A closeup of a poorly-maintained motorcycle's front wheel.

Motorcycle accidents present a significant risk of injury for riders, primarily due to the lack of protective features on a bike. Unlike cars, which are equipped with seatbelts, airbags, and robust frames, motorcycles offer minimal protection during a crash.

When a bike is hit by a car, the rider often suffers severe injuries, while the car driver may have no or minor injuries.

Given these dangers, most motorcyclists exercise great caution and make every effort to avoid accidents. Defensive driving can mitigate some risks but can’t eliminate them entirely—especially if other drivers are distracted, speeding, or breaking traffic laws.

After an accident,  you’ll probably seek assistance from the other driver’s insurance company—but you might not get the help you need. When filing an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident, the other party might accuse you of being at fault or driving recklessly.

How can you secure the assistance you need following a motorcycle collision?

Speak With an Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

Insurance adjusters always review claims, looking for ways to reduce or avoid a settlement. But when the damage amount is high—as is often the case with motorcycle accidents—the adjuster will spend even more time looking for a way to blame you.

For this reason, we recommend discussing your case with an experienced Albuquerque personal injury lawyer immediately. We’ll promptly begin investigating the incident and collecting evidence to demonstrate your minimal or nonexistent fault.

We’ll also assess your damages thoroughly to ensure the insurance company offers a fair settlement for your losses.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, please contact Olson Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. There’s no obligation, and you can ask us any questions regarding your accident.

We’ll outline your options for seeking compensation, and if we accept your case, there are no upfront fees to concern you. You won’t owe us anything until your case is resolved, so there’s no risk.

Why Are There So Many Motorcycle Accidents in New Mexico?

US Department of Transportation data shows that New Mexico has a relatively high per-capita rate of motorcycle fatalities. For the year 2021, the state saw 51 motorcycle accident deaths and likely many more injuries.

Nationally, New Mexico ranks fourteenth for motorcycle fatalities.

The state has many stretches of open roads that attract bikers from all over the country, so its popularity as a riding destination may play a role. Additionally, New Mexico also has more distracted driving deaths overall than any other state in the country.

While distracted drivers are a menace to everyone on the road, they can be especially dangerous to bikers due to the increased risks. At the same time, bikes are often easy to miss, even for a driver who is paying attention—and more so for a distracted motorist.

If you’re going riding, it’s a good idea to make yourself as visible as possible. Using brightly-colored clothes and reflective patches or material on your bike can help get another driver’s attention. Adding auxiliary lights on the front of your bike also boosts visibility.

Wearing a DOT-approved helmet with a face shield for eye protection will also greatly reduce your risk of injury or death if an accident does occur. Jackets, long pants, boots, gloves, and other clothing items designed for riding can protect your limbs and torso from injuries as well.

What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?

A motorcycle accident often happens in only a few seconds and can be very disconcerting. One minute, you’re cruising along, having a great ride, and the next, you could be thrown off your bike.

Staying calm and thinking clearly can be difficult in these situations, but remembering the next steps will be beneficial:

  • Check for injuries and other risky situations. If you’ve landed on the road, you’ll want to move to the sidewalk or shoulder to avoid another collision. If you’re unable to move the bike, turn the flashers on and get yourself to safety. Once you’re out of the road, examine yourself carefully for injuries.
  • Call 911 to report the collision. Ask for an ambulance if you have injuries, even ones that seem minor. Many people underestimate the scope of their injuries in the moments after an accident, and it’s better to have a paramedic check you out.
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Ideally, they will have stopped to see if you’re all right. If they drive off instead, try to get their license plate number or at least a description of the vehicle so you can pass it on to the police.
  • If you’re able, give a statement to the authorities when they arrive. Some motorcyclists, due to severe injuries, are unable to explain their side of the accident at the scene. If you’re seriously injured and can’t give a statement for several days, the police report may be weighted in favor of the other driver. This situation is frustrating, but your attorney can challenge the police report for inaccuracies if we find additional evidence in your favor.
  • Don’t admit fault at the scene, even if you think you might be at fault. Frequently, people incorrectly believe they caused an accident. It’s also possible that both you and the other driver made mistakes that contributed to the crash. In New Mexico, you are not completely barred from recovery if you are partially at fault for an accident, so you can still recover some of your damages.
  • Seek medical care for your injuries right away. Don’t assume the pain will resolve on its own or wait to see if it gets worse. Sometimes, severe injuries initially present a few symptoms. The adrenaline rush from the accident can mask symptoms like pain, or your injuries might feel worse once they become swollen due to the body’s healing process. Seeing a healthcare provider ensures you will be screened for serious complications and creates a record of your injuries in case you need additional treatment later.
  • Contact a motorcycle accident attorney right away. It’s likely the insurance company is already looking for excuses to deny your claim or reduce your settlement value. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer should also investigate your collision and build a strong case to obtain the settlement you deserve.

