Tractor Trailer Wrecks Motorcycle...
I pulled up about 5 ft behind a tractor trailer truck at a toll booth on the interstate. I was on a motorcycle I had just purchased 5 hours prior. (The motorcycle was like new with only 1,600 miles.) After a short time, the truck rolled backward, which I thought was just a result of it going form neutral to 1st.
Instead the semi truck continued backwards picking up speed. I began to move my bike backwards, but quickly realized I could not get out of the way. I began laying on my horn for roughly 5 seconds before it struck the front of my motorcycle. It pushed me back then pushed the nose of the motorcycle left. The bike ended up sideways against the truck as it continued back. It then began to go under the truck taking me with it.
I somehow managed to get off by jumping twisting and crawling out of the way into the left lane on the interstate. I began waiving at the driver and he continued pushing my bike for 5-10 more seconds until he saw me. I could have been killed by the tractor trailer or by the fact that I had to move into a lane of traffic and could have been hit by a car and killed.
The driver did not once ask if I was okay. He complained that the police had been called, would not give me his insurance, and lied to the police about stopping immediately. He also stated he was backing up because he was tired of waiting for the people in front of him to find their change. He was cited by the police.
I have back, neck, wrist and knee injuries from this incident. My question is, does the fact that he could have potentially killed me under his truck due to his negligence and the fact that I had to jump into another lane of traffic increase my claim? Does the risk of potential death affect settlements? Can you give me any other helpful info? Thanks a lot.
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ANSWER for "Tractor Trailer Wrecks Motorcycle...":
We motorcycle riders must stick together! From the facts you present it doesn’t appear you were cited by the police for following too closely. In the case of toll booths there really isn’t such a thing as following too closely.
There is no doubt the truck driver was completely at fault. There is no excuse short of a major emergency for him to have put his trailer into reverse. We suspect the reason he was obstinate after the collision was because the consequences for commercial truck driver collisions are usually much more serious than for private drivers. Insurance premiums for commercial drivers involved in collisions usually skyrocket and drivers’ licenses may become dangerously close to suspension.
The answer to your questions is Yes. In personal injury cases mental anguish, sometimes referred to as pain and suffering, is often included in scenarios where a victim is unduly traumatized. The expression “My life passed before me” is appropriate and taken seriously by the courts.
Many times the advice we render includes self-representation. There are times when hiring an attorney may not be necessary. There are also times when we recommend visiting with a skilled and experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Most will not charge for an initial office visit, but not telephone consultation. This is one of those times.
Although your medical bills may not be high the inclusion of compensation for mental anguish and pain and suffering can be substantial.
We recommend you do not give any statements to any insurance company representative until you have consulted with a Personal Injury Attorney. Doing so may jeopardize your chances of being fairly compensated for the damage to your bike, your health, and your psychological trauma.
We bike riders sometimes consider ourselves fearless. This is not the time to be a “tough guy”. This is the time to do what is right to protect your property and yourself.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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