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Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Crashes

Attorney Aaron Whaley has the answers you need

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Louisville or anywhere in Kentucky, it's easy to feel like everything is stacked against you. You may be recovering from severe, debilitating injuries, wondering how you can move forward while you can't work or care for your family - and the insurance company isn't helping at all.

That's why the Whaley Law Firm has prepared this list of common questions and answers after a motorcycle accident. We've helped hundreds of injury victims move forward after being hurt, and we're happy to share this information with you.

Remember, these answers are intended to serve as general information only, not as specific legal advice. We highly recommend that you meet with attorney Aaron Whaley for a free consultation to discuss the details of your case.

What to do after a motorcycle accident

  1. Get to safety. Get yourself to a safe location to avoid oncoming traffic and further harm. Then, stay where you are until help arrives.
  2. Call 911. Dial 911 and wait for emergency services to arrive. They will provide medical assistance to you and anyone else involved in the accident. When the police arrive on the scene, they will get statements from you, the other driver, and any witnesses or other involved parties. Cooperate, but keep your comments brief.
  3. Gather evidence. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, including positions of the vehicles, damage to your motorcycle and other vehicles, traffic signs, your injuries, and any road conditions that may have contributed to the accident. Collect the contact information of the other party involved as well as any eyewitnesses.
  4. Get medical attention. After the accident, seek medical attention. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, it’s crucial to be seen by a doctor. Some injuries may not have immediately apparent symptoms. A doctor will evaluate your condition, provide you with the proper treatment, and document them for future reference.
  5. Contact your insurance company. Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. This provides another official record of your accident on top of the police report. It may also be required in your policy to report the accident. Failure to do so can result in the denial of your future claim.
  6. Speak with a lawyer. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve. They can handle communication with your insurance company and the other party’s insurance company. They can also gather additional evidence and represent you in court if your case goes to trial.

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I was hit when a car turned left in front of me. What are my legal options?

An oncoming motorcycle is a vehicle, and motorists are expected to yield just as they would to an oncoming car. Of course, many motorists don't actually share the road as they should, leading to serious accidents. In these circumstances, the motorist is almost always at fault for the accident - but to recover damages, you have to prove it.

Getting an attorney on your side immediately after an intersection accident is critical because we need to get witnesses' accounts of what happened before those memories fade. We may be able to help you get compensation for your injuries by filing a claim with the at-fault motorist's insurance carrier.

Many legal options exist. But you might not know what they are until you contact our law firm and discuss your case with us.

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Where do most motorcycle accidents occur?

Motorcycle accidents occur in various locations, but there are certain areas where they are more likely to happen. Left turns present a significant risk for riders. Accidents often happen when drivers fail to yield or misjudge the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle during a left turn.

Intersections are also notorious hot spots for motorcycle accidents, given that they are often highly congested with vehicles. Many motorists fail to yield to bikers at intersections.

Highways and freeways, with their high speeds, multiple lanes, and heavy traffic, pose notable dangers for motorcyclists. The high speeds and limited reaction times of other drivers can make highway riding risky. Lane changes and blind spots are other factors that can contribute to motorcycle highway accidents.

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Do I really have to see a doctor? I'm only a little sore.

You definitely do. It's quite common for motorcycle accidents to cause brain injuries and internal injuries that can have delayed-onset symptoms. These injuries can be severe and even life-threatening if you do not see a doctor right away.

Seeing a doctor right away will also protect your legal rights if you later need to file an insurance claim. If you do not seek immediate medical attention, the insurance company may be able to use that delay as an excuse to deny your claim.

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How can I get my medical bills paid after a motorcycle accident?

Generally speaking, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will only pay your medical bills after you have completed treatment. In the meantime, we may be able to work with your car insurance, health insurance or another applicable insurance policy to get your medical bills paid up front. However, those insurance companies are often reluctant to cover injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.

If you don't have applicable coverage, we may be able to get your bills paid by way of an attorney's lien. This is an agreement between our law firm and your medical providers to provide treatment at no up-front cost. Your doctors will be paid later, after your case settles or a verdict is awarded in your favor.

* Per the Kentucky Bar Association advertising rules, we are required to state that court costs and related fees are the responsibility of the client. However, at the Whaley Law Firm, our policy is to waive these costs and fees in the event there is no award.

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What if I wasn't wearing a helmet?

In Kentucky, helmets are not legally required for motorcyclists over 21 years old. However, not wearing a helmet may still affect your ability to file a claim for damages. This depends on the nature of your injuries - if you hurt your leg or your back, for instance, it doesn't especially matter that your head was not protected.

Even if your lack of a helmet contributed to your injuries, that doesn't necessarily mean you can't recover. Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that you can recover financial compensation from an at-fault party even if you were partially liable for your injuries. For instance, if a jury rules that you were 40 percent responsible for your injury due to not wearing a helmet and awards total compensation of $100,000, your award would be reduced by 40 percent, to $60,000.

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How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident claim?

Each state has a statute of limitations, or a time limit for filing a lawsuit or taking legal action after a motorcycle accident. For motorcycle accident claims in Kentucky, victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to initiate a claim. It is important to be mindful of this deadline as failure to file within this time frame can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. Consulting with a motorcycle accident attorney can help you understand the specific laws that apply to your case and ensure you meet deadlines.

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How long will my case take to resolve? Do I have to go to court?

That depends on the circumstances. In general, once you've completed your medical treatment, it takes three to nine months for us to reach a settlement with the insurance company. If your case goes to trial, then it may take one to two years before you actually go before a judge - though we can still settle at any point during that time. But such timelines are merely estimates. Every case is unique.

Insurance companies often ask for a jury trial in motorcycle accident cases because they know juries are biased against motorcycle riders. When that happens, we'll help you prepare and stand by you every step of the way. Attorney Aaron Whaley knows how to overcome jury bias and can help you pursue full compensation for your injuries.

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What is the average payout for a motorcycle accident?

The value of your claim depends on various factors such as:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

Settlement amounts can vary greatly ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Due to the many factors, there is no true average payout for a motorcycle accident, but consulting with an attorney is a great way to learn how much financial compensation you deserve.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can assess the details of your case and investigate your accident to provide you with the estimated potential compensation you may be entitled to obtain.

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How much does it cost to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer?

At the Whaley Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means instead of paying an upfront fee, our payment is contingent upon successfully resolving your case. In other words, you pay no fees unless we win.* This way anyone can have access to professional legal representation.

* Per the Kentucky Bar Association advertising rules, we are required to state that court costs and related fees are the responsibility of the client. However, at the Whaley Law Firm, our policy is to waive these costs and fees in the event there is no award.

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