There is no average payout for a motorcycle accident, just like there is no average motorcycle accident. Every accident is unique and affects people differently. Some accident victims walk away with road rash and a beat-up bike, while others never walk again. This significantly affects how much each claimant can recover.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, a payout should account for all of your losses, including your medical bills, unpaid time off work, vehicle repairs, and pain and suffering. A motorcycle accident attorney who has experience handling motorcycle accident cases can assess your damages and estimate your payout.
How Can a Lawyer Help With My Motorcycle Accident Case?
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can feel overwhelming. You may feel frustrated after dealing with uncooperative claims adjusters. Your day-to-day pain and discomfort may prevent you from completing an insurance claim. This is where a lawyer can come in and manage your legal obligations.
An attorney acts as your advocate after a motorcycle accident, working hard to secure a payout that provides fair compensation for your losses. A lawyer can estimate how much your case is worth and help you seek compensation from the responsible party. They can take over all the tedious details and paperwork, allowing you to focus on getting better.
A legal representative can:
Investigate Your Motorcycle Accident
While the police and insurance companies will probably investigate your motorcycle accident, you may not want to rely on their investigation because they do not have your best interests at heart. Insurance companies focus on their bottom line, and the police may want to close the investigation quickly. Your lawyer can investigate the accident focused on your perspective.
- Interviewing people who saw the accident happen
- Speaking with first responders and law enforcement officials
- Consulting with field experts about what caused your accident
- Collecting cellphone records and toxicology reports
- Reading the police report
- Reviewing traffic camera footage
Your lawyer intends to find as much evidence as possible to support your case. With the information they find, they aim to prove that because another party’s negligence caused your accident, you suffered injuries and deserve compensation.
Estimate Your Payout
You need to know how much your payout should be, so you know how much money to seek from the liable party. If you do not understand how much your case is worth, you might accept a settlement that is less than you truly deserve, leaving you financially struggling long after the accident.
A lawyer working on your motorcycle accident case can use evidence to document your losses and their full value. They could also use your medical bills and records, as well as expert medical testimony, to estimate the value of your past and future medical expenses. Understanding the cost of your economic and non-economic damages is crucial to your case’s outcome. Not only does it help your lawyer negotiate for a fair outcome, but it also helps you understand the scope of your losses.
Handle Insurance-Related Matters
Dealing with insurance companies can give you a headache. You may spend hours on hold with insurance agents, face mountains of paperwork, and wait long periods for a single response. Each of these things can compound your stress after a serious collision.
A lawyer can:
- Handle all phone calls, emails, and other messages from the liable insurer
- Conduct negotiations
- Evaluate your losses
- Send your demand letter
- Protect you from bad faith insurance practices
- Review the liable insurance policy
- Give the claims adjuster the information they need
Your lawyer can also manage each of your claim’s deadlines. This protects your right to seek damages and avoids various complications.
Negotiate an Out-of-Court Settlement
An out-of-court settlement can offer a prompt, streamlined resolution to your case. With a settlement, you and the insurance company agree on a payout. When you accept this sum, you agree not to take any future legal action against the insurance company.
The key to an out-of-court settlement is that both parties must agree to an arrangement. You do not have to accept the first or any offer from the insurance company. Remember: it wants to settle your case as quickly and cheaply as possible. A lawyer can handle settlement negotiations and advocate for your best interests.
Sue the At-Fault Party
While most motorcycle accident cases settle through negotiations, that’s not the case for every situation. Some cases require lawsuits to reach a fair outcome. Filing a lawsuit isn’t like anything you’ve seen on TV. These cases can last weeks, and they must adhere to strict protocols.
To advance your lawsuit, a lawyer can:
- Submit your lawsuit’s paperwork
- Communicate with the defendant’s legal team
- Present your case before a judge and jury
- Follow courtroom procedures
- Object to any unfair proceedings
While your case unfolds in court, your lawyer can continue negotiating with the liable insurer. If they reach an agreement, you can accept an out-of-court settlement and drop your lawsuit. If not, the judge or jury could award compensation for your hardships.
Available Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case
If another party, such as another driver or a government agency, caused your motorcycle accident through negligence, then you could recover financial compensation.
The value of your payout depends on many factors, such as your long-term prognosis, the cost of the medical care you have already received, and the anticipated value of any future medical care you require. You need to know how much your case is worth; without understanding what you can recover, you may accept less than you need from the insurer.
Compensable losses in your case may comprise:
Economic damages account for your tangible financial losses. A lawyer can document your losses using bills, records, receipts, and expert medical testimony.
