A couple of years back, I witnessed a devastating motorcycle accident just a few weeks before Christmas. Every year around this time, I think of that motorcyclist, and hope that he and his family got through it.
Motorcycle accidents can have devastating consequences on the lives of victims and their family members. A motorcycle crash happens in an instant, but it causes traumatic repercussions that may be felt for months or even years.
When a motorcycle collides with a larger vehicle – which is the case in a vast majority of motorcycle accidents – the motorcyclist usually suffers greater, and graver, injuries. A motorcycle does not have a metal frame or cabin to surround and protect their occupants, like cars or trucks do. They also lack safety devices like seat belts and airbags. So, while motorcycling may be a thrilling pastime or an efficient way of avoiding traffic, it involves certain risks that are worth assessing.
The personal injury attorneys at TorkLaw have successfully represented many clients who have been injured in motorcycle accidents. We have witnessed first-hand the type of damage they inflict on individuals and their families.
Here are 15 ways motorcycle accidents can significantly impact your life:
1. Dealing with Property Damage
Often, the very first consequence of being in a motorcycle accident is losing your vehicle. When you have been involved in a serious crash, it is likely that your motorcycle could be totaled, which would be a huge inconvenience if you don’t have another a means of transportation. In Southern California especially, public transportation tends to be inconvenient, so commuting to and from work may become difficult.
While it might be tempting to repair your motorcycle right away, our motorcycle accident attorneys recommend that you preserve your vehicle in its current condition until an accident reconstruction expert can thoroughly examine it. This will help you receive the highest possible compensation for your property damage.
2. Coping with Pain
Often after motorcycle accidents, the severity of injuries is not immediately apparent. You may have visible injuries such as lacerations or road rash, or feel a significant amount of pain that requires medication. You may have suffered broken bones and other internal injuries, which may result in chronic pain over the long term. You may not be able to walk, stand, or sometimes even sit without pain and suffering.
In some cases, the pain may be minor in the beginning, because you are still in shock. Many victims only realize the impact of their injuries when the pain intensifies and begins to interfere with their everyday activities. When you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, it is important to receive medical attention promptly, even if you think the injury is not serious.
Early treatment can prevent complications and treatment gaps, as well as documenting injuries to protect your ability to file a claim against the at-fault party.
3. Requiring Ongoing Medical Treatment
Being injured in an accident means numerous healthcare issues, including emergency transportation immediately following the incident, consultations with doctors, specialists and physical therapists for diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. The costs for these add up quickly.
4. Receiving Ongoing Medical Bills
Your health insurance may not cover all necessary treatments. You may have about who is responsible for your medical bills, and how they will be paid. Even with auto and health insurance, the costs accrue very quickly.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you track your medical bills and find ways to pay them. You may be able to tap into several sources to help pay medical bills, including, but not limited to, health and auto insurance.
5. Missing Work
A frequent consequence of motorcycle accidents is being unable to return to work. You may be hospitalized or require surgery. You may require further rehabilitation before you can resume work. If you have suffered major injuries, it is not uncommon to be out of work for months. The longer you are away from your job, the greater the threat to your financial situation. If you are self-employed, this might be financially catastrophic.
In most cases, individuals can receive disability benefits during the time they are off work. If the motorcycle accident occurred when you were on the job, you may also be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits, which typically covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. However, these benefits don’t cover your full salary and can still leave your family struggling to make ends meet.
6. Being Unable to Do Household Chores
If you are dealing with physical injuries after a devastating motorcycle accident, you may be unable to do many household chores. Driving your kids to school, gardening, cooking and other routine activities, which you took for granted, may simply be impossible after your accident. You may need to consider hiring a housekeeper, paying for rides to doctor’s appointments or coming up with other solutions for actions you may not be able to perform for several weeks or months. This may lead to additional financial stress as well.
7. Adjusting to Diminished Earning Capacity
This is one of the most devastating effects of being injured in a motorcycle accident. If you have been catastrophically injured and are never able to return to your job, or you lose the earning capacity you had prior to the accident, it may deal a devastating blow to your entire family.
Examples of catastrophic injuries that are commonly sustained in motorcycle accidents include traumatic head injuries, spinal cord damage and limb amputations. The loss of income and benefits, such as insurance and pensions, may be extremely hard to take. It is important that these types of losses are included in a motorcycle accident claim.
