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Can You Sue for a Rear-End Motorcycle Collision?

A rear-end collision is often minor for a standard passenger vehicle, resulting in minimal injuries and property damage. However, for a vulnerable motorcyclist, a rear-end collision can result in severe injuries or even death, even at a relatively low speed. If you suffered an injury in a rear-end motorcycle accident caused by another party, you could sue to recover compensation for your losses. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover damages you did not know were available to you.

The Purpose of Personal Injury Lawsuits

Your ability to sue for a motorcycle accident falls under tort law, also known as personal injury law. Auto accident cases comprise the bulk of personal injury lawsuits because they often result in substantial physical, emotional, and financial losses. By filing a lawsuit, you can hold the person who caused your accident responsible for the damages, typically through payment from their insurance company.

Wrongful Death

Motorcycle accidents are among the most deadly types of collisions. If you lost someone you love as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may have the right to sue for compensation. The state decides who can sue, but most allow the parents, spouse, adult children, or a representative of the deceased person’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. The purpose is to seek compensation for losses, such as the medical, funeral, and burial costs for your loved one. You can also collect payment for your personal and financial losses as well. For example, you could claim:

  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of the nurture and companionship provided by your loved one
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of benefits, such as retirement plans or healthcare insurance

The value of your case depends on the severity of the injuries and property damage. Your attorney can help you determine what losses are recoverable.

Factors That May Affect Your Lawsuit

The laws that govern motorcycle accidents are regulated at the state level. An attorney will explain your rights as they pertain to the laws in your state. However, three laws commonly affect all types of auto accident cases: no-fault auto insurance requirements, the statute of limitations, and the rules pertaining to shared liability.

No-Fault Auto Insurance States

Currently, 12 states require you to have no-fault auto insurance, also known as personal injury protection insurance, if you want to operate a vehicle. The purpose of PIP insurance is to remove the issue of liability from the process of seeking compensation. PIP covers any necessary medical treatment required for your injuries and a portion of the wages lost due to missing work. Should an accident occur, you would turn to your PIP coverage rather than the other person’s insurance for damages. However, PIP insurance has significant limitations, which is why each state sets a threshold for injury and damages, allowing you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party should your losses be too substantial for PIP to cover. Additionally, some states, such as Utah, do not require motorcyclists to carry PIP insurance, which means you would bypass the PIP requirement and have the ability to sue if injured while riding your motorcycle.

Statute of Limitations

All personal injury cases have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations allows you a specific timeframe to file a lawsuit, starting with the date the accident occurred. For example, most states allow two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for a motorcycle accident. The timeframe is typically shorter if you lost a loved one and want to file a wrongful death suit. Mistakes made during the filing process can delay the case and cause you to miss the deadline. Additionally, insurance companies are known to stall your claim to drag out your case beyond the statute of limitations. To protect yourself from these issues, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Shared Liability

As the plaintiff in your lawsuit, you and your legal team have the responsibility of proving the following:

  • That the defendant owed you a duty of care to drive safely and within the perimeters of road laws
  • That the defendant violated their responsibility, resulting in the collision
  • That the collision was the cause of your injuries
  • That your injuries resulted in the damages you claim

Part of the process includes presenting these claims to the defendant, who will likely respond by accusing you of playing a role in the accident, making you partially responsible for the damages. Fortunately, if you are partly at fault, you may still recover some damages under the state’s comparative fault rule.

The Comparative Fault Rule

Most states abide by the comparative fault rule to handle cases involving multiple at-fault parties. This rule states that the court must assign both parties a percentage of fault and then deduct the plaintiff’s award by an amount equal to their portion of the blame. For instance, if you are 35% at fault for the $200,000 in damages, you will receive only 65% of the $200,000.

Additionally, most states are modified comparative fault states. In these states, you cannot receive compensation if your percentage of fault is more than the other party’s percentage. For example, if you are 60% at fault, you are disqualified from receiving compensation.

Damages You Could Potentially Recover

The damages you can recover from a motorcycle accident case vary depending on a variety of circumstances specific to your lawsuit. However, some expected economic and non-economic losses recovered in auto accident cases. They include:

  • Your medical expenses, including the cost of hospital stays, doctor and emergency room visits, ambulance expenses, medication expenses, long-term care expenses, and any necessary medical devices
  • The wages you lost as a result of misses work or loss of earning ability
  • The damages done to your property, including repair or replacement
  • The cost of in-home care during recovery
  • The cost of childcare if you were the primary childcare provider
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Loss of the ability to enjoy life experiences

When you hire a personal injury attorney, they will investigate your accident to collect evidence to support your liability claims as well as your claim for damages. One of their key advantages is adequately valuing your claim based on the damages.

Schedule a Consultation With a Rear-End Motorcycle Collision Lawyer

Dealing with the aftermath of severe injuries from a rear-end motorcycle accident can be all-consuming. The benefit of hiring a personal injury attorney is they specialize in auto accidents and will handle the tedious tasks required for a motorcycle accident case. They take care of the paperwork, negotiate with the insurance companies, represent you in all conversations and court, and guide you through the legal process. Additionally, your attorney provides emotional support during a difficult time. You should not have to face that devastation alone.

At Fielding Law, our legal team specializing in motorcycle accidents commits to providing victims with access to the support they deserve for an incident that never should have happened. With our attorneys on your side, you can rest easy knowing that you have compassionate, competent legal representation. You can contact us today by filling out an online case evaluation form or calling us at (877) 880-4090. You have nothing to lose from a free consultation.