Motorcycle accidents can be incredibly serious because motorcycles are not as protective as other vehicles in an accident. If you got injured in a motorcycle accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost income, and more. In addition, if someone caused your crash, they can be sued in your motorcycle accident case.
However, how do you know which party to sue? Knowing who to hold responsible can be confusing, especially after something as chaotic as a motorcycle accident. Our lawyers explain all the parties you can file a claim against depending on the circumstances of your accident.
Parties You Can Sue in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Someone must be at fault for the collision to have a valid motorcycle accident case. You cannot claim damages unless there was a negligent party in the accident.
Someone is negligent when they have breached a legal duty. Every motorist has a duty to exercise ordinary diligence that does not cause harm to others. If someone fails in that legal duty and this results in a motorcycle accident, that party may be responsible for the damages under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) § 51-1-6.
We can sue the negligent party or parties in a motorcycle accident for damages. Depending on who caused the motorcycle accident, any of the following parties may be sued in this type of case.
The at-fault party in a motorcycle accident is most commonly another driver. This could include a car driver, truck driver, bus driver, or another motorcycle rider. Even if they did not mean to cause the accident, the driver is still at-fault if their actions led to the crash.
When another driver causes a motorcycle accident, the first step is typically to file a personal injury claim with their auto insurance company. Then, if seeking a settlement through a claim is unsuccessful, you might decide to sue the other driver.
Sometimes, a motorcycle accident can result from a defective motorcycle part or another issue with the vehicle. In this instance, the manufacturer of the bike can be responsible for your accident.
If you suspect a defect caused your accident, you will want to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer immediately. They can begin investigating the accident, what went wrong, and who was ultimately responsible. If the manufacturer was at fault for your accident, they can be sued for your damages.
If you were in a motorcycle accident, hit your head, and sustained injuries because of a problem with your helmet, the manufacturer of the helmet might be at least partially at fault for your damages.
Although another party is likely at fault for the actual accident, you may still be able to sue the helmet manufacturer if you suffered damages you would not have sustained if the helmet had worked properly. This is another situation where you’ll need a lawyer who can investigate the details for you.
The dealership that sold you the motorcycle might be at-fault in the accident. If an issue with the bike caused the accident that the dealership knew about, yet they sold the bike to you, you may be able to sue them for damages.
Lastly, a state or local government is sometimes responsible for a motorcycle accident. If you were injured because of unsafe road conditions like unmarked potholes, the government entity that manages the roads may be to blame.
Suing a government is different from suing an individual or company. Although you can sue a state government in some situations, you must provide notice of the legal action within 12 months of the accident date OCGA § 50-21-26. For help with this, you will need to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Get the strong arm
Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Before you can sue anyone for a motorcycle accident, you will need to prove that they were at fault for your accident and resulting damages. To do this, you’ll need to gather evidence like:
- Pictures from the scene of the motorcycle accident
- Statements from eyewitnesses at the scene
- Police statements
- Medical records, medical bills, receipts, and other proof of your damages
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you compile the correct information to build a strong case. Lawsuits are lengthy, expensive, and often exhausting, so you must have a solid case before taking someone to court.
You’ll also need to be honest with your lawyer about every detail of the accident. For example, if there’s a chance you were partially at fault for the accident or you were not following all laws at the time, such as not wearing a helmet, it can affect your case.
You Probably Won’t Have to Sue in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Although you have the legal right to sue the at-fault party in a motorcycle accident case, you might not need to file a lawsuit. You can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company most of the time. This will allow you to seek a settlement for your damages without going to court.
The insurance company will probably not make it easy for you to get the compensation you deserve, even with an injury claim. That’s why it’s so advantageous to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Your lawyer can communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and work towards a fair settlement offer.
If you can reach a settlement that both parties agree on, you’ll get paid for your damages and not have to pursue a lawsuit. This is often preferred since it takes much less time and money. However, there are situations where suing is the best option, so you’ll want to discuss all possible scenarios with your lawyer.
Never Accept the Initial Settlement Offer
Whenever you threaten to sue anyone or file a claim with the insurance company, either the at-fault party or an insurance adjuster will try to reach out to you and offer a fast settlement for your damages. While this seems tempting and easy, never accept this.
The reason they offer these settlements is so that you don’t initiate any legal action against them. That way, they can get away with paying you way less than what you actually deserve. Before you agree in writing or verbally to anything, always get help from a lawyer first.
What Damages Can Be Claimed in the Settlement?
Depending on the parties and their insurance, there are different damages we can pursue as part of your motorcycle accident claim. All the obvious ones will apply no matter who is responsible. These are things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Repairs for your bike and gear
- Any other economic damages
If we have to sue a manufacturer, there may be product liability damages like breach of warranty and other specialized claims. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will talk to you about these if they apply to your case.
Don’t Fight for Your Settlement Alone
Hiring a lawyer isn’t mandatory, but it’s the best thing you can do to ensure that your rights get protected and that you can have your voice and demands heard during negotiations. In addition, insurance companies often have extensive resources and powerful legal representatives that can fight against the claim you make against them.
Our lawyers can do more than just fill out paperwork and give legal advice. After a motorcycle accident, we can:
- Gather evidence for your claim
- Represent you and your best interests at all times
- Review all settlement offers and ensure they’re fair, and cover your damages
- Escalate your claim to court if necessary
We never take any money upfront, and we don’t get paid unless we win a settlement for you. So, even though you can file a claim and negotiate on your own, we urge you not to do this and instead reach out to us for assistance.
Start Your Motorcycle Accident Case Early
It will take time to investigate all the parties involved in your case and choose the ones we should target for your lawsuit. Thus, it’s important to start your case early before you reach the statute of limitations.
Unless we toll the statute, which we can only do if certain factors are present, there is a limited amount of time to investigate your case. Starting your case soon after your accident will give your lawyer the most time to build a strong case.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have worked on countless motorcycle accident cases over the past 20 plus years. We are not afraid to take your case to court if it means pursuing the compensation you deserve. So, contact us today, and we’ll give you a free consultation to discuss your options and how we can help.