Motorcycle accident injury victims shouldn’t be barred from recovering damages caused by others’ carelessness just because they didn’t have the necessary protective gear. However, the lack of a helmet may reduce the amount of compensation you recover, so working with an Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer can help your claim.
This piece will look at essential elements like determining who is at fault, proving damages, determining comparative negligence, and how a lawyer can help.
No one should have to bear lost wages and medical bills because of someone else’s carelessness. Let’s take a look at liability and how not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle accident can impact your claim.
The first step in any personal injury case is to determine who is at fault for causing the accident. In Indiana, like most states, fault is assigned based on a preponderance of the evidence standard—meaning it’s more likely than not that one party violated their duty of care.
Evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and surveillance footage help establish whether the driver of another vehicle ran a red light or stop sign, switched lanes unsafely, or violated another traffic law that directly contributed to the accident.
Having proper documentation of the incident’s cause is essential for proving fault does not lie with the victim. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help gather and present critical evidence that will prove negligence and preserve your right to claim.
Indiana’s Comparative Fault Laws
In Indiana, if an accident occurs due to negligence, the court will look at what percent each party was at fault. They use a “modified comparative fault” or “comparative negligence” system. This means that as long as you were 50% or less at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages.
However, the amount you recover will be reduced by the percentage you were at fault. Let’s say you were in a crash because another driver ran a red light, but you weren’t wearing a helmet. The court decided the other driver being reckless made them 80% at fault, while not wearing a helmet made you 20% at fault.
Even though you share some responsibility, you can still sue because you were less than 50% at fault. But any compensation you receive would be reduced by 20%. If your injuries did not involve head trauma, the helmet question generally becomes irrelevant.
Establishing the full extent of the damages suffered due to your injuries is crucial. Our motorcycle accident attorneys work closely with medical professionals to thoroughly document treatment costs to date as well as future economic losses from extended recovery time or permanent limitations.
Non-economic damages compensation seeks to reasonably value suffering like chronic pain, disfigurement, impairment of physical abilities, and how the trauma impacted relationships and enjoyment of activities.
Your attorney will conduct a thorough evaluation of your damages to ensure you do not seek less than you are rightfully entitled to by law. The recoverable damages may include:
- Past medical expenses: All out-of-pocket costs for initial hospitalization, procedures, follow-up care, medications, physical therapy, and any other treatment already received for injuries from the crash.
- Future medical expenses: Cost projections from medical experts for any future surgeries, doctor’s visits, prosthetics, home health aides, or extended care needed due to lasting impacts from crash injuries.
- Lost wages: Income lost from being unable to work due to injuries, including missed pay during medical leave and long-term disability preventing returning to the previous occupation.
- Property damage: Repair or replacement costs for a totaled motorcycle, gear, safety equipment, and any personal items damaged or destroyed in the crash.
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain experienced, as well as mental/emotional distress from the accident, injuries, treatments, and lifestyle changes caused by lasting limitations.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Activities, hobbies, and relationships that can no longer be fully engaged in the same way due to permanent effects from crash injuries.
- Disfigurement or disability: Impact on your ability to live independently or function normally long term due to scarring, amputations, or mobility issues from crash injuries.
How a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
The majority of people are unable to handle reconstructing accidents, analyzing medical data, and questioning witnesses on their statements without the help of a professional.
Skilled legal representation can help with:
- Establishing the cause and liable parties through investigation
- Obtaining evidence that supports your claim
- Reviewing policies and case law on negligence standards
- Defending you against allegations of liability to maximize recovery
- Handling all contact and correspondence with opposing parties
- Aggressively negotiating insurance settlements or litigating claims in court
- Providing emotional support through a difficult legal process
Our goal is to ensure that those who are responsible for harm are held completely accountable and that you receive full and fair financial compensation.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Law Firm Today to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one suffered injuries while not wearing a helmet in a motorcycle accident, you can still recover compensation.
The personal injury attorneys of Vaughan & Vaughan understand pursuing damages through the legal process can involve stress and difficulties on a personal level.
That is why our firm is committed to personalized service. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can evaluate your situation, hear your needs, and provide guidance on the next steps.