Have You Been Injured While Motorcycling?

If you are motorcycling in the Washington, D.C. area, and if you are injured by a negligent driver, what are your rights? Where can you get legal help? You will need to call a Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident lawyer as quickly as possible after you have been injured.

The U.S. Department of Transportation tells us that more than 5,500 people in the U.S. lost their lives while motorcycling in 2020, but fatalities are only part of the story. When a truck, a car, or a bus collides with a motorcycle, and the motorcyclist survives, the injuries can be catastrophic.

Motorcyclists who live through these crashes may sustain lacerations, bone fractures, serious brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, rash and burn injuries, and paralysis. Many of these injuries cause permanent disabilities. To learn more about these injuries and your rights, keep reading.

What Are “Traumatic” Brain Injuries?

The most serious traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can permanently prevent you from working and may require lifelong medical care and treatment that eventually could cost several million dollars.

A traumatic brain injury or “TBI” occurs when a blow or a jolt to the head makes the brain bounce up against the skull. The TBIs that a motorcyclist may suffer range from concussions to debilitating, long-term injuries, depending mainly on the angle and force of impact.

The symptoms of mild TBIs include headaches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, disorientation, and sleeping disorders. The symptoms of a more serious traumatic brain injury may additionally include convulsions, slurred speech, and numbness in the fingers and toes.

In some cases, helmets prevent serious head injuries, but even the best motorcycle helmet cannot fully protect your head in high-speed crashes. Nevertheless, it is the law in Washington, D.C. that motorcyclists must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved helmet while riding.

What Should You Know About Spinal Cord Injuries?

A traumatic spinal cord injury may happen as the result of a sudden blow to the spine. Spinal cord injuries may cause a permanent loss of sensation, function, and strength below the location of the injury.

Motorcycle and car accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Traffic accidents account for over a third of the spinal cord injuries reported every year in this nation.

A lower back (or “lumbar”) injury may affect the legs and torso and impair bladder and bowel control and sexual function. A neck injury (or a “cervical injury”) may impair movement of the arms, and in some cases, a victim’s ability to breathe painlessly and freely may also be impaired.

After a Motorcycle Accident, Have a Medical Exam

The signs of TBI, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries may not emerge immediately after a motorcycle crash. You could feel perfectly healthy at first, but the signs of TBI, spinal cord injury, or some other latent injury may emerge days or even weeks later.

After a motorcycle accident, if you are not treated at the scene or rushed to a hospital, have a complete medical exam right away. To protect yourself both medically and legally, and for your own health and peace of mind, if it’s at all possible, have that exam within 24 hours of the crash.

If you file a personal injury claim against the driver who injured you, a medical exam proves that you were injured. Without an immediate exam, that driver’s lawyer or insurance company may claim that you were not really injured or that you were injured in another way, time, and place.

After a Medical Exam, What Are Your Next Steps?

A Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident attorney will meet with your doctor and possibly with other medical experts to determine your medical requirements. Your lawyer will then fight for the compensation you will need to pay for medical treatment after a motorcycling accident.

After such an accident, if you are able, immediately call 911 to summon police and medical assistance. Take photographs of the scene, the vehicle damages, and your visible injuries, or ask someone to take photographs for you.

Trade insurance details and personal contact details with the other motorist, and ask the police officers when and how you may acquire a printed copy of their accident report. After you receive medical treatment, reach out to a Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident attorney at once.

How Will Your Lawyer Help You?

Your lawyer will determine how you were injured and will identify the party or parties with liability. If someone else’s negligence is the cause of your injury, your lawyer will hold that party accountable for your lost wages, your medical expenses, and your other related damages.

Most motorcycle injury claims in the District of Columbia are settled privately, in out-of-court negotiations, and injured motorcyclists rarely have to appear in court.

But if no reasonable settlement amount is offered in the private negotiations, or if liability for the accident is disputed, a Washington, D.C. motorcycle accident lawyer will take the case to court, explain to a jury how you were injured, and ask that jury to order payment of your compensation.

What is the Deadline for Taking Legal Action?

After a motorcycle accident in the District of Columbia, an injured motorcyclist has three years to initiate a personal injury claim, but realistically, you cannot wait three years and then scramble at the last minute to take legal action.

Your injury attorney needs to examine the evidence while it’s fresh – and before it disappears – and your attorney should also question any witnesses before their recollections fade.

If you are injured while motorcycling in or near the District of Columbia because someone else was negligent, call the law offices of a motorcycle accident attorney as quickly as possible for a free, no-obligation, in-depth case evaluation.

What Else Should You Know After a Motorcycle Accident?

Your free case evaluation is your opportunity to receive personalized legal advice and to learn how the law in the District of Columbia applies to your own case. Personal injury attorneys in Washington, D.C. work on a contingent fee basis.

That means you pay no attorney’s fee to begin the legal process, and you pay no attorney’s fee until and unless you are compensated with a negotiated settlement or a jury verdict. If for any reason you are not compensated at the end of the process, you will owe no fee to your attorney.

Nothing is more important than your health. If you and your attorney can prove another driver’s negligence is the reason you were injured, you will be compensated, and the law will be on your side, but the first step – making the call to a personal injury lawyer’s office – is yours to take.