Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

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Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Riding a motorcycle is, at most times, an exhilarating, freeing experience. Of course, every rider knows that the experience comes with some level of risk as well. The inverse of the energy and thrill is the danger that a motorcycle accident poses. By working with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer, riders who’ve been injured in an accident can give themselves a strong chance at getting fair compensation for what they’ve suffered.

Riders who’ve been in an accident know all too well the danger that these accidents pose. They’ve also experienced the costs that come with these accidents. The medical bills from injuries, property damage to the bike, and intangible costs like pain and suffering are all things that must be dealt with. These costs, though, are the responsibility of those who caused the accident and should be compensated by them and their insurance companies.

After more than 23 years of fighting for the rights of personal injury victims, Marc Bleaman and the Bleaman Law Firm know how insurance companies operate. With an extensive understanding of personal injury law in Phoenix and trial experience, we’re prepared to fight for you.

Who Could Be Liable in a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Claim?

In most motorcycle accidents in Phoenix, AZ, it’s likely that the driver of a vehicle involved is going to be at least partially liable for the accident. There are many cases, though, where other parties could be held liable. In some situations, multiple other parties could have even contributed to the accident.

Some of the potentially liable parties include:

  • A Driver Who Was Also in the Accident – More often than not, another driver involved in the collision is likely to be liable for the accident. They may have been driving drunk, driving recklessly, or failing to follow traffic laws, or they could have made some other kind of error.
  • A Driver Who Wasn’t in the Accident – There are some situations where a driver not involved in an accident could be held liable. If they were driving recklessly and dangerously, other drivers on the road could make a dangerous move trying to evade the reckless driver. It’s possible that this could lead to an accident where the initial reckless driver is liable.
  • A Driver’s Employer – Sometimes, a motorcycle accident happens with someone who is driving for their job. If that’s the case, it may be that the driver’s employer is liable if there was something about company policy or behavior that led to an accident. Things like poor training and unreasonable delivery policies have the potential to lead to employer liability.
  • A Part’s Manufacturer – Occasionally, a part will fail on a vehicle, and that could lead to an accident. Assuming proper maintenance was kept up on the vehicle and part, then it’s possible that the manufacturer will be held liable.
  • Maintenance Provider – If maintenance wasn’t performed as promised, was done incorrectly, or a part was installed incorrectly, then it’s possible the provider of that maintenance could be liable for the accident and injuries.
  • Government Entity – In most situations, it’s the government that is responsible for the roads, traffic lights, and signage. If there was an issue with one of these things that led to the accident, then the local government may be held liable.
  • Bar or Restaurant Owner – If the accident was the result of drunk driving, then it’s possible that a bar or restaurant owner who overserved the driver could be held liable for the accident.

By When Do You Need to File a Claim?

The deadline for filing a claim is set by the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in a motorcycle accident will typically fall under the general statute of limitations for a personal injury. There could, though, be some variation on the limitation depending upon a number of factors, like the anger of the injured parties, when the injuries were discovered, and who the defendant is.

For instance, the window to file is shortened to just a year if you are going to file against the government. There also needs to be a notice of a potential claim sent within 180 days. On the other hand, if the injured party was a minor under 18 years of age, in many cases, the two-year limitation clock won’t start until they reach 18.

Whatever the situation, though, it’s important to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Phoenix as soon as you can after your accident, as there is a lot to be done before filing a claim.

What Could Be Evidence in a Phoenix Motorcycle Injury Claim?

To make your case, a motorcycle accident lawyer will have to rely on a variety of different forms of evidence. They will need evidence related to the accident, any injuries that were suffered, property damage, psychological effects, and financial costs. Some of the evidence they may rely upon includes:

  • Photo and Video – If there is any video of the accident that occurs, that would potentially be valuable if any exists. If not, though, pictures and videos of the scene of the accident may be used to help recreate what occurred.
  • Eye-witness Testimony – If anyone nearby happened to see what occurred, their testimony may be helpful.
  • Expert Witness Testimony – In some situations where there is something unconventional or especially complicated about an accident, there may be some benefit in calling in an expert witness to discuss an issue. For instance, someone who’s a professional in how car crashes occur may be called in to help explain how your motorcycle accident occurred.
  • Doctors’ Notes – For confirming the nature, scope, and source of your injuries, a physician’s assessment can be essential.
  • Bills – Bills and receipts can be helpful for proving the costs that you incurred and getting reimbursement for them.
  • Anything Relevant – Anything else your motorcycle accident lawyer finds in the course of their investigation that may be helpful in proving your case could be used.

