If you or your loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, we want to hear your story. The Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys at Hare Wynn | Accident & Injury Lawyers want to defend your rights to ride a motorcycle without having to suffer an injury at the hands of a negligent driver. Contact us or call at (859) 550-2900.
Motorcyclists deserve the same legal protections as all other drivers on the road. Unfortunately, a negligent driver who is distracted, intoxicated, or driving recklessly can completely change your life. Because motorcycles lack the same protection level as passenger vehicles, the results of an accident can be devastating – even when wearing proper safety gear.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 28 times more likely to perish in a motorcycle accident than you are in a car accident. The organization has also conducted numerous studies, highlighting the dangers of motorcycle accidents, showing that:
- In 2016, over 5,000 motorcyclists died as a result of a traffic accident.
- Two-wheeled motorcycles accounted for 93 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes.
- 111 motorcyclists lost their lives in Kentucky in 2016.
Your story deserves to be heard. Contact the Lexington injury attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP today at (859) 550-2900 for a free consultation.
Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Hiring a skilled, experienced motorcycle accident attorney increases your chances of obtaining the compensation you need to pay for your accident-related financial expenses and get back on your feet. Your attorney will have an extensive, nuanced understanding of the laws pertaining to motorcycle accidents, insurance law, and personal injury law.
Hiring a Lexington personal injury attorney is especially important in Kentucky, where auto insurance laws can be more complicated than those of other states. Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” auto insurance state, which means that drivers can opt-in or opt-out of a no-fault system of auto insurance.
In a traditional no-fault system, all drivers are required to have “personal injury protection” (PIP) coverage, which pays for the driver’s personal medical bills. Even if another driver was at fault for the accident, you can’t file a claim with their insurance company or file a personal lawsuit against them in a no-fault system, unless your injury claim meets certain thresholds. For example, your accident must have resulted in at least $1,000 in medical bills, or your injuries must meet the legal definition of serious.
In Kentucky, drivers can opt-out of this no-fault system. This means that they preserve the ability to file a claim with the insurance party of the at-fault driver or file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. However, drivers who opt out also open themselves up to being sued after an accident, if they’re at fault.
Your legal process for obtaining compensation after the motorcycle accident will depend on the insurance status of everyone involved in the accident. Because of the complicated nature of insurance law in Kentucky, hiring a lawyer to support you in the aftermath of your accident is crucial.
The following include some of the ways in which an attorney from Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP can help you:
- Answering questions about how the accident happened, what caused it, and who is at fault. Even though you were involved in the accident, it may be unclear to you what happened, especially if you were seriously injured and you were immediately taken to the hospital. Your attorney will work with investigators and law enforcement to determine what happened and who is at fault for the accident. This can include reviewing police reports, looking at medical records, and speaking with witnesses.
- Submitting a claim. Insurance companies are highly motivated to avoid paying out claims since it costs them money. They often intentionally make the process of submitting a claim confusing and time-consuming to push you to give up or take a lowball settlement. If an insurance company sees that you are represented by an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, they may be more likely to quickly offer you a fair settlement, since they know that you will be prepared to challenge them if they unfairly reduce or deny your claim.
- Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company. To be able to negotiate effectively, your attorney needs to have built a strong case supported by solid evidence. If the insurance company sees that you have a case likely to be successful in court, they will be more likely to quickly offer a fair settlement.
- Preparing your case for court. We will always prepare your case to go to trial, so that the insurance company knows to take your case seriously. We will be ready if the insurance adjuster fails to offer you the fair settlement you need.
Why Should I Choose Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP?
Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP is a team of highly skilled and experienced legal professionals dedicated to helping our clients access the compensation they need to get back on their feet. We treat every case with the individual attention it deserves and never apply a one-size-fits-all approach to legal strategy.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we have successfully represented the injured for over one hundred years. Since 1890, we’ve been committed to being at the top of the field of personal injury litigation. Our firm has been named as part of the “Best Lawyer in America,” ranked among the “Leading Firms and Lawyers in America,” and we are proud to be the only Kentucky firm named in National Law Journal’s “50 Most Elite Plaintiffs Firms in America.”
Our commitment to excellence consistently allows us to obtain high-value settlements and verdicts for our clients. We have obtained dozens of multimillion-dollar results for our clients, including a verdict of $2,860,000,000. While every case is unique, we believe that our strong track record of obtaining favorable results for our clients is a good indicator of our dedication and ability.
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we understand that many worry that hiring a lawyer will be too expensive. Many motorcycle accident victims who are struggling to pay massive medical bills cannot fathom taking on another financial expense. We work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means that we only request payment if we win your case. At that point, we will take a percentage of your overall settlement or verdict. If we don’t win, then you don’t owe us any money at all. This means that you can hire one of Kentucky’s best personal injury law firms at no financial risk to you.
We also offer a 100% free initial consultation in which you can tell us about your accident, ask questions, and learn about your legal options.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for My Injuries?
An experienced attorney can help you determine the full scope of the compensation you may be entitled to, based on the circumstances of your accident, the seriousness of your injuries, and the types of insurance policies held by the parties involved.
The personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that policyholders carry under the no-fault insurance system will generally cover medical bills, a portion of lost wages, and other similar out-of-pocket costs resulting from the accident and injuries. PIP insurance will not cover non-economic compensation, such as pain and suffering.
However, if your injuries are serious and you’re able to pursue an injury claim against the at-fault party, or if you’ve opted out of the no-fault system, you can pursue non-economic compensation, as well. If you’re filing an injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party, you can pursue the following types of compensation:
- Medical expenses, past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitation services
- Property damage
- Modification to your vehicle or home
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Every driver on the road has a duty of care. When they fail to meet this responsibility, they can cause a serious accident that can lead to severe injuries. Unfortunately, there are many negligent drivers on the roads these days, and the causes of motorcycle accidents continue to grow.
Some of the more common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted drivers. Drivers who fail to pay attention to their surroundings or who are distracted by a cell phone or some other electronic device are frequently at fault for motorcycle accidents.
- Driving under the influence. Drunk driving or driving while under the influence of drugs is one of the most frequently cited causes of all types of car accidents, and it is no different with motorcycle accidents. Individuals who cause an accident while under the influence are subject to both civil and criminal liability.
- Drivers failing to check their blind spot. Because motorcycles are smaller than traditional vehicles, they can be more difficult to spot when out on the road, especially for individuals in large trucks or SUVs. Unfortunately, this means motorcyclists are at a greater risk of being hit when other drivers fail to check their blind spots when changing lanes.
- Speeding. Another leading cause of auto accidents in general, drivers who fail to maintain their speed can easily collide with others. The higher the speed, the more dangerous the accident.
- Sudden stops. A motorcyclist being rear-ended by a 2,000-pound vehicle can be devastating. These types of accidents often end with serious injuries or even death.
- Failure to yield right-of-way. Many drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists, especially on left turns. This common cause of motorcycle accidents can be catastrophic.
- Inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers tend to make unsafe movements on the road that can lead to a collision with a motorcyclist.
- Defective motorcycle parts. Manufacturers may design or manufacturer defective motorcycle parts that can lead to a motorcycle accident.
The experienced Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys of Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP have won substantial amounts of recovery for our clients and we can do the same for you.
Most Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcyclists often suffer more severe injuries than passenger vehicle occupants. This is largely because motorcycles lack the protective features found in cars, such as car frames, seat belts, and airbags. Motorcyclists are simply much more physically exposed than passenger vehicle drivers. Some common injuries motorcycle riders suffer in accidents include:
Road rash: Road rash is a serious injury that occurs when skin is rapidly dragged across pavement. Road rash can lead to serious infections, nerve damage, and permanent disfiguration. Skin grafts are sometimes required to treat road rash.
Head injuries: Head trauma is a common injury in motorcycle accidents. Wearing a helmet can dramatically decrease the risk of a serious head injury, but many riders wearing helmets suffer traumatic brain injuries every year. Traumatic brain injuries can have serious and even permanent cognitive effects that can damage memory, cognitive function, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Neck and spine injuries: Damage to the neck and/or spine can cause permanent loss of strength, sensation, function, and mobility. Such damage can cause total or partial paralysis, as well as chronic pain.
Arm injuries: When falling from something, humans instinctively brace for impact by reaching out their arms. If you are thrown from a motorcycle, this instinct can lead to severe injury to your arms, such as fractures, sprains, and nerve damage.
Leg injuries: Many motorcycle accident victims suffer broken legs, road rash on legs, torn ligaments, and severe lacerations. Some leg damage is so serious that it requires amputation or otherwise leads to permanent disability.
Kentucky Law Regarding Motorcycle Permits, Helmets, and Insurance
As per Kentucky law, individuals interested in operating a vehicle within the state must obtain a Kentucky motorcycle license. The first step to securing a KY motorcycle license is to obtain a motorcycle instruction permit.
Having a permit allows drivers to enroll in a motorcycle education course, which allows you to apply for a Kentucky motorcycle license.
When it comes to wearing a helmet, “the following persons shall be required to wear protective headgear, in the manner prescribed by the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet, at all times the motorcycles they are riding are in motion on a public highway”:
- A person under the age of twenty-one (21) years who is operating a motorcycle or who is a passenger on a motorcycle or in a sidecar attachment.
- A person who possesses a motorcycle instruction permit and who is operating a motorcycle.
- A person who has held a valid motorcycle operator’s license, or combination motor vehicle-motorcycle operator’s license, for less than one (1) year and who is operating a motorcycle.
It’s worth noting that motorcyclists should use a helmet at all times. As per the NHTSA:
- It is estimated that 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives were saved in 2016 because of helmets.
- An additional 802 lives could have been saved had the motorcyclists worn helmets.
Last, but not least, in order to be compliant with Kentucky law, motorcycles must be covered with the bare minimum of liability insurance to help pay for property damage or bodily injuries suffered by others in a crash that you cause.
Minimum coverage limits per accident should include:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
- Up to $10,000 for property damage.
Be aware that minimal liability insurance will not cover costs to repair or replace your motorcycle. You may want to add “collision insurance” to your policy in order to protect your property.
