Between the scenic mountain views and relatively mild temperatures, it’s no wonder motorcycles are so popular among Utah residents. Despite these luxuries, Utah is no stranger to motorcycle accidents and fatalities. In fact, if you ever find yourself in need, seeking a Utah motorcycle accident lawyer is essential. In 2021, a motorcycle was involved in 1.9% of all traffic accidents, which resulted in 1,095 injuries and 41 fatalities.
If you or a loved one was wounded or killed in a motorcycle accident in Utah, you’re entitled to financial compensation. While no amount of money will change what happened, it can help you recover and move forward without a financial burden weighing you down. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, a Utah motorcycle accident lawyer can guide you through the legal process. Keep reading to see how Esquire Law can help with your motorcycle accident case.
How Motorcycle Accidents Are Different From Other Types of Accidents
Accidents involving motorcycles are often more severe than accidents involving motor vehicles alone. That’s because motorcyclists face unique challenges on the road. This is why having a Utah motorcycle accident lawyer familiar with these nuances can be invaluable.
- First, motorcycles aren’t equipped with many of the key safety features that motor vehicles have, like airbags and seat belts. When a motorcyclist gets in an accident, the lack of these safety features can result in severe injuries.
- Motorcycles also offer limited protection from surrounding elements. When a car or truck driver gets in an accident, components like the bumper, windshield, and doors act as a barrier between the driver and the other vehicle. But motorcycles don’t have doors, and any windshield will be too small to provide substantial protection.
- Motorcycles are more unpredictable than cars and trucks. One bump in the road or slippery surface can have detrimental effects. If a motorcycle collides with a vehicle, the motorcyclist is often thrown off of the bike, which can cause injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, and paralysis. In the most severe cases, motorcycle accidents can be fatal.
Although motorists have a responsibility to drive safely and yield to motorcycles, they often have unfair misconceptions about motorcyclists. Unfortunately, these misconceptions increase the frequency of accidents and the risk of severe injuries. Here are some biases a driver might have against a motorcyclist.
- They’re reckless
- They travel well over the speed limit
- They don’t have the same rights as other motorists
- They don’t have the right of way
Motorcyclists must be on high alert at all times to ensure their safety on the road.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Utah
Just like car and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents can occur for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Utah include the following:
- Speeding and reckless driving
- Failure to yield right-of-way
- Distracted driving
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Equipment malfunctions
- Hazardous road conditions
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Limited visibility
- User error
Most Frequent Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident injuries range from mild to severe, with some being catastrophic or even life-threatening. While not an exhaustive list, these are the most common injuries caused by Utah motorcycle accidents.
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash and lacerations
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional and psychological trauma
Understanding Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcyclists must follow all the same rules of the road as other motorists. A few additional rules also apply to them. These include:
Motorcycle Endorsement Requirement
Motorcyclists must have a valid driver’s license with a special endorsement to operate a motorcycle. This endorsement shows they know how to operate a motorcycle safely and what laws and regulations apply to them on the road.
The same age restrictions apply here. Those under the age of 16 can obtain a learner’s permit with a motorcycle endorsement that will be valid for six months. For the first two months, permit recipients can’t ride:
- With passengers
- Between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am
- On highways with a speed limit greater than 60 mph
These restrictions don’t apply to permit recipients after the second month.
Utah law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers under the age of 21 to wear a helmet. Motorcycle operators and passengers aged 21 and older are not required to wear protective headgear. With that said, we highly encourage Utah motorcycle operators and passengers of any age to wear helmets at all times. These devices can reduce the severity of injuries and even save your life if a collision were to occur.
Protective Gear Recommendations
Although Utah only requires motorcycle operators and passengers to wear a helmet, it’s also in their best interest to wear other protective gear. Wearing things like gloves, boots, and long pants can significantly reduce your risk of sustaining severe injuries if you were to get in a crash. You should also wear some form of protective eyewear—like goggles, glasses, or a face shield—to protect your eyes from strong winds, precipitation, and loose debris.
