Peoria motorcycle accident lawyers
There are few experiences that can match the thrill and sense of freedom that you can enjoy by riding a motorcycle. Many Illinois residents enjoy spending hours riding their motorcycles around the countryside during the warmer months. Some people also prefer motorcycles because of their lower gasoline costs. While motorcycles offer many benefits to riders, motorcyclists are much likelier to be injured or killed when they are involved in motorcycle accidents. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may need help from the experienced Peoria, Illinois lawyers at the Zayed Law Office. We work to help our clients to recover damages from the negligent motorists who caused their accidents and injuries.
Understanding motorcycle accidents
Motorcyclists have a much higher risk of injury when an accident happens than do other types of motorists. Unlike people who are in cars, trucks or SUVs, motorcyclists are not surrounded by the metal frame of a vehicle. This means that they are largely unprotected from the shear forces that may be released when accidents happen. Instead, when motorcyclists are hit, their bodies must absorb many of the forces that are released in the accidents, resulting in a higher likelihood of injuries and deaths.
The Insurance Information Institute reports that 4,976 people were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2015. An additional 88,000 people were injured in these types of collisions. When motorcyclists are involved in accidents, they may suffer the following types of injuries:
- Head, neck and facial injuries
- Skull and facial fractures
- Serious lacerations
- Thoracic injuries
- Abdominal injuries
- Injuries to the arms and hands
- Injuries to the legs and feet
- Fractured ribs and fractured extremities
- Spinal injuries
- Road rash
In accidents that happen at higher speeds, motorcyclists may suffer multiple injuries or be killed.
Liability in motorcycle accidents
Motorcycle accident cases normally proceed under a theory of negligence. In order to prevail, the plaintiffs must be able to prove four legal elements. The first element that must be shown is the defendant’s duty to operate the vehicle in a reasonably safe and prudent manner. All motorists owe duties to operate their vehicles with reasonable caution to other people who are traveling around them. Next, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant violated his or her duty in some way. A breach may be proven by showing that the driver was violating a traffic law immediately before the accident such as speeding, running red lights or others. Breaches of the duty may also be shown by offering evidence that the driver engaged in other careless driving behavior such as pulling out without noticing an oncoming motorcyclist or others.
After proving the first two elements, the plaintiff then must show that the defendant’s actions caused the resulting accident in which the motorcyclist was injured. Finally, the plaintiff must show that he or she suffered financial harm because of the accident and the resulting injuries.
Potentially liable parties
Motorcycle accidents may be caused by the motorists, the motorcyclists or both. It is common for insurance companies to dispute the liability of the motorists that they insure in order to try to reduce the amounts that they might have to pay. If the motorcyclist is found to be partly at fault, he or she may still be able to recover damages depending on how much fault is allocated to him or her. Under the modified comparative negligence standard that is followed in Illinois, plaintiffs who share fault in their accidents but who hold less than half of the blame may recover damages that are reduced in proportion to their fault. For example, if a motorcyclist is found to be 15 percent at fault and is awarded $100,000 by a jury, his or her net verdict will be $85,000.
When motorcycle passengers are injured in accidents, they may file lawsuits that name both the motorcycle operators and the motorists as defendants. This may offer them added sources of recovery for their losses. When there are multiple defendants in a lawsuit, the jury will determine the percentage of fault that is held by each one, and the defendants will be responsible to pay their proportionate shares.
Potential damages in motorcycle accidents
The damages that might be available in a motorcycle accident will depend on the individual circumstances of the case and the extent of the injuries. Some of the most common categories of damages in motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Past and future medical costs
- Income losses
- Reductions in the future ability to earn an income
- Scarring and disfigurment
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
In most cases, punitive damages are not available in motorcycle accidents. However, in cases in which the actions of the defendants were especially egregious, they might be ordered.
Factors that might affect the amount of compensation
The amount of damages will vary depending on what happened, the extent of the injuries and the losses that were incurred. Experienced lawyers may review what happened and work with experts to determine the future expected losses. They may then present their clients with an expected range of values within which the clients might expect a reasonable settlement offer to fall.
Contact the experienced team at the Zayed Law Office
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be frightening and life-altering. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by the negligence of another, it is important for you to talk to an experienced attorney. Contact the Zayed Law Office for help with your Peoria motorcycle accident case.