Demonstrating Liability in Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Claim

Establishing liability in a motorcycle accident claim follows roughly the same process as any kind of car accident claim in Phoenix.

This means that they must show that the actions of the defendant weren’t in keeping with how someone should have reasonably behaved, and they led directly to an accident in which you suffered injuries. This means establishing negligence on the part of the defendant.

A Duty of Care

Your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to start by establishing what is known as a “duty of care.” This is the idea that in society, we owe others who could be affected by our actions a certain level of caution regarding the risk that our actions could create. In civil law, we can be shown to owe others a certain level of proactive effort to protect them from our actions and activities.

When it comes to anything involving vehicles, it is relatively simple to describe the duty of care. Anytime anyone is on the road, there is a high level of risk of danger involved. That’s especially true knowing that the road is shared by everything from semi-trucks to motorcycles.

Therefore, anyone who is driving on the roads should act with a reasonable amount of carefulness. In particular, they owe a duty to act in accordance with all traffic laws and regulations governing the roads.

Showing a Breach of Duty

Once a duty of care is shown, it must be shown that the duty was breached. It must be shown that something about the defendant’s actions or failure to act failed to live up to the duty that was first established. In general, this means that they failed to act as a reasonably careful person would have in the same set of circumstances. Showing this often requires proving two points.

Your lawyer will need to establish exactly what should have been done based on reasonable expectations and then must demonstrate what did occur and how that differed from those expectations.

In the case of a motorcycle accident, exactly how this looks will be dependent upon the defendant. For instance, for another driver, something like failing to follow the rules of the road or driving recklessly is a breach.

However, for an employer of a delivery driver, a breach may be something having to do with company policy. Your lawyer will be responsible for demonstrating the breach of any defendants and showing how they didn’t meet the duty of care.

Establishing a Connection Between the Duty and the Breach

Finally, the last element that must be demonstrated is how that breach of duty caused the accident and injuries that you suffered. There are two components to proving this. The first is demonstrating that the breach was the cause of the accident. This may seem obvious, but consider how many breaches occur on the road every day but don’t result in an accident. Speeding, rolling a stop sign, and failing to signal at a turn are all technically breaches.

These things happen all day long without resulting in an accident. They can even happen during or before an accident but not be the cause. If a car fails to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and is still rear-ended, then although it’s technically a breach, the failure to stop was not the cause of an accident.

The next thing that needs to be demonstrated is how the accident caused the injuries that were suffered. The defendant is only required to compensate you for the injuries that were caused by their negligence. This means that the injuries must be a direct result of the accident caused by the breach. This may seem straightforward, but it’s important to recognize that insurance companies have run into fraud in these matters before.

In some cases, people have exaggerated the severity of their injuries. In other cases, people have attempted to pass off injuries that weren’t related to the motorcycle accident, whether pre-existing conditions or something suffered after, as the result of the accident. To ensure that the injuries are a legitimate result of the accident, your Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer will need to prove they were suffered at that time.

What Damages Are Covered in Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Claims?

The compensation you will receive in a successful motorcycle claim will only cover those costs that are a direct result of the injuries suffered in the accident.

Your motorcycle accident lawyer is going to need to prove that the costs are connected to the injuries, and thus all the way back to the breach, in order for you to be able to collect on them. The compensation is paid through what are called damages, which are paid in a few different forms.

What Are Economic Damages?

The most directly evident costs that come from a motorcycle accident are those with a clear financial component. Medical bills covering things like visiting physicians, getting tests done, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation and physical therapy can be rather sizable.

