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Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Fighting For Your Rights In Phoenix

Motorcycle riding offers a sense of freedom and excitement that’s hard to match. However, the open road also presents unique risks, particularly when other drivers are careless or inattentive. If you find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident in Phoenix, Arizona, knowing what to do next can be overwhelming.

From understanding your legal rights to dealing with insurance companies, the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be complex and emotionally challenging.

This helpful guide is meant to provide you with essential information regarding injuries caused by motorcycle accidents. Whether you’re wondering what steps to take immediately after an accident, how to go about filing a claim, or common settlement amounts for injuries, we’ve got you covered.

We understand that every motorcycle accident is different, with its own set of circumstances and challenges. But with the right information and guidance, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions. Our goal is to empower you with the knowledge needed to take control of your situation and your future.

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Why Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Phoenix

What To Do Following a Motorcycle Accident in Phoenix

When you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Phoenix, Arizona, your priority is to recover physically and emotionally, but the actions you take immediately afterward can be crucial for your well-being and for your case.

Understanding and following a specific set of steps can make a significant difference in how your case unfolds, from both a health and a legal perspective.

Important Steps After a Motorcycle Accident:

  • Collect Information: Gather the names, contact details, and insurance information from all parties involved. If there are witnesses, get their contact details as well. If you were incapacitated at the time, either you or someone you know can contact the local police department and request a copy of a police report.
  • Document the Scene: Make notes of the scene of the accident such as the date of your accident, time of day, weather conditions, road conditions, etc. Take photographs or videos of the accident scene, capturing the positions of vehicles, road conditions, and any traffic signals or signs. If you were unable to gather photos or videos at the time of the motorcycle crash, it doesn’t hurt to go back to the scene where it happened to take additional pictures.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if you feel fine, get a complete medical evaluation. Some injuries might not show immediate symptoms but could become serious later. Serious, and sometimes catastrophic injuries such as internal bleeding or a traumatic brain injury, might not show up immediately after the accident. Do not let a fear of medical bills stop you from seeking treatment.
  • Consult a Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: An experienced personal injury attorney can offer tailored advice, help in evidence gathering, and provide guidance through the legal maze that often accompanies such accidents.

These steps are the foundation for building a solid case in your favor, but more importantly, for your safety and well-being.

Stages of a Motorcycle Accident Case

After any kind of motor vehicle accident or other personal injury case, there are specific stages that each injury claim goes through – starting with your talking with a personal injury law firm.

Key Stages in a Motorcycle Accident Case:

  • Initial Consultation with a Lawyer: The first step typically involves consulting an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents. Your lawyer will assess the strength of your case and advise you on the best course of action.
  • Investigation and Evidence Gathering: The second stage involves a detailed investigation to gather all evidence, including police reports, witness testimonies, and medical records. This helps in building a strong case.
  • Filing an Insurance Claim: Your attorney will help you file an insurance claim based on the evidence and damage assessment. The aim is to get fair compensation without going to court, if possible.
  • Pre-litigation Negotiations: If the insurance company’s offer is insufficient, your lawyer will engage in negotiations in an attempt to reach a satisfactory settlement without filing a lawsuit.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can help file a lawsuit. This kicks off the litigation process, which includes discovery, pre-trial motions, and potentially a trial.
  • Trial and Verdict: If your case goes to trial, both parties will present their arguments, and a verdict will be reached. If you win, the next step is to collect your compensation.
  • Appeals: Either party can appeal the court’s decision, adding another stage to the process. Appeals can extend the timeline significantly but may be necessary to secure a fair outcome.

Having a clear understanding of these stages and working closely with a skilled attorney can greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

It’s worth noting that according to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are significantly more likely than passenger car occupants to sustain injuries in an accident, making the pursuit of fair compensation even more critical.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Arizona

Motorcycle accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, ranging from driver error to environmental conditions. While some causes are more common than others, understanding the full spectrum can help motorcyclists take preventative measures and can assist in identifying responsible parties in the event of an accident.

  • Mechanical Failure: This involves defects or issues in the motorcycle’s mechanical components.
    Example: Brake failure leading to a collision at an intersection.
  • Tire Blowouts: A sudden tire rupture can make the motorcycle unstable.
    Example: A tire bursts while riding on the freeway, causing a loss of control.
  • Involving Left-Turning Drivers: Cars making left turns can misjudge a motorcyclist’s speed or distance.
    Example: A car turns left at an intersection, colliding with an oncoming motorcyclist.
  • Impairment: Alcohol or drug use severely affects driving capabilities.
    Example: A drunk driver swerves into the motorcycle’s lane.
  • Bad Weather: Slippery or wet conditions can make roads treacherous.
    Example: A motorcyclist skids on an icy patch and falls.
  • Distracted Drivers: Using phones or engaging in other activities can divert a driver’s attention.
    Example: A driver texting rear-ends a stopped motorcyclist.
  • Blind Spots: Motorcycles can be hard to see when they’re in a vehicle’s blind spot.
    Example: A truck changes lanes, not seeing a motorcycle in its blind spot.
  • Unmaintained Roads: Poor road conditions can pose hazards.
    Example: A motorcyclist hits a pothole and crashes.
  • Construction Sites: Construction zones can be confusing and dangerous.
    Example: A motorcyclist navigates through a construction zone and collides with unmarked equipment.
  • Pedestrians: Unpredictable movements by pedestrians can lead to accidents.
    Example: A pedestrian jaywalks in front of a motorcycle.
  • Road Debris: Objects on the road can cause a motorcyclist to lose control.
    Example: A motorcyclist swerves to avoid debris, leading to a crash.

