Motorcycle Accident Lawyers

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If you, or someone close to you, have suffered a motorcycle accident in Queensland due to the negligence or fault of another party, you might wonder if you're entitled to motorcycle accident injury compensation.

This straightforward guide aims to help you understand the intricacies of claiming compensation, including your rights to claim compensation, common causes of such injuries, an overview of the claims process, frequently asked questions, and time limits for making a claim specific to Queensland. 

Smith's Lawyers team of personal injury claim experts offers free initial advice and no-obligation appointments at home, in the hospital, in-office, or via phone. All motorcycle accident claims have no upfront costs or risks of being left out of pocket under our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise. We operate Queensland-wide.

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Understanding Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident Injury in Queensland

Motorcycle accidents account for 16% of all road traffic injuries in Queensland. If you've been injured and it wasn't your fault, you could be entitled to motorcycle accident compensation.

As well as making a common law claim, Queensland has several compensation schemes that you may be eligible to apply for. 

  • Motor vehicle accident: The state requires all vehicles to hold compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance at a minimum when on the road. If you're a victim of a car or road accident, this scheme lets you make a claim against the negligent driver's CTP insurer.
  • Work accident: If you drive a motorbike as part of your job, you have the right to make a statutory claim via WorkCover Queensland or your employer (if they are a self-insurer). This applies regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If your employer can be proven negligent, you have the right to make a common law claim against them.
  • Public place accident: If your injury happened in a public area due to someone else's negligence, you can seek to claim compensation from the public liability insurer of the area.

Making a claim can be complicated, so you should speak to an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who can explain your options. 

Smith's Lawyers offer a free case review to help you understand what your claim could look like.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

According to the Australian Road Death Database, almost 20% of fatalities on the road involved a motorcycle. This shows that as much as getting out on a bike can be an exhilarating experience, it does come with some pretty big risks. Often, these are because of other road users and not the motorcyclists themselves. 

Some of the most common causes of motorbike accident injuries are: 

  • Distracted driving: This typically means the driver of another vehicle is not paying complete attention to the road. Busy with their phone, eating, or simply distracted by something, they may overlook motorcyclists, leading to accidents.
  • Reckless driving: Speeding or not following traffic rules can result in devastating motorcycle accidents. Exceeding speed limits or manoeuvring dangerously around motorcycles can cause serious injuries or even death.
  • Poor road conditions: Potholes, rubble, wet surfaces, or lack of signage can make it difficult for a motorcyclist to maintain control, which often leads to accidents.
  • Motorcycle defects: Mechanical faults or defects in the motorcycle can also cause accidents. Faulty brakes, engine failure, or tyre bursts while on the road can result in a crash.
  • Driving under the influence: Alcohol or drug-impaired drivers pose a great risk to motorcyclists. Reduced reaction times and impaired motor control often result in serious or fatal injuries to motorcyclists.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accident Injuries

In 2019, there were 1,214 hospitalised injuries due to motorcycle accidents in Queensland. While every incident is unique, certain injuries are more likely to occur than others. Some of the most common injuries include: 

  • Fractures and breaks: When a motorcycle is hit, your natural reflex is to put an arm or leg out to break the fall. At high speed, this is likely to result in some form of fracture. Legs can also get crushed between the bike and the road if it falls on top of you.
  • Road rash: This isn't just an ordinary skin abrasion. Road rash can scrape away multiple layers of skin, leave permanent scars, or require skin graft surgery if you slide on the road surface.
  • Spinal injuries: Spinal cord injuries can happen when you land on your back or neck. Such injuries can lead to life-altering disabilities like paralysis.
  • Head and brain injuries: Despite helmet use, you can still sustain serious head and traumatic brain injuries leading to long-term cognitive problems or disabilities.
  • Biker's arm: When you fall and land on your arm, it can lead to nerve damage, known as "biker's arm." This condition can result in weakened arm strength and reduced mobility.

If you think you have suffered an injury as a result of someone else's negligence, then you could be entitled to make a motorcycle accident claim. Speaking to a motorcycle accident lawyer will help you understand your options.

