Protecting the Rights of Persons Injured in Phoenix Motorcycle Accidents as Well as Surrounding Arizona Areas, Including Kingman, Bullhead City, and Mohave County
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of another, then you may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Arizona law. It’s important to note, however, that in Arizona, motorcycle accident injury claims have a short two-year statute of limitations period running from the date of injury. Given the looming presence of the statute of limitations deadline, it’s important that you consult with a qualified Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Our accident law firm is dedicated to helping motorcycle crash victims in Phoenix and throughout Arizona with their injury claims. We work diligently to recover the damages you and your loved ones deserve. We can assist you with several types of motorcycle accident cases, from those involving single bikes to multivehicle car accidents to crashes caused by negligent truck drivers. Call (602) 535-1900 to schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law today.
Our Personal Commitment to Motorcycle Accident Victims
Despite the increasing popularity of motorcycles, the public still remains prejudiced against bikers. People are quick to assume that individuals who ride a bike are irresponsible and reckless. Having represented injured motorcyclists for over three decades, each Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law is well equipped to combat motorcyclist bias. Whether a car turned left in front of you or suddenly veered into your lane, we know how to stand up to the insurance company and how to present a winning case before a jury that is likely to be heavily biased against you.
The lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. appreciate just how exhilarating it can be to ride a bike, as Greg Lyon, a founding partner of our firm, is an avid motorcyclist who loves to get his bike out on the roads in Phoenix and throughout the state. As a fellow biker, Greg shares the frustration bikers feel when a collision occurs and people are quick to blame the motorcyclist rather than the other driver who may be actually at fault for the accident.
Special Note From Greg Lyon
Representing bikers who have been involved in an accident is something I take personal. What’s the old saying? ”There are two kinds of bikers: those that have been in an accident and those that will be.” I am in the former category, as having broken my leg when a product defect caused my bike to bottom out in a turn, which caused the back wheel to break free. You can imagine what happened next. So what started off as a day of “wind therapy” turned out to be a three-day hospital stay. When I say representing injured bikers is personal, I think you see why.
Phoenix, AZ Motorcycle Accident Statistics
In Phoenix, Arizona, as is the case throughout the country, motorcycle accidents occur with surprising frequency and severity. Motorcyclists do not have the benefit of an outer structure that can crumple and absorb the impact energy from a collision, and though motorcyclists are often careful to avoid tangling themselves in a dangerous situation on the road, many accidents are unavoidable, and the nature of riding exposes the motorcyclist to a heightened risk of injury.
According to the Arizona Crash Facts Summary report, in 2016 alone there were 144 motorcyclist fatalities and 2,593 motorcyclist injuries. Despite the fact that motorcycle accidents represented just a sliver of total accidents — 1.29% of the total — injuries and fatalities were significantly and disproportionately represented, accounting for more than 10% of motor vehicle accident fatalities in the state.
Common Types of Motorcycle Crashes
A high percentage of motorcycle accidents involve just the biker himself. Single-bike crashes accounted for 1,906 motorcycle accident deaths in 2015. Unfortunately, the number of single-bike wreck fatalities has substantially increased from the preceding 15 decades.
Why does this occur? Sometimes the rider is at fault, but often he encounters adverse roadway conditions, such as:
- Potholes and pavement cracks
- Slick or icy roadways
- Insufficient street lighting
- Obstructions on or near the road
- Roadway debris
Regardless of the cause of the crash, you may have grounds to file an accident claim. By consulting an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, you can explore your legal options and the best course of action to take for your specific case.
A rear-end collision is the second-most common type of motorcycle accident. Rear-end collisions often happen because the motorcyclist has slowed or stopped because of a traffic signal or an obstruction ahead. Also, motorcyclists following in close formation, as in a parade, are sometimes involved in rear-end accidents.
Even at slow speeds, a rear-end crash may result in serious injuries. Tapping a moving motorcycle can send it spinning out of control and into another object or cause it to tip over, resulting in soft tissue injuries to the neck and back. However, speed is an important factor in the severity of the collision. Fatalities and more severe injuries, such as fractures and brain damage, are more common at higher speeds.
Arizona follows the comparative negligence rule when determining liability after a motorcycle accident. Under this theory, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, the defense has incentive to push the blame on you. For example, the defense might claim that you should not have put on your brakes while a car followed behind you or you could have taken action to prevent the crash. In truth, a rear-end crash is usually unavoidable, unless you focused on what was happening behind you rather than on anticipating potential dangers ahead, which would be imprudent.
