It's a fact that motorcyclists are at much greater risk of injury or death in an accident than drivers of other vehicles on America's highways and byways. Although the feel of the wind in your face and the sun on your back is part of the romance and thrill of riding a motorcycle, that open air experience leaves you almost completely unprotected in the event of an accident.
Utah, with its unparallelled natural beauty and thousands of miles of open highway, is a motorcyclist's paradise. It also has more than its share of motorcycle crashes. Here are a few quick facts about motorcycle accidents in Utah.
- There were 45 motorcycle fatalities in 2014, the highest on record, 14 more than 2013
- Most happen on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
- Most accident victims are between the ages of 20-24.
- Usually occur at speeds between 30-39 mph
- Involve male riders 83% of the time
- Account for 12% of all vehicle accidents
- Only half of riders involved in accidents wear a helmet
If you've been involved in a motorcycle accident, or if you just want to be prepared if you are, you probably have questions about your rights, whether you can claim compensation for damages, what the limits of that compensation are, and how you go about making a claim. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions accident victims have.
What steps should I take after an accident?
Immediately after a crash, make sure everyone is safe and away from the vehicles if possible, provide assistance and call 911 right away. Make note of the make and model of the vehicles involved, including license plate numbers, and exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. If you can, take pictures at the scene of the accident, if not, make sure you photograph any damage to your motorcycle, and your injuries, as soon as possible. Don't admit to being at fault, and don't sign any papers or speak to any legal or insurance representative for the other driver without speaking to an attorney first. Consult with a qualified motorcycle lawyer at your first convenience.
I've been injured in an accident, what should I do next?
Especially in the case of injury, it's essential to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney, ideally one that is familiar with motorcycle accidents. Your lawyer can help you with the tedious process of filing an insurance claim, and assess your case to determine if you qualify for any other compensation. If you have to go to court to determine liability, you'll need an attorney to represent you and protect your rights.
Who will pay for my medical bills?
If you're insured, most policies issued in Utah carry at least $3,000 to pay for medical costs regardless of who was at fault in the accident. You might also be eligible to claim PIP (Personal Injury Protection) compensation if your bills go beyond what your insurance covers. An attorney can help you to claim all the benefits you qualify for.
If I'm injured, can I claim compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages?
Often an insurance adjuster will try for the quick settlement by offering to pay your lost wages and your medical bills, but you're also entitled to compensation for any future bills and for the pain and suffering you endure. The insurance company will try to resist paying for these things, and it's up to you to prove your claim. This is where having a qualified motorcycle attorney to represent you is vital.
What if I can't afford to hire an attorney?
At Utah Bike Law, the initial consultation is free. It doesn't cost anything to review your case and find out where you stand. It's possible your case may be taken on a contingency basis, which means you don't pay until your case is won and you receive compensation.