The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer in Brainerd, MN Resolve Motorcycle Crash Claims?
April 24, 2020
When vehicles collide, multiple restraint layers protect vehicle occupants from injury. Yet these crashes still kill or seriously injure millions of people every year, largely due to the excessive force in these crashes. Riders have none of these protections, So, it’s not surprising that motorcycle rider fatalities are 300 percent higher than vehicle occupant fatalities.
Due to the seriousness of motorcycle crashes, the injuries they cause, and the pain and suffering these injuries cause, usually mean that substantial damages are available. Insurance companies care only about their own profits. So, their lawyers often fight these claims tooth and nail.
A Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer, on the other hand, is committed to you. A lawyer’s commitment might be the only way to obtain fair compensation for your injuries. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. All these claims are different, but the procedure is largely the same.
Usually, this process begins with a police accident report. Because of privacy laws and other red tape, it might take private citizens weeks to obtain the report. But in most cases, a Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer only needs to make a phone call.
Sometimes, the evidence collection process ends here as well, at least for the most part. The report’s narrative helps a Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer evaluate the case. The police accident report also contains information like the name and contact information for crash witnesses, if any. Medical records, which are also easy for an attorney to obtain, often fill in the gaps.
In other cases, however, the police accident report is insufficient, especially in motorcycle crash claims. The narrative is a good example. Frequently, the victim was seriously injured or killed. Therefore, the narrative only contains one side of the story.
Typically, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) insists that the rider “came out of nowhere” and the collision was inevitable. This line sometimes has legal significance, as outlined below.
Additional evidence in a motorcycle crash claim includes the tortfeasor’s Event Data Recorder. Since these gadgets store things like vehicle speed and steering angle, EDR information often paints a much clearer picture of what happened.
Brainerd, MN Personal Injury Lawyers and the Types of Negligence
Evidence is like the random dots in one of those connect-the-dots pictures from kindergarten. By itself, evidence means nothing. So, a Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer must connect the dots for the jury.
Ordinary negligence is one of the most common theories in motorcycle crash claims. Most drivers have a duty of reasonable care. They must drive defensively and avoid accidents when possible. Thay duty includes looking out not only for other cars, but for motorcycles as well.
To Brainerd, MN, personal injury lawyers, this type of negligence is operational negligence. Other times, negligence claims take root before drivers get behind the wheel. Perhaps they are intoxicated or sleepy. Behavioral negligence causes a great number of crashes. Intoxicated or fatigued drivers are not at their best, mentally or physically.
The final type of negligence, environmental negligence, is especially common in Minnesota. Sometimes, driving conditions are very bad, to say the least. Divers have a duty to at least slow down and be more careful during these times. But many drivers ignore this responsibility.
Negligence per se is sometimes available as well. Tortfeasors who violate safety laws, like making an illegal lane change, are liable for damages as a matter of law if they cause crashes. However, emergency responders often do not issue citations in motorcycle wreck claims. They are too busy tending to injured victims and securing the scene to bother with a traffic ticket.
Only about 3 percent of negligence cases go to trial. Almost all the rest settle out of court, and in many cases, this settlement happens rather early in the process.
If liability is clear, insurance companies have a duty to settle claims quickly, Frequently, such settlement occurs after a Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer sends a demand letter to the insurance company.
Unfortunately, there is almost always at least some question as to liability. The “s/he came out of nowhere” line often involves a legal doctrine called comparative fault. This loophole shifts blame for the accident from the negligent driver to the victim. In this context, insurance company lawyers often argue that the rider was operating recklessly before the crash, and therefore the other driver could not avoid the crash.
So, many motorcycle crash claims settle during mediation. An unaffiliated Brainerd, MN personal injury lawyer meets with both sides and tries to facilitate a settlement. Assuming both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.