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Motorcycle accidents arguably cause the most catastrophic injuries of all motor vehicle collisions. Very few motorcyclists who are struck by full-sized automobiles can walk away from the collision. The injuries often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat after surgery, radiological testing, and other rehabilitative care is accounted for. Oftentimes an injured person cannot work following a motorcycle accident and bankruptcy becomes a very real risk. Insurance companies typically refuse to pay for the motorcyclists’ medical bills until after all medical treatment has been completed and meanwhile the injured person can be sent to collections and sued.
It is important to obtain an attorney who understands the nuances of insurance law if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle collision. Most insurance policies have several provisions that can be reviewed for medical coverage, and there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones after a life-altering injury is sustained. Our Motorcycle Injury Attorneys can guide you through each step of the insurance claim process.
The Personal Injury Lawyers at the Noll Law Office would be happy to set up a free initial consultation if you were injured on your motorcycle and it was not your fault. Our attorneys have a vast wealth of experience in handling motorcycle accident claims. Our firm understands the devastating impact that motor vehicle accidents have on a family. We strive to guide those injured through the process with compassionate council and aggressive advocacy in the courtroom. If you or a loved one was injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our office today at (217) 414-8889 for a free initial consultation.
Common questions about negligence actions include:
- How do I file a lawsuit?
- How is an insurance company involved in a motorcycle collision claim?
- Who is sued in a motorcycle lawsuit, the individual who caused the injury, or the insurance company?
- What happens during the motorcycle lawsuit?
- What are the costs of litigating a motorcycle collision?
- How do I prepare for my legal consultation with the Noll Law Offices?
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I file a lawsuit?
Your attorney will usually file the lawsuit in the county where the action forming the basis of the injury occurred. For example, a person injured by a drunk driver in Springfield, Illinois, would likely be filed in Sangamon County, with the Seventh Judicial District Court. The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure states:
§ 2-101. Generally. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, every ac-tion must be commenced (1) in the county of residence of any defendant who is joined in good faith and with probable cause for the purpose of obtaining a judgment against him or her and not solely for the purpose of fixing venue in that county, or (2) in the county in which the transaction or some part thereof occurred out of which the cause of action arose. 735 ILCS 5/2-101. Source: ILGA.Gov
The “Plaintiff” is usually the person who was injured, or, if the injured persons died as a result of their injuries, the administrator of the probate estate, who files the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person and living heirs. The lawyers will file a “Complaint at Law,” describing the negligent acts of the Defendant and describing the types of injuries sustained. For example, the Complaint may allege that a motorist disregarded a stop sign, thereby killing a motorcyclist. The Complaint will request that monetary damages be paid to the decedent and his heirs.
How is an insurance company involved in a motorcycle collision claim?
Most types of motorcycle lawsuits involve situations where the “tortfeasor” or “Defendant” (i.e., negligent person or entity) carries insurance. The insurance companies often “indemnify,” or pay monetary benefits, to the injured person on behalf of the Defendant in cases of negligence.
For example, consider the case of the drunk driver who drives the wrong way down a one-way road, who then strikes and injures an innocent motorcyclist. The drunk driver was required by Illinois law to carry car insurance. And, if the drunk driver did not have car insurance, the chances are likely that the innocent motorcyclist did have something called “uninsured” car insurance coverage. Either way, a competent attorney should know how to work with the insurance providers to obtain medical coverage for the injured, innocent motorist.
Most motor vehicle insurance companies also have a “no fault” medical payment policy, usually capped at $5,000 or $10,000.00 that can be used towards medical bills. This is extremely helpful when facing large co-payments.
Who is sued in a motorcycle lawsuit, the individual who caused the injury, or the insurance com-pany?
Generally, the person who caused you or your loved one’s injury is sued as the Defendant. However, when a negligence suit is filed, the insurance company usually pays for the Defendant’s at-torney and other costs of litigation. The insurance companies then typically will “indemnify” the De-fendant and pay for any funds obtained through settlement or jury verdict.
For example, consider the case of an intoxicated motorist who turns into oncoming traffic, striking a motorcyclist and breaking his leg. If the case went to trial, the insurance company would pay for the jury verdict rendered against the drunk driver.
What happens during a motorcycle lawsuit?
As discussed above, the Plaintiff or their legal representative will file suit against the Defendant. The lawsuit will be one claiming “negligence.” The process begins when the attorney files a “Complaint at Law,” seeking monetary damages for the Defendant’s negligent behavior.
After the Complaint is filed, the Defendant is served. Your attorney will arrange for “sum-mons,” to be issued, and request local law enforcement or a private investigator to serve the legal pa-perwork on the Defendant. Once the Defendant is served, he or she typically has 30 days to enter an appearance and claim any possible legal defenses. Usually, an attorney enters an appearance on behalf of the Defendant.
After the Defendant’s attorney has entered an appearance, discovery will commence. This process usually involves exchanging copies of the evidence held by the Parties, and taking the depositions of witnesses. Depending on the complexity of the litigation, experts will may be retained for trial. Their depositions will also be taken.
Your attorney may also choose to file requests for admission and other legal documents in order to simplify the issues presented at trial. Following the close of discovery, summary judgment motions and other pre-trial motions will be heard. Trial preparation will then begin in earnest. Witnesses will be subpoenaed, trial exhibits prepared, and other pre-trial paperwork will be filed. Jury instructions will be prepared. Jury trial should follow shortly thereafter. When the jury awards a verdict, the sums are usually paid by the insurance company. If a person died as a result of the motorcycle collision, the probate judge will decide how the funds are distributed.
What are the costs of litigating a motorcycle lawsuit?
The litigation costs of a motorcycle collision are generally lower than medical malpractice, nursing home, and other negligence suits. Most can be taken to trial for less than $10,000.00. Exceptions can occur if a crash reconstruction or other independent expert must be retained for trial. In such cases, the costs of litigation may increase, but generally remain less than $20,000.00.
For this reason, our attorneys litigate their cases on a “contingency fee” basis, whereby they are only paid if successful in obtaining a settlement or jury verdict. The costs of litigation are paid from the settlement or jury verdict funds, together with the attorney’s legal fees. Our lawyers will provide you with a frank analysis of whether the costs of litigation are outweighed by years of litigation and potential loss at trial.
How do I prepare for my legal consultation with the Noll Law Offices?
To expedite legal review of your claim, you should bring a copy of the medical records, police investigations, photographs, videos, Facebook pages, text messages, correspondence, insurance infor-mation and any other evidence in your possession to your claim. The attorney will review the records, together with any other evidence in your possession and provide you with a free legal opinion as to the merits of your claim.
Our attorneys have over 50 years combined legal experience. Our family firm is renowned for compassionate communication with clients and aggressive advocacy in court. All of our attorneys are experienced trial lawyers who will keep you up to date with all steps in the litigation process.
If you or a loved one would like a free consultation, call today at (217) 414-8889. You will not be a charged unless our firm obtains a settlement offer on your behalf or wins at trial.