Motorcycle Accidents Attorney in Hazard, Kentucky
Motorcycles can provide a wonderful sense of freedom. However, that freedom comes with a price when someone else is negligent while sharing the roadway. There is little protection if you are involved in a motorcycle accident, which means injuries can be severe or, in some cases, deadly.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. If your loved one was incapacitated by their injuries or died as a result, you may be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim to recover damages.
At The Law Office of Kyle S. Hall, I represent motorcycle injury victims and their families in Hazard, Kentucky, and in Knott, Leslie, Letcher, and Perry counties. Kentucky law doesn’t make it easy for victims to recover from those whose fault caused a crash, but I am here to help.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
The first step you should take after a motorcycle accident is to get medical treatment. You should be examined, and your injuries diagnosed by an emergency physician. It is important to seek treatment from doctors and specialists because you need to address your injuries and follow the prescribed treatment plan for your claim and recovery.
You will need to obtain copies of documents ranging from the crash report filed by law enforcement to your medical records and bills associated with the treatment of your injuries. Get a copy of your current motorcycle insurance plan if you do not already have one. Request copies of records from your employer about your hours, pay, and leave.
It is also wise to document your recollection of the accident. Write down information about your injuries, the level of your pain, and the disabilities caused by your injuries, even if they are temporary. Document days you miss work for doctor’s appointments and when you simply are not capable of working.
Contact your insurance company so the adjuster can open a claim. You should be able to begin accessing your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits immediately for medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses. If another party is fully or partially at fault for the accident, contact their insurance company about filing a bodily injury claim against their liability coverage.
If you have just been in an accident or a loved one has, this can all sound overwhelming. You should be represented by a motorcycle accident attorney, so hire one with experience. Your attorney will do most of the work required, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
What Kentucky Laws Can Affect a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Motorcycles, just like any other vehicle, must comply with the rules of the road, such as speed limits, traffic signs and signals, and yielding the right of way. However, there are Kentucky laws that specifically address the safe operation of motorcycles. The violation of those laws may contribute to an accident, which could place some degree of liability on the motorcycle operator. Following are a few of those laws.
Lane splitting, driving between vehicles in lanes, is not prohibited in Kentucky. That said, if law enforcement believes a motorcycle operator splitting lanes is unsafe at the time, the operator can be ticketed. Lane splitting, whether legal or not, is a risky tactic. That risk could be perceived as contributing to the cause of an accident.
Helmets are only required of certain motorcycle operators in Kentucky. Those under the age of 21 must wear helmets approved by the Kentucky Department of Transportation (DOT). Operators of any age with a permit must wear them, as do operators of any age who have been licensed for less than one year. Not complying with helmet laws could place some liability on an injury victim. For example, a jury could find that a 20-year-old operator who suffered a traumatic brain injury when hit by a vehicle had some blame for the severity of their injuries because they weren’t wearing a helmet.
There is no age requirement to be a motorcycle passenger, but passengers under age 21 must wear a DOT-approved helmet. Also, passengers are only allowed on motorcycles if the vehicle is built to carry one, meaning there must be a seat and footrests designed for a passenger.
Motorcycles in Kentucky must be equipped with a headlight with high and low beams, a taillight, brake light, horn, rearview mirror, front and rear brakes, muffler, tailpipe, and tires in good condition. If you are in an accident without the required motorcycle equipment, you could face an assignment of liability. You are also required to carry proof of liability insurance operating a motorcycle.
How Is Fault Determined in Kentucky?
Kentucky is a no-fault state, meaning injury victims are required to access their personal injury protection (PIP) benefits rather than file a claim or lawsuit against the person who caused the crash. However, if your medical expenses are $1,000 or more, or you suffer permanent disfigurement, disability, or death, you can proceed against the at-fault driver. You must prove that person owed you a duty of care, failed to uphold that duty, and as a result, you suffered injuries and damages.
Kentucky also observes pure comparative negligence. This allows you to pursue the other driver’s liability coverage, but any recovery would be reduced by any percentage of fault assigned to you.
Can I File a Claim if a Loved One Was Incapacitated or Killed?
If the victim’s injuries have made them unable to pursue a personal injury claim on their own, a spouse or other family member can pursue one on their behalf. If the victim has not executed a durable power of attorney giving someone such authority, you can petition the court for a conservatorship which would allow you to do so.
If your loved one died as the result of their injuries, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, named in their will, can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and its beneficiaries. If there is no will, the probate court will appoint a personal representative.
In either case, you will need to prove negligence on the other driver’s part and defend any assertions of negligence against your loved one.
Motorcycle Accident Attorney Serving Hazard, Kentucky
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else in Hazard, Kentucky, or the surrounding counties, or if your loved one has been incapacitated or killed, call The Law Office of Kyle S. Hall now to schedule a free case consultation. I have the knowledge, resources, and practice to fight for you.