Motorcycle Accident Settlement 101: What to Expect
Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injuries around most of the world? Are you currently recovering from being in a motorcycle accident, and you’re not sure what to expect next? In this article, explore what to expect in a motorcycle accident settlement, and how you can come out on top.
Read on to explore these top tips you won’t want to miss to ensure that you get the treatment you need and deserve.
Filing Your Claim
When you’re looking for Connecticut motorcycle accident help, you’ll need to prove 2 things, how much the damages will cost, and that the other person caused the accident. If you can prove that the other driver is at fault, then they’ll be responsible for the cost of all damages. At this point, the insurance company might approve your claim, and go through with the payment.
When you go for motorcycle accident legal help, a common question is whether or not you’ll be able to receive compensation. You might be suffering from a serious injury that’s keeping you out of work.
In Connecticut, if you’re injured by someone who is negligent, you’ll receive compensation for your injuries. These damages can include lower quality of life, lost income, property damage, and medical expenses.
Negligence can include:
- Drinking/Driving under the influence
- Not yielding
- Distracted driving
Do I Need an Attorney?
Seeking legal help after a motorcycle accident is a good way to ensure that you will receive the compensation necessary that you need and deserve. A qualified and experienced vehicle accident attorney will be able to go over with you what compensation you can realistically receive.
After the accident, take pictures of the accident scene, and make note of anything you notice about the other driver if you can. Keep track of any injuries you face.
When you seek treatment for your injuries, it’ll show you’re trying to get better. This can help in fighting your case for medical bills.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Claim?
For help after a motorcycle accident in Connecticut, they can usually be resolved within a couple of months. Keep in mind that this will depend on the complexity of your case as well.
When you choose an attorney for your case, it can help speed up the process. It can also increase your likelihood of a strong settlement amount. Any injuries and medical bills that you face, make sure to keep a document of and give to your attorney.
Negotiate Before Trial
You might notice that the other driver wants to reach a settlement before court. While this might be tempting, it’s not always the best option.
There’s always the option to go to court and receive more than what they’re offering you. Speak with your motorcycle accident attorney to determine your best option.
While your attorney can go over with you your options, keep in mind that the true settlement and compensation can’t be determined until a settlement is reached. If you can show proof that the other driver has negligence, your chances of compensation increases.
Income loss due to a serious injury is quite common. Don’t just keep track of medical bills, but lost wages due to your injury as well.
Many cases have what’s called an alternative dispute resolution. This is where a neutral third party will be involved to provide more knowledge to how the judge or jury might respond to the case.
If you decide to go with mediation outside of court, it can take between a few hours to a few days. This will mean the accident claim is taken care of, and the lawsuit is dismissed.
What to Do Right After a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’re able to you’ll want to collect the insurance information of the other driver and contact the police. For any property damage, you’ll want to file a police report.
#1. Be Safe
Avoid any vehicles that are leaking gasoline or anything that is on fire. Stay away from cliffs as well.
#2. Seek Medical Help
Seek medical help right away if you’re experiencing any injuries. Even if you’re not experiencing any injuries, it’s still a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.
#3. Stay Calm
Never yell or threaten the other person, this can come back later in court. Don’t cause harm to others.
It’s also not your job to assign blame to another. Keep it civil and avoid arguments.
#4. Speak With Witnesses
Are there any witnesses nearby? Try to speak with someone who witnessed the accident, and can help your case.
#5. Don’t Admit Fault
Don’t admit fault. Be careful with what you say or admit during the conversation with the police statement, and what you say to the other driver.
#6. Contact Insurance
You’ll want to contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident. This is a way to have a physical document of what happened during the accident, along with the police report.
#7. Contact an Attorney
It’s a good idea to begin your search for a vehicle accident attorney. They can make sure that you receive the proper compensation for your injuries.
Exploring Motorcycle Accident Settlements
Now that you’ve explored more about motorcycle accident settlements, you should have a better idea of what to expect. Were you recently in a motorcycle or other vehicle accident, and you’re not sure what to do next?
Consulting an Attorney Can Help Understand the Settlement Process
When you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident, you may have experienced extensive damage – to your body, your motorcycle, and potentially your ability to work and support yourself and your family. During this difficult time, the insurance company for the at-fault driver might extend to you a quick and courteous offer of settlement.
