Norristown Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The damages caused by a motorcycle accident can be catastrophic. When a vehicle hits a motorcyclist, there is little protection from the impact and the motorcyclist may suffer life-threatening injuries and sometimes death. Recovery from a motorcycle accident can take months or years. Motorcycle accident victims may also suffer financial damages such as out-of-pocket medical bills and lost wages while being disabled from work. If you or a loved one were a victim of a motorcycle accident, you will need an experienced motorcycle attorney to fight for your rights.
Motorcycle accidents may cause injuries such as:
- Broken bones (fractures)
- Head injuries resulting in a concussion
- Severe lacerations and road rash
- Permanent scarring
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal damage
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
- Seek immediate medical treatment
- Request a copy of the police report from the department that responded to the accident
- Take photos of damaged property and of your injuries such as road rash, lacerations, and casting
- Keep a record of your physical symptoms, doctor’s visits, treatments, tests, and medications
- Keep a track of time missed from work
- Never give a statement or supply information to anyone other than your own doctor – you are not obligated to speak with the other driver’s insurance company
- Do not accept a settlement offer from an insurance company until you have consulted with Mr. Gagliano at (267) 861-7100.
When Should I Call a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
It is best to consult an attorney as soon after your accident as possible for a number of reasons, whether you think you may need one or not. Depending on the circumstances arising from the accident, you should definitely consider hiring an attorney right away if you:
- Suffered severe or permanent injuries in the accident
- Require extensive or ongoing medical treatment and care, including hospitalization, rehabilitation, or at-home care
- Missed an extended number of days from work, or cannot continue to perform the same job you had prior to the accident
- Are unsure which driver is at fault for the accident, or if more than one party may be responsible.
Following a motorcycle accident, evidence may not be available for long. Law enforcement and city road crews will begin to work on clearing the scene almost immediately, especially if the accident is blocking the road and congesting or stopping traffic. Motorcycle accident attorneys can go to work immediately upon hiring to gather physical evidence, photograph the scene, canvas for and interview witnesses, and search for possible video footage of the accident from nearby businesses or residences.
Another reason to speak to an attorney right away involves your potential injuries and the state’s statute of limitations on filing a claim if the injuries are extreme or ongoing. Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim from motorcycle accidents. Filing after two years will probably be fruitless as the court will likely bar the claim from going forward. This is why it is good to work with a lawyer early on because they are familiar with time constraints, potential exceptions to the rule, and your ability to file a claim.
Certain injuries do not present symptoms right away – sometimes for years – or may result in a degenerative condition that gradually worsens over time, often past the two-year limitation to file. If your injuries and medical needs will be above the limits of your insurance company, your attorney can work with you and your medical professionals to establish how the injuries may progress over time and what additional time and care you may need.
This is generally started soon after the accident so that your attorney can document and legally file the information within the statute of limitation time period. In most cases, doing so allows you to file later claims for medical compensation because the injuries or conditions were discovered, disclosed, and legally accepted before the statute of limitations ran out.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident That Was My Fault?
If you are clearly at fault for the accident, what you do afterward is crucial. Your actions could end up costing you a lot of money. What you say could be used against you later and result in a devastating outcome for you financially. Immediately following the accident, you should do the following:
- Do not leave the scene: In most states, including Pennsylvania, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense for which you can be charged and face fines and possible jail time.
- Stay calm at the scene: No matter what happens, remain calm while at the scene, even if the other driver is yelling at you and being aggressive. Do not apologize, even if you feel you caused the accident. What you do and say at this point could be very problematic for you later.
- Do not determine, blame, or accept fault: While at the scene, if you may think the accident is clearly your fault, you may be wrong. There may be circumstances leading to the accident of which you are unaware. Before accepting blame, you should work with your attorney to determine the exact circumstances of the accident.
- Limit conversation with the other driver: Exchange insurance information if you want but limit your conversation to insurance information and the driver’s contact information. Do not ask the driver questions to see if they made a mistake and have a fault in the accident.