If you are unsure of what your legal rights are following a motorcycle accident, do not hesitate to contact the Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP immediately.
We serve motorcycle accident victims in the Lexington area.
Factors That Can Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Like any other personal injury, motorcycle accident cases have their own unique factors that can affect how much your claim is worth. The team at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP will thoroughly investigate the following factors to ensure that you obtain full recovery:
- Whether or not the at-fault party was issued a traffic citation. This is valuable evidence that can be used to prove that another party’s negligence resulted in your injuries.
- Whether or not the at-fault party was cited with a DUI or DWI. Our attorneys will analyze the police report to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in your accident.
- The type of insurance the negligent party has. Understanding the negligent party’s insurance coverage and limitations can help to uncover additional sources of recovery.
- Whether you were partially at fault for the accident. Kentucky is a “comparative fault state” which means that a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the percentage for which they were responsible. Our dedicated team will help you better understand your role in the accident and determine whether you are partially liable.
- The severity of the injuries that you suffered. Our Lexington motorcycle accident attorneys will review and analyze your medical bills and costs for rehabilitation, how much you lost in wages as a result of your injuries, whether your injuries will cause permanent disability or limit your ability to work, and how much you are projected to lose over a lifetime.
- Non-economic damages. Aside from physical damages, the pain and suffering caused by the accident will also play a role in how much recovery you are able to obtain.
Do not suffer in silence. Your motorcycle accident was serious, and you deserve to be taken seriously, too.
Accident Claims Process
Although Kentucky’s “choice no-fault” auto insurance system is different from many other states, the process of filing an insurance claim is fairly standard. When filing an insurance claim, whether it is with your personal injury protection policy or the insurance provider of the at-fault driver, you will need to file a claim, deal with an insurance adjuster, and negotiate a settlement.
If you haven’t opted out of the no-fault system, you’ll have a certain amount of personal injury coverage. In Kentucky, you must have coverage, again, for at least $25,000 of bodily injury per person ($50,000 total bodily injury per accident), and $10,000 for property damage. In the no-fault system, you can file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, or file a personal lawsuit against that driver, if you satisfy one of the following conditions:
- You have at least $1,000 in medical expenses.
- You’ve suffered a broken bone.
- You’ve suffered permanent disfigurement, disability, or death.
Filing an insurance claim
Your first step to obtaining compensation is by filing an insurance claim. When filing your claim, you must describe the circumstances of your accident and include proof of your accident-related expenses, such as medical bills and motorcycle repair bills. Your attorney will help you submit your claim and ensure it is free of errors, submitted before any deadlines, and contains all necessary supporting documents.
Insurance companies are highly incentivized to avoid paying out claims and will find any reason possible to reduce or deny your claim. Insurance companies often take advantage of injured accident victims who are struggling to live with painful injuries, are stressed by mounting bills and expenses, and are unfamiliar with their rights when it comes to insurance. Insurance companies may offer such individuals very low settlements in the hopes that the individual will accept it out of financial desperation.
If an insurance company sees that an individual is represented by a well-known law firm with a track record of success, the company may be more likely to approve your claim and offer you a fair settlement. While insurance companies like to avoid paying out claims, they also like to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles against a skilled, well-prepared lawyer with a solid case.
Dealing with adjusters
Once you file an insurance claim, an insurance company representative (called an “adjuster”) will be assigned to evaluate your claim. They will investigate the details of your accident, verify your coverage, and determine if a settlement will be offered and if so, the amount of that settlement.
Your insurance adjuster might seem friendly, but you should avoid communicating with them without an attorney present. Even the most seemingly well-meaning insurance adjuster may ask you deliberately misleading or confusing questions in an attempt to get you to incriminate yourself. An insurance adjuster may ask you to sign documents, give them your medical information, or give a recorded statement. To protect yourself and your claim, you should consult with your attorney before you sign anything from your insurance company, give away any information, or answer any questions.
Reviewing settlement offers
After the insurance adjuster is finished reviewing your claim, they will either offer a settlement or deny your claim. The first settlement offer may be lower than the amount to which you are entitled. Your attorney will have a good idea of the amount of money you can expect based on the circumstances of your accident and will be able to advise you on when to take a settlement and when to keep negotiating. If the insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to appeal.
Contact a Lexington Motorcycle Attorney Today
At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we understand the devastating impact a motorcycle accident can have on an individual’s life. We have been fighting for our clients for over 125 years and are passionate about helping injured accident victims get back on their feet. The aftermath of an accident is a stressful and difficult time. We are here to support you legally while you focus on resting and recovering.
We’re here to help. For a free consultation, contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP today at (859) 550-2900.
Lexington, KY Emergency Rooms
- Baptist Health Lexington Emergency Care – 1740 Nicholasville Rd, Lexington, KY 40503
- UK Good Samaritan Emergency Department – 310 S. Limestone, UK Good Samaritan Hospital, Lexington, KY 40508
- CHI Saint Joseph Health – Saint Joseph East – 150 N Eagle Creek Dr, Lexington, KY 40509
- Troy Bowling Campus – 1101 Veterans Dr, Lexington, KY 40502
*Disclaimer – we do not endorse these companies or profit from having them listed on our website.