Workers Most at Risk of Motorbike Accident Injuries

Some jobs carry a higher risk of encountering motorcycle accidents, primarily due to the nature of the work they do. Some of these include: 

  • Courier and delivery services: Some couriers use motorbikes to get packages to their destination quickly. Being on the road so much puts them at a higher risk of an accident.
  • Food delivery riders: Often delivering at night where lighting is poor or where there is a higher risk of drivers under the influence of alcohol, like couriers, their risk of an accident is high.
  • Motorcycle patrol officers: Officers patrolling on motorcycles are susceptible to mishaps due to unexpected circumstances, including high-speed chases or quick manoeuvres amidst busy traffic.

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Understanding the Compensation Claims Process

If you've been injured and want to make a case, here's a guide to what you can expect. Remember that your motorcycle accident compensation claim could involve more or fewer steps. If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident, the first thing to do is seek immediate medical attention. A well-documented medical record not only ensures your health but also stands as important evidence when you file a claim.

Below is an outline of the steps involved: 

1. Seek Free Initial Legal Advice

The first step is to get in touch with motorbike accident lawyers that specialise in compensation claims for injuries. Such a firm will have the necessary expertise and understanding of the complexities of Queensland law and can confirm your legal options, including eligibility to make a claim.

2. Engage A Personal Injury Lawyer

After an initial phone assessment, the next stage is a no-obligation consultation to explain the process and client agreement in more detail and to gather initial key information relating to your accident and injury to help assess your case and your injury and identify the liable party. The client agreement will also be explained so you can understand the terms under which the personal injury law operates. Smith’s Lawyers runs all motorcycle accident claims risk-free with no upfront costs.

3. Gather Evidence To Build Your Case

Once your motor vehicle accident compensation matter is opened, you will be allocated a personal injury lawyer who will start gathering the required evidence to build a strong case and determine liability. This may include medical reports, accident reports, witness statements, CCTV or dashcam footage, or documentation of any loss of earnings due to your injury. Further down the track, when your injuries have settled, your law firm may arrange for independent medical assessments such as occupational therapy assessment to assess your ability to work, long-term recovery prospects and so on.

4. File Your Motorbike Accident Claim

Your personal injury solicitor will lodge a notice of claim and negotiate on your behalf with the liable parties, typically with their insurance companies (or their legal representatives), such as the CTP insurer of the at-fault party for car and road accidents or WorkCover Qld for workplace accidents. 

5. Negotiate With The At-Fault Party's Insurer

Negotiations with the insurance company aim to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Most cases are settled out of court in a compulsory conference, an office-based meeting involving yourself, your personal injury solicitor, and a barrister they have engaged in leading the negotiations along with the legal representatives of the at-fault party's insurer. 

In the unlikely event that a settlement cannot be negotiated out of court, proceedings can proceed to court. In most ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case is unsuccessful in court. Smith’s Lawyers No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise protects you from this risk and means you can not be out of pocket.

6. Settlement Payment

If your claim is successful, you will receive a lump-sum tax-free compensation settlement. The amount received will depend on different factors, including the severity of your injury, any impact on your earning capacity, and any medical expenses incurred. Legal fees are charged for the work completed only if there is a successful outcome.

Seek expert advice ASAP: Remember, each case is unique, and the process can vary based on the specifics. It's suggested to seek professional legal advice and have your case reviewed by an expert team to guide you in this journey. Smith's Lawyers are experts in personal injury claims and offer a Queensland-wide service with free initial advice to get you started in your claim process.

What Evidence Do I Need to Support My Motorcycle Accident Claim?