One of the biggest reasons you should hire an attorney if you think you are at fault for the accident is Pennsylvania is a “choice no-fault” state. No-fault statutes mean that each driver will collect compensation for medical care and lost wages through their own insurance carriers, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
Pennsylvania takes this a rare step further using the “choice” no-fault rules, which means policyholders have the choice of using fault or no-fault rules when selecting insurance coverage. In Pennsylvania, this is called “limited tort” and “full tort,” which are legal terms of “limited injury” or “full injury,” and the choice affects your coverage of costs if you are injured in an accident.
This does not mean that you will escape having to pay compensation to the other driver, as there are caveats to this rule, which can be especially problematic if you are the at-fault driver, such as:
- Property damage: The no-fault insurance coverage only applies to medical costs and loss of wages, not property damage. If you are at fault for the accident, you may not only be responsible for your own property damage repair or replacement costs, but the other driver’s as well, with no limitations.
- Medical costs: Even though the requirements state each driver’s insurance carrier is responsible to medical costs from sustained injuries, you may still be liable to pay for the medical costs. If the other driver’s injuries are severe or extensive enough to require more medical costs than their policy allows, they can step outside the no-fault system and make a claim against you for those costs. This situation includes not only the driver, but others in the car or injured at the scene as a result of the accident. The same applies to your own medical costs once you have reached the limit of your coverage. As you can imagine, costs in this circumstance can be financially catastrophic.
For all these reasons, hiring a motorcycle accident attorney if you believe you are at fault for the accident is crucial to safeguarding you from insurance companies and costly third-party lawsuits. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are highly skilled in negotiation and litigation within Pennsylvania’s no-fault laws.
What if I Do Not Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Not hiring an attorney will almost guarantee you will receive a much lower settlement offer for qualifying injuries or lost wages if the costs exceed the limit of insurance coverage. That is if you receive an offer at all. An experienced motorcycle attorney knows how to work with insurance companies and can secure you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they do not pay settlements easily. In fact, when insurance companies know a claimant does not have legal representation, they frequently deny the claim outright or offer a paltry settlement. This happens for a few reasons:
- In denying the claim, they hope the claimant will feel the case is hopeless, give up and make no further attempts.
- They offer a much smaller settlement than you are entitled to in hopes, just as in the first, that you just accept it and walk away.
- They will argue your injuries or medical care do not qualify to bypass the no-fault rule or that the limits of your insurance coverage are enough to cover costs, in hopes that you are not fully informed of the statute.
Unfortunately, they are successful with all of these scenarios more times than they should be, which is why it would be beneficial to have legal representation from the start. Negotiating with insurance companies can be incredibly frustrating and difficult on your own. It is actually better not to speak with them at all until you have consulted with an attorney who can advise you to protect your rights and interests. Hiring an attorney experienced in handling insurance company cases will benefit you greatly and increase your odds of winning a larger settlement.
Recent Victory in Motorcycle Accident Case – $1,140,000.00 Settlement
Mr. Gagliano has represented many victims of motorcycle crashes that involved catastrophic injuries and death. He recently recovered a settlement of $1,140,000.00 for the family of a twenty (20) year old Montgomery County motorcyclist who died as a result of a motorcycle accident. The case was very difficult because the police determined that the deceased motorcyclist was speeding when operating his motorcycle at 75 mph where the speed limit was 35mph. He was also operating the motorcycle without a valid motorcycle license. After working tirelessly for the family of the deceased motorcyclist, Mr. Gagliano was able to get some compensation for the family that lost their son.
Norristown Motorcycle Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Protect the Rights of Injured Victims
It is advisable to retain a lawyer after a serious accident. Any accident can cause catastrophic injuries and financial losses, but a lawyer can advocate on your behalf. Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. specializes in motorcycle accident cases that occur in Norristown and will determine who is liable for your accident and guide you through your claim. Contact us online or call us at 267-861-7100 for a free consultation about your case. We are located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown.