Anyone involved in a motorcycle accident must seek immediate medical attention. Unfortunately, even when a motorcycle accident survivor believes they have not suffered a severe injury, they may have hidden injuries, including a brain injury.
Motorcycles are easy to park, reduce high gas costs, and are fun to ride. Unfortunately, motorcycle operators are at higher risk for injury following an accident. A head injury is one of the most common injuries a rider can face. Sometimes these injuries have mild side effects, but in other instances, survivors could suffer traumatic brain injury (TBI).
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, reach out to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and receive the compensation you deserve.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics Across the United States
Across the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on an annual basis, more than 5,500 motorcyclists lose their lives on our roadways. However, thousands more suffer severe injuries. A review of motorcycle accident injury survivors over a decade by the Insurance Information Institute (III) shows more than 80,000 injuries annually.
The economic costs to cities, towns, states, and, more importantly, families can be staggering. When someone suffers an injury due to another driver’s negligent driving, recovering financially is essential. Financial stability is even more critical if a survivor suffers a brain injury.
Monitoring for Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur anytime the head is thrust violently, either striking an object or simply from the trauma of the accident pushing the head backward and forward.
When a motorcycle accident injures someone, they should watch for the following:
- Pain – Motorcycle accident survivors may suffer from headaches following the trauma of an accident. However, if the headache worsens or the pain does not subside, consult a doctor to determine any additional issues.
- Vision problems – Following a motorcycle accident, survivors should contact a doctor if they develop tunnel vision or blurred vision as this could signify a more significant brain injury. Report unexpected sensitivity to light to a doctor.
- Other issues – Slurred speech, ringing in the ears, dizziness, sound sensitivity, confusion, nausea, and vomiting may indicate a more severe problem.
Never take head and neck injuries lightly. Initially, a motorcycle accident survivor may not display any signs of an injury, so carefully monitor how you feel in the days following a motorcycle accident and share any symptoms with your doctor and motorcycle accident lawyer.
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Contacting a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Following a TBI
Motorcycle accident survivors often feel they can handle the claims process independently. However, hiring an attorney makes more sense when someone suffers a TBI. This is especially true in states with no-fault insurance laws for several reasons.
Here are some of the reasons why hiring an attorney to handle your claim makes sense regardless of where you live:
- Filing a timely claim – Every state has a statute of limitations. This is when a survivor is allowed to file a claim for their injuries. Adhering to these rules is essential when someone suffers a traumatic brain injury. An attorney can assure that the claim period does not expire.
- Accessibility to experts – A lawyer often has relationships with experts specializing in TBI. This helps because it can help determine the extent to which your injury has affected your life, earning capacity, and physical and mental well-being.
- Maximum medical improvement – One of the challenges with TBI is determining when a survivor has reached a point in their treatment where they will not improve significantly with additional treatment. It is only at this point that an attorney can determine the full scope of the survivor’s injury and what impact it will have on their ability to return to normal activities.
- Dealing with insurance adjusters – Survivors of motorcycle accidents who have suffered a TBI need to focus all their energy on their recovery. Going back and forth with insurers can take hours and frustrate you. By hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer early in the process, a survivor can feel confident they have someone to protect them.
These are only a few reasons why working with a lawyer makes sense. Focusing on getting your health back should always be your number one concern.
Insurance Adjusters and Motorcycle Accidents
Following filing an accident claim, an insurance adjuster will contact the survivor. The adjuster’s job is to determine how seriously the survivor is injured, what the survivor is searching for in compensation, and to protect the insurance company. The primary job is protecting the insurer. This is one important fact that most motorcycle accident survivors overlook.
Policyholders take out insurance to protect them in the event they are involved in an accident. Insurers receive premiums from policyholders.
When an insurance company must pay a claim following an accident, it reduces its bottom line. Because of the high costs associated with TBI treatments, insurance company adjusters will take several steps to minimize this liability on behalf of the insurer.
Some of the tactics the insurance company may use include the following:
- Blaming the survivor for the accident – It is common for the insurance adjuster to claim the survivor is fully or partially responsible for the accident, which resulted in a TBI. However, in most cases, this is easily resolved with police reports and witness statements.
- Claiming injuries existed previously – Insurance adjusters may ask the survivor to sign off on medical release forms to obtain their records. While the insurer is entitled to receive medical information regarding the accident, they will often ask for a more sweeping authorization. Therefore, review any documents with an experienced attorney before signing and submitting them to an insurer.
- Offering a fast settlement – This is a common tactic used by insurance companies to minimize their exposure. The more serious the injury, the likelihood this attempt will increase. Remember—once a survivor accepts a settlement, the insurer is no longer responsible for any further financial damages. In the case of TBI survivors, it could be months before there is a determination of the long-term impact of their injury. Therefore, a fast settlement lets the insurance company off the hook.
These are only a few ways that insurance adjusters protect their employers. The adjuster needn’t explain a motorcycle accident survivor’s rights, nor must they explain their legal options. In nearly all cases, they will not take this initiative either.
Benefits of Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer after a TBI
Because most survivors are sensitive to their financial situation, they are often reluctant to hire an attorney due to the cost. Insurers are aware of this situation and will often capitalize on it. However, there are some things every motorcycle accident survivor should know about hiring a lawyer to represent them.
Following an initial case evaluation, an accident injury attorney will advise potential clients of their legal options and rights. These case evaluations are free of charge, and the survivor is under no obligation to hire a lawyer.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee when they accept a case. What this means for survivors is they pay nothing out of pocket costs for their legal fees. While there are fees associated with this process, such as document filing, hiring experts, etc., the survivor would not pay a lawyer for their fees unless the lawyer could secure a settlement on behalf of the survivor.
Hiring a lawyer not only makes sense to allow a TBI survivor to focus on their recovery, but in nearly all cases, it also makes financial sense. After a TBI survivor becomes aware of their injury, they should consult a personal injury lawyer to find out what steps they should take to protect themselves and their family from financial ruin.