Motorcycle Accident FAQ
An experienced Nashville attorney answers your questions
At The Law Office of Eric Beasley, we have been representing the injured in Metro Nashville and Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years. Attorney Eric Beasley is not afraid of tough cases and puts in the hard work needed to move a case forward. We are proud of the results we’ve obtained for clients and of the referrals we continue to receive from them.
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, your life can change in an instant. You are injured and need medical treatment. Medical expenses can add up fast and put you in financial stress, especially if you can’t work because of your injuries. You feel you deserve compensation but aren’t sure what to do next. All you have are questions. We can help you find answers.
- Who is at fault in a motorcycle accident?
- What are Tennessee’s motorcycle laws?
- What does "comparative negligence" mean in a Tennessee traffic accident?
- What should I do after a motorcycle crash?
- Is there a time limit on when I can sue for a bike wreck?
- Can I still file a claim if I dumped, laid down, or otherwise wrecked my bike to avoid a worse accident?
- What is the average payout for a motorcycle accident?
- How much money can you ask for, for pain and suffering after a motorcycle accident?
- What do I do if I’m offered a motorcycle accident settlement?
If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, it is important that you fully understand your legal rights and options. Contact us for a free case consultation. We take motorcycle accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no money down and we don’t get paid until we win your claim.
When a biker is the victim of a car vs. motorcycle accident, he not only has to overcome injuries, but bias, too. Media portrayals of bikers have given too many people the idea that motorcycle riders are “outlaws” or otherwise irresponsible. The truth is negligent car and truck drivers are usually the ones at fault in a motorcycle accident. Tennessee applies the comparative negligence principle to motorcycle and other types of accidents to assign fault in a crash.
Every state has different laws governing motorcycles. In Tennessee motorcycle riders are required by state law to:
- Wear a safety helmet when riding.
- Use headlights during the daytime.
- Wear eye protection unless the bike has a windshield.
- Avoid lane splitting, which is illegal.
Comparative negligence is the assigning fault for an accident. Whatever responsibility you are found to have in the crash will be taken out of your damages award. So, for example, if you win a $500,000 verdict, but the jury finds you were 10 percent at fault in the accident, the damages will be reduced by 10 percent to $450,000. If you are found to be at least 50 percent at fault in an accident, you may not be able to claim damages.
There is no definitive way to assign fault in an accident. Even in cases where it seems obvious that you are 100 percent the victim in an accident, the insurance companies will likely still try to say you bear some blame. The more responsible for the accident they can say you are, the less of a payout they must give you. At this crucial point, it would be useful to have an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side to take on the insurance companies for you.
If possible, in the immediate aftermath of an accident attempt to document everything you can. Writing down the chain of events leading up to the crash, while it’s fresh in your mind, creates a document that will be a big help later in your claim.
- Focus on the timeline of the accident, where, when and how it happened.
- Call the police. Regardless of the severity of the accident, you need the police to file an accident report to make your claim.
- Take pictures of the accident and injuries.
- Identify witnesses.
- Get checked out by a medical professional to create a record of your injuries. Even if you feel fine, get examined - you could be suffering from unknown internal damages. If you are examined at the site of the accident by an emergency responder, it is still worthwhile to go see a doctor. Sometimes, in the chaos of an accident, injuries can go unobserved. Get a record from all medical examinations.
- Cooperate with the police and stay friendly in the situation but say as little as possible and do not agree to any blame for the accident.
- Get in touch with a lawyer. If you want to collect damages in Tennessee, you need to prove that you were not the primary cause of the accident, the extent of your injuries and property damage, as well as provide projections of future lost wages, medical bills, and other long term recovery needs.
Lawsuits seeking personal injury compensation from an at-fault driver in a Tennessee motor vehicle accident, including motorcycle wrecks, must be filed within a year of the accident.
You have three years after an accident to file for vehicle or other property damages.
These timelines do not apply to putting in a claim with an insurance company, which should be filed within days or a week of the accident.
If you intentionally dumped your bike to save others and yourself from added injury, this is called a “no contact” motorcycle accident. You can absolutely file a claim against an at-fault driver in a no-contact accident. A no-contact accident is difficult to prove, but you can win damages if you are able to collect the evidence and witnesses you need to show that the car or truck you tried to avoid had acted negligently. An attorney can investigate and collect this information for you, as well as negotiate with the insurance company while you heal.
Every accident has unique circumstances that dictate the outcome of a damages award. Typically, the victim in a motorcycle crash can be compensated for medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, future needs created by the accident, and property damage. In some cases, a biker can also be awarded money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment. There is no average award amount for a motorcycle accident.
If you sue for pain and suffering, the amount requested will likely be three times the total award for economic and physical damages.
Never accept a settlement offer before fully understanding the extent of your current and future damages. A motorcycle accident lawyer can come up with an estimate and work hard to get you the results you need to return to the life you had before being hit by a negligent driver.