Many people ride motorcycles as an enjoyable and fuel-efficient mode of transportation. However, on busy highways and city streets, car and truck drivers are not looking out for motorcycles. With no significant protection, bike riders are at risk for serious or deadly injuries in a collision.
When a driver overlooks a biker, the consequences can be terrible. If you or a loved one has been hurt on a bike, you need the help of an Oakville personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC. We can guide you through important steps to receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the National Safety Council, motorcyclists are the victims of 14% of all traffic fatalities. In addition to being smaller and less visible, motorcycles are quite rare, making up only 3% of all vehicles registered in the US. As you might expect, a common cause of motorcycle accidents is that most drivers don’t follow the popular safety awareness slogan, “Look twice, save a life.”
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by bike riders as well as other motorists. Contributing factors include:
- Failing to obey stop or yield signs
- Driving recklessly
- Driving while sleepy, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to use headlights when visibility is low
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Splitting lanes unsafely or illegally
- Following too closely to another vehicle
- Failing to signal when changing lanes or turning
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Common Motorcycle Injuries and Causes of Death
Even with All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT) as a rider’s mantra, many riders will skip some protective clothing in hot weather. Even though Tennessee requires helmets for both drivers and passengers on bikes, being thrown from a motorcycle or hit by a car causes serious injuries. Collisions either with another vehicle or with objects can lead to injuries such as:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or other head wounds
- Road rash
- Limb amputations, especially feet and hands
- Bleeding (internal and external)
- Spinal damage, including whiplash
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and bruises
- Damage to internal organs
A lucky few motorcycle riders can walk away from an accident, but most end up with huge medical bills and long recovery times. Many suffer some type of disability and never ride a bike again. In the most severe cases, a rider is killed immediately or dies shortly afterward from gross bodily trauma. Whatever injuries you suffer, you will benefit from the help of a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in Oakville to help you seek compensation when someone else is at fault.
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Calculating the Worth of a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Motorcycle riders who are injured face significant pain as they recover, as well as high medical bills. Trying to figure out how to pursue an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit while healing is overwhelming and confusing. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney takes the burden off you and your family by developing a list of damages for compensation.
Damages fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are usually those you have a receipt for, such as doctor bills or bike repair. Non-economic ones are less tangible but still very real, including emotional trauma and pain. Some common damages that victims request include:
- ICU and ER charges
- Transportation costs, including emergency vehicles
- Medical device expenses
- Home renovations due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Motorcycle repair or replacement
- Prosthetic limbs
- Physical therapy
- Psychological therapy
- Loss of society
- Loss of consortium
In Tennessee, you can request all your economic damages be compensated by the responsible party or parties. For non-economic costs, the state mandates a limit of $750,000 except in cases of catastrophic injury or death. In these situations, the limit is increased to $1 million. This cap remains the same no matter how many defendants are involved.
Another factor affecting your payout is Tennessee’s modified comparative fault statute. This system reduces your compensation if you are found partially at fault for your accident. For instance, a finding of 30% responsibility will equal a 30% reduction in damages awarded. When the amount reaches 50% or higher, you receive no damages.
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Evidence and Proving Fault in an Oakville, TN Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents can involve multiple individuals, and those at fault can make mistakes or intentionally break the law. Regardless of who is to blame, a skilled motorcycle accident attorney in Oakville can investigate and gather evidence to determine responsibility. Your case will rely on documentation such as:
- Police reports
- Hospital and medical records
- Photos and videos of the accident scene and injuries
- Cell phone records
- Witness statements
- Driving records, especially moving violations and DUIs
- Doctor’s notations and treatment recommendations
Your attorney will work to demonstrate fault from other parties, but remember the opposing attorney tries to show that you were also at fault. Your lawyer needs to establish four separate elements are true in order to prove negligence successfully. These elements are:
- The defendant owed a duty of care: Drivers owe each other a duty of care to follow all applicable laws.
- The defendant breached the duty of care: The actions of other drivers breached the duty of care, determined by how a reasonable person would behave in the situation.
- The breach directly caused your injuries: Your injuries were directly related to the breach by the defendant(s) and not by any other cause.
- You incurred damages due to the breach: You face losses because of the injuries caused by the defendant’s breach of the duty of care.
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File Your Claim in Time or Lose Your Rights
A motorcycle accident often leaves the victim and their family in pain and overwhelmed as they seek healing and recovery. When a rider is killed, the added grief can cause survivors to lose track of time as they mourn. Even in these trying circumstances, it is important to act quickly to ensure the best chance of receiving the financial compensation you need to heal.
Tennessee does not allow much time for filing a lawsuit against those responsible. You must file within one year after the date of the accident to establish your right to sue. In the event of death, the victim’s family must file within one year of the date of their loved one’s passing. A competent motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand the legal complexities that apply to your case and do the bulk of the work to file the claim.
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Getting Help from an Oakville Motorcycle Accident Attorney
When you or a loved one faces the repercussions of a motorcycle crash, and someone else is to blame, you need experienced help to negotiate with insurance companies or litigate in court on your behalf. At the law offices of Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC, our Oakville, TN motorcycle accident lawyers work relentlessly to seek justice for you and your family.
Contact us today using our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation.