From national parks and sprawling valleys to the ever-famous Route 66, Illinois is home to countless attractions for motorcycle riders. While Illinois motorcycle routes provide thrilling scenery for bikers, motorcycle trips aren't always pleasurable--a motorcycle accident can change your entire life in seconds. If you are a biker who has suffered a motorcycle crash, then you may be facing grueling pain and mounting medical bills. Your suffering may be entitled to financial compensation. Through a personal injury lawsuit and the personal injury lawyers at Benassi & Benassi's Peoria, Illinois office, you can seek compensation you deserve and bring justice to your accident.
Motorcycle Accidents v. Car Accidents: Knowing the Differences
Although any form of accident can result in critical injuries, motorcycle accidents can produce injuries that are particularly devastating. This is due, in part, to the high level of exposure that one faces when riding a motorcycle compared to driving or riding in a car. Whereas the outer structure of a vehicle can provide a barrier to its passengers in the event of an accident, a motorcycle rider is almost completely exposed to whatever he or she collides with. This can produce catastrophic injuries that might not occur to someone who was in a vehicle in a similar crash.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can produce a wide range of injuries, including:
- Road rash: this form of injury can occur if you are thrown from your motorcycle and are not wearing protective clothing. Road rash is a severe burn caused by skin-to-ground contact incurred when sliding across the pavement after falling from your motorcycle.
- Head and neck injuries: these forms of injuries can be particularly traumatic if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of your motorcycle accident. Even if you were wearing a helmet, you are not immune from suffering head and neck injuries, as a helmet can only do so much to protect you in an accident.
- Broken bones: in a car accident, airbags and other modern safety technology can help provide a barrier to keep injuries to a minimum. When injured in a motorcycle accident, however, your body will be subject to the full force of whatever you are colliding with. Broken bones can be the result of colliding with a vehicle or stationary object or being pinned between your motorcycle and what you collide with.
- Internal injuries: while motorcycle collisions can produce obvious injuries such as cuts, burns, and broken bones, some injuries aren't readily apparent. If you have been injured while riding your motorcycle, you may suffer lacerated organs or internal bleeding that can be life-threatening. This is why it is critical to seek medical attention following any motorcycle wreck--just because you can't see any injuries doesn't mean they don't exist.
- Spinal injuries: spinal injuries can be some of the most devastating injuries that you face while riding a motorcycle. If you are thrown from your bike or become pinned between your bike and another car or stationary object, then your spinal cord can become severely injured. Such injuries can lead to paralysis that can last a lifetime.
What Should You Do Following a Crash?
If you are the victim of a motorcycle crash, then there are several steps you should take immediately after your accident if you are able to do so. These steps are similar to that of a car accident--in wreck cases, the evidence is particularly important to establish fault and earn you the justice you deserve. Actions to be taken after a motorcycle wreck include:
- Thoroughly photographing the scene of the accident;
- Obtaining contact information for the at-fault driver;
- Calling the police and filing a police report for your accident;
- Seeking immediate medical attention; and
- Contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Medical attention should be sought even if you do not have any visible injuries following your wreck, as internal bleeding or delayed injuries can occur. If you suffer injuries that warrant compensation, failing to see a doctor after your accident can jeopardize your chances of being paid back for your pain and medical expenses.
What if No One Else Was Involved in My Accident?
Single-motorcycle accidents account for a surprising amount of all motorcycle accident statistics. Typically, when you are injured in a motorcycle accident caused by an at-fault driver, you will look to the at-fault driver's insurance company to pay for injuries which you have sustained. What happens, however, when there is no other party to your motorcycle wreck?
You may not be out of luck. If your injury was caused by poor road conditions such as improper grading or negligently maintained property, then you may still be able to get compensation to cover your injuries. A personal injury attorney will be able to wade through the facts of your case to determine if you can bring a claim against a property owner who failed to keep up his property or a city or state who failed to maintain its roads.
What Compensation Can I Recover?
There are several forms of compensation you can recover, depending on the facts. The primary forms of compensation are described below.
Following a motorcycle accident, you may be able to recover compensation to help pay for your medical expenses. Compensation for medical expenses can cover the mounting costs of:
- Hospital bills for your treatment and stay after your accident;
- Surgeries performed to treat your injuries;
- Prescription medication that you have been prescribed after your accident, such as a painkiller or antidepressant;
- Medical equipment that you may need as a result of your accident, such as crutches or a wheelchair;
- Rehabilitative therapy to heal long-term injuries; and
- Long-term care such as in-home nurses if your accident caused permanent, lifelong injuries.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, then you may have had to miss work as a result of your injuries. It can take months or even years to fully recover from a motorcycle accident. Sometimes, a full recovery is not even possible. If you have been injured, then you may have had to miss work as a result of your car accident, or may not be able to return to work at all. Having to give up your career, whether temporarily or forever, can cause a huge financial toll on you, especially if you are supporting a family. If you have missed work due to injuries from a motorcycle accident, then the income that you have lost as a result of being out of work may be recoverable in a personal injury suit. You may even be entitled to income, which you would have made in the future had you been able to work.
Motorcycle accidents can cause serious financial stress from medical bills and an inability to work. Not all injuries resulting from a motorcycle accident, however, are financial. If you have suffered severe injuries because of your accident, you may experience depression, insomnia, or anxiety during your recovery process. This emotional distress may be compensable through a personal injury lawsuit; an attorney will be able to gather all of the evidence needed to determine whether you can recover damages for this stress.
Sometimes, a motorcycle accident is caused by someone whose actions were particularly reprehensible. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident at the hands of a drunk driver, reckless driver, or someone whose actions were especially unacceptable at the time of your crash, then you may be able to recover punitive damages on top of damages for medical bills, emotional distress, and lost income. The purpose of these damages are not to pay you back for your injuries and expenses; rather, punitive damages are meant to punish the at-fault driver for his or her actions and ensure that such action will not be repeated in the future.
Why do I Need an Attorney to Help Me With My Claim?
While you could certainly try to file a lawsuit for your motorcycle wreck on your own, an attorney can be crucial in obtaining the compensation that you deserve. Personal injury cases can be extremely complicated, with strict deadlines, mountains of medical evidence, and procedural steps that must be followed in order to protect your rights. Even the slightest misstep in this process could jeopardize your case. An attorney can take the stress of fighting for justice off of your shoulders by handling your case every step of the way.
Are You the Victim of a Motorcycle Accident? We Can Help You Get Back on Your Feet
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Illinois, then you need to focus all of your energy on what is truly important--healing. Don't try to handle a personal injury lawsuit by yourself. You don't have to fight this battle alone--the personal injury team at Benassi & Benassi has years of experience in representing personal injury cases and earning clients the compensation they deserve. To take the weight of your case off of your shoulders by speaking with one of our attorneys about your case, fill out an online consultation form or call 309-276-0601 today.