What Common Motorcycle Accident Terms Mean

You may have a lot of questions after your motorcycle crash. As you seek answers, you need to understand how the legal process works and what your recovery may include. As you read motorcycle accident articles, watch videos, or talk to others about your potential accident case, you may hear confusing terms. We don’t want you to worry about being confused. Here, we will explain common motorcycle accident legal terms and how a motorcycle accident lawyer may help you if you’re hurt.

18 Motorcycle Accident Terms Defined

Some of the terms that you may hear if you pursue a motorcycle accident injury case include:

  • Answer: The defendant’s response to the complaint you file in court to formally begin your case.
  • Burden of Proof: As the plaintiff, you must prove your case to the court. In a motorcycle accident case, you must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you must prove that the accident and your resulting injury more likely than not happened because of the defendant’s negligence.
  • Cause of Action: Your legal claim against the defendant.
  • Collision Insurance Coverage: A type of motorcycle accident insurance that covers damage to your motorcycle after a collision.
  • Comparative Negligence: The plaintiff bears some legal responsibility for the motorcycle accident. Each state has its own comparative negligence (or contributory negligence) laws. In Wisconsin, for example, you may recover damages even if you were partly at fault for the crash unless your percentage of fault exceeds 50%.
  • Contingency Free Agreement: A type of agreement between an attorney and a client where the client pays the attorney an agreed-upon percentage of a legal recovery rather than hourly legal fees.
  • Counterclaim: The defendant may raise a legal claim against the plaintiff in the same lawsuit already filed by the plaintiff.
  • Damages: Your financial compensation for your accident injuries. In a motorcycle crash, damages may include past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering, and other losses or expenses related to your injury.
  • Discovery: The legal process of gathering evidence. Your attorney may use discovery methods such as interrogatories, depositions, and requests to produce documents.
  • Evidence: Motorcycle accident evidence may include statements under oath, photos, videos, expert testimony, medical records, and other documentation.
  • Liability Insurance: Insurance coverage that covers bodily injury and property damage that you cause others to suffer in a crash.
  • Motorcycle Accident Attorney: Any lawyer admitted to the bar in the state where your accident occurred may represent you in a motorcycle accident lawsuit and may be considered a motorcycle accident attorney. However, some lawyers have more experience with motorcycle injury cases than others.
  • Negligence: A person who owes another person a duty of care, breaches that duty of care, and causes an injury because of the breach of the duty of care is negligent and at fault for the crash.
  • Pain and Suffering: The physical pain and emotional suffering you experience because of your accident injuries.
  • Standing to Sue: The right to file a lawsuit in court. If you are over the age of 18 and your own legal guardian, then you have the right to bring a lawsuit for your own injuries. Otherwise, your parent or legal guardian may bring a lawsuit on your behalf.
  • Statute of Limitations: The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Part of your own motorcycle accident insurance policy that may apply if you are injured in a crash with a hit and run driver or someone who does not have insurance.
  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Part of your own motorcycle accident insurance policy that may apply if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries fully.

Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Explain Things in Plain English

It’s one thing to read and understand the terms above and another thing to figure out how all of these terms work together. Our motorcycle accident attorneys are here to help you every step of the way. We are also riders, and nearly 5,000 fellow riders have hired us to represent them after accident injuries.

We welcome you to contact us today for a free consultation in one of our 11 Midwest offices throughout Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, by phone, videoconference, or in your home or hospital room.


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