These losses may include:
- Medical expenses, such as emergency medical treatment, ambulance bills, diagnostic imaging like x-rays or MRIs, surgeries, follow-up care, and more
- Future medical care, such as projected surgeries or other treatments, long-term rehabilitation, and in-home nursing
- Medical equipment, such as crutches, braces, wheelchairs, scooters, patient lifts, hospital beds, and other equipment
- Home modifications, such as ramps, widened doorways, accessible bathrooms, or any other modifications required to make your home accessible
- Loss of income, including regular wages, tips, or salary that you lost because of your injuries
- Property damage costs if your motorcycle needs repairs or replacement because of the collision
You could also seek the cost of any out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, such as temporary transportation arrangements.
Non-economic damages reflect your intangible losses. While it may seem challenging to put a price tag on your pain and suffering, a lawyer who has experience handling cases like yours will know what you’re owed.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional trauma
- Mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reduced quality of life
Wrongful Death-Related Damages
No amount of money can bring back a lost family member or make your family whole again after such a devastating loss. Yet, wrongful death-related damages can cover the necessary expenses imposed by their death and help you and your family move forward. It also allows you to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for their negligent actions.
Compensable damages in a wrongful death case may include:
- Medical expenses for any treatment your loved one received after the accident
- Pain and suffering experienced by your loved one before they passed away
- Funeral and burial expenses, such as fees for embalming or cremation, a casket or urn, the memorial service, officiant fees, flowers, and transportation
- Loss of financial support for the income, benefits, and retirement that your loved one would have earned if not for their passing
- Loss of household support for chores, childcare, and household maintenance that your loved one would have provided
- Loss of relationship for the love, companionship, care, and guidance your loved one previously provided
Each state has different laws outlining who can file a wrongful death case and who can benefit. An attorney who manages wrongful death cases can evaluate your situation and explain your legal options.
What if I Don’t Have the Money to Afford a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
Going through the trauma of a motorcycle accident is stressful on its own. You may feel concerned about paying your everyday expenses, like rent and groceries, on top of your medical bills. Paying a lawyer may feel like an added expense that you just cannot handle. But regardless of your financial situation, you can afford a lawyer.
Many personal injury lawyer work on contingency, which means that they take their legal fees from your settlement or jury award when, and only when, they win your case. You do not have to pay any fees upfront or out of pocket, and you pay nothing unless you win. This payment structure allows everyone to afford the legal representation they deserve.
Many personal injury lawyers also offer free case consultations, so you can meet with the lawyer before committing to work with them. They can listen to your story and advise you on your next steps.
You Must Meet Various Legal Deadlines in a Motorcycle Accident Case
You have a limited time to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. The personal injury statute of limitations from state to state but tend to be between one and three years. For example, under state law, the statute of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits is two years.
For a personal injury lawsuit, the clock starts on the date of the accident. For a wrongful death lawsuit, the clock starts on the date your loved one passed away, which may be after the date of the accident. A local lawyer can explain the laws in your state and how they apply to your case.
In some cases, the at-fault party may not be another driver. A municipality, like a city, county, or state, can also hold liability for your accident. This could limit how long you have to file your lawsuit. By consulting with a lawyer, you can learn more about your case’s filing deadline, along with your other legal obligations.
What Should I Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
The steps you take after a motorcycle accident could affect your ultimate payout. For instance, by seeking prompt medical attention, you create a paper trail that documents the extent of your treatment and the care you required. It also shows the insurer that your injuries affected your daily life and warranted a professional’s opinion.
Other considerations after your collision include:
- Leaving all case-related communications to your lawyer. The insurance company may ask for a recorded statement after your accident. You don’t have to give one. In fact, doing so could jeopardize your case’s progression. Your lawyer can supply the insurer with the information it requires.
- Adhering to your treatment plan. Seeking a doctor’s advice is one thing. Completing your treatment plan is an entirely different matter. You want to show the insurer that you suffered serious injuries and want to make a full recovery. Missing appointments, failing to take medication as prescribed, and other pitfalls could complicate your claim.
- Notifying your insurance company. Even if you didn’t cause the collision, your insurer still wants to know what happened. You may even have coverage that accounts for some of your losses after a serious accident.
Considering legal help. You don’t want to manage a motorcycle accident claim on your own. Instead, consider entrusting your legal matters to a lawyer in Augusta. They have one goal: recovering compensation for your injury-related losses. From filing your claim to arguing at trial, they manage everything from start to finish.