Being aware of these causes can not only assist motorcyclists in staying vigilant but also aid in making a strong legal case if an accident occurs.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, 42% of two-vehicle fatal crashes involving a motorcycle and another type of vehicle were caused by the other vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing, or overtaking other vehicles.

The above points to a significant percentage of accidents being caused by other drivers’ negligence.

Traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle accident

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries & Settlement Amounts

Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries that can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of those involved. The vulnerability of being on two wheels with minimal protection exposes riders to higher risks, whether as a driver or a passenger. Knowing the common types of injuries can help motorcycle riders understand the gravity of what one may face when injured in a motorcycle accident.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact monetary value for each type of injury sustained in a motorcycle accident, there are general ranges that can provide some context.

Settlement amounts can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury, insurance policies, the circumstances of the accident, and other factors such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Types of Injuries:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): A TBI is a severe injury that affects brain function and can be life-altering. Settlements can range from hundreds of thousands to several million dollars, depending on severity and long-term implications.
    Example: A motorcyclist is thrown from their bike and lands head-first, suffering a TBI despite wearing a helmet. A TBI resulting in lifelong care could yield a settlement exceeding $2 million.
  • Catastrophic Injury: These are injuries that permanently inhibit a person’s ability to perform any gainful work. These injuries can often result in multi-million dollar settlements due to the permanent life-altering effects.
    Example: A high-speed collision results in multiple fractures and organ damage. A catastrophic injury involving paralysis might settle for $3-5 million.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or complete paralysis. Settlements can range from several hundred thousand to multiple million, depending on the extent of paralysis or other long-term issues.
    Example: A rider is rear-ended and experiences severe spinal cord injuries, leading to lifelong disability. A spinal cord injury causing partial paralysis may result in a settlement of around $1 million.
  • Broken Bones: Arms, legs, and ribs are commonly fractured in motorcycle accidents. These injuries generally have lower settlements, ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.
    Example: A motorcyclist is sideswiped, causing them to fall and break their leg. A broken leg requiring surgery could yield a settlement of approximately $100,000.
  • Loss of Limb: In severe cases, an accident can result in amputation. The loss of a limb can result in settlements ranging from $500,000 to $1 million or more.
    Example: A collision with a large truck leads to the loss of a limb. An accident resulting in the amputation of an arm may secure a settlement of $750,000.
  • Concussion: A milder form of TBI, concussions are still serious and require immediate medical attention. These often result in smaller settlements, in the range of $25,000 to $75,000.
    Example: A rider is bumped by a car and falls, hitting their head and suffering a concussion. A mild concussion with short-term symptoms may settle for around $30,000.
  • Scrapes and Bruises: Although less severe, these are the most common injuries and can still result in significant pain and recovery time. These injuries yield the smallest settlements, generally between $5,000 and $20,000.
    Example: A motorcyclist loses balance at a low speed and sustains various scrapes and bruises. Minor scrapes and bruises with minimal medical intervention may result in a $10,000 settlement.

Understanding the potential injuries can serve as a sobering reminder of the risks involved in motorcycle riding.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the event of a crash, helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 37%. Given that traumatic brain injuries and concussions are among the most frequent injuries suffered in these accidents, wearing a helmet can make a crucial difference.

Arizona Lane Filtering Law – Is Lane Splitting Legal?

In 2022, Arizona introduced new laws allowing motorcyclists to engage in lane-filtering, a technique specifically designed for intersections with traffic lights. This practice allows motorcyclists to “filter” their way to the front of the intersection, driving between stopped vehicles.

Understanding the specifics of this law is crucial for both motorcyclists and other drivers to maintain safety on Arizona roads.

What is Lane Filtering?

Lane filtering permits motorcyclists to navigate to the front of an intersection, passing between cars that are stopped.

This tactic can help motorcyclists avoid the stop-and-go traffic often encountered at intersections, reducing the risk of collisions.

Additionally, lane filtering can prevent motorcycles from overheating in Arizona’s hot climate by allowing them to continue moving.

