Should I Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcycles lack many protective features in passenger cars, such as an enclosed frame, seat belts, and airbags. They have less stability than four-wheeled vehicles and less visibility as well. Because of these factors, motorcyclists are many times more likely to suffer serious injuries when they are involved in accidents than the occupants of passenger cars.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a driver’s negligence, you should get a motorcycle accident lawyer to assist you with the claims process. Here is a look at some of the reasons why.
Motorcyclists Are More Likely to Sustain Disabling Injuries
According to the National Safety Council, more than 80,000 people are injured each year in motorcycle accidents, and these injuries are most often accounted for by riders and their passengers, not the occupants of other vehicles involved. Over half of the fatal accidents featuring motorcycles result from a two-vehicle crash (typically a motorcycle and a passenger car).
Without the protective features mentioned above, many motorcyclists are ejected from their bikes during an accident, leaving their bodies extremely vulnerable to injury.
Many types of injuries associated with motorcycles are considered catastrophic, including head and spinal cord injuries, traumatic amputations, severe burns, and serious facial injuries. Catastrophic injury claims generally are valued higher than other types of injury claims due to the likelihood that the permanent disabilities that result from the injuries will impair the sufferer’s ability to earn an income.
Additionally, many of these injuries will require the sufferer to seek medical treatment throughout their lives to deal with the health complications that can arise when someone permanently loses the use of a body part, function, or system.
An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer understands how disabling injuries can be and can establish a value to the claim that adequately reflects the seriousness of the injury and helps the claimant recover enough compensation to cover the economic and psychological costs of their injury.
Can a Societal Bias Against Motorcycles Affect My Claim?
Common misconceptions about motorcyclists have been prevalent in society for decades. The biggest misconception is that all motorcyclists are a certain way—such as all of them are young daredevils with a death wish, or all are lawbreakers.
In truth, as explained in an article published by HotCars, while most motorcyclists are aware of the risks of riding their bike on public roads, their passion for riding makes them feel more alive, not as a way to challenge death somehow.
While many motorcyclists know the tricks their bike can do and perhaps have even tried those tricks once or twice in less-risky locations, safety is their priority.
Additionally, the reason many riders do not opt to lay the bike down instead of crashing with another vehicle is not that they are more afraid of damaging their motorcycle than damaging their body, but that they do not have time in split-second leading up to the accident to logically plan how to avoid the biggest risks of injury.
Motorcycle accident lawyers are aware of the societal bias against motorcycles and their riders and how prevalent it is, even in medical, insurance, and even legal circles. Having a motorcycle accident lawyer is having an advocate who can help keep discussions about your claim focused on the amount of compensation you need and not on your transportation choice.
The Personal Injury Claims Process Is Long and Difficult (Unless an Attorney Handles It)
The personal injury claims process generally begins when someone injured due to another’s negligence files a claim against a relevant liability insurance policy held by the at-fault party.
Most often, in motorcycle accident claims, this is an auto insurance policy with liability coverage. This claim includes a demand for a monetary value that includes compensation for expenses such as medical treatment, property damage, and wage loss and compensation for the psychological impacts of the injury, such as physical pain and suffering or emotional distress.
When the insurance provider who services this policy receives the claim, they will assign a claims adjuster to evaluate it to determine if compensation is owed to the claimant and how much. As explained by USA Today, adjusters investigate the claims they are assigned to reduce the liability of their insured or the amount of compensation owed for the claim.
Adjusters capitalize on the lack of understanding that a claimant has about the process. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can manage communication with the claims adjuster on the claimant’s behalf to minimize these tactics’ impact on the claim’s value.
When the claims adjuster finishes their investigation into the case, they can either:
- Accept the liability of their insured and pay the claim
- Deny the claim and provide a written reason for the denial to the claimant
- Offer to settle the claim out-of-court for less than its value
If the insurer offers an out-of-court settlement, it will usually not cover the claim’s value. You need a lawyer to convince the adjuster to increase the offer’s value to a level that you can accept.
If the insurance company does not resolve the claim, you can sue in civil court.
The last thing most injured riders want to do is engage in a lengthy legal process while recovering from their injuries. Luckily, motorcycle accident lawyers have legal teams to help with the work involved in the claim and a deep understanding of the process that can provide a better opportunity for a fair settlement.
To being, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has experience handling complex motorcycle accident claims.