This settlement might seem to cover the immediate costs of the accident, like your medical bills and repair costs for your motorcycle. This settlement might seem like an easy solution, but accepting it will also prevent you from pursuing additional damages from the at-fault party in the future. You waive your right to seek additional funds, even if you realize you have significant losses that the settlement did not cover.
Contact one of our experienced attorneys to discuss how we can help you make the most of your motorcycle accident claim.
Who Is at Fault for Your Injuries?
When you suffer injuries in an accident, you can recover damages from any parties that were liable for your injuries. Someone is liable for your injuries when they violated a duty to you, which, when it comes to driving, generally means following traffic laws and rules and exercising caution.
When a driver violates the rules of the road and crashes into your motorcycle, that driver should be liable for your losses. However, it is not always as simple as this. For example, if the driver was working at the time, their employer should also be liable. If it was a rideshare driver, the rideshare company might also have to provide insurance coverage.
If your motorcycle crashed because of a malfunction – and not another driver – it can be even more complicated. Malfunctions might occur because of a defective bike part, in which case, the manufacturer of that bike part should be the responsible party. If you crashed because of an obstacle in the road that you had to swerve around, the construction crew or agency that left the obstacle in the road is the liable party.
As you can see, many different people or entities might be liable. You need to make sure that you seek settlements from each one, as this works to ensure that your financial recovery covers all of your losses.
The Extent of Your Injuries Affects Your Settlement
Of the many factors that go into measuring a fair settlement, the extent of your injuries will be the most influential. Generally speaking, the more severe your injuries are, the higher your settlement. More serious injuries result in higher medical bills and other losses, such as lost income or pain and suffering.
Motorcycle accidents regularly result in catastrophic injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Amputations and crush injuries
- Internal organ damage
All of these can result in extensive losses, all of which your attorney will consider when beginning settlement negotiations.
Including Future Losses in Your Settlement
When you receive a settlement offer right away from an insurance company, it likely only addresses your medical bills and lost income up to that point. However, as discussed, motorcyclists often have severe injuries, and your losses might continue to add up well into the future.
Just because you did not yet incur certain losses doesn’t mean you should be responsible for these costs. Your attorney will know how to include future losses in your settlement demand and negotiations.
Future Medical Bills
Many injuries need ongoing medical care for years – if not for the rest of your life – following a motorcycle accident. Someone who suffers a paralyzing spinal injury will need wheelchairs, medical equipment, treatment for possible infections or other complications, and more. Others might require home health care or ongoing rehabilitative therapy. While you do not have these medical bills yet to prove your losses, your attorney can work with medical experts to estimate the costs of your medical care over your lifetime.
Future Lost Earnings
Many serious injuries will have an impact on your earning ability. A disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from returning to work altogether will deprive you of income for the rest of your working life. Your lawyer can consult with trusted experts to estimate your future lost earnings, including accounting for potential raises, inflation, bonuses, other work value like sick days and vacation time, and other factors.
Having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side who has worked on similar cases will ensure that all the variables that might impact your future losses factor into your settlement.
Accounting for Intangible Losses
Financial losses like medical bills and lost income are not the only compensable ones for motorcycle accident victims.
Many intangible losses might apply in your case, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering from your injuries
- PTSD and other mental trauma from the accident or your injuries
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities or impairments
- Loss of consortium
These losses do not come with price tags, but a motorcycle accident lawyer will know how to value them. You must include these in your settlement, or else you might leave significant money on the table. Insurance companies might use a simple multiplier method to calculate intangible damages, but this often grossly underestimates the true amount that you deserve.
The Value of a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Your Settlement
When you hire an accident attorney to help with your claim, they will take a percentage of your settlement as their fees. You might wonder whether it is worth giving up part of your settlement, but the answer is almost always yes.
Consider this example (which may vary from your case results):
Initial settlement offer before you have a lawyer = $22,000
Settlement offer after you have a lawyer proving your damages = $140,000
Even if the attorney takes about one-third of the settlement as their fees, you will still take home close to $100,000—significantly more than the initial offer when you were unrepresented. While this is a hypothetical example, a lawyer often increases settlement offers for injured claimants substantially, and more than pays for the services provided. Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer for help today.