guide to motorcycle accidents in des moinesGetting in a motorcycle accident can be scary. Not only are you not as protected as you would be if you were in a car, you likely collided with a car or a truck, which outweigh your vehicle by thousands of pounds.  Your primary concern should be recovering, not just physically, but mentally and financially as well. Hiring a proven Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer can go a long way to helping you in all three phases of recovery.

But, before diving into how an attorney can help you, you need to understand everything that surrounds this type of crash. That’s why our experienced Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer put together this comprehensive guide to bike crashes in Iowa. From common types of crashes, causes and injuries to filing a lawsuit with the right attorney by your side, read the article below for everything you need to know before and after a motorcycle crash.

Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents in Des Moines

A motorcycle and another vehicle may collide from any angle. Some common ways motorcycles and other vehicles collide include:

  • T-bone crashes. This type of accident commonly occurs at an intersection when a motorist fails to see—or fails to accurately judge the distance to—a motorcyclist. As a result the motorist proceeds through the intersection, and the vehicles collide front to side.
  • Rear-end accidents. Rear-end crashes are common when motorists are distracted, drowsy, drunk, aggressive, speeding, or otherwise negligent. They fail to leave enough distance between themselves and the riders in front of them and end up hitting the back of the bike.
  • Head-on collisions. A head-on crash occurs when a motorist is in the wrong and collides with the front of a motorcycle. According to our Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer, this can occur, for example, if a motorist crosses the center line of a highway or if a motorist is traveling the wrong way on a one-way street.
  • Left-turn wrecks. Many motorists who are making left turns fail to see, or account for, riders who are traveling straight. As a result the motorist and motorcyclist may collide.

Common Reasons Des Moines Motorcycle Accidents Happen

Sometimes motorcycle accidents happen for multiple reasons. However, other times its one of the following reasons:

  • Poor road design or road conditions. Weather conditions, roads that are in disrepair, obstructed views, and other road design or road condition difficulties can result in a serious motorcycle wreck.
  • A drunk driver. Drunk drivers may have impaired reflexes, poor judgment, and other physical problems that make an accident more likely.
  • A distracted driver. Cell phone use while driving is one form of distracted driving, but it is not the only form of distraction that can result in a serious accident and injury.
  • A drowsy driver. Tired drivers may drift between lanes, may fail to see riders, and may fail to stop in time to avoid catastrophic crashes.
  • A speeding driver. Drivers who are exceeding the speed limit or who are traveling faster than is reasonable or proper may not be able to stop in time to avoid a crash.
  • An aggressive driver. Everyone is in a hurry. Drivers who weave in and out of traffic, follow the rider in front of them too closely, or are otherwise aggressive may cause serious accidents.
  • A driver who does not know how to share the road with riders. Car and truck drivers often make mistakes. The small size of motorcycles may confuse them and dangerous, potentially deadly mistakes may be made.

Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries That Can Occur After a Crash

If you or a loved one has been in a bike crash in Des Moines, then it is important to watch out for these common motorcycle accident injuries:

  • Amputations. An arm, hand, finger, leg, foot, or toe may be severed at the scene of the accident. An amputation may also occur if a break is complicated or a wound is infected and it is the only option to save a rider’s life.
  • Rider’s arm. This type of injury affects the upper arm of a motorcyclist and could result in permanent paralysis.
  • Brain injuries. A traumatic brain injury may occur due to the force of the crash or when a rider’s head hits the ground or another hard object. Skull fractures may also occur. The impact of a brain injury on the life of a motorcyclist depends on the part of the brain that is hurt.
  • Broken bones. Any bone can break when a rider is thrown from his bike. Broken hips, pelvises, ribs, collarbones, arms, and legs are common and can result in significant pain. Of course, multiple fractures are also a risk for riders.
  • Chest injuries. Your lungs and heart may be vulnerable after a chest injury. This injuries can be life threatening and they require immediate medical treatment.
  • Eye injuries. If something punctures the eye or debris gets into the eye then a painful eye injury could result. Sometimes eye injuries, including blindness, are permanent.
  • Facial and dental injuries. A broken jaw, a broken nose, or broken teeth can result in serious pain, the need for extensive medical care, and permanent disfigurement.
  • Open wounds. Lacerations and cuts can be large in size and can increase a rider’s risk of infection. Joint, nerve, and tendon damage is also a risk when open wound injuries occur.
  • Road rash. Road rash is not a rash at all, although it appears that way. Instead, it is scrapes and wounds that occur when a rider’s body is dragged along pavement. Road rash is common, it is painful, and it can result in permanent disfigurement or a serious infection.
  • Spinal cord injuries. You may suffer a complete spinal cord injury or an incomplete spinal cord injury in a bike crash. The type of injury that you suffer, its impact on your life, and your prognosis will depend on the part of your spinal cord that was hurt in the accident.
  • Death. While no one likes to think about it, many of the above injuries can also result in death.

