Many people hesitate to file a claim after a motorcycle accident because they do not want the stress of appearing in court. However, the majority of motorcycle accident legal cases are handled without ever going to trial.
Whether a motorcycle accident case needs to be presented in court depends largely on whether a fair settlement can be reached with the insurance company. At Kiley Law Group, we have over 40 years of experience negotiating settlements for our clients. We do not back down until our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the skilled personal injury attorneys at our law firm, many of whom are riders themselves, are here to help. We can either negotiate a settlement on your behalf or present your case before a judge and jury – whichever route is best in your case.
Call us today or complete the online form to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our representatives are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to take your call.
When Can a Motorcycle Accident Be Settled Without Going to Court?
In Massachusetts, the majority of motorcycle accident claims are settled through negotiations with the other driver and his or her insurance company. Most motorcycle accident victims, therefore, may not have to spend even one day in a courtroom.
The following factors will play a role in determining whether a case can be settled out of court:
- The type of insurance policy the other driver has
- The amount of evidence you have against the liable party
- The types of damages you are eligible for and the value of your claim
- Whether the insurance company offers a fair settlement
- The duration of negotiations
In order for a motorcycle accident claim to be successful without going to trial, there must be strong evidence showing that the other party is to blame for your accident. If it cannot be clearly established that the other driver caused your motorcycle accident, his or her insurance company will not have much incentive to settle the case, especially out of court.
Kiley Law Group’s personal injury lawyers know what evidence is needed and how to obtain it to build a strong case for our clients. Steps we take to establish negligence may include:
- Speaking to eyewitnesses
- Obtaining police reports
- Examining medical records, and;
- Using photos and videos from the accident scene
When It May Be Necessary to Take Your Motorcycle Accident Case to Court
There are some situations where a settlement cannot be reached with the insurance company and a lawsuit must be filed. Keep in mind that when your motorcycle accident lawyer files a lawsuit, this does not necessarily mean that the case will go all the way to court. A settlement can be reached at any point during the claims process.
It is often the case that filing a lawsuit motivates insurance companies to make fair offers to avoid the costs of litigating the claim in court. For instance, the following are some reasons why a motorcycle accident case may need to go to trial.
When the insurance company denies your claim
If liability is disputed, it is more likely that the case will need to be taken to trial. When the negligent party refuses to accept responsibility, the insurance company may deny the claim outright.
Once your claim has been denied, your lawyer will then need to present more substantial evidence of fault and take the steps necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.
When the limits of the negligent party’s insurance coverage
A motorcycle accident case may need to go to trial when the victim’s damages are greater than the negligent party’s insurance coverage. The insurers are not required to pay anything above the policy limits. They may try to pressure you into signing something that prevents you from pursuing more compensation in the future.
For this reason, it is essential to speak to a motorcycle accident attorney before accepting a payout offer from the insurance company.
One additional challenge develops when the liable party does not have insurance coverage. If you were injured in a “fault state” by an uninsured driver, you may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered.
When the insurance company claims you contributed to your injuries
Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state, meaning that each motorcyclist and driver involved in an accident will typically file for damages with his or her own insurance provider. Payout should be made under each person’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance plan, regardless of who caused the collision.
However, other states follow the comparative negligence rule where a percentage of fault is assigned to each party. In these states, if the defendant claimed the motorcyclist failed to wear a helmet, signal, or obey traffic law, the motorcyclist could be assigned a percentage of fault. The percentage of fault he or she is assigned determines the damages that could be recovered.
If the other party and the insurance company are wrongfully assigning blame to you for the accident, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit, which is the next step towards a trial.
When you are filing a claim against multiple parties
Your lawyer will identify all parties liable for your motorcycle accident. In some cases, there may be multiple parties who share responsibility for your accident and resulting injuries.
Possible liable parties may include:
- Other drivers
- Other motorcyclists
- Auto or parts manufacturers
- Government entities
Since each defendant wants to minimize the payout, disputes often arise as to how liability is apportioned. If these disputes cannot be resolved out of court, the case may need to go to trial.
When you are pursuing significant damages
Some motorcycle accidents were a result of gross negligence and resulted in life-altering injuries or the loss of a loved one. In these situations, your lawyer may be able to help you recover significant damages.
Please note that the greater the amount of compensation pursued, the more time and resources the insurance company is likely to invest in disputing the claim. Motorcycle accident cases involving a significant amount of compensation are often settled at trial rather than during negotiations.
When the statute of limitations is running out
Every state has a set statute of limitations on personal injury cases. This is the amount of time that a person is allowed to file a claim or lawsuit. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on motorcycle accidents and other personal injury cases is usually 3 years.
Once those three years have passed, accident victims are usually unable to collect any damages for their injuries or other losses. Suppose this time constraint is approaching without any hint of a fair settlement coming. In this case, your motorcycle accident lawyer may begin the process of preparing a lawsuit – if that is what is needed to protect your right to compensation.
What Happens When a Motorcycle Accident Case Goes to Trial?
The thought of having to go to trial can make accident victims nervous and anxious. When you choose Kiley Law Group as your legal representative, though, you can be confident that we will be there with you through every step of the lawsuit, to ease the process.
The following will give you an idea of how the trial will proceed:
- The plaintiff presents the case: The plaintiff is the one who filed the lawsuit. It is during this stage that the injured party’s lawyer will present evidence demonstrating that the defendant caused the accident and the resulting injuries.
- The defendant presents the case: Once the plaintiff has presented that side of the case, the defendant’s lawyer will present evidence to counter the accusations brought against his or her client.
- Deliberations: Once both sides have made their case, the judge (or jury) will take time to deliberate and determine whether the defendant is liable for the accident. If so, the judge or jury will decide the amount of compensation to be awarded based on the presented evidence.
The length of time a trial takes depends on several different factors, such as the facts of your case and the strength of the presented evidence. In some situations, a trial may take several months to be resolved.
To make sure your time is not wasted, you need to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer who you trust and can rely on. And when it comes to motorcycle accidents, who’s better than Tom Kiley and his fellow rider lawyers?
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Founder of Kiley Injury Law, Tom Kiley, Sr., has been a motorcycle rider and enthusiast for many years. He understands that the injuries motorcyclists sustain in accidents are often catastrophic, having life-changing effects on them and their families. The financial stress caused by a serious accident can be an additional burden.
Thus, every personal injury attorney at our law firm is proud to represent the legal rights of motorcyclists. We are knowledgeable in Massachusetts motorcycle law and know what is needed to build a solid case for our valued clients.
Whether your case is settled through negotiations with the insurance company or at trial, we will work hard to ensure that you recover the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. Whatever is ideal for you is what we will strive for.
Our law firm takes all motorcycle accident cases on contingency, so we will not charge you any upfront costs or fees. Neither do you owe us a dime unless you are awarded a settlement.
Schedule a free case review with one of our team members today. Call us 24/7 at 888-437-2584 or complete the contact form here on our website.