim.
The law offices of Keller and Keller will make use of extensive resources and ensure that no evidence is lost or tampered with in regard to your injury claim. It is important that evidence not be lost in motorcycle accident claims, as it is imperative that we present this evidence to the insurance company. Fill out the contact form on this page to learn more about motorcycle accident claims in Indiana.
Who is liable in my Indiana motorcycle crash?
While it’s true that motorcycle riders are at a greater risk of serious injury and death than drivers and passengers in cars and trucks, that doesn’t mean they aren’t owed the same duty of care by the people they share the road with. Unfortunately, drivers are often either unaware of bikers near them or are openly hostile towards them. When a driver’s actions cause the crash that injures a motorcyclist, he or she may be held liable and made to pay for the damages they have caused.
Driver Actions That Cause Motorcycle Crashes
Because of the lack of protection afforded by a motorcycle, riders are among the most vulnerable motorists on the road. This doesn’t mean they deserve special treatment, but they do deserve the same space and respect that drivers give one another. When drivers do the following, they can contribute to a potentially fatal motorcycle crash:
- Fail to yield. One of the most common causes of motorcycle crashes is being cut off by a car whose driver either doesn’t see the bike or simply refuses to yield. Motorcycles are harder to see than cars, so drivers must check mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or merging onto the highway to look for motorcycles.
- Follow too closely. If anything, motorcycles require an even greater following distance than cars because they are designed to stop very quickly. If a much larger car or pickup truck rear-ends a motorcycle, the results could be deadly.
- Engage in distracted driving. Glancing down at a cell phone or GPS screen for even a second can mean a driver could miss a motorcycle that is turning, changing lanes, or merging onto the road in the car’s vicinity.
- Drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An impaired driver is less observant and has slower reaction times, putting any motorcyclists near them at particular risk. Speeding and erratic driving is also a threat to motorcyclists as they are harder to see.
When a driver’s actions cause a motorcycle crash, he or she can be held liable for the injured rider’s medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Other Potentially Liable Parties
In some motorcycle crashes, no cars are involved at all. In these cases, if a motorcycle rider causes a crash that injures his passenger, he could be held liable for the passenger’s damages. If potholes, debris, road surface, construction zones, or other dangers cause a motorcyclist to crash, the municipality responsible for the road could be held liable.
Discuss Your Motorcycle Crash With Keller & Keller
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in an Indiana motorcycle crash, talk to the attorneys at Keller & Keller in Indianapolis. We protect the rights of motorcycle riders in Indiana.
How can I protect myself as a motorcycle rider this summer?
It’s finally time to roll the machine out of the garage and tune it up for summer riding. You’re looking forward to the freedom and thrill of riding your motorcycle in beautiful Indiana summer weather but are also, as always, worried that this year will be the year you become a highway statistic. Bikers are always at higher risk of serious injury or death than other motorists, but you can take some steps to improve the odds that you’ll make it through to fall unscathed.
First—Take the Time to Tune Your Ride
After sitting in the garage all winter, your bike is sure to need a few touch-ups to get it road ready. It’s important that you check the bike out completely before riding it to make sure everything works as it should. At the very least, do the following:
- Top off fluids. Now is a good time to change the oil and oil filter and replace the fuel filter. You’ll also want to bleed the brakes, add brake fluid, and inspect the brake lines and pads.
- Check the battery. Your bike’s battery could have been drained by exposure to cold over the winter. You will likely need to charge the battery and may need to replace it if you see white powder, or if it won’t hold the charge.
- Get new spark plugs. Look for wear and tear on the spark plugs and replace any that are worn or damaged.
- Adjust the chain. If the chain has loosened over the winter months, it’s time to adjust it and lube it.
- Inspect tires for wear. Worn and cracked tires are dangerous. Check the air pressure and take a close look at your tires. If there are flat spots or cracks, it’s probably time to replace them.
Once your bike passes your inspection, you’re ready to hit the road, but don’t forget the importance of defensive riding.
Defensive Riding Reminders
As an experienced rider, you already know that your safety is often up to you. Being aware of the dangers around you and knowing that drivers have little regard for your presence, it’s important that you:
- Make yourself as visible as possible by wearing bright clothing, but also by positioning yourself in the lane so that other cars can see you.
- Most accidents occur at intersections, so approach junctions with extreme caution.
- Overtaking slower vehicles is risky, particularly around blind curves, so always pass carefully.
- Yes, your bike can go fast, but that doesn’t mean it’s always safe to speed. Keep your speed in check in residential, downtown, and congested areas.
Being cautious doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable ride, but it could mean your chances of returning in one piece are greatly improved.
Call an Indiana Motorcycle Attorney If You Are Injured
If despite your commitment to being a safe rider, the driver of a car or truck causes a crash that leaves you seriously injured, you need an attorney who is sympathetic to motorcycle riders. Keller & Keller has represented bikers in accident claims for years. You can trust us to fight for the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.
How much does Keller & Keller charge its motorcycle clients?
Many callers are surprised to learn that Keller & Keller will never require any up-front costs to represent them in their motorcycle accident case. Our offices have always represented bikers and their families on a contingency fee basis, meaning the only way Keller & Keller receives money is if they are able to make a recovery on your behalf.
