$5 million settlement
We recently won a $5 million settlement for a wrongful death & injury case to survivor due to car crash.
Our Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer knows from experience that the most common cause of motorcycle accidents is negligence by the other driver. Drivers who should be paying attention to the road are instead texting on a cell phone, distracted by talking to a passenger, or operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You won’t know the causes until we investigate!
More than 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in the U.S. each year and an additional 84,000 are injured in crashes. That represents a lot of grieving families. This pain and grief are made even worse if the collision was caused by another driver’s negligence. While the police department will conduct its own investigation of the crash, be aware that law enforcement is primarily concerned with criminality – not liability. You need a motorcycle accident attorney and investigative team on your side working to secure the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Our thorough investigative process includes securing the right experts for your bike wreck case. Did a traffic signal malfunction? Did all safety equipment perform up to standards? What was the other driver actually doing at the time of the accident? Did the engineering of the highway contribute to the motorcycle accident? At Stephenson Rife, our team of Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyers will discover critical evidence initially overlooked by law enforcement and even other attorneys.
Why Choose Us
OUR INDIANA MOTOCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS KNOW HOW TO WIN.
Stephenson Rife has an outstanding reputation for winning motorcycle accident lawsuits and securing the largest payouts possible. Attorney Mike Stephenson has 40 years of legal experience and has won many large personal injury claims totaling millions of dollars. Recently named a Super Lawyer in Indiana, Attorney Mike Stephenson is one of the most experienced trial lawyers in the state. He has served as lead trial counsel in more than 100 civil jury trials and has handled litigation in 18 states around the country. State and local polls by peers have listed Mike as one of Indiana’s top lawyers, including a poll of 14,000 attorneys from 2004-2016 in which he was chosen to be among the top 5% of the attorneys in his area of practice.
The legal team at Stephenson Rife also includes Attorney Brady Rife, who takes case preparation seriously and prepares each case as though it may be tried in court. Some of the firm’s most successful cases include winning a $48 million settlement against a large corporation in a fatal vehicle crash in New Mexico and a $14 million dollar settlement against a national trucking company in Illinois. Not surprisingly, we have many satisfied clients.
Whether your accident was caused by another driver or a defective motorcycle, we aggressively represent bikers who are injured in crashes. We will always fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. We put the experts, our experience, and our firm’s financial resources to work to prove your case.
Motorcycle Injuries in Indiana
Whether your motorcycle was hit from behind by a car or damaged in another kind of vehicular accident, statistics show that motorcyclists typically get the short end of the stick when they collide with other motorists on the road. Motorcycles are especially at risk due to the lack of protection inherent in motorcycle design and the size of other vehicles on the road. Additionally, a motorcyclist may be thrown to the ground or into traffic.
The average motorcycle weighs 700 pounds, while a typical car weighs about 4,000 pounds. Big rigs represent an even greater danger to motorcyclists, because the average loaded 18-wheeler can weigh 80,000 pounds. There are more than 230,100 motorcycles registered in the state, according to Indiana Traffic Safety Facts. The number of motorcyclists killed in collisions in Indiana has fluctuated during the past 10 years, from a high of 151 in 2012 to a low of 100 in 2016. More than 5,000 motorcyclists are killed in the United States each year.
How Is Fault Determined in Indiana?
AN INDIANAPOLIS MOTOCYCLE INJURY LAWYER CAN EXPLAIN FAULT IN GREATER DETAIL.
Indiana applies the modified comparative negligence test to motorcycle accidents (Indiana Code Title 34, Section 51-2-5, et seq.). Also known as the “51% fault” method or “comparative fault,” as a biker you must be less than 51% at fault for the accident to file an injury claim. Courts will reduce your financial damages by the percentage of fault you bear. For example, if your motorcycle was hit from behind by a driver operating another vehicle, but you were making an illegal left-hand turn, a judge could decide that the other driver was 70% at fault and you were 30% at fault for the accident. If the total award is $500,000, then the amount you receive would be $350,000 (the total $500,000 reduced by 30%).
Motorcycle Accident FAQs
AN INDIANAPOLIS MOTOCYCLE ACCIDENT ATTORNEY PROVIDES ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS.
At Stephenson Rife, we’ve talked to hundreds of personal injury accident victims. Many of them have the same questions. Here are answers to the questions we hear most often.
As we said, the numbers have been increasing. In 2012, there were more than 4,000 motorcycle collisions in Indiana; 151 were fatal and 614 caused incapacitating injuries.
Parke County has the highest rate of motorcycle collisions. Other counties with dangerous traffic safety environments for motorcyclists are Brown, Carroll, Dubois, Franklin, and Martin. The area near Gary and Chicago is reported to be more dangerous than many other areas of the state.
It is true that controlling a cycle on wet roads presents a challenge. Interestingly, however, the statistics show Indiana motorcycle collisions in 2012 occurred predominately under clear weather conditions, on straight and level city roads, and during daylight hours.
Believe it or not, the likelihood of alcohol use/impairment has been higher for motorcyclists involved in collisions than for drivers of other types of motor vehicles. For the years of 2009 to 2011, they were twice as likely to be impaired; the numbers for 2012 showed an improvement, however.
Motorcycle drivers can be guilty of distracted driving just as drivers of trucks and cars can be. It’s easy to get lost in enjoying the scenery and daydreaming, but that lack of focus on the demands of safe riding can lead to loss of control or even collision with a stationary object like a mailbox or signpost. For the most part, however, distracted driving is a problem for motorcyclists primarily when it happens on the part of a car or truck driver who looks away from the road – perhaps to use a cell phone or send a text message – and strikes the cycle. It only takes a few seconds of inattention for a driver to swerve into a vehicle in the adjoining lane, and when that vehicle is a motorcycle, the collision is likely to result in serious injuries.