What Damages Can You Recover

According to our Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer, the potential compensation that you may recover for your injuries is often divided into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include things that can be easily valued such as your past, current, and future:

  • Medical expenses. All of your medical costs—such as hospital stays, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, medication, physical therapy, other rehabilitation therapies, and assistive medical devices—may be included.
  • Lost income. If you were unable to work, or unable to earn the same income that you did prior to the accident, then you may recover for income that you’ve lost. This could include wages, earnings form clients, benefits, raises, bonuses, and other forms of compensation.
  • Out-of-pocket costs. Any specific bills that you incurred because of the motorcycle accident may be compensable. This could include compensation for damage to your bike, alternative transportation costs, or if your loved one has died then funeral costs, for example.

Non-economic damages are harder to value, but just as important to your fair recovery. Non-economic damages may include compensation for your:

  • Pain and suffering. Your physical pain and emotional suffering may be among your most significant damages. While there is no dollar amount that can undo these damages, a financial recovery is the best that the legal system can do to help you recover from these real injuries. Specific evidence will need to be presented to prove the value of these non-economic injuries.

Additionally, you may recover for any other kind of damage that you can prove was caused by the motorcycle crash. 

How to Prove Fault After a Des Moines Bike Wreck

There is no one right way to prove fault and the value of your damages. Many people who have been hurt in motorcycle crashes find that it is important to:

  • Collect evidence. Both at the scene of the crash and after the accident. The evidence that you collect will be necessary to prove your arguments, to encourage a settlement, or to get the court verdict that you deserve.
  • Have expert witnesses testify. Expert witnesses may provide useful information about what happened in the crash and others may prove the value of your damages.
  • Work with an experienced motorycle accident attorney. An attorney knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and how to make the necessary arguments in court.

Together, the evidence, the experts, and your Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover damages.

Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit in Des Moines: Can You Sue?

Your lawsuit starts when you file a complaint in court. However, before you get to that point, there are important things that you need to know to understand how Des Moines motorcycle accident lawsuits work and how to protect your recovery.

Before you file a complaint in a Des Moines court, you should know whether you have the right to do so and whether you may recover damages. Specifically, you should know:

  • If you have legal standing. You have the right to file a complaint if you were hurt in the accident, if you are the parent or guardian of someone under the age of 18, if you are the legal guardian of an adult, or if you are the administrator of the estate of someone who died in the accident.
  • If you are within the statute of limitations. Filing a claim before the deadline to do so is imperative. However, that time limit (detailed below) may be shortened or extended in some situations.
  • Whether contributory negligence applies to your case. If you bear the majority of the blame for the accident, then you may not be able to recover damages. However, you may be able to recover damages if you were partially—but not primarily—at fault for the crash.

If you have standing, if the statute of limitations has not yet expired, and if you were not primarily responsible for the motorcycle crash, then you should consider how to prove your case and make the fair recovery that you deserve.

Iowa Statute of Limitations for a Motorcycle Crashes

Generally, you have two years to file a claim if you were hurt in a motorcycle accident or if your loved one died in a motorcycle accident. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date of the accident if you were injured, or on the date of death if your loved one was killed. However, the time to file a claim may be extended if you were under the age of 18 when the bike crash occurred. In that case, the Iowa statute of limitations is extended and you have until your 19th birthday to file a claim, unless the two-year statute of limitations would provide you additional time.

best des moines motorcycle accident lawyerHow to Find the Best Des Moines Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

There isn’t one lawyer who is right for everyone. As you think about your choices, consider the following:

  • How much an attorney knows about riding. A Des Moines motorcycle accident attorney who is also an avid motorcyclist can provide valuable insight into your case. Many of our lawyers are passionate riders who understand the enjoyment and the risks of riding.
  • An attorney’s experience representing people who have been hurt in motorcycle crashes. Motorcycle accidents are different from car crashes and other types of personal injury cases. Therefore, you want to work with a lawyer who has represented motorcycle accident victims before. We regularly represent motorcyclists and are experienced in this area of the law.
  • What other people think about the lawyer. You can look at our motorcycle accident client testimonials on our website or on independent sites such as Martindale or Avvo. At Hupy and Abraham, we are proud of the relationships we have with former clients and with colleagues. We invite you to browse our testimonials across the internet before attempting to hire us.
  • Whether the lawyer is willing to go to trial to protect your rights. If a Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer is only willing to negotiate a settlement, then you can’t be sure that your fair recovery will be protected. We aren’t afraid to go to trial and insurance companies know that.
  • The firm’s policy and procedures for communicating with clients. A common complaint among clients is that they do not hear back from their lawyers in a timely manner. However, at Hupy and Abraham, our motorcycle accdient attorneys make client communication a priority.

Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Des Moines Today!

You have a lot at stake and the right Des Moines motorcycle accident lawyer can help you protect your fair recovery. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with us, fill out our online contact form or give our Des Moines office a call at (515) 984-0091 now!

Our motorcycle accident lawyers would be happy to answer your questions and to get to know you so that you can decide for yourself whether one of our lawyers may be the right attorney to help you and your family recover.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.