Motorcycle accidents, unlike car accidents, often present unique challenges with regard to liability. Many times when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident, there is an assumption that their speed, or other actions, may have played a role in the cause of the accident. It can be very difficult and time-consuming to try and handle a bike claim on your own. Fortunately, our contingency fee agreement will make it easy for you to focus on phyiscal recovery and restoring your bike while we build a strong case on your behalf.
You have a lot to think about after the accident, but there's no need to worry about hourly rates, or large bills coming from Keller & Keller for your motorcycle accident. All that we ask is you contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin collecting evidence and helping you obtain the recovery you deserve.
Does Keller & Keller handle property damage claims, too?
We’ve handled many motorcycle claims throughout the years for our clients, and they have been especially concerned about the loss of their bike. Many times the parts on the motorcycle were custom, and it’s not always as easy as just picking out another bike to replace the loss.
With regard to your damaged or lost bike, we will always be happy to offer advice in helping you settle your property damage claim. However, we typically advise our motorcycle clients that we can’t actively represent them with regard to the property damage portion of their claim. The reason for this is because if we represent you, then legally we would be obligated to take a fee which would leave you with less money for your bike. We understand that you need every dime recovered to repair your bike or get a new bike.
Remember, you have 2 separate claims related to your motorcycle accident: (1) a property damage claim, and (2) a personal injury claim. These claims can be handled and settled separately from one another.
Why is it bad to delay seeking medical treatment after a motorcycle accident?
Most motorcycle accidents will involve serious injury, and the need for treatment will be apparent; however, we have represented several bikers that were fortunate enough to have sustained injury that didn't require surgeries, or lengthy hospital stays. The reason we were able to help those clients is because they didn't delay in seeking treatment for the less apparent injuries that they did suffer.
Motorcyclists that suffer scrapes and cuts, or soft-tissue injuries, are less likely to seek immediate attention from an ER or their doctor because they thought the aches and pains will resolve themselves over time. Unfortunately, a biker that waits to seek treatment is causing serious damage to any potential claim he may have against the at-fault party.
Insurance companies have been known to outright refuse personal injury claims because the injured person waited too long. By waiting, the injured party creates what is known as a "gap in treatment." A gap in treatment is one of the most damaging accusations against any personal injury claim, as an insurance company and/or jury will see your gap in treatment as a sign that you weren't really injured. And even though there may be rational reason behind your delay in seeking treatment, it won't hold water with the insurance company.
Many times a soft tissue injury can not present its most severe symptoms until days after the accident. Someone that has never been in a motorcycle accident might not suspect this, but it's a common occurrence. For this reason, we advise anyone who thinks they may have suffered injury to visit with their doctor as soon as possible, not only to protect your claim, but to make sure your injuries aren't more serious than you first believe them to be.
You have insurance, but you were struck by an uninsured driver. What happens now?
Your motorcycle insurance policy will likely have uninsured motorist coverage, and if you were hit by a driver who had no insurance, your insurance company then becomes responsible for compensating you for the loss of your motorcycle, your medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as any lost wages that resulted from the accident.
Some bikers are hesitant to file a claim against their own insurance company for various reasons, all of which are usually misguided.
Remember, YOU pay your insurance company money to protect you and your bike from uninsured drivers. This piece of your policy is designed to compensate you in these instances.
Never think that you shouldn't file an uninsured claim simply because it's your own insurance company. This is faulty thinking that could cost you thousands.
How dangerous is a motorcycle accident in comparison to an auto accident?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are about 18 times as likely as auto occupants to die in a motorcycle accident and about three times as likely to be injured.
What am I entitled to receive for my injuries as a result of my motorcycle accident?
Every case is different. The exact type of compensation and the amount you might receive depend on your individual situation. For example, the amount you receive will vary depending upon how severely you were injured, whether you are working and what type of job you have, if your injuries are permanent, if you are married, and numerous other factors.
Typically, you are entitled to recover for any of the following expenses:
Pain and suffering
Future medical expenses
Probable loss of wages in the future
Loss of relationship with your spouse
Other out-of-pocket expenses due to your injuries
In some cases, in which the other party's conduct was unusually heinous, you may be able to recover punitive damages.
How long will my case take?
The length of time a case takes depends on a number of things. A complex case, with several different parties, all with different claims, can take a lot longer to resolve than a relatively simple case, involving one injured party, and one party who caused the injury.
Many straightforward motorcycle cases are resolved in four to eight months. It is possible, but unusual for a case to take much more than one and a half years to resolve.
I wasn't wearing a helmet when I was in an accident. Does that make a difference?
You may bring an action for your injuries even if you were not wearing a helmet, but not wearing a helmet may make a difference in the amount of damages you receive. If not wearing a helmet did not cause or aggravate your injuries (for example, if you were hurt in your legs, and wearing a helmet would not have made any difference in your injuries), it probably will not make a difference. The attorneys at Keller and Keller will gladly discuss any concerns with you regarding your motorcycle accident.
I ride a motorcycle recreationally, usually only on weekends. Do I have to wear a helmet?
Motorcycle helmet laws vary from state to state. To wear a helmet or not wear one is a personal choice. If you are traveling out state, make sure to investigate the laws of the states you are traveling through so you will know you can be in compliance.
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