It can be a very traumatic experience to be involved in a motorcycle accident in Noblesville, Indiana. After the incident, you might find yourself trying to adjust to life-altering, severe injuries, ongoing treatments, and mounting medical bills. To make the situation worse, your injuries may stop you from working until you recover.
You may even find yourself unable to go back to work for months or years, or your injuries could force you to go on permanent disability. These challenges can oftentimes pale in comparison to the immense emotional and physical struggles you have to deal with.
Our Noblesville motorcycle accident lawyers understand how severe these types of accidents can be and what the lasting repercussions are. You shouldn’t have to fight to recover damages from someone else’s negligence by yourself; allow our experienced legal experts fight for the damages you deserve.
What To Do After A Serious Motorcycle Crash
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, there are steps you have to take to ensure your safety and health before getting into the legal side of things. You should:
As soon as you can, dial 911. This will alert police and EMS to come to the scene of the accident. They’ll take statements, draw diagrams, interview witnesses, interview the other driver, assess the damages, get insurance information, document the road conditions and roadways, and they can issue a citation for the at-fault party.
EMS will come to the scene and give you immediate medical attention. They’ll perform an evaluation and ask if you’d like to go to the hospital for further medical care at your local emergency room. Since motorcycle accidents can be severe and you may not feel the pain for hours, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.
Photograph the Accident Scene
If it’s safe to do so and you’re not injured, take pictures of the accident scene, any damage to your vehicle and the other party’s vehicle, and any fixed objects like guardrails. Photograph any debris or skid marks on the road. It’s also helpful to get pictures of the driver’s and motorcyclist’s viewpoints as they approached the collision site.
You should also take pictures of any injuries. Having proof of your visible and physical injuries can help illustrate the force of impact on your body. Since lacerations, bruises, and cuts heal over time, it’s important that you get documentation of these injuries as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Refrain From Giving Statements to Insurance Companies
At some point after the accident, you’ll have to give a statement to your insurance company to cooperate with your insurer’s policy terms. However, it’s a good idea to get help from an experienced Noblesville motorcycle accident attorney before you give this statement. Also, consider having your attorney with you when you make your statement.
Stay Off Social Media
It’s common to post on social media to keep your friends and family updated of life events, like an accident. However, when you report the accident, insurance companies can search through your social media sites and see if you posted anything they can use against you. Refrain from posting anything about your accident, as this could indirectly or directly affect your right to pursue a claim.
Get Follow Up Medical Care
If you go to the emergency room following your accident, you’ll get services that are meant to be short-term. If the doctor recommends it, it’s always a good idea to get follow-up care with your primary care doctor to check for any lasting damage.
What If The Motorcyclist Was Partially At Fault?
Under what is known as comparative fault law in Indiana, it is possible to assign fault to more than one person. It could even be that you, as the operator of a motorcycle, were partially at fault in an accident. A motorcycle crash lawyer can help explain how this works.
In accidents where multiple parties are at fault, a percentage of fault is assigned to each. In order to collect damages, your portion of fault may not exceed 50 percent. This is a reason why many individuals elect to partner with a motorcycle accident lawyer. If there is any question about comparative fault, they want to make certain they are not excessively blamed for the accident in error, which could reduce their damages to nothing.
Representing Motorcycle Accident Victims in Indiana
It’s common for various parties to conduct investigations following a motorcycle accident in Hamilton County to help determine who is responsible and what happened. The Noblesville police department will look for signs of illegal behavior, while lawyers and insurance companies will decide if one party was negligent and caused the accident. To prove negligence in your case, you have to have evidence to support and demonstrate the following:
Duty of Care
The other party involved in the accident had a duty of care toward you as another motorist. This means that they had an obligation to help prevent you from sustaining injuries. Every motorist has a duty of care, including using defensive driving techniques and following traffic laws.
Breaching the Duty of Care
Your motorcycle lawyer in Noblesville will have to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. For instance, if the other party chose to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, didn’t use their turn signal, or ran a red light, this is breaching their duty of care. Your legal representative has to prove that the defendant employed behaviors or practices that could have hurt someone.
Next, your legal team has to prove that the defendant’s actions caused the motorcycle accident. For example, if the other driver swerved into your lane and struck you, your Noblesville personal injury lawyer could use this information to prove causation in your suit.
In several cases involving motorcycle accidents, victims will get hospitalized or require long-term treatment for their injuries. It’s also possible that the victim won’t be able to return to work for a specific time frame. If you had financial losses as a result of our accident, the responsible party could be responsible for compensating you.
What If I Was Partially At Fault For The Accident?
Indiana Code IC 34-51-2 is the comparative fault system that the state operates under. If you wish to seek compensation for your accident, this law requires that you be less than 50% at-fault for the accident. Guilty parties may include:
Careless driving is one of the top causes of accidents in Indiana, including negligent driving acts like impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and driving while fatigued.
Entities that you can hold responsible for your motorcycle accident in Indiana include restaurants, bars, grocery stores, or any place that sells or serves alcohol to consumers. If this is the cause of the accident, you can end up with a dram shop case. Indiana Code section 7.1-5-10-15.5 prohibits restaurants and bars from selling alcohol to anyone who appears to be intoxicated. So, if your motorcycle accident was a result of a breach of this rule, the drunk driver and/or these establishments can be held liable for your injuries.
Motorcycle accidents don’t happen purely as a result of intoxicated or careless driving. Sometimes, outside factors can come into play, like poor road construction or defective parts. In such instances, you can file a claim for damages from third-party entities like the road agency in charge of maintaining the roads or the original part designers.
What Makes Motorcycle Crash Claims Different From Other Claims?
A claim for a motorcycle accident usually involves wrongful death or serious injuries, especially if bigger vehicles are involved. A few other differences that make motorcycle crash claims different include:
- Common Causes – Inattention and driver distraction are common causes of motorcycle accidents when they involve other vehicles. Due to the motorcycle’s small size, drivers in other vehicles can fail to notice the motorcyclist. Negligent drivers might try to pass the motorcyclist or share a lane, increasing the chances of crashing.
- Higher Settlements and Verdicts – Since the damages and injuries a motorcyclist can suffer are usually severe, the damage claim may be higher compared to other claims. Since this higher compensation is usually required for the rider to afford their medical bills, it’s a good idea to consult with a legal expert.
- Additional Hazards – Certain hazards that are no problem for trucks and cars can be deadly for motorcycles. In particular, road defects can be dangerous, and if this is the cause of the accident, the government body or city responsible for road maintenance can be held liable. Bike defects and adverse weather can cause accidents, too.
Possible Biases – Insurance adjusters or juries, in some cases, can have biases against motorcyclists. These parties may be more likely to assume that the motorcyclist was engaging in reckless driving practices or speeding. It’s also much more challenging to gain compensation if you weren’t wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
Collecting Evidence After a Motorcycle Crash
The first thing you should do after a motorcycle accident is ensure that you’re not hurt and in good health. Once you do, the following are steps you should take:
Memory can be tricky and can fade over time. Photographs are an easy way to preserve evidence and present it later in court if needed. You should take pictures of your injuries, damage to your motorcycle, damage to the other vehicle, and nearby impediments or objects that could have factored into your crash.
Speak with the Witnesses
Your vantage point may not be enough to figure out what caused the wreck. This is why you want to speak with the witnesses and anyone involved in the accident and listen to what they have to say. Witnesses can be very valuable assets when you’re figuring out who caused the accident.
Call the Police
Never leave the scene of the accident without speaking to the police. Even if you have a minor accident, you should call the police so they can file the proper report. The report will contain a breakdown of the accident and how it happened, and you can use this when you submit an insurance claim.
Be Careful When You Speak
In the aftermath of the initial accident, it can be a good thing to stay quiet. Admitting you were at fault for the accident could stop you from getting a payout for your injuries. Proper communication with the authorities on both sides is important, but make sure what you say won’t come back to hurt your case.
Check Your Black Box
Most motorcycles have a small device equipped known as a black box. This is a data recorder that you can use to determine the brake status, points of impact, and other information. They can shed light on certain elements of your accident that wouldn’t be possible to recover otherwise.
Is Indiana a No-Fault State For Motorcycle Crashes?
The state of Indiana is a fault-based state when it comes to motorcycle accidents. If you were involved in an accident, Indiana’s IC § 35-51-2-6 statute dictates that the court will take into account how much you were at fault for an accident when they determine how much you can recover.
Get Maximum Compensation For Your Injuries
The court can award compensation to victims of motorcycle accidents in a few ways, and they fall under the categories of punitive and compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are as follows:
- Emotional Distress – Alongside physical pain and suffering, you can get compensation for the trauma and emotional distress you suffer.
- Loss of Companionship – If you’re completely disabled or you die in the accident, your spouse can claim loss of companionship or consortium. The court awards these damages when you can no longer provide companionship, services, or aid to your surviving loved one.
- Loss of Earnings or Future Earnings – Called lost wages, these damages compensate you for the time you’re unable to work after the accident. These damages also cover those that have to go on disability.
- Medical Bills – Any medical expenses related to your injuries from the accident can garner you damages in a Noblesville lawsuit. It includes hospital stays, surgeries, physical therapy, treatment, and more.
- Physical Suffering and Pain – There’s no set amount for this category, but you can get compensation for physical pain as a result of your accident.
- Property Expenses – If some of your belongings are damaged in the accident, mainly your motorcycle, the liable party will have to cover this expense.
Finally, we have punitive damages. These are much less common, and the court can award them to you when the defendant’s actions are found to be especially negligent.
Riders in Noblesville, Indiana
Noblesville is a picturesque and thriving community that is part of the northern suburbs of Indianapolis. Courthouse Square is a historic draw for visitors, and there are dozens of restaurants, shops, and places to visit as you tour the city. Aligned with a range of golf courses, museums, attractions, and parks, there are miles of stunning roads to travel.
This city is also home to several notable motorcycle events throughout the year. You can come see or participate in:
- ABATE Swap Meet
- BC Motorcycle Vintage Swap Meet
- Monster Energy 2023 Supercross Round 9
- ABATE LCRP Adventure Ride 2023
- NHDRO Midwest Season Opener
- Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride 2023 – Indiana
- River City Ride Rally
- Pros Motocross – Ironman Raceway
Reach Out To Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and you want to see what options you have available, reach out to our office for a free case evaluation. Our team of dedicated Noblesville motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to look at your case’s specifics and help guide you through the litigation process.