Our lawyers consider why the motorist failed to brake in time to avoid hitting you. Commonly, the driver was texting, on the phone, or otherwise distracted. Speed also may be a factor, with the motorist unable to stop upon realizing the upcoming traffic had slowed or halted. Impairment is often a factor in the motorist’s inattentiveness and delayed reaction.
The driver in back is not always at fault. A motorist that cuts you off may actually be to blame if you ran into them. The motorist has a duty to check for other vehicles before making a lane change. The fact that you might have been in a blind spot is no excuse. Your only choice may have been to hit the other vehicle that drifted into your lane if, for example, there was no shoulder, you were driving through a mountainous area or you were on a two-lane freeway. Our goal is to demonstrate that you were not to blame or to minimize the amount of fault legally attributed to you.
The moment when a car suddenly turns in front of you at an intersection is hair-raising. Will you stop in time to avoid hitting the car? Will your evasive actions cause you to skid out and drop your bike? Unfortunately, stopping on a motorcycle requires more space and time than a vehicle and the potential consequences are often much worse.
Motorists generally have no concept of stopping distances and time. The limited maneuverability of a motorcycle is of little importance to the motorist who is more concerned about making the light than ensuring they have plenty of room to turn. Even under the most ideal of circumstances, motorcyclists are especially vulnerable when passing through an intersection. Add slick, icy roads or potholed pavement to the scenario, and an accident is all but inevitable when a motorist makes an improper left-hand turn.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to blame the biker for not stopping in time. You may have run into the side of the vehicle or spun out and not hit the car at all. However, the accident may not be your fault. The question is who had the right to occupy that specific area of the roadway at that given point in time. Who hit whom is irrelevant.
Early investigation is essential to learn exactly what happened and who is responsible. Our Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys interview witnesses and drivers to better understand the timing of the turn and the subsequent crash. We anticipate the common defense that the rider was inattentive and failed to brake in time, and we consider evidence that counters this assertion.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Unsafe Lane Changes
Almost all bikers have experienced that harrowing moment when a car suddenly switches lanes or drifts inexplicably into your path. In the best of circumstances, you may be able to avoid a crash, but this is not always possible. Accidents caused by unsafe lane changes are extremely common and are often the result of motorist negligence.
An improper lane change can have dire consequences. The motorist may cut you off, causing you to rear-end the car changing lanes or lose control of your bike, or the vehicle may sideswipe you and cause you to spin out of control or crush your leg. In either case, the motorist is responsible for remaining safely in her lane and for looking before moving out of that lane. Therefore, the overriding question to determine fault is who has the right to occupy a given space at a given time.
The typical defenses that the motorist “did not see you” or “you appeared out of nowhere” are not acceptable. Lane-change accidents commonly result from:
- A texting driver who drifts into your lane
- A distracted driver who does not bother to look before switching lanes
- A drunk driver whose depth perception and response time are compromised
- A reckless driver who is weaving in and out of traffic
- A speeding driver who fails to accurately judge the distance of the motorcycle
- A blind spot, especially of an SUV or other large vehicle
T-Bone and Intersection Collisions
T-bone collisions can be a motorcyclist’s worst nightmare. These types of accidents occur when a car, truck or other vehicle hits a motorcycle broadside. In most situations, the driver either runs a red light, ignores a stop sign, or otherwise fails to yield the right-of-way and strikes the motorcycle at a perpendicular angle.When a motor vehicle crashes into the side of a motorcycle, the biker is likely to sustain grave injuries. Unlike a car, a motorcycle offers very little protection to its riders. Without the benefit of airbags, crumple zones and the steel frame of a car, bikers who are hit broadside by an automobile or truck often sustain traumatic and even life-threatening injuries.
Oftentimes when a motorcyclist is injured in a T-bone collision, the insurance company will try to claim that the biker, rather than the driver of the vehicle, was at fault for the accident. Our firm is very familiar with this scenario and the many other tactics insurance companies will use to avoid paying out in motorcycle accident claims. We also know that these types of claims can be extraordinarily challenging to win without credible witness testimony. When you hire our firm, we will launch a comprehensive investigation to locate all eyewitnesses to your crash. In a T-bone or Intersection accident case, the statements of witnesses are essential in building a strong case that proves the liability of the other driver.
