Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused. In 2020, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 151 motorcycle accident deaths in Tennessee. Most (136) of those motorcyclists were wearing a helmet at the time, highlighting that even responsible cyclists are vulnerable to fatal collisions.
Easing pandemic travel restrictions in late 2020 saw motorists returning to the roadways, opening the door to more accidents. If you’ve found yourself the victim of a motorcycle accident, you may have sustained severe injuries, and you might still be recovering. Perhaps your recovery has been frustrated by lost wages and medical bills. Or, maybe you lost a family member in a deadly motorcycle crash, leaving you feeling devastated and hopeless.
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The good news is, you have options. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries, thereby recovering your expenses to help ease your financial strain accompanying your pain or grief. So, how do you handle an insurance claim or file a lawsuit to receive compensation? What steps do you need to take to protect yourself, physically and financially?
At NST Law, our Memphis personal injury lawyers can prepare your motorcycle accident claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate on your behalf in court. All the while, you can focus on healing and returning to your daily routine.
How long do I have to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit in Tennessee?
Tennessee’s statute of limitations or time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit is one year from the date of the accident.
Accident victims need to initiate actions for property damage within three years from the date of injury or loss. This claim may recover expenses like motorcycle repairs or other material losses, like personal property damage. Our law firm is able to assist you with your property damage claim.
These limits only apply to lawsuits. Insurance claims have specific deadlines based on the insurance company’s policies. However, it’s essential to file a Memphis motorcycle accident claim quickly, so you don’t risk forfeiting your legal right to compensation.
There are a few exceptions to Tennessee’s personal injury statutes of limitations, including:
- Injured persons under 18
- Those filing against an at-fault party not residing in Tennessee for some time after the accident
- Those filing against a defendant who is also facing criminal charges for the accident that injured the plaintiff
Speak with a Tennessee motorcycle accident lawyer for more information about timelines specific to your case. Late filing can get your case dismissed, barring you from ever receiving fair compensation.
What kinds of damages are available after a motorcycle accident in Memphis?
Motorcycle accident injuries can cost victims thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
The NHTSA places the average cost of motorcycle accident injuries at $10,564 for helmet-wearing patients and $12,291 for non-helmet-wearing patients. Head injuries cost patients an average of $27,000. The median cost for an injury to lower extremities like the leg, ankle, or foot, is $39,000.
These kinds of medical bills can place an intimidating financial burden on victims. To mitigate that burden, NST Law’s team of experienced motorcycle accident lawyers can help you pursue damages as compensation.
Three types of damages may be available as part of your claim: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages include costs like your medical bills, such as head injury treatment, extreme road rash, or physical therapy for knee or leg injuries. Economic damages also cover other costs, like wages lost because of your injuries or vehicle damage.
Non-economic damages are paid for your suffering. You might receive this kind of compensation if you’re unable to perform activities you usually enjoy or your injuries cause you pain.
The party liable for your accident may need to pay punitive damages when the court finds that their actions were grossly negligent, intentional, or egregious. These damages intend to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoing rather than compensate the injured person.
Does Tennessee cap damages available after a motorcycle accident?
Tennessee does not cap economic damages. According to TN Code § 29-39-102, non-economic damages can be no greater than $750,000. However, under subsection (d) of that statute, the non-economic damage cap increases to $1,000,000 in cases of catastrophic injury.
Punitive damages may also have specific limitations as governed by TN Code § 29-39-104. A personal injury lawyer can help determine what damages you might be eligible for based on the specific facts of your case, and any maximums that apply.
How does Tennessee’s comparative negligence rule affect recoverable damages in a motorcycle accident case?
Tennessee has a modified comparative negligence rule originating with McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992). According to this law, accident victims can recover compensation through a motorcycle accident lawsuit if they are less than 50% responsible for the accident. However, they cannot recover damages for accidents if they are more than 50% at fault.
If the motorcycle driver is eligible to recover damages, TN Code § 29-11-103 instructs that any liability on their part will reduce potential compensation. Suppose, for instance, that a motorcycle rider caused 20% of an accident that led to $30,000 in economic damages. Tennessee’s comparative negligence system would reduce that compensation by $6,000, so the rider could recover a total of $24,000 in economic damages.
Can I still recover compensation if I was not wearing a helmet?
TN Code § 55-9-302 requires everyone on a motorcycle, driver or passenger, to wear a helmet that meets specific safety standards (see 49 CFR 571.218). There are some exceptions for riders over 21, but failure to wear a helmet can drastically worsen the severity of injuries in case of an accident.
Because of Tennessee’s modified comparative negligence policy, motorcycle accident victims can usually still recover damages even if they were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Can I still recover compensation if I was lane splitting?
According to TN Code § 55-8-182, Tennessee drivers cannot drive between two lanes of traffic (lane splitting). If the victim of an accident was lane splitting, that could impact the case. However, you may still have the right to compensation if the accident had nothing to do with the lane splitting.
You may also still be able to recover compensation – even if you were lane splitting – in certain circumstances. For example, you may still be eligible for compensation if you were lane splitting to change lanes or avoid a potential collision. Even so, whether or not you had returned to your lane when the accident occurred could affect your right to compensation.
How can NST Law’s Memphis motorcycle accident attorneys help with my case?
After you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side.
There is often heavy bias in motorcycle injury cases. Frequently, insurance companies issue determinations against the rider because they believe the rider’s actions caused the accident – even when that is clearly not the case.
A seasoned motorcycle accident attorney can compile evidence and create a comprehensive, effective claim that establishes the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, freeing you up to focus on your recovery.
Motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries because motorcycles offer relatively little protection to riders. You may find yourself struggling to deal with costly medical bills, lost income, and ongoing suffering related to those injuries. Having a lawyer on your side can help you find comfort in fair compensation.
Contact NST Law After a Memphis Motorcycle Accident
At NST Law, we have successfully helped many motorcycle accident victims recover more than $1.5 billion in compensation for injuries they sustained on the road.
If you were hurt in a motorcycle crash in Memphis or the surrounding area, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers is ready to help you pursue the compensation you deserve and navigate any potential roadblocks along the way. Contact our Memphis injury lawyers today for a free consultation.