Frequently Asked Questions about Motorcycle Accidents
Q: What am I entitled to receive for my injuries?
A: 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.
As a general rule, you are entitled to recover for any of the following expenses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical expenses
- Probable loss of wages in the future
- Property damage
- 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 bad, you may be able to recover punitive damages.
Q: Is compensation automatic?
A: The types of compensation listed above are not automatically awarded in every case. It is up to you to prove what expenses you have incurred, or will incur in the future, and how much those expenses were or will be.
Q: How long will my case take?
A: 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 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. A lot depends on how soon your personal injuries heal or reach maximum medical improvement
Q: I wasn't wearing a helmet when I was in an accident. Does that make a difference?
A: 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. In fact in Ohio there is a specific statute that precludes evidence of not wearing a helmet as being admissable in evidence. But you can bet the insurance adjustor will try to use this against you. And some defense attorneys will try to convince a Judge that the evidence should still come in. So get the help of an experienced peronal injury motorcycle accident lawyer to make sure the right thing happens and you get all the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Q: What is comparative negligence?
A: Comparative negligence compares the negligence of everyone involved in an accident. When a jury hears the case, the jury members decide what percentage of the total fault goes to each person involved. The amount of compensation awarded to a person will be reduced by his or her share, or percentage, of the total fault. In Ohio if you are more than 50% at fault you recover nothing. If you are 50% at fault you get 50% of the damages awarded.
Q: I was hurt in an accident last week, and the other driver's insurance company has offered to pay me some money. Should I accept it?
A: No! Accepting that check may mean that you have released the other driver from all liability for your accident. You may have to sign a release to get the promised money, or the back of the check you get may have a notation on it that your endorsement of the check means that you release the other driver from any past, present, or future liability for your injuries. "Some" money might be all that you get for your injuries.
The problem with a quick settlement, such as the one you have been offered here, is that it may take weeks or even months before you know the full extent of your injuries. Perhaps you've been out of work since the accident: do you know for sure when you will be working again? Do you know how much your medical bills will be? Odds are good that there are too many unknowns to make it a good idea to settle your case now. You would do best to consult with an attorney who has experience handling motorcycle injury cases before you sign anything.