Road Design Issues and Roadway Defects
Motorcycles are highly maneuverable and responsive, which is why bikers enjoy riding and why roadway defects can be particularly dangerous. Running into poorly maintained asphalt, a slick surface or a foreign object can send even the most skilled biker out of control. Fortunately, motorcyclists who have suffered personal injuries due to poorly constructed roads or other roadway issues may be entitled to compensation, and our experienced Phoenix motorcycle crash lawyers can help. You are right to expect the roadway to be safe, and you may have a cause of action if you were injured because of a design defect or foreign object in the road.
Municipalities have a duty to keep the roads safe, not just for motorists but also for motorcyclists. Defects that might not cause a car to wreck can be catastrophic to a biker, including:
- Potholes and cracked asphalt
- Oil spills on the road surface
- Improper signage and warnings
- Broken traffic signal or downed sign
- Inadequate lighting
- Road debris and foreign objects
Roadway Debris and Foreign Objects
Motorcyclists are responsible for remaining alert at all times. However, driving into debris is sometimes unavoidable to even the most diligent biker. The founding partner of Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C., Greg Lyon, has experienced numerous near misses on his own motorcycle during his many rides throughout Arizona. We recognize that no matter how defensively you ride, you can nonetheless be the victim of a road-debris crash. We also know that proving your case can be an uphill battle without experienced representation by a Phoenix motorcycle injuries attorney.
Early and thorough investigation is essential to winning a claim in a roadway debris case. After the accident, the city typically clears the foreign objects off the road for safety reasons. Corporations also have the incentive to remove objects under their responsibility to minimize liability. Once the condition is changed, you may lose that evidence forever unless you have had the opportunity to inspect, photograph and analyze it first.
A critical aspect of the investigation is determining how the foreign object ended up in the road and who is responsible. Common scenarios include:
- The remains of a tire blowout or other mechanical failure were left behind.
- An inadequately secured load spilled from the back of a truck bed.
- An individual did not retrieve items that toppled out of a pick-up truck.
- A construction company left equipment, tools or markers in the road.
- Dirt, gravel or other objects from a nearby construction site blew onto the road.
- A municipality failed to conduct general maintenance on the road to clear glass, metal and other debris accumulation.
- The government agency failed to clean the road of oil to prevent slick surfaces.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident or Injury Claim in Arizona
Claims by the Driver
Contrary to common misconceptions, motorcyclists are usually very careful drivers, so bike wrecks often occur because of conditions beyond the rider’s control. Yet insurance companies are quick to blame single-bike wrecks on biker negligence. A vital aspect of your claim is proving you were not at fault. Our motorcycle accident lawyers in Phoenix will review the circumstances surrounding your crash. We work diligently to help you recover just compensation.
Claims by the Passenger
Often the passenger is the only person with a valid claim in a single-bike crash, particularly if the rider was reckless. If you were a passenger on a crashed bike, we may pursue damages in this order:
- Rider’s liability coverage. Arizona law requires the rider to carry insurance coverage of at least $15,000 for one person injured in a crash, $30,000 for injuries to all people per accident and $10,000 in total property damage. Many bikers carry higher amounts of liability coverage.
- Your insurance policy. Whether you are covered by your own insurance depends on the terms of your policies. You may have a valid claim for damages amounts not covered by the rider’s insurance.
- Third-party liability. Motorcycle crash injuries are often serious and not adequately covered by Arizona’s minimum insurance requirements. However, you may have a third-party claim against a corporation or municipality.
Claims Against a Municipality
The responsibility falls on the city to keep roads safe, not on you to choose a different vehicle. The relevant department of transportation is responsible for maintaining its roads, including immediately responding to reports of problems, regularly inspecting the roads for hazards, making appropriate repairs and warning drivers until repairs can be made. Even if the municipality did not create the dangerous condition, it may be liable for not protecting you. Depending on which road your accident occurred, the city, county, state or federal government might be liable.
Early and thorough investigation is essential to determine whether you have a third-party claim. Police only conduct a complete investigation in the case of a fatality or if criminality is suspected, and their findings are rarely sufficient. Law enforcement’s main interest is getting the crash cleared, and the city may actually repair the defect before you file a claim. A corporation is more concerned with mitigating financial liability than on helping you prove your case and may quickly destroy the evidence unless a judge orders it not to.
To file a claim against a municipality, it is important to establish knowledge of the roadway defect. Did the agency know about the defect? This is a crucial question for winning your claim. To prove that the city had notice prior to your accident, our lawyers review complaint logs, police reports, prior injury claims, agency statements and even newsfeeds that show the long-term existence of a defect. Once we establish the city knew or should have known about the defect, we demonstrate that the city did not take appropriate action to repair the problem or to warn you of its existence.
