Rapid City Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Motorcycle Accidents in South Dakota
Motorcycle accidents are among the most serious of all motor vehicle collisions. With relatively little protection, motorcyclists are at a heightened risk of suffering severe bodily injuries and fatalities when they are hit by larger passenger cars and trucks. Unfortunately, these accidents are all too common in South Dakota.
According to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), there were 458 motorcycle crashes in South Dakota in 2020. Pennington County was home to the majority of these accidents, with 110 motorcycle crashes in 2020 alone.
If you or someone you love was injured in a motorcycle accident in Rapid City or any of the surrounding areas, reach out to Beardsley, Jensen & Lee for reliable legal representation. When you choose our firm, you don’t just get one attorney working on your case—you get an entire team of legal professionals dedicated to you and your recovery. We have over 100 years of combined experience and are fully prepared to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?
In the simplest terms, negligence is the number one cause of motorcycle accidents in South Dakota and throughout the United States. This negligence can—and does—take many forms, from general carelessness to downright aggressive and reckless behavior.
Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Distracted driving, including texting or using a cell phone while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Traffic law violations
- Unlawful passing or turning
- Road rage
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Failing to obey traffic control devices, such as red lights and stop signs
- Fatigued driving
Although most motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligent or reckless conduct of another driver, some crashes occur due to defective automobiles or motorcycles, defective motorcycle safety equipment, or even defective roadway construction or design. Our Rapid City motorcycle accident lawyers can conduct an exhaustive investigation into your case to determine how the crash occurred and, importantly, who was to blame.
Shared Fault in Motorcycle Accident Cases
Most states have laws regarding comparative negligence, also known as shared fault. South Dakota is unique in that it follows a modified pure comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, you are not prohibited from bringing a personal injury claim after an accident for which you shared some of the fault, as long as your degree of fault is considered “slight.” In other words, you must prove that the other person or party was “grossly” negligent to file a personal injury claim for damages.
This can be very difficult to prove, as “slight” and “gross” negligence can be subjective. Insurance companies know this and use it to their advantage. If they argue that you were more than slightly negligent, you could be barred from recovering compensation, so it is extremely important that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you fight to protect your rights.
Damages in Motorcycle Accident Claims
Sadly, motorcycle accident victims often sustain catastrophic injuries, ranging from broken bones to spinal cord injuries to traumatic brain injuries. As a result, they often need extensive hospitalization and ongoing medical treatments. They may be unable to work for weeks, months, or even years, adding additional financial hardship to an already-challenging situation.
At Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, we strive to recover maximum compensation for our clients’ damages. We know that a financial recovery cannot undo the pain and suffering you have endured, but it can provide much-needed financial relief in the face of unexpected challenges.
Our Rapid City motorcycle accident lawyers may be able to help you seek compensation for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Hospitalization and ambulance fees
- Medical equipment/devices
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Lost expected income/future earnings
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma and distress
- Counseling services/therapy
If your loved one died due to a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for unexpected financial and non-financial losses, such as loss of income, medical care costs, funeral/burial expenses, and loss of love, support, companionship, and guidance.
South Dakota's Motorcycle Accident Statute of Limitations
It is important to know that your time to take legal action after a motorcycle accident is limited. In most cases, motorcycle accident lawsuits in South Dakota are subject to a three year statute of limitations, meaning you typically have until the third anniversary of your crash to file a civil claim against the party responsible for your collision. If you attempt to file a claim after this three-year window has closed, the court will almost certainly refuse to hear your case and you will effectively lose your ability to recover compensation for your injuries.
From a strategy standpoint, it is important you give yourself as much time as possible to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. Even if you anticipate your case will be resolved through an insurance settlement, getting an attorney involved early on can give you more leverage during settlement negotiations and keep your options open in the event that a trial is necessary.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
In a perfect world, insurance companies would pay injured motorcyclists for the full value of their injuries up to the limits of their policies, without resistance, every time. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Insurance companies are businesses, and as such, their primary goal is to maximize profits and minimize the amount of claims they pay out. In many cases, insurance companies will do everything within their power to limit, delay, or even outright deny motorcycle accident claims to protect their bottom line. A skilled attorney who understands the tactics of insurance companies can protect you from mistreatment and give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your physical recovery.
Request a Free Consultation Today
Getting back on your feet after a motorcycle accident can be tough, but the team at Beardsley, Jensen & Lee is here for you every step of the way. We understand the unique challenges motorcycle accident victims face, from getting proper medical care for serious injuries to fighting back against stigmas and misconceptions about motorcyclists. Our team of Rapid City motorcycle accident lawyers can guide you through this process and advocate for you and the full, fair recovery you deserve.
We offer free initial consultations and do not collect any attorneys’ fees unless/until we win compensation for you.
Get in touch with us at (605) 777-7466 to learn how our team of attorneys can help you with your motorcycle accident case.