Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Serving Riders Throughout Wyoming
It is crucial to talk to a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible if you were hurt in a crash with another motorist. Riders often suffer serious injuries in accidents with larger and heavier vehicles, and it is important to have a thorough understanding of your rights.
Motorcycle accidents involve a number of legal challenges. Attorneys at Burg Simpson can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages you have sustained.
For a FREE and confidential case evaluation, call Burg Simpson at 307-527-7891 today. Our motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients throughout Wyoming from our office in Cody.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
The drivers of cars, trucks, and SUVs are responsible for the majority of accidents involving motorcycles. Negligence on the part of a driver can take a number of different forms that put motorcyclists in danger. These include:
- Improper left turns: Many motorcycle accidents occur because the driver of a car turns left in front of a motorcyclist. The rider may have little to no time to stop, resulting in a crash. Left-turn motorcycle accidents often take place in intersections, but they can also happen on straight roads when the driver does not allow enough time or distance to make the turn.
- Unsafe merging and lane changes: Motorists need to pay extra attention when changing lanes or merging to see if there are any motorcycles in their blind spots. Failure to do so could result in a collision or the rider losing control and crashing.
- Tailgating: Following another vehicle too close is an accident waiting to happen. This same risk applies with motorcycles. However, when a motorcycle gets rear-ended, the potential for the rider to suffer catastrophic injury is extremely high.
- Speeding: Excess speed increases the risk of accidents. Drivers who go too fast have less time to stop, are more likely to lose control, and might fail to see other vehicles (especially motorcycles, which take up less space on the road).
- Distracted driving: Motorists who are preoccupied with their cell phones and other distractions are a danger to themselves and others. A motorcycle is more difficult to see than other types of vehicles, making distracted driving a major factor in motorcycle accidents caused by other drivers.
- Sudden braking: Drivers who fail to pay attention or exceed the speed limit may slam on their brakes in an effort to avoid an accident, an obstacle in the road, wildlife, etc. This can lead to a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles. Motorcycles have no seat belts, which means that riders are highly likely to be thrown or overturn the bike if a driver unexpectedly comes to a stop.
- Open-door accidents: Vehicle occupants who unthinkingly open their car doors into the path of a motorcycle can cause serious injury to the rider.
- Drunk driving: Everyone knows that drinking and driving is dangerous. Unfortunately, too many drivers take the risk and get behind the wheel when they are impaired. Innocent victims of drunk driving accidents (including motorcyclists) often suffer catastrophic injuries and even death.
Although it is always important to take into account the impact of driver negligence, our motorcycle accident lawyers will fully investigate to determine if one or more additional parties are responsible for the wreck. For example, local and state government agencies may be sued for road hazards and defective road designs that cause motorcyclists to crash.
In addition, our attorneys will thoroughly inspect your motorcycle to determine if a defect contributed to the crash. A product liability claim may be brought against the manufacturer of a motorcycle and/or its components if the failure of a part led to the accident.
Is Lane Splitting Legal in Wyoming?
Many motorcycle accidents occur when a rider passes in between lanes of traffic. This is known as lane splitting. When drivers fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or opening the door, there is a significant risk that they will strike the motorcycle.
Lane splitting is legal in some states. However, in Wyoming, lane splitting is illegal in all cases (see Wyoming Statutes § 31-5-115).
Motorcyclists who are injured in accidents while riding between lanes of traffic are likely to face significant difficulty recovering compensation. Although the negligence of the driver needs to be taken into account, failure to obey the law on lane splitting will likely be seen as the primary cause of the accident. In this case, the majority or even all of the liability for the accident will be attributed to the motorcyclist.
What Is the Most Common Injury in a Motorcycle Accident?
One of the major challenges in motorcycle accident claims is the severity of the injuries that typically occur. To recover fair compensation, it is crucial to account for the nature of the injuries the motorcyclist has suffered as well as any long-term or permanent effects.
Research on the most common injury in motorcycle accidents varies. A study by the NHTSA found that injuries to the lower extremities (including the pelvis, hips, legs, thighs, knees, ankles, and feet) account for the majority of motorcycle accident injuries requiring hospital care, while other data suggest that head injuries are the most common injury in motorcycle accidents. The difference may be attributable to the variation in mandatory helmet laws across the country.
Ultimately, what matters is the harm you have suffered as a result of a motorcycle accident. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Burg Simpson can help if you sustained any of the following in a crash:
- Brain Injury
- Injury to the Eyes
- Facial Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Injuries to the Chest
- Back Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Lower-Extremity Injuries
- Road Rash
- Lacerations and Internal Bleeding
- Nerve Damage
- Burn Injuries
- Loss of Limbs
Motorcyclists are often blamed for accidents for a number of reasons. One of the most common arguments we hear from insurance companies concerns riders who were not wearing helmets. However, in Wyoming it is legal for motorcyclists and passengers over the age of 18 to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
Unless it is shown that not wearing a helmet contributed to the accident or your injuries, you may still be able to recover compensation for losses sustained as a result of a motorcycle accident caused by a careless driver. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorney can discuss your case and advise you what rights you have.