Utah law requires a motorcycle to have certain components before it can hit the road. Required features include the following:
- A seat for the driver and any passengers
- At least one rearview mirror
- Turn signals (or, if absent, the use of hand signaling)
- Front and rear brakes
- A horn
- Two mirrors
Lane Filtering Laws
Lane filtering is when a motorcycle travels between two adjacent vehicles when stopped at an intersection. Utah legalized lane filtering in 2019 to relieve congested traffic in highly populated areas like Salt Lake City. However, lane filtering is only acceptable if certain criteria are met.
- There must be at least two lanes, and they must move in the same direction
- The speed limit cannot exceed 45 mph
- Surrounding traffic must be stopped completely
- The motorcyclist cannot exceed 15 mph
Once traffic resumes, the motorcyclist must safely merge into one of the lanes. This does not include the shoulder, median, or bike lanes.
Minimal Liability Insurance Coverage
Utah law requires residents to hold minimum liability coverage. Minimum liability coverage is the minimum amount of insurance coverage a motorcyclist must hold to legally operate a motorcycle. This coverage offers two main benefits.
- It ensures accident victims aren’t financially responsible for any injuries or property damage caused by an accident.
- It protects at-fault drivers from paying the settlement or lawsuit amount out-of-pocket. Instead, their insurance policy covers the cost of damages up to the policy limit. The driver is responsible for any remaining costs.
Here’s a breakdown of Utah’s minimum liability coverage allowances.
- Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $15,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection: $3,000 per accident
How a Utah Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help
Navigating the aftermath of a motorcycle accident is challenging, especially if you don’t have a professional to walk alongside you. Our goal as your trusted Utah motorcycle accident lawyer is to simplify the process and help you get back on your feet. Here are some of the services we provide.
- We perform a thorough investigation
- We organize and build a strong case
- We help you understand all your legal options
- We complete all necessary paperwork
- We negotiate with insurance companies to reach a fair settlement
- We represent you in court if necessary to secure maximum financial compensation
The Compensation You Can Expect
The goal of compensation in a motorcycle accident case is to cover all accident-related expenses, whether they be financial, emotional, or psychological. The amount of compensation you can seek depends on factors like who’s at fault, the total cost of injuries and damages, and the skill of your Utah motorcycle injury lawyer. In any type of personal injury case, the plaintiff can seek two types of damages.
Economic damages are monetary losses. Common examples include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Property damage
- Household services
Non-economic damages are incalculable losses. Here are some examples:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Emotional trauma
- Anxiety and depression
- Loss of companionship
Why Choose Esquire Law
Our personal injury lawyers have experience handling motorcycle accident cases in Utah. We understand the unique challenges involved in motorcycle accidents and how to overcome them.
We have a track record of success winning motorcycle accident cases in Utah. Hear from a few of our satisfied clients.
“I was having the toughest time dealing with the effects of my accident. I went through three lawyers, all of whom were just out to get a check. The wonderful staff at Esquire Law handled my case like they would if they were the victims. I can’t say enough about how happy I was to have brought them on the case.“– John Kraklio
“The staff at Esquire Law has made me feel very comfortable, and I would recommend them to anybody in an accident situation.“– Beverly Ortiz-Wykoff
“Hands down the best law firm I have ever encountered! Kyle is amazing! He is a pit bull, and he doesn’t back down! They were in constant contact to keep me updated and all-around honestly cared about me personally. I wasn’t just a number or another client. Thank you to Kyle and the team at Esquire Law. You gave me my life back!“– Blake Byers
Every case is different, and every client has different needs. That’s why we take a personalized approach with every motorcycle case that comes across our desk. We find that this approach produces the case results our clients want.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I do immediately after a motorcycle accident in Utah?
Acting promptly after you get in a motorcycle accident is crucial. It not only protects your physical well-being but also ensures you gather the evidence needed to build a strong case. Here are the first six steps you should take immediately after your accident.
