Phoenix Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
In 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.
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 attorney as soon as possible. Call (602) 535-1900 to get connected to one of the Phoenix motorcycle accident attorneys here at Hirsch & Lyon today.
Understanding Arizona Damages
Damages in a 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.
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
How Fault is Apportioned in Phoenix
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 collision 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.
Consult With An Experienced Attorney Today
Hirsch & Lyon is a personal injury firm operating out of Phoenix and limits its practice to motor vehicle accident cases of all sorts: cars, trucks, motorcycles, and more. With over six decades of combined experience, our attorneys are capable of providing results-oriented advocacy that is laser-focused on helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Unlike many other firms, here at Hirsch & Lyon we value our client relationships and consider open and honest communication to be fundamental to successful litigation. Our staff are 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 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 with a motorcycle accident attorney at our office in Phoenix. We look forward to speaking with you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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 accident and you suffer severe leg injuries (no head or neck injuries). The fact that you did not wear a helmet is irrelevant.
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 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 significant 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 an attorney. 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.