There’s also the cost of repair to the bike, or possibly the value of full replacement, and those bills also need to be covered. In the case of more serious injuries, it’s likely that you had to miss work, and those things are all covered under economic damages.

Economic damages cover future versions of these costs as well. If your injuries are serious enough that they will require ongoing care, then an estimate for those costs is included. Additionally, if your injuries are going to prevent you from working or working in the same capacity that you were able to before, then the lost earning capacity is also something that will be covered.

What Are Non-Economic Damages?

The costs of an accident and injuries, though, aren’t limited to the financial. There are psychological and emotional costs that can arise as a result of the injuries and the long-term consequences. Things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and the psychological effect of losing a body part or use of a body part are all included. These kinds of things are given a value and then paid out through non-economic damages.

The expectation is not that the money solves these issues because that obviously will not be the case. However, hopefully, it can be used to address concerns in other aspects of life and reduce stress in those areas. That may, at least, make it a little bit easier to manage these other concerns.

What Are Punitive Damages?

There is a third kind of damages that could potentially be awarded but rarely is. Punitive damages serve as a kind of punishment and potential deterrent for behavior that is particularly egregious.

In most cases, though, the defendant’s actions don’t rise to this level unless they did something malicious or acutely reprehensible. A Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer can help you better understand if these kinds of damages could be applicable in your case.

If a motorcycle accident results in a death, then it’s likely that you have a wrongful death case. While these cases are a bit different, the damage awards are similar but also include some death-related elements, like the costs of a funeral and burial. In some cases, they may also include costs addressing the loss for family members, such as loss of consortium.

What Might Reduce Your Damage Award?

A common concern for some people is the question of whether or not their damage award could be capped. The state of Arizona doesn’t allow for damage caps on any civil claim, so that won’t be a potential limiting factor on your damages award. However, there is another element that could potentially limit your damage award.

Personal injury claims, of which a motorcycle accident is a subset, often involve some kind of contributory negligence element. In Arizona, this is a pure comparative negligence rule. The way this rule works is that it gives the defendant’s lawyers the opportunity to assert that the plaintiff is at least partially to blame for the injuries that they’ve suffered.

The burden of proof, then, is on the defendant’s lawyers. They must show the elements of negligence with regard to the actions of the plaintiff.

If the defendant’s lawyers are successful, then both parties will be assigned a percentage that reflects the court’s assessment of the shares of responsibility for the accident. In many states, if the plaintiff is found to have more than 50% of the share of fault, they are prevented from collecting any damages at all. In Arizona, though, this is not the case. Even if someone was 99% liable for the accident, they can still collect damages, although very little.

Someone can only collect damages for the share of the accident that wasn’t their fault, so if someone was found to be 20% responsible, they can only collect the 80% of the damage award that they received. This risk of losing damages can be a significant element of a motorcycle accident claim, which is why your motorcycle accident attorney in Phoenix will investigate and prepare to defend against these kinds of accusations.

Reaching a Settlement vs. Going to Court: Which Should You Choose?

Before your case goes to court, there will typically be an attempt to negotiate a deal with the defendant that avoids going to court. You may have to decide whether you want to accept a potential settlement or take the case to court instead.

What the right choice is for you will depend on a number of different factors, including what you are hoping to get from the settlement, the strength of your case, your tolerance for risk, and a few other concerns. Generally, though, there are some basic principles that apply broadly to the matter of settling or going to court.

A negotiated settlement is, at its core, a compromise between the two parties, and in a compromise, usually, both parties are giving up something. In the case of the defendant, they are giving up the opportunity to potentially avoid having to pay anything at all. For the plaintiff, though, they are giving up the possibility of a potentially higher payout if everything goes their way in court. Even though it’s less potential money, there are significant benefits to the plaintiff for settling.

By settling instead of going to court, the plaintiff is guaranteed compensation. Going to court carries a level of risk. The exact amount of risk depends on the particulars of the case, and your motorcycle accident attorney can help explain the level of risk in your situation. Even the strongest cases, though, aren’t a sure thing. No one can predict exactly what’s going to happen in a court case and guarantee an outcome. By not going to court, a settlement does give the plaintiff a guaranteed outcome.