- Ensure Your Safety: Your safety is the first priority after getting in a motorcycle accident. If you need emergency medical attention, call 9-1-1. First responders will arrive at the scene to provide essential medical care.
- Call the Police: If you’re physically able to, call the police to report the accident. Officers may respond to interview witnesses and complete an official police report. Be sure to request a copy of the police report to serve as evidence in your claim.
If officers don’t respond, be sure to gather your own witness statements and file an accident report through the local DMV. An accident report can substitute a police report when it comes to evidence for your accident claim.
- Gather Information: In addition to witness statements, you should also get the name, phone number, insurance information (provider, policy type, policy number), and vehicle details (make, model, license plate number, registration, license) of other drivers who were involved in the accident. Your Utah motorcycle accident lawyer and insurance company will need to contact these individuals down the road.
- Notify Your Insurance Provider: Many Utah insurance providers require their policyholders to report any type of accident of any severity, often within a 24 to 48-hour period. If you wait too late to notify your insurance company, you risk forfeiting the compensation you need to cover accident-related expenses. Notify your insurer as soon as possible after the accident to increase your chances of securing compensation.
- Seek Medical Care: Even if you don’t need emergency medical attention and feel completely fine right after your accident, you should still visit an urgent care facility or primary care doctor. If you didn’t sustain any injuries, the physician will confirm this. But you might have sustained minor or internal injuries that would have gone unnoticed for days or even weeks if you hadn’t visited the doctor.
Delaying a doctor’s visit gives room for your insurance company to claim the accident didn’t cause your injuries in the first place, which could result in little to no compensation. Play it safe, and seek medical care before heading home after the accident.
- Contact a Personal Injury Attorney: Last but not least, contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling—and winning—motorcycle accident cases in Utah. While any personal injury lawyer could technically represent your case, you want someone who specializes in these cases to give you the best chance of securing compensation. With years of experience representing motorcycle accident cases, Esquire Law has what it takes to win yours.
2. How long do I have to file a claim after the accident?
The statute of limitations in Utah for personal injury claims is four years. This means the plaintiff has four years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the motorcycle accident caused a wrongful death, the statute of limitations is reduced to two years. This means the plaintiff has two years from the date of the death of their loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
3. Can I still get compensation if I was partially at fault?
Utah abides by the modified comparative negligence rule. This legal principle allows a plaintiff to seek damages even if they’re partially at fault for causing the accident in question. Their compensation is simply reduced by the percentage of their fault. Under modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff can be up to 49% at fault and still seek compensation. However, once the plaintiff reaches 50% or more of the fault, they cannot seek compensation.
Here’s an example. Let’s say a court determines the motorcycle accident caused $200,000 in damages. The plaintiff is found to be 20% at fault, while the defendant is responsible for the remaining 80%. Even though the plaintiff contributed some fault, they’ll still receive $160,000.
4. How do I deal with insurance companies?
Insurers will try to lowball you during the settlement process, offering an amount that wouldn’t cover the full cost of your losses. Don’t settle for the first offer. A Utah motorcycle accident lawyer from Esquire Law will step in to maximize your compensation. The settlement process typically involves a series of offers and counteroffers. We’ll handle all communications and negotiations with your insurance company, so you don’t have to.
5. Why is it crucial to hire a specialized motorcycle accident lawyer?
A personal injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accidents will increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation. That’s because we know Utah’s motorcycle laws and regulations as well as common tactics used by insurance companies to cheat victims out of their rightful compensation. We’ll also combat common misconceptions others might have about motorcyclists to ensure you’re treated fairly.
Contact a Trusted Utah Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
You shouldn’t have to pay for the damages someone else caused. You deserve compensation for your losses, and Esquire Law will help you get it. As your trusted legal advocates, we have the skills and resources required to go up against big insurance companies, so you don’t have to settle for less than you deserve. Plus, we don’t charge any upfront fees. That means you don’t have to pay until we win your case.
What are you waiting for? Contact a Utah motorcycle accident lawyer today to schedule your free case evaluation.