Layton Motorcycle Accident Attorney
In any motorcycle accident, two things are likely to be true. First, most motorcycle accidents happen when the driver of a car failed to see a motorcycle. Second, motorcyclists are very likely to suffer serious injury or even death in an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcyclist. If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, it is vital that you have a skilled Layton motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
We are the attorneys of Feller & Wendt, LLC. Our law firm is devoted to helping injured people rebuild their lives in the wake of a serious accident. Our Layton accident lawyers and staff will focus on your financial recovery so you can focus on your physical recovery. Call (801) 499-5060 today for a free and confidential consultation.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists are some of the road’s most vulnerable passengers. Not all motorists respect motorcycles or fulfill their responsibility to share the road and keep bikers safe. Tragedy can strike as careless drivers fail in their duty to protect motorcycle riders on the road. As Layton motorcycle accident lawyers, we know motorcycle accident injuries are often the most severe of any auto accidents. While every situation is unique, a few dangers are more likely than the rest.
Most injuries that result from motorcycle accidents happen because riders are relatively unprotected from the hazards of the road. Even with proper safety equipment and attire, common injury trends are present in motorcycle injuries that automobile drivers rarely suffer.
Head injury is an extremely common risk in bike collisions, most often for riders who are not wearing helmets. While helmets reduce the risk of death, brain injury, or harm, they do not prevent accidents themselves. Negligence on the road is the leading cause of biker head trauma, not the lack of a helmet.
Because of their construction, motorcycles do not stand upright. Accidents often involve bone fractures from bikes falling on their riders. Falling bikes can crush legs, and motorcyclists can severely injure their arms by trying to break their falls.
No matter the speed during a motorcycle accident, road rash is a persistent threat. While wearing full-coverage clothing can reduce skin contact with the ground in the event of a collision, severe burns and lesions are still dangers when a bike falls over. The severity of road rash depends on the length of contact, the speed at the time of the accident, and how much clothing a rider is wearing. The worst cases require immediate medical attention.
How Much Is My Layton Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?
Utah, like most other states, determines your claim based on liability, or responsibility for the accident. It is not enough to have an accident; there must be proof that one driver was guilty of negligence. Motorists have a legal responsibility to drive safely and protect vulnerable vehicles on the road, such as motorcycles. There can only be an injury claims case when at least one of the drivers is considered liable for the accident. This means that, should the police decide neither party is liable, you cannot make a claim.
Split liability is a similar situation and can significantly weaken a case should both sides be at least partially at fault.
Damages are based on the severity of an accident. You can expect compensation for damages to be based on the cost of medical care, pain and suffering, and damage to the motorcyclist’s vehicle. In cases without injury and negligible vehicle damage, payout will be minimal – if any payment at all is made.
How Are Motorcycle Injury Claims Calculated in Utah?
Courts use two categories of damages to decide compensation. First, for damages with an exact numeric value – such as lost wages, cost of medical treatment, and repairs for your vehicle. Calculating these damages is straightforward, easy to understand, and lends the most to the value of a trial. Sometimes called special damages, they represent the concrete, objective valuation of an injury or accident.
Harder to calculate is future earning capacity. This value represents how much a person could have earned were they not injured in an accident. Essentially, if experts decide that a person’s expected future wages will decrease, then the difference between potential earning and actual future earning is the lost earning capacity.
Some damages are not easy to calculate, including pain and suffering. Pain is hard to quantify, so no uniform value exists for any type of accident. Instead, jurors base the valuation of suffering on their own personal understanding of the situation and use their own judgment. No uniform assessment is available for this calculation, even for common incidents, and it cannot be easily estimated. For more detailed information, consult a qualified Layton motorcycle accident attorney to learn the specifics of your case.
Utah: A Comparative Negligence State
Utah is a partial fault state, meaning that liability for an accident distributes among drivers and riders, depending on the circumstances of the incident. In some states, being at least partially at fault – no matter to what degree – bars motorists from seeking compensation. That is not the case in Utah, however, under Utah Code 78B-5-817
Under this statute, a person involved in an accident is allowed to bring a defendant to trial for injury compensation. This is, however, limited to the degree to which the defendant is found liable for the accident. Where a motorist is 70% liable for an accident, for example, he or she can only be charged for that 70% responsibility. Comparative negligence, as it is called in the law, therefore prevents full financial compensation when both motorists are at fault in some capacity.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Layton, UT
The most important step to take after a motorcycle accident is to get medical care immediately. Wounds may need treating, and head trauma does not always leave visible marks or obvious indicators. Medical treatment is also necessary to establish grounds for an injury case, as courts may not take a claim seriously if the injured party did not receive attention.
Make sure that the incident is properly documented and reported to the police. Re-creating facts is much more difficult than accurately recording them immediately. This will also be the basis for determining liability when it comes time to seek damages.
Once medical care and documentation are complete, it is time to speak with a Layton motorcycle accident attorney about your case. A lawyer can best determine what steps should come next.
Overcoming Obstacles in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Many people have misconceptions about motorcyclists. For instance, some people believe that people who ride motorcycles are taking their lives into their own hands. Insurance companies and their attorneys are fully aware of these misconceptions. In many cases, insurance companies will deny liability altogether or offer a minimal settlement.
Our Layton motorcycle accident attorneys know that the only way to overcome these misconceptions is through hard work. In the early stages of your case, we will investigate what happened to leave no doubt as to who was at fault in the accident. As your case progresses, we will calculate your accumulated damages and demand full compensation from the insurance company. If it is unwilling to offer the compensation you need, we will not hesitate to bring your case before a judge and jury. With our extensive experience, we understand how to make your case connect with the jury.
Should I Settle or Go to Trial?
A distinction must be made between settlement and trial value. The trial value of a case is the total calculation of all damages. The settlement value, however, is a percentage of the trial value, depending on how likely the plaintiff is to win his or her case. So, if a Layton motorcycle accident lawyer believes he or she only has a 10% chance of winning a case, then the settlement value will be 10% of the total trial value.
Negotiations take place when the plaintiff and defendant disagree on settlement value. If one side, for example, believes he or she is more likely to win than the other party, there may be a discrepancy in perceived settlement value. Most lawyers and insurance companies prefer to settle out of court, however, to avoid the risk of losing a trial and paying out the full trial value. This is particularly important if the case is relatively weak, in which case it might be better to settle for a lower price than lose everything in a trial.
Free Case Evaluation with a Layton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Call our office at (801) 499-5060 or complete our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation. We accept all personal injury and wrongful death claims on a no-recovery, no-fee basis. With offices in Salt Lake City, Layton, North Logan and St. George, we serve clients across Utah.