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Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Most people assume that riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous. Most people assume that motorcycle riders are risk takers, and that they take their lives into their own hands every time they ride. Due to a poor example set by a very small segment of the riding population, most people also assume that motorcycle riders constantly speed, weave through traffic, and put themselves and others in harm’s way.
Of course, as a rider, you know that none of this is true. You know that the greatest threat to your safety is not your own dangerous behavior, but the carelessness and recklessness of other drivers. You know that you can stay safe by riding within your limits, and you know that you can reduce (but not eliminate) your risk of injury by wearing a helmet and full riding gear.
Unfortunately, this bias against motorcycle riders and misconception of the risks associated with riding a motorcycle has the potential to affect riders’ insurance claims when they get injured on the road. Like most people, insurance claims adjusters tend to assume that riders are at fault for their own injuries. As a result, when seeking financial compensation for a motorcycle accident in Chicago, riders must diligently assert and protect their legal rights.
Even setting aside the issue of rider bias, in order to recover financial compensation after an accident, you need to be able to prove that someone else was at fault. In legal terms, this is referred to as proving “negligence,” and most accident claims involve driver mistakes such as merging without looking, following too closely, and talking or texting behind the wheel.
How do you prove negligence? The answer depends on the specific issue (or issues) involved in your collision. Generally speaking, however, the types of evidence that may be available to prove driver negligence include:
In order to collect most of these types of evidence, it will be important to conduct an investigation at the scene of the accident as soon as possible. This is a task that needs to be handled by professionals (you should not return to the accident scene and attempt to collect evidence on your own). If it appears that you have a claim, your law firm will be able to request the police report, cell phone records, and any other records that may be available to help prove your claim as well.
Due to the bias against motorcycle riders, when collecting evidence of fault, it can also be helpful (and in some cases necessary) to collect evidence demonstrating a lack of liability on your behalf. The same types of evidence that can be used to establish fault can be used to establish lack of fault as well. For example, the length of your skid marks and the distance your motorcycle slid can help show that you were not speeding when the accident occurred. Likewise, eye witnesses may be able to confirm that you were riding safely with the flow of traffic when the other driver came into your lane.
While most motorcycle accident cases involve a claim against a negligent driver’s insurance company, there are various other factors that can cause and contribute to accidents as well. It is critical not to rule out these additional potential factors during the investigative process.
For example, vehicle and motorcycle defects are far more common than most people realize. From faulty brakes and tires to electrical issues and transmission failures, virtually all issues with motorcycles, cars, trucks, and SUVs have the potential to factor into collisions. Whether your motorcycle was defective or the vehicle that hit you had a defect, the manufacturer could be fully liable for your accident-related injuries. If the issue was the result of faulty maintenance or repair work rather than a defect, then the shop that performed the work could be liable instead.
Road defects and maintenance issues are potential factors as well. From potholes to blind corners, issues that might not create problems for passenger vehicles can be extremely dangerous for riders. As a rider, you have the right to expect the road to be built and maintained in reasonably safe condition, and issues with the road can provide injured riders with “third-party” liability claims similar to vehicle maintenance issues and defects.
In order to recover full compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that someone else was 100% at fault in the accident. But, in order to deny your claim, the insurance company only needs to show that you are 51% or more to blame for your own injuries. If the insurance company can show that you were partially at fault (but less than 51% at fault), then it can reduce your financial recovery in proportion to your percentage of liability.
This is known as the law of “contributory negligence.” Thanks once again to the common bias against motorcycle riders, questions of contributory negligence tend to come up in motorcycle accident claims. In order to maximize your financial recovery – and ideally recover 100% of your accident-related losses – you will need to be able to counter any evidence that you played a role in causing the collision.
Under Illinois law, if you have a claim for financial compensation as a result of a motorcycle accident, you are entitled to compensation for all of your accident-related injuries. This includes financial and non-financial losses, and it includes present and future effects of your injuries.
In most cases, individuals who have suffered severe injuries in motorcycle accidents will suffer non-financial losses that far exceed their medical expenses and lost wages. As a general rule, damages for pain and suffering are calculated as a multiple of the victim’s financial losses. Non-financial losses also include things like loss of companionship, society, and loss of enjoyment of life; and, if you are no longer able to ride your motorcycle as a result of your injuries, this is absolutely a factor that should impact the calculation of “just compensation” in your case.
Once you have evidence of fault, you have the evidence necessary to counter any allegations of contributory negligence, and you know how much you are entitled to recover, then you can begin the process of trying to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies. In all cases – and especially in cases involving severe injuries from motorcycle collisions – it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer fighting for just compensation on your behalf.
There are a number of reasons why. Among them, even if the evidence is clearly in your favor, the anti-rider bias can still come into play. Unfortunately, the insurance companies do not always weigh the evidence appropriately; and, just because you are entitled to compensation does not mean the insurance companies are going to pay. In order to win a fair settlement, you need to be able to convince the insurance companies not only that the evidence is in your favor, but that you will be able to present a compelling case to the judge or jury if you take your case to trial.
Whether you have a claim against a negligent driver’s insurance company or you have a claim against your motorcycle’s manufacturer for a product defect, if you need to take your case to court, you will need to be prepared to overcome the anti-rider bias. You will need to be prepared to convince the judge or jury to render a verdict based on the facts and not based on misconceptions or generalizations about the riding community. This can be a difficult task; and, once again, hiring an experienced attorney to handle all aspects of your claim is the best way to maximize your financial recovery.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Chicago area, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing injured motorcycle riders in insurance claims and litigation, and we can use this experience to your advantage. To speak with one of our attorneys at a time that is convenient for you, please call 888-625-6265 or request an appointment online today.
They are very helpful, and when it comes to getting things done with your case I had the pleasure of working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.
- Britany Weaver
I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!
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I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements, never I thought I would need their services because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this, long story short I was in a situation that I needed help & advice!!! In the right direction, I connected with the Firm & a very patient, understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care!
- Elvira G.
I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.
would do everything they could for me.
- Tony S.
I contacted Malman Lawafter my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks, everyone!
- Devin Jones
Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!
- Annie Ong
Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If you’re interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!
- Eugenia Cathery
They are so efficient and professional. Always available to help. Attorney Boyer was great and very good with my case. I really appreciate Malman Law. I gave them 5 stars because there is nothing higher.
- Omolewa Snyder
I have had an amazing experience with Malman law so far. From the start, Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed, and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.
- Trevor Harris
Hi, I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.
- Ernest Pitts
Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.
- Ariel Fleming
I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!
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Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the reparations of the accident. We would recommend their services!
- Greg Gustafson
Excellent customer service and a great experience. Malman Law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose Malman Law again in the future.
- Malak St.Clair
Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me and my daughter.
- Devri Lott
I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case. My children were involved in an auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.
- Adrian Lopez
A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.
- Vanessa Leon
Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey have been instrumental in helping me through many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, but they have also continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.
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This law firm is the best they got me paid and Malman Law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position, they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker
- Jeff Walker
Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, he takes time to listen to his clients, and gather facts accordingly.
- Steve Acosta
Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff, kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.
- Adrianna Gomez
Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of an apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars
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Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!
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- Eddie Villarreal
I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!
- Madissen Miller
Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!
- Christina Ocon
Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!
- Adriana Martinez
So glad I contacted Malman Law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr. Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!
- Virgil Sanner
I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!
- Jazlyn Caraballo
My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained the next steps, and got my case resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.
- Ashley Jenkins
2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet
NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim