More people get around on motorcycles these days in Fort Collins and throughout Northern Colorado than ever before. Why not? Motorcyclists can enjoy breathtaking scenery while they cruise through the many trails winding through the Rocky Mountains. Riding a motorcycle also involves significantly less gas and expense than driving an automobile.
However, motorcycle riding also carries risks. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reports that 18 percent of traffic fatalities involve motorcyclists even though motorcycles represent just three percent of the vehicles on our roads. Unfortunately, many of these accidents result from the failure of car and truck drivers to safely share the road with motorcycle riders.
At Steve Ray Law, PLLC, we wholly support motorcyclists in Colorado and protect their rights. If you recently suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, we’ve got your six! Attorney Steve Ray is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who will work tirelessly with our legal team to seek the compensation you are due. Contact us today in Northern Colorado to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more.
What Are Your Rights as a Motorcyclist in Fort Collins?
Drivers should treat motorcycles no differently than any other vehicle they encounter on the road. Unfortunately, too many car and truck drivers in Fort Collins and other areas of Northern Colorado fail to see it that way. As attorney Steve Ray has seen over his many years as a personal injury lawyer in Colorado, serious accidents and injuries result when these drivers:
- Try to share a lane with the motorcyclist – A motorcyclist, just a like a car driver, needs a full lane to safely maneuver. For instance, the motorcyclist may need to swerve to avoid a pothole, grease slick, loose gravel or object in the road.
- Follow the motorcycle too closely – Just as you do when trailing a car, you should leave a three- or four-second distance when you drive behind a motorcycle. Because motorcyclists may need to stop suddenly to avoid hazards, this distance is especially important.
- Fail to check their mirrors for motorcycles – Car drivers need to look out for motorcycles just as they look out for cars. Drivers should always use their rear and side mirrors to spot motorcycles that may be approaching or which could become lost in “blind spots.”
- Turn in front of motorcycles – For whatever reason, car drivers tend to think they can “beat” motorcycles and make right-hand or left-hand turns in front of them – maneuvers they wouldn’t normally make when encountering another car. In some cases, drivers turn in front of motorcycles because they simply fail to see them.
- Fail to secure their cargo – All too often, unsecured objects flying from the backs of pickup trucks or dump trucks strike motorcyclists, causing head and eye injuries or forcing them to lose control of their motorcycles.
If a car or truck driver violates a motorcyclist’s rights by engaging in this type of negligent conduct, and it causes a crash, the injured motorcyclist has the right to sue the driver for the harm that he or she has suffered.
Motorcyclists, like car drivers, also have a right to travel on safe roads. If an accident results from a road defect such as a pothole or open bridge joint, or if it results from a lack of signs warning a hazard ahead, a negligent government agency or the contractor it hired should be held responsible.
Additionally, if a motorcycle’s brakes, chain or tires fail, the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of those parts should pay for any losses that the defective motorcycle part caused.
At Steve Ray Law, PLLC in Fort Collins, we know how to identify common causes of motorcycle accidents. We can conduct a comprehensive investigation of your case and consult with experts in motorcycle accident reconstruction. If a driver violated your rights as a motorcyclist in Colorado and caused you to suffer injuries, we will aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve.
What Compensation Can You Seek after Colorado Motorcycle Accident?
Personal injury attorney Steve Ray knows how motorcycle accidents in Colorado can cause devastating, life-changing injuries. Some of the common motorcycle accident injuries that people suffer in these crashes are:
- Head and brain injuries (even if a rider wears a helmet)
- Back and spine damage
- Multiple fractures
- Amputation (or loss of use of limbs)
- Chest and shoulder injuries
- Eye injuries (including vision loss)
- Burn injuries (such as friction burns or “road rash”)
- Scarring and disfigurement.
Our law firm realizes how these injuries can lead to costly, extensive medical treatment for our clients. Also, many motorcycle accident victims that we assist suffer injuries that prevent them from working for a prolonged period of time. Frequently, our clients find that they can never return to their job or enjoy life’s activities as they did before the crash.
If a negligent motor vehicle driver caused your crash, Steve Ray and our legal team can pursue legal damages on your behalf that include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminishment of your future earning ability
- Pain and suffering.
