Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansas is known for its natural beauty. Its mountains, rivers, valleys, lakes, forests, and bayous can be accessed from the roadways that run throughout the state. Riding a motorcycle puts you closer to the scenery and fresh air, which is why thousands of drivers choose motorcycles over vehicles.
The joy of the ride can change to horror in an instant when a vehicle driver neglects their duty of care and causes a crash. With little protection from the vehicle, roadway, and impact, motorcycle riders often sustain serious or fatal injuries.
At Cortinez Law Firm, we have been helping injured motorcycle riders and their families hold negligent drivers accountable in Little Rock, Conway, Benton-Bryant, Cabot, and throughout Central Arkansas for decades. We guide victims through the complex legal process of pursuing fair compensation through personal injury and wrongful death claims.
What to Do if You Were in a Motorcycle Accident
Seeking medical attention is the most important thing to do after you have been in a motorcycle accident. Do so even if you don’t think or are not sure you are injured because many injuries can be masked by the rush of adrenaline crash victims experience. Moreover, some injuries simply aren’t readily apparent, but delaying medical diagnosis and treatment could mean never fully recovering from some injuries. Take care of yourself first.
Next, it is important to both document and gather documents you will need to assert a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Necessary documents include a copy of the crash report, copies of medical records, and bills from medical treatment or funeral expenses. If you were injured but are able, document the name, contact, and insurance information from the negligent driver, as well as the names and contact information for any witnesses at the scene. Also, write down your recollection of what happened while the incident is still fresh in your mind.
Contact your insurance company so the adjuster can assign a claim number. If your motorcycle policy includes personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, you can claim up to the policy limits for those benefits to pay for medical expenses, lost income, or funeral expenses. If the other driver was uninsured, which is against mandatory liability insurance requirements under Arkansas law, you can claim the uninsured motorist benefits under your own policy. If the other driver’s bodily injury liability limits are insufficient to fully compensate you for your damages, you can file a claim against your policy’s underinsured motorist benefits if you have that coverage.
Finally, hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer will collect all the necessary documents, help you file claims against your insurance coverage, and put the insurance company of the negligent driver on notice of your intent to assert a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Your lawyer knows how to execute all the necessary steps in investigating a crash, documenting a claim, negotiating with the other driver’s insurer, and if necessary, filing a personal injury or wrongful death petition in court.
Arkansas Motorcycle Laws That Could Affect Your Claim
Everyone, regardless of the type of vehicle they are operating, must obey the rules of the road; however, there are some laws that apply specifically to operating motorcycles. These laws are designed to increase the safety of motorcycles.
In a personal injury or wrongful death claim, the vehicle driver’s insurer will attempt to assign fault to you to avoid paying a claim. If you were not complying with the rules of the road or any of these motorcycle-specific laws at the time, the insurer will use that against you.
Lane splitting, riding a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, is not addressed under Arkansas law. Insurers, however, will argue that although you were not breaking the law, lane splitting is dangerous and contributed to the crash.
Helmet laws, designed for safety, are only required for operators under the age of 21. Goggles, face shields, or protective glasses are required for every rider.
Passengers are only allowed if the motorcycle is designed to carry one, meaning there is a separate passenger seat and footrests. Passengers must be 8 years of age or older, and operators under the age of 16 are prohibited from carrying a passenger.
Motorcycles must be equipped with functioning headlights, taillights, reflectors, hand and foot brakes, and horns.
Assignment of Fault
Arkansas is an at-fault state which means an at-fault driver is legally responsible for the damages they cause to others. To prove negligence, you must establish that the driver owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty, and that as a result, you sustained injuries and damages.
Arkansas also observes modified comparative fault which could reduce the amount of money you receive in a settlement reflecting the percentage of fault assigned to you. So long as you were less than 50% at fault, you can pursue compensation from the other driver. For example, you are held 30% at fault and the other driver 70%. If the settlement sum is $100,000, you would receive $70,000, reflecting the 30% reduction for your share of fault.
Filing a Claim for the Injuries or Death of a Loved One
Often, motorcycle riders sustain injuries that render them incapable of pursuing their own personal injury claim. Others die from their injuries and never have a chance to pursue a personal injury claim.
If your loved one was incapacitated by their injuries, you can ask the court to appoint a conservator to pursue a personal injury claim on their behalf to recover damages. If your loved one was killed, the personal representative, who would be named in the decedent’s will or other estate planning document, can pursue a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for the estate and its beneficiaries. If your loved one had no will, the court will appoint a personal representative for the estate.
Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Little Rock, Arkansas
If you were injured by a negligent driver while riding a motorcycle in Little Rock or Central Arkansas, or if your loved one was robbed of the opportunity to pursue a claim, Cortinez Law Firm can help. The insurance company will do everything it can to deny or devalue your claim. We welcome the challenge to fight for just compensation for our clients. Call our office now to schedule a free consultation.