If you've been injured, seeking compensation can be a complex process. One crucial aspect of your claim is collecting evidence to support your version of events. Here's what you need to gather: 

  • Medical reports: These are critical as they validate your physical injuries and their severity. These reports can come from a hospital, GP, or other healthcare providers. They provide an official record of your afflictions, treatments received, and the likely impact on your future health.
  • Witness testimonies: Statements from individuals who witnessed your accident can be highly valuable. They can provide an independent perspective of the incident which may help to establish fault.
  • Proof of accident: This could take the form of photos or videos from the accident scene, damage to your motorcycle or clothes, or a police report if one was filed. These will help corroborate your claims.
  • Expense details: Keep all receipts and records of costs you've incurred due to the accident. These could include medical bills, repair costs for your motorcycle, and any extra expenses relevant to your recovery, such as physiotherapy.
  • Proof of lost earnings: If the injuries sustained from your accident have caused you to miss work or have reduced your earning capacity, you should provide pay slips or a note from your employer. This will contribute to the calculation of compensation for loss of earnings.

It's crucial to remember that the success of your claim heavily relies on the strength of your evidence. That’s why it's important to speak to a motorcycle accident lawyer. They can help you understand your case. 

Calculating Your Compensation Amount

When it comes to calculating how much compensation you might be entitled to after a motorcycle accident, there are several variables to consider. Here are the key elements that compensation payments typically cover:

  • Past and future loss of earnings: Compensation aims to cover any income you've lost due to the accident, as well as potential future earnings. This includes loss of superannuation contributions.
  • Hospital and medical expenses: All the costs incurred for your medical treatment following the accident, along with any ongoing expenses, are factored into the compensation calculation.
  • Rehabilitation costs: If your recovery involves treatments like physiotherapy, these costs are also considered in your compensation.
  • Pain and suffering: Your emotional and physical pain, distress, and the impact on your quality of life following the accident are vital factors in determining compensation.
  • Severity of injury: A more severe or permanent impairment from an injury, such as loss of a limb, will generally result in a higher compensation.
  • Age: Your age can impact the calculation, particularly if you're young and have had your future earning potential severely impacted. 

When it comes to making a claim, speaking to motorcycle accident lawyers will help you understand how much compensation you could receive. 

Smith's Lawyers offers a no-obligation case review, which could help you understand your options.

How Can a Motorcycle Accident Impact Your Ability to Work?

A motorcycle accident can have substantial effects on your ability to work, both short-term and long-term.

Short-term impact: This can often include the need for time off work for recovery or medical appointments. Severe injuries might even require hospital stays, vastly impacting your capacity to do your job. 

Long-term impact: This may involve ongoing physical impairments or disabilities resulting from the accident. Such conditions could limit your range of movement, strength, or stamina, possibly making it challenging to continue in your job or any physically demanding job. Additionally, psychological distress, trauma or cognitive issues like memory loss or impaired concentration levels, which are often overlooked, could make returning to work daunting. 

It's important to remember that the extent of the accident's impact on your earning capacity highly influences your compensation amount.

Time Limits for Motorcycle Accident Injuries

When it comes to claiming compensation for motorcycle accidents in Queensland, keep in mind you have three years from the date of your accident or injury to make a claim. Sometimes, however, these can vary in specific circumstances.

For work-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have six months to lodge your claim with WorkCover. The six-month period begins whenever the incident takes place, either when you are injured or after a doctor has made their assessment.
  • You have three years to commence legal proceedings for a common law claim. If your employer or a third party caused or contributed to your injury, this can be run alongside a standard WorkCover claim.

For motor vehicle-related injuries in Queensland:

  • You have nine months from the date of the accident or when injuries first became apparent to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim Form (known as a 'NOAC') with the Compulsory Third Party Insurer (CTP Insurer). A “reasonable excuse for delay” can be provided outside the nine months but must be within three years of the accident, or you will be barred from making a claim.
  • Or, you have one month from when you first consult with a lawyer about the possibility of making a claim to lodge the form. When running a claim with Smith’s Lawyers, your appointed solicitor will help you complete and submit this form.  Note: This time limit is the earlier of the two (one month vs nine months), so if you have spoken to a lawyer about your potential claim, you must lodge the NOAC within one month.
  • Where the motor vehicle at fault cannot be identified (such as in a hit and run), or the vehicle was unregistered, you have three months from the date of the accident to lodge a Notice of Accident Claim form with the Nominal Defendant. For these claims, if you have missed the three-month period, a reasonable excuse can be provided, but it must be provided within the standard nine-month limit; otherwise, you will be barred from making a claim.
  • After the Notice of Claim Form is lodged, you have three years from the date of the accident/injury to start legal proceedings.

These limits can fluctuate based on specific circumstances, such as exceptional delays in discovering the injury or if the injured party was under 18 at the time of the accident. For those under 18, the time limit begins when they reach adulthood.

At Smith's Lawyers, we offer free and no-obligation case reviews to aid you in understanding your legal rights after an injury. Operating on a No Win, No Fee, No Catch® basis, we aim to provide risk-free legal assistance and advocate for your right to proper compensation

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I was partially at fault for the accident; does that mean I can't claim?

No, being partially at fault doesn't disqualify you from compensation in Queensland. The system operates on what's called "contributory negligence." This means your compensation award could be reduced by a percentage reflecting your level of fault. For example, if you are deemed 20% responsible for the accident, your compensation might be reduced by 20%.

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I was injured in a single-vehicle accident, can I make a claim?

This becomes more complex. With single-vehicle motorcycle accidents, you typically can't file a claim against a CTP insurer unless it can be proven that another vehicle directly caused your accident. In other, more limited circumstances, you might have potential avenues for compensation:

  • National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIISQ): This is a Queensland scheme designed for anyone catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of fault. Benefits are limited, and strict eligibility criteria apply.
  • Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Claim: If you have TPD cover within a superannuation or life insurance policy, you might be eligible for benefits if your injuries prevent you from ever working again.
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS): Provides more long-term support for people with significant and permanent disability (may or may not apply depending on your particular injury scenario).
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How do I prove the other driver was at fault in a motorcycle accident?

You'll need strong evidence. Here's what is crucial:

  • Witness statements: Statements by anyone who saw the accident are invaluable.
  • Police reports: The police report helps to establish the accident scene and may contain clues as to how the accident occurred.
  • Accident Reconstruction Experts: These professionals analyze evidence and recreate the accident to offer expert opinions on liability.
  • Your own testimony: It's vital to present a clear and consistent account of what happened.
  • Photos/Videos: Any camera footage (such as from your helmet camera, traffic cameras, or nearby security cameras) can be beneficial.
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I was lane-filtering when the accident happened. Will this affect my case?

Lane filtering itself is legal in Queensland but comes with specific rules. If you were following road rules while lane filtering, it shouldn't automatically rule out compensation. However, some insurers and courts might scrutinize lane filtering more heavily. Proving fault becomes even more important in such situations.

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I was injured as a motorcycle passenger (pillion rider), can I claim?

Yes, as a passenger (pillion), you may still access compensation from the responsible driver's CTP insurance, even if the rider of your motorcycle was at fault. Your entitlement under the CTP scheme is not impacted by who was actually riding the bike. It's also important to know that even if the at-fault person is your partner or family member, claiming CTP compensation won't have any negative financial impact on them personally.

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What if the other driver was uninsured or couldn't be identified (like a hit-and-run)?

In Queensland, even if the at-fault driver isn't insured or is never found, you may still be eligible for compensation. The Nominal Defendant is a government-funded scheme designed to help injured victims access compensation in such situations. The process is generally the same as a standard insurance claim, except you file your claim with the Nominal Defendant instead of an insurance company.

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Are there any upfront costs or risks?

No; our No Win, No Fee, No Catch® promise at Smith’s Lawyers means there are no upfront costs, and you can never be left out of pocket as a result of the claim. Typically with ‘no win, no fee’ agreements, you could still be liable for the other side's legal costs if your case goes to court and is unsuccessful. In the unlikely event that your case goes to court and you are unsuccessful, we'll cover the costs - so you won't pay a cent to us or anyone else.

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Get expert advice today

To check your compensation entitlements, request a free case review with our expert lawyers. We can explain your options to Rotator Cuff Compensation claims so you are clear on your rights during this difficult time.

Take our 2-minute free claim check

Fill in the form below to find out if you have a claim.

Last updated:
March 11, 2024

Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For help understanding your rights, please call 1800 960 482 or request a free case review to talk to one of our lawyers today.