8. Losing Financial Security
As we’ve seen so far, with the potential loss of income and exponentially growing medical bills and other expenses such as hiring a gardener or housekeeper, the financial challenge in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be formidable.
This is one of the most important reasons why motorcycle accident victims should not rush to settle their claim. It is crucial to sit down with your attorney and evaluate the nature and extent of your losses while taking into consideration other foreseeable and unforeseeable expenses, such as a surgery you may need later as a result of health complications you are currently suffering. If you settle your claim prematurely, you may not be able to seek full compensation for all your losses.
The decisions you make while you deal with your motorcycle accident claim may very well determine your family’s financial future. It is crucial that you keep copies of all documents, especially invoices and bills relating to the accident and injury. You may be able to seek compensation for your medical and other expenses by filing an injury claim.
9. Drowning in Paperwork
Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be a stressful and frustrating experience, as you typically must contact your insurance company, deal with paperwork and respond to requests for official statements.
You just want to be left alone to recover from your injuries and put your life back on track.
It is comforting to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can help deal with these stressful and time-consuming issues. When you have a knowledgeable injury lawyer, dealing with the insurance company and other parties is not your headache any more. Most importantly, your attorney has the experience, time and resources to ensure you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.
10. Missing Out on Things You Enjoy
For many motorcycle accident victims, life becomes unrecognizable after the crash. If you are an active and dynamic individual with hobbies and a busy social life, that may grind to a halt if you are seriously injured and cannot move around.
The sudden inability to to enjoy your life the same way can have serious emotional and psychological effects. Some victims find it difficult to remain hopeful when they are no longer able to do the things they used to. It is important to rally your network of family and friends around you to stay positive as you recover from your injuries.
11. Coping with Psychological Issues
Those who have suffered injuries in motorcycle accidents not only face physical health complications, but also psychological issues. Some may suffer from emotional distress or severe depression because they are unable to work or they have suffered severe scarring or disfigurement in the accident. Road rash and burn injuries may leave victims with these types of issues.
Some accident victims are also severely traumatized by the incident. As a result, they may have to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Such victims may need ongoing psychological therapy to help cope with a number of these issues. The costs of psychological therapy can also add up and are often not covered by insurance.
12. Handling Complex Legal Issues
One of the most important steps to take if you have suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident is to file a claim against the at-fault parties. You need a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights. It is practically impossible to be able to handle the legal issues on your own, and your top priority should be to recover from your injuries and focus on the other aspects of your life that need attention during this extremely challenging time.
Your attorney will be able to handle issues such as court hearings, filing legal briefs and other necessary paperwork to move your claim in the right direction. It is also important that you do not talk to insurance companies for other parties before you have spoken to your attorney. Do not sign any papers without reading and understanding them. Do not provide other parties with your financial or medical information. Please remember that insurance companies don’t look out for your best interests. Their goal is to make a claim go away quickly. Do not agree to anything without talking to your attorney.
13. Facing Long-term Injuries and Disabilities
One of the biggest challenges after a major injury motorcycle accident is to have to deal with life-altering disabilities. For example, if you have suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury, you may become confined to a wheelchair. This means many changes to your home and lifestyle.
You may not be able to continue with your current job. You may be reassigned to a desk job, for example. If you have lost a limb, learning to walk with a prosthetic can be a significant challenge. Accident victims need a strong support group around to help them physically and emotionally cope with such severe setbacks.
14. Seeing Family Members’ Stress
In addition to the injured motorcycle accident victim, family members of the victim also suffer from severe emotional stress, as well as emotional pain and suffering. Not only do they feel helpless seeing their loved ones suffer, but they must also deal with financial and other challenges as the victim recovers from his or her injuries. Relationships also become stressful as couples deal with interpersonal issues, including the inability to have intimacy. It might be helpful in such cases to not only spend more time with family members, but also to go to counseling as a family.
15. Being Under Insurance Company Scrutiny
If you have been injured in any accident, be aware that everything you post online or on social media may be used against you. Insurance companies and defense attorneys tend to scour social media accounts for material such as posts, photos or videos they can use to allege that your injuries are not as severe as you claim. So, if you’ve been injured in an accident, minimize all online activity until your claim is resolved. Avoid posting anything about your incident on social media and do your best to maintain a low public profile.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be traumatic and stressful for everyone concerned. Your life may be changed in so many ways.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help guide you through a complex process to help you secure fair compensation for the many damages you sustained. Contact us for a free consultation.