Another potential benefit of opting for a settlement is the time element. Once a settlement is reached and agreed to, the payout should be received promptly. This can be a stark contrast to going to court, which can take months or even years. Therefore, for plaintiffs who don’t want to wait a long time before receiving their compensation, a settlement can save a significant amount of time.

Whether or not a settlement will be right for your case, though, will be based on the specifics of your situation. Your lawyer should be able to help you understand the factors involved for you.

The Benefits of a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

When it comes to getting an optimal outcome from your motorcycle accident claim, working with a lawyer can be a tremendous benefit. They act as your representative and advocate throughout the process.

They will do a number of different things, including:

  • Investigate – Your lawyer will perform a thorough investigation of the accident. They will be looking to understand what happened and gather evidence that can be used to demonstrate the liability of those parties who are responsible for the accident. They will also be looking for evidence that can be used in your defense if the defendant’s team attempts to argue that you are liable for the accident as well.
  • Determine the Liable Parties – In the course of their investigation, your lawyer determines what parties could potentially be liable and are worth considering filing a claim against. In some cases, it may be just one other party, but it’s also possible that it could be multiple parties.
  • Represent You – One of the most important things your lawyer will do for you is communicate with the insurance companies. This is important because the insurance company will be looking for anything they can find that could be used to make it seem like you’re accepting blame for the accident. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help protect you from saying something that could be misconstrued in that way by taking the lead in communication with the insurance companies.
  • Negotiate – Your lawyer can take the lead in negotiating for a possible settlement. When you have a lawyer negotiate for you, this can help the process in a couple of different ways. One way is that the other side recognizes that they can’t take advantage of an experienced lawyer who has a thorough understanding of what would be a reasonable offer. The other way it can help is by demonstrating that there is an implicit threat of a possible claim and court case. This possibility can encourage more serious negotiation.
  • Advice – If you are trying to understand the benefits of a settlement, going to court, or anything else regarding your case, then your motorcycle accident lawyer can advise and help you understand the options that you have.
  • Represent You in Court – If your case needs to go to court, then it’s your lawyer’s job to represent you and seek damages for you. They’ll make the case against the defendant and attempt to prove their liability. They will also present the damages you’re seeking and demonstrate what those costs are associated with the accident. Additionally, they will work to defend against those damages being reduced as a result of pure contributory negligence.

How To Decide a Good Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

If you understand the importance of working with a motorcycle accident lawyer to increase the likelihood of success for your claim, then you also probably recognize the importance of working with the right lawyer. It’s important to recognize, though, that the abilities of a lawyer will always be subject to the facts of the case.

There are some cases where the evidence points so overwhelmingly in one direction that no lawyer would be able to prove otherwise. Still, though, working with the right diligent lawyer can increase the odds of a successful outcome.

Some of the traits that are important for a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer include:

  • Knowledgeable – Obviously, you want a lawyer who has a strong understanding of personal injury law, but more specifically, you also want someone who has an in-depth understanding of car and motorcycle accidents. An understanding of what to look for in these accidents can be critical to proving your case. A knowledge of these kinds of accidents can also be helpful for narrowing down potentially liable parties.
  • Experienced – In so many areas, experience is the greatest teacher, and the law is no different. When you work with someone experienced, you can benefit from their ability to recognize situations that are similar to things they’ve dealt with before.
  • Diligent – The details make all the difference in the law and personal liability cases. You want a lawyer who is sure to diligently pay close attention to them.
  • Trustworthy – You are handing a lot of responsibility to a motorcycle accident lawyer when you choose to let them represent you in your negotiations and claim. Be sure you trust the person you’re allowing to do so.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Phoenix

There are a number of different things that someone who’s been in a motorcycle accident can do to help their potential claim. Of course, in the immediate aftermath, the nature of a rider’s injuries will limit what they can potentially do.

