If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, life is about to get complicated. As you face months of recovery, lost wages, and accumulating medical bills, you may be wondering what the next step should be. As you look into all your options, you might have one big question on your mind: How long does it take to settle a motorcycle accident claim?
Compensation for your injuries cannot come soon enough. That is why you need to call Kiley Law Group right away. Our team of experienced lawyers has helped our clients win over $500 million in personal injury case recoveries.
You want to get back on your feet as soon as possible, and we can provide the legal support you need to make that happen. Call Kiley Law Group today at (888) 733-9203 for a free case evaluation. Our No Fee Guarantee means you will not have to pay a cent until you win your case.
Contributing Factors in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Riding a motorcycle is, in many ways, more complicated and dangerous than driving any other type of passenger vehicle. When accidents happen, the outcomes can be devastating.
The NHTSA reported that, in 2020, motorcyclists were 28 times more likely to die in an accident than an occupant in a passenger car. This is partly due to the limited safety that bikes provide.
By their very nature, motorcycle accidents are difficult to litigate. Why? See the following list of contributing factors.
States have different laws that regulate how liability should be established. Massachusetts is a no-fault state. If you get into any type of accident, you will report that to your own insurance company to recover damages. This is called first-party benefits.
As a modified no-fault state, Massachusetts is unique.
If you are involved in a severe accident, you may need additional compensation that your insurance will not cover. In this case, you can sue the other party to cover the rest of your financial losses and get what is called “third-party benefits.” To do this, you need to establish that the other party is at least 51 percent at fault for causing the accident.
Massachusetts has a list of negligent behaviors called the Standards of Fault. The person who brings the claim has the burden of proof, to show that the defendant violated one or more of those standards.
Under the rule of comparative negligence, your payment may be reduced by the amount you are found to have contributed to the accident. For example, if you were found to be 10 percent negligent, then a $10,000 reward will be reduced by $1,000.
Duration of medical treatment
Motorcycle accidents are deadlier and cause more serious injuries than passenger car accidents. Sometimes, injuries are not immediately reported or noticeable. It is always important to seek medical attention after an accident regardless of how you feel.
If you are seriously injured, you will be given a treatment plan by your doctor. Doing so can increase your chances of winning compensation because medical records dating from the time of your accident show that your injuries came from the collision itself. What’s more, if you follow the treatment plan, the insurance company is less able to dispute your claim by saying you made your own injuries worse.
This also means, ideally, you should wait until you are within reach of your “maximum medical improvement” to move forward with a case. It is only at this time that you will be able to see how much your full medical treatment may cost.
The total should include prior medical bills and any future treatment you may need. If you try to move ahead too early, you cannot go back later and relitigate for more money.
Assigning value to overall damages
Most personal injury claims are divided into two categories. These categories are economic and non-economic losses.
It is easy to put a value on economic losses. You know what your medical bills are, how much income you lost, and the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle. Future medical treatments and rehabilitation may also be calculated as well.
Non-economic losses are more difficult to place. They are considered subjective to every accident victim. Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma are good examples of non-economic losses. A personal injury attorney will know from experience how to calculate how much you are owed. They can even look back at past cases to see what was awarded in similar motorcycle cases.
Another financial value that can be awarded is punitive damages that may be awarded to you when the other party was grossly negligent. For example, perhaps that person’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of the incident. Maybe he or she had several types of narcotics in their system. In those cases, it was not a simple accident that caused your injuries; the other party had no right to be on the road.
Ongoing negotiations with the insurance company
Despite how they advertise themselves, insurance companies are not on your side. Their main goal is to run a profitable business. They cannot do that if they are shelling out big money to accident victims. Thus, insurance companies often fight back against injury claims. They have plenty of tactics up their sleeve to keep you from getting the compensation you deserve.
The best course of action is to never deal with the insurance company yourself, which will have their own attorneys and experts on hand. You, though, can fight fire with fire by hiring a personal injury lawyer.
The right attorney will have the knowledge and experience to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Without that negotiation, you may end up desperate enough for some cash that you give in prematurely. That could leave you without the money you need to recover, but your lawyer will not let anything jeopardize your claim.
If all your cards are played right, then both sides can come together and agree on a proper settlement. The only downside is the time it can take for the agreement to be reached.
The case goes to trial
If you are eager to get your hands on the compensation you deserve, then going to trial might seem like bad news. It means that both sides could not agree on a settlement. The matter will now go before a judge and/or a jury of your peers. While negotiating a settlement can take months, taking the matter to trial can take over a year.
After the court is notified, the discovery phase will begin. Both sides will build their case using the evidence they have. It is important to note that going to trial does not mean a settlement is impossible. Just the threat of going to trial is sometimes enough to come to a fair agreement. That is especially true if the evidence is in your favor.
Steps to Take After Being in a Motorcycle Accident
After being in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering what the next steps should be. Getting your settlement will take some time, but there are some ways you can make the process easier, including the following.
Get medical attention
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you will need a record of those injuries. It is also important to closely follow your doctor’s instructions. If you do not, the insurance company can use that against you. They can say you made your injuries worse or that you were not even hurt at all.
If you can do so, gather as much information as you can. This includes talking to witnesses and getting their contact information. Write down the license plate number of the party that hit you. The police will make their own investigation, but they are not thinking about a potential personal injury case. Gathering your own information will help you cover your bases in case there is something the officers miss.
Take photos of the scene
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to gathering evidence, that statement is true. Make sure you take photos of the accident scene and the damage done to both vehicles. Other visual evidence can include skid marks on the road or the weather conditions on the day of the accident.
Call your insurance company
One of the first things you will need to do is to report the accident to your insurance company. Failing to report the accident can result in your claim being denied. Your policy should tell you how long you have to file a claim. Since Massachusetts is a no-fault state, you will have to prove that your injuries are severe enough to qualify for additional benefits.
Never accept an early settlement
While you are recovering from your injuries, the insurance company may attempt to offer a quick settlement, but you are under no obligation to take that initial offer. The insurance company does not want the case to go to court where they might end up being forced to pay more money. By taking that money, you are settling the matter and they will not pay you a dime more. Often, what they offer you will not be enough to cover all of your financial needs.
Call Kiley Law Group
Motorcycle injury cases can be complex and take time to settle, so you need a personal injury attorney on your side throughout the entire process. That way, while you are focused on your recovery, your Kiley Law Group attorney is gathering evidence on your behalf. We are tough negotiators who will not back down from insurance companies.
Tom Kiley, Sr. founded Kiley Law Group over 40 years ago. In that time, he has represented over 1,000 motorcyclists and their families. He understands their needs because he is an avid rider himself. In his 40-year career, Tom Kiley and his team have helped clients win over $500 million in settlements for their injuries. That is experience you can trust.
Reach out to Kiley Law Group today at (888) 733-9203. You can even send a message to one of our live team members 24/7 on our website. There is no fee unless you win.