Louisville Motorcycle Accident Lawyer: What to Expect

Attorney Explains Kentucky Motorcycle Injury Law

Video Transcript:

Tad Thomas:

In almost every case, you've got broken bones, you’ve got herniated discs, you've got surgeries; the medical expenses can really stack up.

Rob Rosenthal:

Are you sure you know what to do if you're injured by someone else while riding your motorcycle? Well, we're going to find out today, because that's what we're going to ask the lawyer.

Hi, again, everybody, I'm Rob Rosenthal with askthelawyers.com, and my guest is Kentucky attorney, Tad Thomas. Tad, good to see you again. Thank you for joining us as usual.

Tad Thomas:

You too, Rob. Thanks.

Rob Rosenthal:

So it seems to me, and maybe I'm wrong, but oftentimes when a motorcyclist is involved in an accident with a car, it seems like people just automatically assume the motorcycle is at fault, or they seem to get the short end of the stick. Has that been your experience?

Tad Thomas:

It actually hasn't. I'm a driver as well, so I've seen motorcycles speeding down the highway for sure, but the cases that I'm getting, sadly, are really the result of inattention from other drivers.

So when you have a motorcyclist who's not seen by an inattentive driver, the damages are so much more for those motorcyclists. So largely, it's a product of inattention from other drivers as opposed to an issue with the motorcyclist.

Rob Rosenthal:

So are you finding that fault is pretty cut and dry in these cases?

Tad Thomas:

Yes, in a lot of them it really is. Sometimes there can be fault on the part of the motorcyclist as well, and depending on your state, that may make a difference or it may not, but largely fault is pretty clear, and it's a result of inattention from other drivers; other drivers coming into their lanes pulling out in front of them, things like that.

Rob Rosenthal:

And like you said, when it's motorcycle versus automobile, the automobile almost always wins that.

Tad Thomas:

It does. The damages and the injuries, these can be very, very severe regardless of whether or not the motorcyclist is wearing a helmet. In almost every case, you've got broken bones, you've got herniated discs, you've got surgeries; the medical expenses can really stack up, and insurance policies typically have different provisions when it comes to motorcyclists too.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned fault varies from state to state. What are the rules in Kentucky and how does that affect these cases?

Tad Thomas:

Sure. In Kentucky, like a lot of states, we’re what we call pure comparative fault; so the jury will get to assign percentages of fault to the various parties. So if, for instance, a motorcyclist was speeding, but the other vehicle pulled out in front of them, and there is fault on both parties, the jury can decide what percentage of fault each party has, adding up to 100%.

The effect of that is, let's say the jury awarded $100 in damages, if they felt that the motorcyclist was 50% at fault, they would lose half of the money that the jury would have awarded. Other states like Georgia have what we call pure contributory fault, and so if the motorcyclist has any fault at all, they would get nothing. Alabama is one of those states, for instance.

Rob Rosenthal:

But in Kentucky, if a rider is injured in a collision and they think, “Maybe I had something to do with it...” It's still worth their while to contact someone like yourself for their case?

Tad Thomas:

Absolutely, absolutely. Because the jury would get to give a percentage of fault for each one of those parties.

Rob Rosenthal:

You mentioned the helmet; is there a helmet law in Kentucky?

Tad Thomas:

There is, there’s a helmet law. I think it’s up to a year, and then you can ride without a helmet after a year. But the jury is going to hold you responsible if you're riding without a helmet and you sustain a head injury. The jury will take that into account. It's similar to a seatbelt.

Rob Rosenthal:

So even if the rider was not at fault, the jury still considers that?

Tad Thomas:

Right, because the jury can say, “Okay, well, the collision was not your fault, but the injuries partially are because you didn't wear a helmet.” And so the jury has the right to take that into consideration.

Rob Rosenthal:

Let's say it’s after a year, like you said, and they're not wearing their helmet, that can still be considered by the jury?

Tad Thomas:

Absolutely.

Rob Rosenthal:

I got you. Tad, what if somebody goes, “Well, I can probably handle this on my own, just deal with the insurance companies. I don't need a personal injury lawyer to help with my case.” What would you say to that?

Tad Thomas:

The statistics are pretty clear that the clients that don't have lawyers that pursue injury claims get less on average than those that have attorneys that are representing them, and it's also important to have an attorney who can navigate the insurance issues associated with motorcycle collisions. For instance, in Kentucky we have PIP benefits or medical bills and payments up to $10,000. Most motorcycle policies unbeknownst to the policy holder, they waive those. So it's not like a car wreck case where you automatically get some of those medical bills paid.
So you need to have an attorney to navigate it. There's $10,000 there that you may have waived, but may have not have done so the right way which means it should still be out there. It's important to have an attorney who can describe that for you, to work through that, talk to the insurance companies, and hopefully get you that increased money.

Rob Rosenthal:

And even $10,000, surely that’s not going to go very far, especially with the severity of injuries that happen in motorcycle accidents.

Tad Thomas:

Right, but attorneys also know some of the tricks though. For example, how to prioritize which insurance pays to help you maximize those benefits.

Rob Rosenthal:

Awesome. Great information as usual, Tad. Thank you for taking some time to answer our questions.

Tad Thomas:

Thanks for having me, Rob.

Rob Rosenthal:

There we go. Lots of help info, and that's going to do it for this episode of Ask of the Lawyer. My guest has been Kentucky attorney Tad Thomas.

Remember, if you want to be able to get the best information or make sure you can choose a lawyer that lawyers choose, head over to askthelawyers.com, and also take a second to subscribe by hitting the button below. Thanks for watching, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal with AskTheLawyers™.

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