While you may not be able to do everything you ideally would hope to, if you find you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, it can help to keep just a few things in mind and do the most that you are capable of.

Seek Medical Attention

The most important thing after any kind of accident is getting proper medical attention. In most cases, this starts with paramedics on the scene. It’s critical that you allow the paramedics to give you a full examination at the scene.

Especially in the case of a motorcycle accident, it’s possible that you have significant internal injuries that may not be immediately recognizable. It’s also possible that shock and adrenaline could be masking the injuries. Paramedics, though, are trained to identify traumatic injuries and take action quickly, so you will want to be sure to let them examine you.

Even if your injuries don’t require a trip to the hospital, it can be valuable to go to the doctor for a full examination. It’s possible that the fading away of shock and adrenaline could reveal to you some injuries that you hadn’t recognized immediately. The paramedics, given their emphasis on traumatic injuries, may have missed something that was less urgent. Letting a doctor check for anything else is a good practice.

You will want to be sure to see the doctor quickly after the accident, though. If you were to delay it for too long, it’s possible that the defendant’s lawyers will try to use that against you. They may claim that the delay was a result of the fact that you got the injuries in a separate incident or that you were exaggerating the injuries.

Collect Information at the Scene of the Accident

At the scene, to the extent that it is possible, it is helpful to get contact info from a few different people. Obviously, you will want to get contact and insurance information from anyone else involved in the accident. Additionally, if you know of any eyewitnesses who saw what happened, having their contact info could be particularly helpful in later proving fault and the other parties’ roles in the accident.

Another important thing to do after the accident, to the extent that injuries allow, is to document the scene and the situation. Getting pictures and videos can be very helpful in proving fault and what occurred in the accident.

If you are unable to get photos or video because of your injuries, then you may want to ask for help from someone you trust if possible. Some of the things worth documenting include all of the vehicles involved, any damage, injuries, relevant street signs, a shot of the whole scene, skid marks, and anything else that may be relevant to the accident.

The importance of documentation also continues after the initial accident. It’s vital that you keep records of anything related to the injuries that you suffered. What physicians have noted can be helpful in proving the injuries’ relationship to the accident and their severity.

In addition to that, though, it’s critical that you keep any documentation related to the costs that you’ve had to deal with. Medical bills, receipts, anything related to the property damage, and anything else can be used to prove the costs that you’ve had to manage.

Don’t Take Any Blame for the Accident

Another important element of what to do after a car accident is being careful about what you say. It’s vital that you remember the element of contributory negligence and realize that the other side could make use of anything that sounds even slightly like taking blame or responsibility for the accident.

You will want to be careful when talking with others involved in the accident, especially anyone from the insurance companies. Whenever possible, you should let your Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer handle much of these discussions.

On the subject of lawyers, it’s also a good idea to contact one, like Marc Bleaman, as soon as you can after the accident. The sooner we are involved, the more we can help you avoid mistakenly saying something that could be used against you.

We also can get to work investigating the accident quickly while evidence may still be easily accessible. Remember that, in most cases, you have only two years to file a claim, and in some cases, even less. The sooner we are able to get on the job, the more time we will have to prepare a winning case on your behalf.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, We Can Help You Seek the Compensation You Deserve

A motorcycle accident is one of the most dangerous things that can happen on the road. Because they’re so exposed, riders are at much greater risk of injury. Those injuries can often be serious. There are also the medical costs that come along with a serious injury—doctors’ visits, tests to determine injuries, medications, surgeries, and physical therapy and rehabilitation aren’t cheap.

There’s also likely significant damage to the bike, and it may need to be replaced. Of course, physical injuries often lead to psychological injuries as well. All of these things warrant compensation from those who caused the injury.

Most of the time, the compensation for these injuries is paid out by the responsible party’s insurance company. These companies are in business, though, and generally, businesses tend to make it a point to save as much as possible. The legal system and civil law do provide a means for these organizations to be held accountable.

When you work with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer, you give yourself a strong opportunity to get the compensation that you’re seeking. If you’re seeking damages from your motorcycle accident, contact us today.


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