Motorcycle riders have little to protect them from the environment around them. When they are involved in motorcycle accidents, they are much likelier to suffer severe injuries or to be killed than the occupants of passenger cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in 2018 in the U.S. Tens of thousands of others suffered serious injuries in motorcycle accidents.
When should you hire a motorcycle accident attorney?
You should retain a personal injury lawyer whenever you have been injured in a motorcycle accident by the negligent actions of others. While you might feel that the other driver’s liability is clear, insurance companies understand that juries tend to view motorcyclists as risk-takers and may try to take advantage of that to reduce how much they might have to pay you. Attorneys can help motorcycle accident victims in multiple ways, and they understand the types of strategies that insurance companies commonly use to try to avoid paying motorcycle accident claims. Lawyers understand how to investigate motorcycle accidents, allowing them to build strong cases of liability for their clients. When you are dealing with serious injuries from your motorcycle accident, you should be able to focus on getting better instead of trying to deal with an insurance company. A motorcycle accident attorney can investigate your accident claim and negotiate with the insurance company for you so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries.
Why insurance companies might try to settle with you quickly
In some cases, an insurance company might try to settle a motorcycle accident claim directly with you soon after it learns that you were seriously injured. This is a common approach to these types of claims when the insured drivers are clearly at fault. For example, if a motorist was intoxicated and hit your motorcycle, the insurance company might reach out to you and offer you a check to settle your claim.
You should never accept an early settlement offer without meeting with a personal injury lawyer to have it reviewed. In many cases, initial settlement offers are inadequate and will not be enough to cover the losses that the victims have suffered. Insurance companies might make these offers to try to get you to settle for far less than you could have recovered and to convince you that your claim is not worth as much as it is. If you accept the initial offer that you receive, you will not be allowed to ask for more money later when you realize that your settlement did not cover all of your losses.
Dealing with insurance companies
To recover damages after a motorcycle accident, you will have to present evidence that the other driver was at fault for the accident and your injuries. If you shared some of the fault, your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is allocated to you. Insurance companies often try to argue that the injured motorcyclists were partly or wholly to blame for their accidents to reduce or avoid the amounts that they might have to pay.
They also engage in other tactics to try to get the victims to admit a degree of liability for their accidents such as by asking for recorded interviews. An insurance company might also ask you to sign a medical authorization while telling you that it needs to access your medical records to understand your injuries. You should not agree to give a recorded statement or to sign anything from an insurance company without talking to a motorcycle accident lawyer. These are strategies that companies use to try to avoid or minimize having to pay claims.
How an attorney might help
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will try to negotiate a fair settlement for you. If the insurance company will not agree to a just settlement offer, a lawyer will be willing to fight for your rights at a jury trial. Attorneys thoroughly investigate accident claims and might work with experts and investigators to build strong cases on their clients’ behalf. This investigatory work may induce the insurance company to agree to settle the claim for a reasonable amount instead of risking paying more money in a verdict award from a jury.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer Palo Alto today
After a motorcycle accident, you might be reeling under the weight of mounting medical bills and income losses. You may also be facing permanent disabilities and emotional trauma from what you have gone through. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer at the San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys can review your claim and discuss whether you have valid grounds to file a lawsuit. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (408) 217-1778.