Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Motorcycle Accident?
In one recent year, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 2,672 motorcycles involved in collisions throughout the state.
Motorcycle accidents tend to be serious compared to accidents only involving passenger vehicles. In Arizona, in 2021, about 80 percent of motorcycle accidents resulted in injuries, while 160 people were killed.
In some circumstances, you can sue someone personally after a motorcycle accident. To be successful, it is important to clearly establish fault. You can accomplish this by having a strong legal team supporting you throughout the process.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages or losses. You need an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney at your side.
Establishing Fault After a Motorcycle Accident
Under Arizona law, there are three key elements that determine who is at fault for a motorcycle accident. These are:
- Duty: The other driver has a duty of reasonable care. In other words, all drivers are expected to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles in a safe manner.
- Breach of duty: The other driver breached that duty of reasonable care. For example, the person may have broken a traffic law or driven in an unsafe manner.
- Damages: To receive compensation, there have to have been damages incurred as a result of the other driver’s breach of duty.
In some situations, fault for the accident can also be shared between two parties. Arizona’s comparative negligence laws differ from some other states. An injured party in Arizona can still receive compensation even when partially at fault for an accident.
For example, what if an injured party is determined to be 25 percent at fault? That person would still be entitled to receive 75 percent of the damages in compensation. In these situations, it is important to not only establish liability but also the degree of fault.
Accidents are stressful for those involved and their families. Establishing fault can be a complicated and difficult process. Thus, it is important to work with an experienced legal team to help you through the process.
Get in touch with Phillips & Associates. We have been serving Arizona since 1993, so we have the experience to help you with your lawsuit. Schedule a free consultation today to find out how we can help you.
Examples of When Another Person is At Fault
You can sue any person, company entity, or government that may bear responsibility for the accident. The driver of another vehicle is most commonly at fault, at least in part.
A driver may be found at fault in view of the following factors:
- Alcohol and drug use: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s 2018 motorcycle fact sheet, alcohol impairment was a factor in more than 25 percent of motorcycle fatalities in one recent year.
- Struck by flying objects: Flying objects could, for instance, be thrown from other vehicles.
- Vehicles making left-hand turns: In 2021, almost 30 percent of motorcycle accidents in Arizona occurred as a result of left-hand turns.
- Physical and emotional impairment: This could involve sleep deprivation, or over-the-counter drugs that can impair judgment or alertness.
- Distracted driving: Eating, reaching for objects, using a cell phone, and other attention-dividing activities continue to be a major factor in vehicle accidents.
- Following too close or speeding: In 2021, 28 percent of motorcycle accidents in Arizona were rear-end accidents. These often result from following too close or speeding.
If any of the above could have contributed to your accident, the other party may be at fault. The established facts could strengthen your case and pave the way for a solid personal lawsuit.
Common Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
According to the NHTSA, motorcyclists are 4 times more likely to be hurt in a collision than a passenger vehicle occupant. Since injuries are more common among this group, financial compensation is more often received by the involved motorcyclists as well.
Some injuries may only become apparent hours, or even days, after an accident. You should be aware of the different injuries that could affect you. Any collision-related condition could mean that you may be entitled to receive financial compensation.
Common injuries in motorcycles collisions include:
- Head or neck injuries
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Road rash
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Back injury
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Crush injuries or amputations
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
Both the type and severity of injuries can affect the compensation that you are entitled to receive. Document your injuries and keep track of medical and other expenses to back up your side of the story.
What Can Be Included in Damages
The exact amount of damages and what qualifies as damages can vary, depending on your specific circumstances. Anyone involved in a collision may suffer damages including:
- Lost income: If you miss work due to an accident, you may be entitled to compensation
- Future lost income: Almost a one-fourth of motorcycle accidents in Arizona involve people aged 25 to 34; these are prime years to earn income and save for retirement
- Medical bills: You can be compensated for direct medical costs resulting from your accident
- Damage to your property: This includes damage to your motorcycle
- Pain and suffering: This includes the physical pain you experience now and can reasonably expect to experience in the future
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: You may be entitled to compensation for the emotional toll the accident takes on you
These are just a few possible damages to be covered by your settlement. Filing a lawsuit against someone personally at fault for an accident may be possible, though perhaps not the best option.
When to Sue Someone Personally After a Motorcycle Accident
In Arizona, it is mandatory for motorists to have liability insurance. In some circumstances, it is more effective to deal directly with an insurer. The right decision will depend on your specific case.
Factors that determine whether a personal lawsuit is the right choice:
- Insurer is not negotiating in good faith: Insurers are motivated to keep settlements as low as possible. Less compensation for you means more profit for the insurance company. In some cases, the insurer may be unwilling to negotiate.
- Disputing liability: If the other party disputes liability, or even the degree of liability, there may be a need to file a personal lawsuit against the driver.
- Defendant has assets: These may include current or future personal wages or business income and related assets.
Making the choice to sue can be a challenging decision. It is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced lawyer with Phillips Law Group can assist you in dealing with insurers, gathering needed evidence to ensure the maximum possible compensation.
Hire Experienced Attorneys for the Best Results
You can trust one of Arizona’s largest consumer law firms, Phillips Law Group, to help you. We have more than 26 years of experience. All this time, we have collected more than $1,000,000,000 for more than 155,000 of our clients. Read our client reviews to learn more about us and how we can help you.
We take cases on contingency, which means your consultation is free and that you will not be charged legal fees unless we recover compensation. So don’t hesitate to contact Phillips Law Group today at (602) 222-2222.
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