New Lane Filtering Laws in Arizona

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1273 into law on March 24, 2022, and it went into effect on September 24, 2022. This law allows motorcyclists on two-wheeled motorcycles to pass stopped vehicles going in the same direction and in the same lane under the following conditions:

  • The motorcyclist is on a street with at least two adjacent traffic lanes traveling in the same direction and a speed limit of 45 miles per hour or less.
  • The motorcyclist is traveling at a speed of 15 miles per hour or slower.
  • The motorcyclist determines that the maneuver can be performed safely.

*Note: This law only applies to two-wheeled motorcycles and does not include motorcycles with sidecars or trikes.

Lane Filtering vs. Lane Splitting

There is a distinct difference between lane filtering and lane splitting, and confusion about these terms can lead to misunderstandings. Lane filtering is only permitted when vehicles are stopped, and it is a legal practice in Arizona.

In contrast, lane splitting involves riding between lanes of moving traffic and is still illegal in Arizona. The only state where lane splitting is legal is California.

Even though lane filtering is now legal in Arizona, it’s not advisable to engage in this practice every time you approach an intersection. Consider lane filtering only under the following circumstances:

  • When traffic is severely congested.
  • When you’re concerned about your motorcycle overheating.
  • When there is ample room between stopped lanes for you to safely navigate.

Always remember that you can pull back into a lane and reassess the situation before proceeding further.

Understanding Arizona’s new lane filtering law can help motorcyclists and other drivers share the road more safely and efficiently. Awareness of the rules and conditions under which lane filtering is permitted is essential for everyone’s safety.

Negligence in a motorcycle wreck hit by a car

Proving Negligence in an Arizona Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit

In the realm of personal injury law, negligence is the cornerstone for establishing liability. Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident case is essential for receiving compensation for your injuries and other losses.

To establish negligence, you must demonstrate four key elements: duty of care, breach of that duty, causation, and damages.

First, you must show that the defendant owed you a duty of care. This is generally straightforward in motorcycle accident cases, as all drivers are expected to operate their vehicles in a manner that ensures the safety of others on the road.

Second, you need to demonstrate that the defendant breached this duty of care. This could mean anything from speeding, running a red light, to failing to yield the right of way.

Third, causation requires showing that the defendant’s breach of duty directly resulted in your injuries. This often involves gathering and presenting evidence such as police reports, eyewitness testimony, and expert opinions.

Lastly, you’ll need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the accident, which could include medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.

Given the complexities involved in proving negligence, it’s crucial to consult a skilled personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the legal process.

Speaking With a Trusted Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help

After being involved in an accident, it’s crucial to consult with legal professionals to get your life back on track. This is where Colburn Hintze Maletta, known as one of the best motorcycle accident lawyers in Phoenix, steps in. Our firm specializes in handling motorcycle accident cases, and we have an in-depth understanding of the complexities that can arise. We can help you understand your rights and options when you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, guiding you through each stage of filing a motorcycle accident claim.

Our team understands the unique challenges that come with motorcycle accident injuries. The types of motorcycle accident injuries can range from minor scrapes to catastrophic outcomes, affecting the lives of you and your loved ones in profound ways.

Colburn Hintze Maletta is committed to ensuring that you are rightfully compensated for your pain, suffering, and any medical expenses you incur. Our compassionate attorneys can help you file a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit, depending on the specifics of your case.

From the first day we take on your case to the day you have a check in hand, we are with you throughout the entire process – fighting on your behalf to get your life back on track.

Don’t wait to get the compensation you deserve; the sooner you act, the stronger the chances your case will be successful. Reach out to Colburn Hintze Maletta today for a free consultation. Call us at (602) 825-2500 to discuss your situation and explore the best course of action for you. With our experience and dedication, you can trust that your case is in capable hands.

About Phoenix 

Phoenix, AZ, as per the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 estimate, has a population of approximately 1.7 million residents, making it the fifth-largest city in the United States. The city’s demographics are diverse, with 43.3% of residents being Hispanic or Latino, followed by 42.6% Non-Hispanic White, 6.9% African American, 3.7% Asian, and others.

In regards to Phoenix’s civil court system, it is part of Arizona’s integrated statewide judiciary, which includes the Superior Court of Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located. This court is the state’s largest general jurisdiction court and is tasked with handling a wide variety of cases, including personal injury cases. Personal injury matters are presided over by a judge or jury, and the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff to demonstrate the defendant’s negligence.

When it comes to motorcycle accident injury cases and claims, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reports that in 2019, there were 2,676 motorcycle accidents statewide, with 166 proving fatal and over 2,000 causing injuries. However, specific data for Phoenix isn’t readily available. It’s crucial to note that Arizona follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule in injury cases, meaning that a plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault, but not completely barred regardless of their level of fault. Thus, the city’s legal framework is designed to give injured parties a fair chance at receiving damages, even in cases where they may have been partially responsible for their injuries.

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