The first few seconds of a motorcycle crash seem surreal. Reality quickly sets in, however, when you feel pain and realize that someone else’s negligence caused your injuries and damaged your bike.
At the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, we understand the hardest part of a motorcycle crash comes during recovery. We specialize in helping Tennessee motorcycle accident victims receive the maximum compensation available to help them put their lives back together.
We know how to put together a strong insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit on your behalf. We want you to focus on recovering from your injuries instead of dealing with insensitive insurance companies and complex legal issues. Call us at 865-546-1111 for a no-obligation consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Kingsport.
Motorcycle Accidents Can Cause Serious Injuries.
Motorcyclists lack the protection occupants in passenger vehicles have, which is why bikers are more likely to suffer serious or even fatal injuries in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,976 motorcyclists died in 2015. That number represents an 8 percent increase from the 4,594 deaths in 2014.
Who Do I Hold Responsible for My Injuries?
Tennessee is a fault state, which means the driver who caused an accident—or was at fault for the crash—pays for any injuries or property damages. Besides a driver, liable parties may include city and county governments that have failed to maintain roads or inadequately planned road construction projects, causing overly congested traffic. Defective motorcycle parts or a recalled motorcycle also contribute to accidents. For instance, a top motorcycle manufacturer issued three recalls from 2014 to 2017 for brake issues, clutch problems, and potential engine oil leaks that could have caused motorcycle accidents.
Our law firm has the resources necessary to determine which party was responsible for your accident.
What Type of Investigation Does Your Law Firm Conduct?
When we take on your claim, we will collect the evidence we need to show what caused your wreck. That may include video surveillance footage of the crash, photos of the scene of the accident, eyewitness testimony, the police report, and any other pertinent evidence we uncover. We also work with a team of investigators to prove what happened during your crash. Our team includes accident reconstruction experts and physicians who review medical records and give their expert opinion on the extent of an accident victim’s injuries.
We look for proof showing the at-fault driver engaged in negligent behavior, such as:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Failing to check blind spots for low-profile vehicles like motorcycles;
- Following too closely;
- Ignoring traffic signals and signs;
- Opening vehicle doors on the street while a motorcycle passes;
- Reckless driving;
- Textingwhile driving;
- Talking on the phone behind the wheel; or
We use this information to help build a valid insurance claim for you. Tennessee law requires individuals seeking compensation for injuries or property damage to prove negligence on the part of the driver or other party who caused the accident. Our attorneys know how to prove the legal elements of negligence to show:
- The defendant owed you a duty to drive carefully or maintain safe roadways;
- The defendant breached this duty;
- The defendant’s breach of this duty caused your injuries; and
- You suffered physical, economic, and emotional damages.
With this proof, we can negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Can an Auto Insurer Reduce My Compensation Amount?
Insurance companies want to save money and will find any way they can to do it. If the auto insurer or a jury determines that you contributed to the crash in some way, then Tennessee’s comparative fault rule applies to your claim. This rule reduces your compensation award based on your percentage of fault in the accident. For example, if you want to recover $50,000 in damages and you were 10 percent at fault, your recovery would be $45,000. You would not recover damages if you were 50 percent or more to blame for the accident.
Regardless of whether you contributed to the accident, our lawyers will fight to get you the compensation you deserve and protect your legal rights in the process.
Even if you did not contribute to your crash or injuries, the at-fault party’s insurer may try offering you a lowball settlement. It is important to talk to a lawyer before you accept any offer. That way, you can ensure you receive a fair amount of compensatory damages.
What Expenses Will My Compensation Award Cover?
Typically, compensation covers the expenses you paid or will have to pay in the future because of your injuries. These costs may include:
- Medical bills;
- In-home health care;
- Mobility devices, such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes, or crutches;
- Lost Wages, past and future; and
- Physical therapy.
You may also recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish. If a loved one died in the crash, we can pursue wrongful death damages.
Are There Other Types of Damages I May Recover?
You may be able to recover punitive damages, which a judge or a jury awards as punishment to defendants for their reckless conduct. Tennessee allows punitive damage awards up to $500,000. These limits do not apply in certain cases, such as conviction of a felony drunk driving offense.
In 2012, a Hamilton County jury awarded $8.75 million in punitive damages—the largest such award in Tennessee history. The defendant in the case was a drunk driver who hit another vehicle head-on and seriously injured the other driver. The total award of $9.25 million against the drunk driver, who had two prior DUI convictions, also included $350,000 in past damages and $150,000 in future damages. In setting a punitive damages award record, the jury sent a message to deter others from driving impaired, according to news media reports.
You Can Rely on the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, to Help.
If your motorcycle accident injury occurred due to another party’s negligence, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, at 865-546-1111 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers in Kingsport. We can help you get on the road to recovery.