How Can Your Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help You Prove Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

Proving fault in a motorcycle collision can be complicated, and in most cases, one or more insurance companies will make the determination.

If you file a claim on the other driver’s insurance, a claims adjuster will study the police report and other evidence, searching for any sign you were at fault. They do not need to prove you were entirely to blame; as discussed earlier, both parties can share fault.

If the adjuster argues that you were just 10 or 20 percent at fault, they can justify subtracting this percentage from your settlement.

Because motorcycle accidents are often very serious for the rider, your damages could total five, six, or even seven figures. When you think about reducing that amount by even ten percent, you can see how much money the insurance company might save.

If the adjuster feels they have stronger evidence, they might decide you have an even higher percentage of fault and, in some cases, even blame the entire accident on you.

What About Your Insurance Company?

If the other driver has significant damages, they may also file a claim on your insurance policy, and your insurance company will assign an adjuster to review their claim. This process is the same as when you file a claim—the adjuster will look for reasons to reject or reduce the other party’s claim.

For this reason, your insurance company will make a reasonable effort to argue that you had little or nothing to do with the accident. However, both companies will engage in a negotiation process.

At some point, your insurance company may decide they’ve saved enough money and call it a day. Since the other driver’s claim is likely to be lower than yours, the adjuster may be less motivated to reduce the settlement and may accept a somewhat higher degree of fault than you have.

How Can You Be Sure Your Interests Are Represented in the Insurance Companies’ Negotiations?

The best way to protect your interests is to engage the services of a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer. Our job is to fight for you and obtain the largest settlement possible.

Unlike insurance companies, we won’t call it a day until we’ve achieved the best possible result in your case. As soon as we take your case, we’ll go to work searching for evidence, including:

  • Interviewing witnesses. Sometimes, witnesses are missed at the scene or don’t have a chance to give a full statement. They may have left before the police arrived, or the officer might have had limited time to talk to witnesses. Our investigators will reinterview all known witnesses to learn if there are additional details that might shed light on the crash.
  • Looking for a video of the accident. We live in a digital world where cameras aren’t everywhere but are in many places. Often, we can find video from a nearby doorbell or security camera, or possibly a dashcam. However, we’re much more likely to find this valuable evidence if you contact us quickly after the accident. In many cases, camera owners regularly delete old videos to free up hard drive space.
  • Examining photos from the scene. If you’re in a condition to do so, try to take pictures at the scene, capturing the damage to your bike and the other vehicle, your injuries, and the surrounding area. This should include close-ups of any tire marks on the road, as well as debris from the collision.
  • Reviewing black box data. Almost all modern cars produced in the US contain an event data recorder, or EDR, that collects data pertaining to an “event,” which is usually a strong impact or collision. Many motorcycles have a similar box. Although EDRs are meant to help the manufacturer improve vehicle safety, the data can also be used to assist in an accident investigation. We may be able to uncover how fast the other driver was going, what direction they were moving in, and what, if any, actions they took to avoid the collision.

How Much Is Your Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?

This is another area in which your motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you. Aside from working to establish fault, we’ll carefully calculate the value of your claim.

Many people underestimate how much their claim is worth, and the insurance adjuster will do the same for different reasons. Injured people tend to underestimate their claims because the average layperson doesn’t know how to value a claim.

Insurance adjusters undervalue claims because it helps keep costs low for the company.

The adjuster won’t completely ignore any damages you do claim, but in some cases, they may assign a value that is too low, especially in categories where the extent of the damage is somewhat subjective. For instance, pain and suffering are often calculated based on a “Multiplier” formula because this loss doesn’t come with a bill for a specific amount.

The formula is meant to allow for a fair consideration of your pain and suffering, but the multiplier is a number chosen by the insurance adjuster. They’re directed to select a number based on the severity of your injuries, but this is at least somewhat up to the adjuster’s interpretation.

If we believe the adjuster has underestimated the impact of your injuries, we’ll fight for another estimate.

Adjusters may also ignore other potential damages if you don’t know to ask for them. Or, they might ask a few cursory questions about other damages, the ramifications of which may not be apparent to the injured rider.

Often, the injured person doesn’t know what other damages they have, and it’s easy for the adjuster to write off additional losses, costing the accident victim a portion of their ideal settlement.

For this reason, an experienced motorcycle accident attorney is invaluable in assisting you with a motorcycle accident claim. We’ll carefully review all the following categories to ensure every damage is properly calculated, then estimate your claim’s total value:

Medical Care

Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents result in severe injuries and the accompanying large medical bills. Just keeping track of all the invoices can be a nightmare while you’re struggling to recover from your injuries.