Procedures for government claims are complex. You must follow the very strict procedure throughout the process or risk losing your claim on a technicality. Our Phoenix motorcycle crash lawyers are familiar with the laws and processes for recovering damages from the city or state. The first step to hold a municipality liable is filing and to serve a notice of claim on the proper statutorily designated party. Sound complicated? It is. You have only a short window to do so, and if you miss that deadline, you waive your right to collect compensation from the municipal agency. Therefore, we urge you to schedule a consultation as soon as possible to allow us to file and serve timely notice and to engage in an immediate investigation of your claim.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Damages
Damages in an Arizona motorcycle accident case are similar to damages in other personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases (except, perhaps, that the damages tend to be more severe).
Compensatory damages (economic and noneconomic) are intended to “compensate” the plaintiff for their losses to the extent possible, using a financial award. For example, if you are required to miss three months of work as a consequence of your motorcycle accident, you may be able to recover three months in lost wages as part of your damages claim. A Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney can help you obtain the full compensation you are entitled to.
Compensatory damages include, but are not necessarily limited, to the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property loss (i.e., motorcycle damage)
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disabilities
Property Damage Claims
No one understands better than a fellow biker the pride of ownership in a motorcycle. Buying your bike is just the beginning of the process as you work to “make it your own,” with custom parts and accessories. While taking care of your injuries should always be your first priority, when you are involved in a motorcycle crash, you should also receive fair compensation for your motorcycle. Whether your bike has been partially damaged or completely totaled, our motorcycle accident attorneys in Phoenix, AZ will work with you to secure a full recovery for your losses, including any parts you may have added to it that make it your own.
How Fault Is Determined in a Motorcycle Accident in Phoenix, Arizona?
Arizona is a pure comparative fault state — in other words, fault is assigned to each party involved in an accident in direct proportion to their contribution of fault. This is a favorable doctrine for the injured plaintiff, as it allows the plaintiff to recover damages in situations where they themselves were partially at-fault.
Let’s clarify with an example:
Suppose that you are injured in a rear-end motorcycle accident at a red light. The defendant-driver is mostly at-fault for colliding with you (instead of coming to a gradual stop before the collision occurred), but as it turns out, the brake light on your motorcycle wasn’t working at the time of the accident. Had you fixed the brake light, the accident might not have occurred.
In this example, the court finds that you are 25% at-fault, and the defendant is 75% at-fault. If the total damages are $300,000, then you would be entitled to recover only the amount that the defendant is liable for: 75%, which is $225,000.
Differences Between Car and Motorcycle Accidents
Obviously, motorcycles are very different from cars. This is due to factors that include maneuverability, required stopping distance, responsiveness to roadway conditions and level of protection during an accident. Even motorcycle property damages issues are unique. A claim involving a motorcycle accident should, therefore, not be handled in the same manner as a car crash. Working with an experienced team of Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers will greatly improve your chances of success.
The accident lawyers at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. exclusively focus on personal injury cases to give our clients the very best representation we can. We are well known for our effective representation of both motorcycle accident riders and passengers. Founding partner Greg Lyon is an avid motorcyclist. His decades of riding experience give him firsthand knowledge about the operation of a motorcycle and the factors involved in a bike crash. He personally understands the heartfelt passion you have for riding and the tremendous losses you suffer after a crash, and he has the legal knowledge to help you recover.
What Factors Are Considered When Filing a Motorcycle Claim vs. a Car Accident Claim in Phoenix, Arizona?
When filing either a motorcycle claim or a car accident claim in Phoenix, Arizona, there are several factors that must be considered. However, a special set of circumstances come into play when bringing a motorcycle accident claim. Our attorneys consider the unique factors of handling a motorcycle claim, including:
- Helmet law. Arizona does not have a helmet law, meaning motorcyclists can legally ride without a helmet. However, whether you were wearing a helmet will impact your civil claim, and so we proactively address this issue, particularly in relation to a head injury claim.
- Protective clothing. Whether you were wearing goggles, boots, gloves, an abrasion-resistant, long-sleeved jacket and long pants will also affect your claim. We counter accusations that you somehow contributed to your own injuries so you recover the maximum possible damages.
- Blind spot. “I didn’t see him,” is never a valid defense. The driver is still responsible for the crash even if you were in his blind spot, a phenomenon that is more common with bikes and motorcycles than with larger vehicles.
