Most motorcycle accidents result in devastating injuries or deaths due to the extreme vulnerability of motorcyclists. A rider’s injuries are almost always more severe than those that occupants of passenger vehicles sustain. Motorcycle accidents can easily result in major skin abrasions, broken bones, head and neck injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or death.
If you were involved in a catastrophic motorcycle accident, Cullan & Cullan can help you. As Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers who have been fighting for the injured since 1990, we have a considerable amount of experience in this complicated and important field. We are passionate about what we do, and we do not hesitate to assert our clients’ rights even in the face of large corporations and their teams of attorneys. We fight for fair results.
Contact our firm at (602) 900-9483 for a free motorcycle accident case review.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Famous Route 66 cuts through Arizona, encouraging motorcyclists to visit from around the world. Arizona’s roadways are notorious for their loose rubble and dirt, presenting a hazard to the many motorcyclists who ride through the state. Motorcycles are more prone to accidents than passenger vehicles due to their susceptibility to hazards and poor weather conditions.
While riders face many dangers on the road, the greatest threat comes from other motorists. The most common dangerous driving behaviors that lead to motorcycle accidents are:
- Fatigued or drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Making unsafe or poorly executed turns
- Failing to yield right-of-way
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Making unsafe lane changes
Other motorists can easily fail to see a motorcyclist on the road, merging on top of the biker or cutting him or her off in traffic. Some drivers are impatient or irritated around motorcyclists and engage in reckless driving behaviors such as passing too closely. Others don’t pay enough attention to avoid colliding with a motorcycle that “came out of nowhere.” Driver negligence is a major cause of motorcycle accidents—and something that is completely avoidable.
Preventing Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
In 2014, 4,295 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents nationwide. This is more than double the number of motorcycle deaths in 1997, and it accounts for 13% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2014. A helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment a motorcyclist can wear — however, 62% of fatally injured riders in 2014 wore helmets. Wearing a helmet can seriously reduce your risk of suffering a serious head injury, but it doesn’t protect against severe accidents.
When a negligent or reckless driver causes an injurious or fatal motorcycle crash, the injured victim or the family of a deceased victim can take the responsible party to court to recover damages, including medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and permanent disability. Understanding the motorcycle laws in Arizona can help victims know their rights in a crash and file claims with confidence.
Arizona Motorcycle Laws
Many passenger vehicle drivers don’t give motorcycles the care and respect they deserve. Motorcycles have the same rights as other vehicles. Drivers have a duty to remain a safe distance away while following behind a motorcycle to avoid rear-end collisions, which can be deadly to a motorcyclist. Motorists should always be aware of their surroundings and check carefully before switching lanes to ensure a motorcycle isn’t in a blind spot. Pulling out in front of a motorcyclist is a common problem due to driver inattention and motorcycles that are difficult to see.
Arizona law requires motorcyclists to have a certain set of skills and licensure. It also requires operators and passengers 17 and younger to wear a helmet; older drivers can ride helmet-free. The law does make it mandatory for motorcyclists to wear protective glasses, goggles, or a face shield unless a motorcycle comes equipped with a windshield.
Although the law requires this safety gear, failing to wear it doesn’t automatically throw out a personal injury case. If your Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer proves that you would have sustained injury regardless of wearing safety glasses, the judge will still rule in your favor.
Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident in Phoenix
At Cullan & Cullan, we deal in legal rights. We know exactly what motorcyclists can and cannot do on Arizona’s roadways. We also have a firm understanding of what actions injured motorcyclists can take following a harmful collision. We’re happy to discuss your individual legal opportunities during a free consultation.
In the meantime, here’s an overview of general rights you might have after a motorcycle crash:
- The right to medical bill coverage. Regardless of fault, your insurance company must cover your initial medical expenses within the limits of your policy. Seek coverage through your insurer right away if you’re in the hospital after a crash.
- The right to rental car payment. Many accident victims require rental cars temporarily while their vehicles undergo repairs. Seek coverage for this expense through your own insurer or that of the at-fault driver.
- The right to file a lawsuit. Every accident victim has the right to file a lawsuit with the Phoenix civil courts if someone else’s negligence or unlawful act caused the crash. A lawsuit could result in compensation for all of your accident-related losses.
You also have the right to work with an attorney to maximize your settlement or jury verdict after a motorcycle crash. The law firm you use can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Whether you need help negotiating an insurance settlement or assistance taking a defendant to court, the Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers at Cullan & Cullan can help.
Damages Available in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Most motorcycle accidents result in serious to catastrophic injuries and expensive property damage. You may have totaled your bike and/or stayed in the hospital following a collision in Phoenix. As the medical and other bills pile up, speak to an attorney about potential damage recovery. An at-fault party such as another driver, product manufacturer, employer, or the City of Phoenix may be responsible for reimbursing you for losses.
Recoverable damages in a motorcycle accident claim can include:
- Medical costs. Past, present, and future medical expenses relating to your accident. This encompasses ambulance fees, hospital stays, surgeries, tests and x-rays, prescription medications, doctor’s appointments, etc.
- Lost wages. If your crash put you out of work for days, weeks, or months, you have the legal right to compensation to replace lost income, including lost earning capacity and/or opportunities. This includes time you miss going to medical appointments.
- Property loss or damage. You could be eligible for payment for repairs to your motorcycle, or a check for the total value of the bike in the event of total destruction. If you lost other types of property in the crash, recovery damages can include these items as well.
- Pain and suffering. The Arizona court system allows motorcycle accident victims to seek recovery for non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional suffering, and mental anguish. If a motorcycle crash left you emotionally scarred or traumatized, you could be eligible for this type of recovery.
You may also receive compensation for:
- Permanent injury/disability
- Household or vehicle modifications (ramps for wheelchairs, lifts, etc.)
- Rehabilitative costs (such as physical therapy)
- Scarring and/or disfigurement
- Loss of limbs
- Lost wage
- Loss of earning capacity
- Wrongful death damages if you lost a family member
The Skilled Representation You Need After a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident
Help from our Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys can significantly alter your future for the better. You could be looking at a six- or seven-figure recovery or more, depending on the circumstances and the severity of your losses. If the collision left you permanently disabled, for example, the at-fault party may be liable for paying for a lifetime of medical costs and related damages.
Call our firm at (602) 900-9483 for more information and insight that applies to your unique situation.