Worse, you may be out of work and losing income daily while the bill collectors keep calling. We’ll help you sort out your expenses and inquire about future treatment because we want to ensure everything is covered.

We’ll ask about each of the following so that nothing is missed:

  • Out-of-pocket copays: Even with a robust health insurance policy, you might face a deductible, a copay, or coverage of only a portion of your treatment.
  • Prescription costs: Your medical insurance might not fully cover all prescriptions, and sometimes, the insurer may deny coverage entirely.
  • Treatment not covered by your health insurance: Similar to prescriptions, insurance companies may refuse to cover certain in-hospital treatments, surgeries, or procedures they consider “unnecessary.” Many patients also find that their insurance only covers a limited number of physical or occupational therapy sessions, even when they need continued therapy for severe injuries.
  • Travel expenses: Reasonable travel costs to see a specialist for your injuries should be covered.
  • Mobility aids and home modifications: We’ll add up out-of-pocket costs for items like crutches, canes, or wheelchairs, as well as any necessary home adjustments such as wheelchair ramps or shower bars.
  • Equipment for at-home physical therapy: Your therapist might recommend exercises that require weights, medicine balls, or other resistance tools, which are essential for your rehabilitation between sessions.
  • In-home care: If you need private nursing or in-home healthcare, we can seek reimbursement for these out-of-pocket costs.

Lost Income and/or Future Earnings

Missing time at work after a motorcycle crash can only make matters worse. Even if you have paid time off (PTO), you are still depleting your paid sick days.

Unfortunately, a limited amount of PTO could leave you without income for the remaining recovery period. If your injuries keep you out of work for weeks or months, you might face a substantial loss of income due to unpaid leave.

In cases of severe accidents, a permanent disability might prevent you from returning to your job. A permanent disability could come in several forms—you may be unable to work at all, or you could be forced to reduce your hours or move to a less lucrative job.

In any scenario, your earning capacity has been diminished by your injuries, and you deserve compensation for this loss. We will meticulously assess the income you would have likely earned if the accident had not occurred and negotiate with the insurance company to secure a fair settlement for these damages.

Pain and Suffering

Classified as non-economic damages, pain and suffering are very real but often challenging to place a value on. As discussed earlier, it’s common for the insurance adjuster to underestimate the value of this category, but we’ll fight to ensure you receive a fair amount for the following:

  • Physical pain and discomfort from your injuries: This can range from short-term pain lasting a few days or weeks to chronic pain lasting for months or indefinitely.
  • Emotional or mental distress: This includes anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues related to your injuries. The trauma of a motorcycle accident often leads to a decline in mental well-being. If you notice symptoms like mood swings, insomnia, or heightened anxiety, be sure to discuss them with your doctor.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: If you suffer a significant permanent disability, it could affect your ability to enjoy your usual activities and interests, your relationships, or your life in general.

Property Damage

As with physical injuries, property damage to your bike may also be severe. In many cases, a motorcycle might be totaled after being hit by a car, or the repairs could be extensive.

There may also be damage to valuables you carry on the bike, like a phone or other electronics. You also deserve compensation for “diminished value” if your bike’s value declines due to the collision.

Wrongful Death

In the most severe motorcycle accidents, the biker may lose their life due to the negligence of another motorist, leading to a wrongful death case. If you’ve lost someone you love to a motorcycle collision, you may be forced to deal with harsh financial realities while still grieving.

We know scrambling to pay bills is the last thing you need in such a difficult situation, so we’ll work to recover damages, including final medical bills, funeral or burial expenses, loss of financial support, and your own emotional distress and loss of companionship.

Where Can You Seek Help From an Albuquerque Motorcycle Accident Law Firm?

Recovering from a motorcycle accident can be a lengthy and complex journey, but dealing with an insurance company shouldn’t add to your challenges. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash, please contact Olson Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation to explore your options.

We’re here to answer any questions you have and explain the potential avenues for obtaining compensation. We’ll diligently seek ways to recover some or all of your damages, and you won’t owe us anything unless we secure a win or settlement for your case.

Attorney Sean Olson pursued a career in photojournalism before his desire to make an impact and help others led him to pursue a legal career. Since earning his degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, he has been a staunch advocate for the rights of injured individuals and their families.

While he travels the country fighting for those who have suffered catastrophic injuries, Mr. Olson is never too busy to talk with clients and keep them updated on their cases. Outside of his legal work, Sean enjoys mountain biking, fly fishing, and spending time outdoors with his family.

Work with him today when you call (505) 391-4149.