- Stopping distance. Motorists who have never ridden a bike often do not appreciate the unique physics of stopping on two wheels versus four. We clearly explain this relevant concept to insurance adjusters, jurors and the judge. It comes up particularly in left-hand turn cases and other intersection accidents.
What Types of Injuries Can Motorcycle Victims Sustain That Are Different From Those Auto Accident Victims Can Suffer?
When it comes to motorcycle accidents, the types of injuries that accident victims can suffer tend to be exponentially worse. Motorcycles do not have seat belts, airbags or protective metal. Therefore, the injuries that can occur during a motorcycle accident tend to be much more serious and may differ from those that may be incurred in a car collision or truck crash.
Commonly, bikers sustain the following types of serious injuries following a motorcycle crash:
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries – including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Road rash and scarring
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
Road Rash: A Common Motorcycle Accident Injury That Can Lead to Serious Consequences
Do not let the innocuous sounding term “road rash” fool you. Road rash is not a “rash,” but rather deep lacerations that can result in permanent disfigurement. Even in relatively minor cases, this serious injury can cause severe scarring, result in life-threatening infections and require multiple surgeries. Because road rash accidents can lead to severe injuries, it is imperative for victims to seek legal help with experienced Phoenix motorcycle wreck attorneys as quickly as possible.
Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law P.L.L.C. is a boutique Arizona law firm that focuses exclusively on personal injury recovery. Our founding partner is a passionate biker who has experienced the challenges of being in a motorcycle wreck. This experience gives us insight into the unique trauma and legal issues surrounding motorcycle accident claims. We have refined our processes for proving damages and recovering the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. We have substantial experience in handling road rash claims and have access to a team of skilled dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other medical professionals who understand the lifelong consequences of a road rash injury.
Proving Road Rash Damages
Road rash results from the friction of pavement on your skin during an accident. Sliding across the pavement creates deep wounds across large swaths of exposed skin. In addition, gravel, glass, debris and pathogens get lodged into the skin. The condition is very painful and often requires extensive treatment. Your scars may grow worse if you fail to get the care you need, making recovery of compensation vital to your ultimate health.
Our law firm advances the costs of proving your claim. Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law retains a professional photographer to document your injuries in high-quality photographs. The photographer captures your road rash injuries at the time of the trauma and periodically throughout the healing process until the scarring has aged sufficiently to be deemed permanent, usually four to six months following the accident.
Next, we set up an examination with a board-certified plastic surgeon who determines a treatment plan to improve your overall appearance. The surgeon records these findings in a report that shows the extensive treatments you require and the costs of obtaining that care. Again, this service is advanced to you so you have the evidence you need to build a strong case and so you can access the quality care you need immediately.
Complications From Road Rash Scars
Scars are particularly damaging because of the very outward appearance of the injury. Motorcyclists commonly suffer psychological trauma associated with the disfigurement. The scars may also affect your job opportunities, relationships and quality of life. Learning to cope with your condition may require psychological care for which you should be well compensated. You also have an increased risk of infection in the immediate aftermath of your accident and following surgery. An infection that arises from your road rash injuries is also compensable. If you suffered road rash injuries or complications thereafter, turn to a motorcycle accident lawyer for assistance in recovering the compensation you deserve.
Advocates for Motorcycle Safety
Our lawyers advocate for safe motorcycles and roadways that can reduce the number and severity of accidents in Arizona. Our hope is that motorcycle crashes become rare. One important means of eliminating motorcycle accidents is to raise awareness that bikers have as much right on the freeway as other drivers. We also recommend that you use equipment to make yourself more visible to motorists. For example, a motorcycle headlight modulator that pulses on and off substantially increases visibility during day and night hours. These are available through multiple sources and are legal in all 50 states.
Consult an Experienced Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Whether your motorcycle accident occurred when a car hit you from behind, was caused by debris or a foreign object on the road, or resulted from any other factor, a Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney at our firm can help you recover your rightful damages.
At Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law, we limit our practice to motor vehicle accident cases throughout Phonix and neighboring areas in Arizona. With over six decades of combined experience, our accident attorneys are capable of providing results-oriented advocacy that is laser-focused on helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Unlike many other injury firms, here at Hirsch & Lyon we value our client relationships and consider open and honest communication to be fundamental to successful litigation. Our legal team is not only available around the clock (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to respond to inquiries, but we are also willing to drop-in at your home, office, or the hospital, at your convenience.