Only for riders age 17 and younger. The law requiring motorcycle operators of all ages to wear a helmet was repealed in 1977.
Statistics show that to be true. The U.S. General Accounting Office has said that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing fatalities.” Helmets are 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for passengers. Sadly, in Indiana, 80 percent of the motorcyclists killed in 2012 were not wearing a helmet.
The factor most often contributing to an Indiana motorcycle crash is some type of unsafe action on the part of the motorcycle operator. That could be following another vehicle too closely, traveling at an unsafe speed, failing to yield the right of way, or making improper lane changes or passing.
But aren’t motorcyclists sometimes hit by negligent drivers, even when they are following the rules of the road and driving their cycle safely?
Absolutely. And at Stephenson Rife, we carefully examine the facts of the accidents in which our clients were involved, to determine whether another driver, a dangerous road condition, or even a manufacturing defect contributed to or caused their accident. Other motor vehicles are supposed to share the road with motorcycles and bicycles, but that doesn’t always happen.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people involved in car accidents. Their risk of injury is five times greater. Motorcycles travel at speeds just as great as cars and trucks, but their occupants lack the protection of those vehicles’ steel frame, airbags, size and weight.
The area of the body most likely to be injured in a motorcycle crash is the lower part, i.e., the foot, ankle, leg, knee, thigh, hip or pelvis. Bone fractures are common. Injuries to the upper extremities — the head, chest and abdomen – are less common but are typically severe. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. You may have heard the term “road rash.” This is the term given to skin abrasions caused by scraping the road when the cycle falls and slides. Road rash can be mild, causing discomfort, or it can be severe, requiring surgical intervention.
If you have additional questions about your legal rights after a motorcycle crash, our Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer would be happy to provide you with answers. Call us at (317) 680-2501.
Indiana Motorcycle Accident Injuries
REMEMBER – THE OTHER DRIVER IS USUALLY AT FAULT.
It is common for crashes to leave a motorcyclist with severe or life-threatening injuries. That’s because bikers are relatively unprotected when they collide with a 4,000-pound passenger vehicle or large truck. Even the most cautious motorcyclist cannot control the poor decisions of other drivers. Injuries can include:
- Head injuries and TBI
- Back, neck, and spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones / fractures
- Severe burns
- Severe skin abrasions (road rash)
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Wrongful Death.
Medical care for these injuries can cost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. You should not have to face this financial burden by yourself, especially if the crash was due to someone else’s negligence.
Compensation You May Be Entitled To
An Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer can explain to you the dollars and cents of what your case may be worth. Whether your case goes through the settlement process or winds up in a jury trial, you could be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include actual costs you’ve incurred – medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of future earnings, etc. Non-economic damages include non-financial — but equally devastating – losses you’ve sustained, such as pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, loss of consortium, etc. A team of skilled Indiana motorcycle accident lawyers will know how to fight for all the damages you’re entitled to.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
OUR INDIANA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYERS HAVE SEEN HORRIFIC INJURIES.
We appreciate the freedom and spirit of the motorcycle community. Let’s keep it going by practicing safety first. One of the most common injuries among bikers after a crash is head trauma. A little protection goes a long way. Keep these things in mind:
- Wear a helmet and safety gear.
- Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
- Don’t operate your motorcycle after drinking alcohol.
- Avoid the blind spots of other vehicles.
- Ride with your headlight on.
- Take a safety course and encourage others to as well.
Doing everything you can to practice safety and protect yourself can mean the difference between life and death if you’re hit by a car or large truck.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim
The statute of limitations on personal injury cases is two years in Indiana. This means an Indianapolis motorcycle accident victim has just 24 months to file a lawsuit. The clock starts ticking from the date of the accident or injury, with just a few exceptions. If you miss this deadline, you risk having your case dismissed by a judge.
The Indiana personal injury statute of limitations is codified at Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4.
There are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. The “discovery rule” says that when a motorcycle accident victim is not immediately aware of their injury (for example, spine injury or organ damage don’t present for many weeks), the clock on the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until the accident victim discovers, or should have discovered, that they’ve been injured. The statute of limitations can also be paused (sometimes referred to as “tolled”) for victims who are mentally impaired (for example, a biker who is in a coma for three months after the accident). Additionally, the statute of limitations clock can be delayed if the defendant in a lawsuit leaves the state or takes steps to conceal their liability from the plaintiff.
Contact Our Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today
When you hire an Indianapolis motorcycle accident lawyer, you should receive competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate Attorney Mike Stephenson. His entire legal team is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Mike has been helping accident victims for more than 30 years. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash, hand the worry over to us and let us put our firm’s significant resources to work for you. Call (317) 680-2501 to schedule a free consultation.
”I had a very serious motorcycle accident 5 years ago. I lost my right leg above the knee in the accident. I was looking for the very best personal injury attorney in the country who represents plaintiffs in an accident. I found that in Mike Stephenson. He is the top managing partner in his law firm of about 38 attornies. He has been recognized by his peers of personal injury attornies as a Super Attorney in his specialty for years. He always returned phone calls, texts and emails. He was very honest in his opinions whether it was something I wanted to hear or not. He hired the very best expert witnesses. On a scale of 1-10 in my book he is an 11. If you are a plaintiff in an accident I could not give a better recommendation for an attorney. He is the best attorney I have ever had.” – Michael Johnson (Google Review)