Anytime you are involved in a traffic accident, the aftermath can leave you wondering how the laws will impact your ability to recover from the financial losses. This is particularly true when you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, primarily because victims of a motorcycle accident often suffer more serious injuries than someone driving or occupying a car.
When you contact a motorcycle accident lawyer, you should expect their primary goal is making sure you understand your rights and the laws which impact those rights. Remember, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone if you contact a personal injury law firm in Central Oregon.
Important Oregon Motorcycle Laws You Should Understand
Some recent stats reveal there are more than 125,000 motorcycles registered across Oregon. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) provides a comprehensive guide to laws which operators must follow some of which include:
- Mandatory Rider Education — motorcycle operators must undergo rigorous training to be able to operate safely. There are different levels of rider education based on age with some waiving skills tests for riders.
- Motorcycle Operator Endorsements — operators are required to obtain endorsements and failure to do so is considered a misdemeanor crime. The required endorsements are clearly defined by ODOT.
- Motorcycle Insurance — each operator is required to maintain a minimum of $25,000 per person for bodily injury and property liability coverage as well as uninsured motorist coverage in Oregon.
- Helmets are Mandatory — drivers and passengers who are traveling in Oregon must all wear helmets.
Chances are, if you are involved in an accident and contact a personal injury lawyer in Bend after the accident, the attorney will make sure you have followed these laws as they may have an impact on your claim.
Steps Following an Oregon Motorcycle Accident
In the immediate aftermath of a motorcycle accident in Bend, there is always a lot of confusion. However, there are some important steps you should take to ensure your safety as well as making sure you have the information you need to submit an insurance claim. These steps include:
- Getting to safety
- Obtaining name, contact information, license, and insurance information on the other driver
- Taking photos of the scene and damage to your motorcycle
- Gathering names and contact information for any witnesses
- Seeking medical attention
- Contacting a personal injury law firm in Central Oregon for advice
- Notifying your insurer of the accident
These steps are critical to making sure your rights are protected. Some victims think they are just better off contacting their insurance company and filing a claim. This can do more harm than good.
Contact With Insurers Following an Oregon Motorcycle Accident
Victims of an Oregon motorcycle accident often ask why they should speak with an attorney before calling their insurance company. This is especially true if they are injured and know the accident was not their fault. There are several good reasons why legal advice is important, including protecting your legal options. Remember, once you provide your insurance company with information regarding the accident, they will likely contact the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Once this occurs, they will then contact you directly. The best advice is to not speak with them without legal representation. Some of what you should avoid if you speak with the at fault driver’s insurer before talking to a motorcycle accident lawyer include:
- Recorded statements — while the insurer may advise you the best way to make sure you have an accurate record of your report and that recording is the best option, we say do not do this without talking to a personal injury lawyer in Bend. These statements are often taken out of context during negotiations and could jeopardize your rights.
- Medical release forms — when you talk to an adjuster or other part of the insurance company’s team, they will probably ask you to sign a medical release form. You are under no obligation to do so and if you take a minute to review our frequently asked questions, you will see we strongly recommend against it.
- Quick settlement offers — as a Bend personal injury law firm we have seen insurers make fast settlement offers. This is particularly true when a victim of an accident suffers a catastrophic injury such as a brain injury in an accident. These companies are aware if they can get a motorcycle accident victim accept an early offer, they can minimize some of their liability.
Remember, under Oregon laws, victims have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit for injuries caused by another person’s negligent behavior. Victims who suffer serious injuries may need months to determine the full extent of their financial losses.
Types of Damages Included in Motorcycle Accident Claims
When you initially speak with a personal injury lawyer in Bend, they will explain the broad areas of damages which you can seek in an accident claim. Typically, these will include:
- Present medical costs
- Lost wages
- Estimated future medical costs
- Estimated wages lost where applicable
- Damage to your motorcycle
- Damage to other personal property
- Pain and suffering in some cases
Since not every accident is the same, and since a victim’s recovery time can be impacted by other factors including their age, and health prior to the accident, it is common for there to be a period following an accident where these numbers can be difficult to calculate. This is why it is so important to contact a motorcycle accident lawyer and allow them to handle negotiations with insurers.
Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm in Central Oregon
At Steele Law Firm our team committed to protecting the rights of Oregon motorcycle accident victims. We represent those who are injured in an accident as well as those family members who may need a wrongful death attorney because their loved one was killed in an Oregon motorcycle accident.
Contact Steele Law Firm today for a free, no obligation consultation and let us focus on getting you the compensation you deserve while you recover from the injuries you suffered in a motorcycle accident