Despite how pop culture depicts motorcycle riding, cyclists are inherently vulnerable out on the open road. Whether operating the motorcycle or riding as a passenger, you’re at a safety disadvantage without the extra protection of a car or truck.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be overwhelming: injuries, insurance—it’s a lot to handle all at once. However, working with a knowledgeable team like Swor & Gatto makes the process less stressful and more productive.
Severity of Motorcycle Injuries and Fatalities
Motorcycle injuries are often severe, no matter how much safety gear you wear. Being exposed means that in an accident, your body may bear the full force of crashing steel or rough concrete.
In 2022, Minnesota saw 82 motorcycle fatalities—the highest number in 40 years and a leap from the average of 40-60 annual deaths.
To make matters worse, winning a personal injury case for this type of accident can be particularly complex, especially considering the perceived bias against motorcyclists, which we’ll address in detail later. Working with an experienced legal team who knows what to look for can make the process easier.
What Do I Need to Do if I Have a Motorcycle Accident?
If you suffer a motorcycle accident, here’s what you should do:
- Get somewhere safe, and don’t remove your helmet or other protective gear.
- Call the police and make your report.
- Start gathering evidence about the accident. Take pictures and notes about what happened.
- Call your insurance company. If you have motorcycle insurance, it may cover your injuries.
- Seek medical help. Keep detailed notes of medical injuries, appointments, recommendations, and treatments.
Wearing a Helmet Can Save More Than Your Life
Wearing a helmet can save your life and make a difference in your motorcycle accident court case. Insurance companies will investigate if any injuries could have been prevented by wearing a helmet or other safety gear. From there, they may try to limit the amount of damages you can recover.
Four Major Challenges a Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Overcome
Proving innocence to insurance companies or the judicial system can be difficult. Here are a few challenges made more manageable with one of our attorneys by your side:
- Insurance Complications
Motorcycle accidents may lead to enormous expenses, particularly bills for surgeries, hospital stays, outpatient care, and various therapies. After an accident, you may be asking yourself:
- What if I don’t have personal injury protection coverage specifically for my motorcycle?
- What if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured?
- What should I do if the other driver fled after the crash?
- What coverage applies to motorcycle passengers?
As a reminder, Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means your insurance will most likely cover certain losses, regardless of who caused the accident.
Your lawyer will help you determine your insurance situation and effectively handle insurance companies. Then, we can help you avoid overlooking potential sources of coverage, missing out on a claim you’re eligible for, and making other costly mistakes.
- Bias Against Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists tend to face bias from insurance companies and in court. There’s a perception that people who ride on motorcycles don’t care enough about safety or traffic laws, even when the motorcyclist isn’t at fault.
Whether you’re confronting insurance companies or appearing in court, our attorneys can look for ways to reduce bias against you.
- Potential Case Weakness
They’ll also help you deal with issues that undermine your case, such as:
- Flawed or missing evidence. Often, when motorcyclists have sustained a severe injury, taking photos of the accident scene is challenging, if not impossible. But, a lack of photographic evidence can be problematic when witnesses give conflicting statements. Our team of experienced lawyers can help assemble compelling evidence, no matter what you were able to gather immediately following the accident.
- Held partly at fault for the accident or injury outcomes. What if you were going a little over the speed limit at the time of the accident or not wearing a helmet? With your attorney’s help, it may still be possible for you to present a strong case.
- The full impact of the accident isn’t yet known. A physical injury may not show up immediately or go unnoticed for weeks. For example, a traumatic brain injury may only become noticeable as weeks, months, or years go by.
With our dedicated legal team by your side, we’ll help you collect and organize every available piece of evidence before calculating current costs and reasonably predicting future ones. Your Swor & Gatto attorney will listen to your needs before crafting a case on your behalf.
- Inability to Fight for Yourself
An injured party may be unable to help themselves in a personal injury case. Severe motorcycle injuries can affect speech and movement, sometimes making it difficult for victims to express their side to the court. Without a competent legal team on your side, this can make a personal injury case particularly difficult.
Struggles in the Aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents can be brutal on the body and mind. After an accident, people often experience high levels of stress and pain due to:
- Grief over the death of a loved one
- Slow recovery from injuries
- Missed work, job loss, or a derailed career
- Struggles caring for children or pets
- Adjustments to a new way of life, including a wheelchair or other assistive devices
- Financial stress
- Psychological trauma and interpersonal issues
Under these circumstances, dealing with insurance claims or figuring out how to file a lawsuit can be overwhelming. Our attorneys provide clear guidance, compassionate support, and the promise of tireless advocacy on your behalf.
Motorcyclists can face potential legal hang-ups when seeking compensation. Watch Paul Gatto, a fellow motorcyclist, speak firsthand about the issues riders face in an accident.
Swor & Gatto Fights Motorcycle Prejudice
All too often, there’s a negative perception that motorcyclists are rebellious troublemakers with a lack of respect for the rules of the road. Paul Gatto knows because he’s been riding motorcycles since he was young. From a legal standpoint, some may paint motorcycle riders as daredevils asking for the accident to happen. In truth, motorcycle riders want a safe ride, just like everybody else on the road.
Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Lawyers: Swor & Gatto
Hire an attorney who understands what you’re up against from a legal and personal standpoint. At Swor & Gatto, you can expect someone knowledgeable on Minnesota motorcycle accident law and who can address unique issues that come with it.
Rely on us for sound legal guidance and dedication to your well-being. We’ll work to uncover every possible way to strengthen your case and fight for you to receive fair compensation.
If you need help recovering compensation, contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our St. Paul office or a convenient location.
BONUS: Tips for Defensive Motorcycle Driving
When riding a motorcycle, driving carefully and avoiding accidents is crucial. Minnesota statutes outline essential rules to follow while on the road:
- Wear a helmet. The legal requirement is for everyone under 18 to wear a helmet, but you should wear one regardless of age.
- Only ride your bike at night if tail lights and headlights meet the state’s standards.
- Bikes sold after June 1, 1987, must have headlights, a rearview mirror that lets you see at least 200 feet to your rear, and a horn that reaches the same distance.
- Don’t carry anything that keeps you from putting both hands on the handlebars.
- Passengers must be able to reach the footrests.
- Stay as close as possible to the right-hand curb or edge of the road unless you’re passing another vehicle in the same direction, making a left turn, or being forced out by hazardous conditions.
- Never use roadways reserved for pedestrians.
- Avoid riding right next to other vehicles.
- Keep your eyes scanning the horizon.
- Wear something people can see.
- Maintain a safe speed for current weather and road conditions.