If another person’s especially egregious misconduct caused your motorcycle accident injuries – for instance, a drunk driver struck you, or a driver ran you off the road in a fit of “road rage” – our law firm may seek punitive damages as well.
If your loved one died in a motorcycle crash in Colorado, we would seek a different set of legal damages in your case through a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation typically sought in this type of claim includes compensation for the loss of your loved one’s financial support.
What Types of Insurance Cover Colorado Motorcycle Accidents?
Steve Ray Law, PLLC, will explore all sources of compensation available in your case. The insurance policies that may provide this compensation in your case include:
- Med-pay coverage – Insurers must offer Colorado motorcyclists, like car drivers, at least $5,000 in coverage for their medical expenses no matter who is at fault in an accident.
- Liability coverage – If a car or truck driver caused your motorcycle crash, that driver’s insurance should pay for any damage to your bike and any bodily harm that you or your passenger suffered.
- UM/UIM coverage – If you have purchased this optional coverage, you may be able to seek compensation if you are hit by an uninsured driver, injured in a hit-and-run accident or involved in a crash with a driver whose insurance fails to fully cover your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other losses.
Negotiations with insurance companies in Colorado can be especially difficult when a case involves a collision between a motor vehicle driver and a motorcyclist. Insurance companies often assert that the motorcyclist was wholly or partially at fault for the crash.
Under Colorado law, if the negligence of the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit (or the deceased in a wrongful death claim) exceeds that of the defendant, the plaintiff can be barred from recovering any damages. Otherwise, the plaintiff’s recovery is reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s share of fault.
At Steve Ray Law, PLLC, we’ve got your back. You can count on us to aggressively challenge any insurance company attempts to pin undue blame on you for your motorcycle accident.
For instance, insurers often claim that a motorcyclist contributed to his or her injury by failing to wear a helmet. Although our attorneys strongly recommend that motorcycle riders wear a helmet, the bottom line is that, under Colorado law, you are not legally required to wear a helmet if you are age 18 or older.
If the insurance company persists in challenging its insured driver’s liability or tries to minimize the amount you recover, Steve Ray will be ready to fight for you in court.
Follow Our Fort Collins Motorcycle Accident Checklist
As you move forward with your motorcycle accident case in Fort Collins, our legal team at Steve Ray Law, PLLC, suggests that you take these steps:
- Get medical attention – After any motor vehicle crash, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. A doctor can provide a timely diagnosis of your injuries and start you on a course of treatment. Timely documentation of your injuries also will play an important role in your insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Order a copy of the crash report – You should contact the local law enforcement agency that responded to your motorcycle accident such as the Fort Collins Police Department or Larimer County Sheriff’s Office. You can also order a copy online.
- Gather photos and documents and other evidence – Keep copies of any photos that you took of the accident scene or your injuries. You should also hold on to contact information of eyewitnesses, medical bills, motorcycle repair bills and letters or e-mails from the insurance company.
- Write a summary – When you have the opportunity, write down every detail about the motorcycle accident that you can recall. This writing will help to jog your memory when you meet with Steve Ray about your motorcycle accident claim.
- Refer the insurance company to your lawyer – You should report your injury to your own insurance company as soon as you can after your motorcycle wreck (or ask a family member to report it). You can simply give the facts about the accident. You do not need to give a recorded statement. If the other party’s insurance company contacts you, refer the insurer to Steve Ray Law, PLLC. You should not give a statement or accept a settlement offer until you consult with an attorney first.
- Stay away from social media – Today, insurance companies scour through social media sites for any information they can use to deny or minimize an accident victim’s claim. You will serve your best interests by never discussing your motorcycle accident, injuries, insurance claim or lawsuit on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. You should consider avoiding social media altogether until your case is over.
Get Help Today from an Experienced Fort Collins Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Steve Ray and our legal team understand the gravity of motorcycle crashes. We are committed to protecting motorcyclists’ rights and seeking maximum compensation for them after a collision with a negligent motor vehicle driver.
We work with motorcycle accident victims and their families in Fort Collins and throughout Northern Colorado. Contact us today to receive a free initial consultation and learn more about how Northern Colorado lawyer Steve Ray Law, PLLC, can help you and your family.