Fatal Motorcycle Accidents
Sadly, motorcycle accidents carry a high risk of death for riders and passengers. According to a 2022 bulletin by the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT), motorcycles account for only 4% of vehicles registered in the state. However, motorcycle accidents account for 16% of all crashes resulting in serious injury and 15% of fatal wrecks.
Furthermore, the 2021 Wyoming Report on Traffic Crashes recorded 84 fatalities in motorcycle accidents from 2017–2021. During the same 5-year time period, 982 cases of injury were reported in motorcycle accidents.
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, Burg Simpson can seek compensation for the terrible losses you and your loved ones are facing. Damages may be recovered through a wrongful death claim against the party or parties responsible.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
The first thing to do after any motorcycle accident is to dial 911. Not only is this potentially required for notifying the police of an accident under Wyoming law, but you may need emergency medical services.
If the paramedics determine that you are seriously injured and need to be taken to the hospital, your only priority is to get the treatment you need. But, if you are able to remain at the scene, there are steps you can and should take to preserve your rights. These include:
1. Document the Accident
Take photos of anything that seems important, including:
- Damage to your motorcycle and any other vehicles involved
- The layout of the road and/or intersection where the accident took place
- Your injuries
- Skid marks and other damage to the road surface
- The presence of any signs or traffic lights
- Nearby landmarks
- Lighting, weather conditions, and visibility
If your phone was damaged or you do not have another way to take pictures, write down any and all pertinent details.
2. Speak to Witnesses
If anybody witnessed the accident, ask them what they saw. You should also ask for their contact information so you and/or your lawyer can follow up with them as needed.
3. Exchange Information
As with the aftermath of any traffic accident, you need any and all information needed to (a) identify the driver and (b) verify the available insurance coverage. Important information to gather from anyone involved in the motorcycle accident includes:
- Name and contact information for the driver
- The year, make, model, and color of the vehicle
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- The insurance company and policy number
4. Get Medical Attention
You may have been cleared by emergency medical professionals at the scene, but that is not the final word on your injuries. You still need to see a doctor or go to the emergency room promptly after a motorcycle accident. Doctors will evaluate your injuries, creating a record of your condition after the accident and starting you on the path to recovery.
5. Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, it is in your best interest to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help with the following:
- Exploring your legal options for recovering compensation
- Determining fault and liability
- Reporting the accident to the police (if you have not done that yet)
- Notifying your insurance company of the accident
- Filing an insurance claim (or claims)
- And more
How Much Compensation Can I Get for a Motorcycle Accident?
The value of a motorcycle accident claim depends on a number of factors. At Burg Simpson, our attorneys investigate thoroughly to identify all of the ways the accident and your injuries impact your life. This information will enable us to determine what damages you are due.
Compensation our motorcycle accident lawyers may be able to recover on your behalf includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Loss of earning capacity
- The cost of travel for medical care, disability accommodations, household services, and more
- Pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Permanent disability
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Negligent drivers and other defendants will do anything they can to avoid being held responsible for a motorcycle accident. Likewise, insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible—even disputing liability entirely and claiming the accident was your fault.
At Burg Simpson, we are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve. Drawing upon our experience, knowledge, and resources, we are often able to negotiate fair settlements without going to court. However, if it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit and, ultimately, take your case to trial, our motorcycle accident lawyers have the courtroom experience and record of success to represent you effectively.
What to Look For When Choosing a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Individuals who have been injured or lost family members in motorcycle accidents have a number of factors to consider when choosing the best lawyer to handle their case. Reasons to select Burg Simpson for your motorcycle accident claim include:
- Results: Our firm has recovered more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements.
- Experience: The lawyers at Burg Simpson Wyoming primarily focus on personal injury matters. With decades of combined legal experience, our attorneys are well-versed in the legal procedures involved in recovering compensation for those who have been injured through no fault of their own.
- Resources: Burg Simpson partners with leading experts and uses the latest tools and software to build successful cases on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys are supported by experienced paralegals and other staff.
- The highest standard of legal service: We are defined by a philosophy of Large Firm Power, Small Firm Care. This means that we have the ability to take on the most complicated cases without losing sight of each individual client’s questions, needs, concerns, and goals.
- Awards and accolades: Burg Simpson has been repeatedly recognized as a leader in the field of personal injury litigation. Many of our lawyers have received multiple awards from a number of preeminent legal organizations.
Motorcycle accident claims can involve complex issues of liability, serious injuries, and substantial damages. Burg Simpson is fully capable of handling your case and pursuing the outcome you deserve.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Cody, Wyoming
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you might be facing significant medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, and other damages. Burg Simpson can help you pursue compensation for these and other losses.
Founded in 1976, our firm is recognized nationwide as an advocate for the wrongfully injured. Our attorneys have recovered substantial compensation on behalf of motorcyclists and their families. We fully investigate the accident, gather evidence on your behalf, and prepare your case against all of the parties responsible for your injuries.
Call Burg Simpson at 307-527-7891 today for a FREE case evaluation. Our motorcycle accident lawyers serve clients in Cody and all other areas of Wyoming.