Getting rear-ended while on your motorcycle can cause severe injuries and property damage. The car that hit you isn’t always at fault, and you should know what to do if your motorcycle is hit by a car from behind in Minnesota. The steps you take following your accident can greatly affect your ability to collect fair compensation.
There are several things you should do immediately following a motorcycle accident. You may not feel like you have serious injuries, but get checked out at urgent care or by your primary care physician anyway. You may have a serious condition you don’t feel yet, like internal bleeding, that could result in death without prompt medical attention.
Seven Steps to take if Your Motorcycle is Hit from Behind
Taking action after a car hits your motorcycle from behind should always start with your safety. If you can, get yourself off the road to a spot of safety. Be careful of standing on the shoulder, as cars trying to maneuver around your accident may drive there. Once you are safe, take the following steps:
- Call 911 or seek medical attention elsewhere quickly.
- Ask the driver for their information.
- If a police officer asks you questions, be polite but keep your answers short. Information you give at the scene could be twisted and used against you when fault is assigned for your accident.
- Take pictures of the damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicle, the accident scene, and your injuries. Take video footage if possible.
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information.
- Avoid too much conversation with the other driver, and do not mention fault. If it seems like the accident could lead to a confrontation, stay away from the other driver until the police arrive.
- Hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you with your case. Get any necessary records to bolster your claim, such as recent service records for your motorcycle that show it was in good working condition.
Taking these steps can help your motorcycle accident lawyer prove during settlement negotiations and in court that you deserve to collect damages when your motorcycle is rear-ended by a car.
Five Steps Attorneys Take in Motorcycle Rear-End Collision Cases
Every step of working toward getting rightful damages for your motorcycle accident is critical. Remember that you and your attorney will likely be taking on deep-pocketed insurance companies who are in business to make money. This often means using tactics designed to keep settlements low. To help prepare your case, your motorcycle accident attorney will take steps such as:
To investigate your case, your attorney will examine the crash scene and secure any available security videos. They will review police reports, interview witnesses, and gather other information about your case.
Your lawyer may have to ask you some hard questions and will want you to ask questions. You must have a personal injury attorney with a good reputation for excellent communication.
2. Identification of Liable Parties
Some accidents involving rear-end collisions are straightforward, and others require a skilled attorney to sort out who to name in your claim for damages. The car’s driver may be responsible, but so could a third party, such as the company owner, if the driver was making deliveries.
The manufacturer of the car or your motorcycle could be liable if there were defects.
Sorting out who to name in your lawsuit is critical, as leaving someone out could leave less blame to assign. This could significantly reduce your compensation.
3. Determining Your Injuries and Other Damages
In a rear-end collision, you could suffer both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include current and future medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. Minnesota law also allows you to collect for non-economic damages such as scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
4. Settlement Negotiations
Many motorcycle accidents never reach court because the two sides agree on a settlement. This doesn’t mean the process is easy. Our personal injury lawyers will take every call and meeting with the insurance companies of liable parties, so you don’t have to. Protecting your interests is our top priority.
5. Trial, if Necessary
If we cannot settle your motorcycle accident case, we will be thoroughly prepared to take your case to court and secure the maximum compensation possible.
We take pride in our preparation and presentation and will gather expert witnesses and prepare you for depositions and court appearances when necessary. We leave no stone unturned when building you the strongest case possible.
Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision in Minnesota?
In many accidents involving rear-end collisions, the second vehicle’s driver is at least partly, if not entirely, at fault. Common reasons drivers hit vehicles in front of them include the following:
- Failure to leave enough distance to stop
- Not taking extra precautions in bad weather
- Failure to see a red light
- Hitting the gas instead of the brake
- Distracted driving
- A general failure to watch for motorcycles in addition to other, larger vehicles.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety provides information about how cars and motorcycles can safely share the road.
Is the Other Driver Always at Fault if you are Rear-Ended?
A third party might be at fault when the car behind you hits your motorcycle. A chain reaction accident is an example of when you might seek damages from someone other than the driver who hit you.
Suppose the driver behind you maintained a safe distance but was hit from behind by a second vehicle. In that case, that second vehicle’s driver might be liable for damages to both cars and your motorcycle. Sometimes, a third party and the driver behind you can be liable for your damages.
You might even be responsible for your collision if you were intoxicated and driving erratically or experienced a mechanical breakdown that led to an abrupt stop. You might also be liable if your brake lights are not working properly.
So, who is at fault in a rear-end collision in Minnesota? That depends on several factors that an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you sort out. Doing so ensures you don’t miss out on collecting from everyone responsible for your damage.
How Does Your Attorney Prove Your Case When Your Motorcycle Is Hit from Behind?
Your attorney must establish that the other driver was negligent. In other words, they didn’t exercise the care someone else would reasonably exercise in the same situation. There are four elements in establishing negligence, including:
- Duty of care
- Breach of that duty
- Injury or harm resulting from that breach
- Cause, meaning the accident caused your injuries or harm.
Once your attorney has established negligence, they can work with you on finding the amount of compensation that will cover all of your damages. They must sort out who is at fault in your accident to get to a fair amount.
Minnesota Negligence Standard
States use different models to determine who can recover in negligence cases. Minnesota uses a modified comparative negligence standard. Based on the facts of your case, a percentage of the fault is assigned to you and to the other driver. Your damages are then determined based on that percentage. For example, if the total damages were $100,000 and you were 30% at fault, you could collect $70,000.
You cannot collect if you are more than 50% responsible for your accident. Insurance companies on the defense side know this standard and will always answer “no” to the question, “Is the other driver always at fault if you are rear-ended?” Their goal is to minimize their payout, so never talk to them without having your attorney present to stand up to their tactics.
How Long Do I Have to Make a Legal Claim for My Motorcycle Accident?
For most motorcycle accident cases, you must file your claim within six years from the accident date. There are exceptions to the statute of limitations for motorcycle accidents for people who are under the age of 18 or who are legally insane.
It is essential to consult a motorcycle accident attorney as quickly as possible following your accident to ensure you don’t miss the filing deadline. Doing so would likely result in your case being thrown out, with no chance for compensation, even if the car’s driver was clearly at fault.
Get Help from Experienced Minnesota Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Who Will Fight for You
Even if you take every safety precaution when you are out on your motorcycle, you still have to worry about the careless driving of others. If your motorcycle is rear-ended by a car, you need a skilled attorney with comprehensive knowledge of Minnesota personal injury law and the tenacity to stand up to insurance companies.
Our motorcycle accident attorneys at Tyroler Leonard Injury law take great pride in our successful work in securing fair compensation for our clients through verdicts and settlements. Clients always come first for us, and we will spend as much time as necessary building your case, explaining the process to you, and fighting on your behalf. Call us for a free consultation at 651-259-1113.