We’re serious about effective legal advocacy that puts more money in the pocket of our clients. To that end, we offer discounted contingency fees to our clients. Here at Hirsch & Lyon, you will only pay if you win, and further, you will only pay 25% of your proceeds (plus costs) for non-litigated cases and 30% if a suit is filed. This is well below what you would expect to pay at a firm with comparable experience.
Call (602) 535-1900 today to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can motorcycle accident victims in Phoenix seek property damages the same way car accident victims can?
A: In addition to suffering personal injuries, a motorcycle accident can also lead to irreparable property damage. Any kind of damage to your bike can be heartbreaking – especially if the crash led to total property loss. You put your heart and soul into creating a bike that represents you. You also may have sunk a large financial investment into the chrome, pipes, seat, and paint, which makes the bike more valuable than the actual price you paid. We understand how devastating the loss of your motorcycle can be, especially when you are already dealing with injuries. Our motorcycle accident attorneys in Phoenix fight for full compensation of these aftermarket parts. We also recognize that selling a bike after a wreck is nearly impossible, so we seek compensation for the diminished resale value as well.
Q: If I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, how will this affect my motorcycle accident injury claim?
A: Wearing a helmet is important for rider safety, of course, but the fact that you did not wear a helmet at the time of the accident is not — in and of itself — enough to destroy your injury claims. Your failure to wear a helmet will certainly undermine your arguments, but Arizona is a pure comparative fault state. As such, the injured plaintiff can be significantly at-fault and still recover damages. For example, if you are not wearing a helmet, the court might determine that you are 50% at-fault for your injuries, and the defendant-driver is 50% at-fault. You will still be allowed to recover half of the total damages.
Notably, your failure to wear a helmet might not necessarily contribute to your injuries, depending on the circumstances. Suppose that you are in a motorcycle crash and you suffer severe leg injuries (no head or neck injuries). The fact that you did not wear a helmet is irrelevant. A Phoenix personal injury lawyer can help you establish your case and protect your right to compensation.
Q: In my case, the defendant was a bus driver for a private company. Can I sue the company?
A: Yes, under the doctrine of vicarious liability (also known as respondeat superior). Arizona applies vicarious liability in situations where the negligence of an employee — who is acting within the course and scope of their employment — causes injury. The injured plaintiff is subsequently entitled to sue the employer for the injuries caused by their employee’s negligence. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to sue the company for negligent hiring, supervision, and/or retention, too. In motorcycle accident lawsuits, employers are often exposed to serious liability.
Q: I have several pre-existing injuries that became much worse (i.e., pain, movement issues, etc.) after the motorcycle accident. How will this affect my claims?
A: Pre-existing injuries, illnesses, and other conditions can certainly undermine your injury claims, but are not a bar on recovery. Generally speaking, the defendant will assert that your claimed injuries are not new, but existed prior to the accident. If there were no “new” injuries, then you have no claim — a legitimate injury claim requires a “new” injury. Importantly, however, Arizona law allows plaintiffs to recover for “exacerbated” injuries. For example, if you had a pre-existing neck condition, and the defendant collides with you at an intersection, causing your condition to worsen substantially (i.e., increased pain, issues with turning your neck, etc.), then you can sue and recover damages for the exacerbated injury.
A skilled Phoenix motorcycle accident attorney will be capable of persuading the jury to accept that your new injuries are either distinct from the pre-existing injuries, or that your pre-existing injuries were significantly exacerbated due to the negligent acts of the defendant.
Q: What should I do with my motorcycle following an accident?
A: After an accident, it’s important not to take your motorcycle for repairs (or to junk or sell your motorcycle) until you have consulted with a Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyer. Your motorcycle may be critical evidence in the case, so the closer it is to its condition right after the accident, the better. For example, using your motorcycle and photos/accounts of the accident, motorcycle accident reconstruction experts can determine the speeds of the vehicles involved in the accident, their angles, and the impact forces.
Q: I was just in a motorcycle accident in Phoenix. How can Hirsch & Lyon help me?
A: Being involved in any kind of accident can be a traumatic and frightening experience. We realize the seriousness of motorcycle accidents and know that the injuries sustained are often life-changing for the biker. That is why we want you to simply focus on healing and let us focus on getting you the compensation needed to get you back on your feet. Our attorneys know the law and we are prepared to represent you through every step of the legal process. We will work to prove the cause of the accident, determine all liable parties and retrieve all evidence needed to pursue a settlement or go to trial.