Do All Motorcycle Accidents Settle?
The victims of motorcycle accidents often face substantial losses. When another person is at fault for those losses, you have the right to seek compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit with your local civil court. However, that does not mean your case will go to trial. Most motorcycle accident lawsuits settle before the trial phase begins, and with the help of a motorcycle accident attorney, you could receive a more fair settlement.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Potential for Compensation After a Motorcycle Accident?
Depending on the severity of your accident, there are steps you can take in the immediate aftermath and the days that follow that will help protect your potential for compensation. For example, you should:
- Contact the police. After you assess yourself and anyone else involved for injuries, you may need to contact emergency medical services. However, if you are well enough to wait for medical treatment, you should call the police. When they arrive, they will speak with everyone and collect evidence for the crash report.
- Avoid speaking to anyone. Apart from communicating with the police officers, you should avoid talking altogether. At the moment, you may naturally feel they need to talk about what happened. However, you risk unintentionally admitting blame. For example, even saying “I’m sorry” could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt.
- Document everything you see. Use your phone to take photographs of the scene, including any visible bodily injuries and the area around the crash site. For example, note any traffic signs or signals and any nearby buildings.
- Collect information. The only reason to speak with anyone at the scene is to ask for their names and contact information, including the other driver and any potential witnesses.
- Seek medical attention. Not needing emergency medical services does not mean you should avoid seeing a doctor. Instead, seek immediate medical attention to confirm your injuries and get the treatment you need.
Finally, you may benefit from contacting a motorcycle accident lawyer to get answers to your questions and receive advice about the next steps to take for your case. For example, if you could not take photographs at the scene or collect information from other parties, an attorney will investigate to gather evidence for you. The sooner you begin that process, the more likely your case will settle.
What Factors Can Affect a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
All motorcycle accidents have unique circumstances that affect the time it takes to settle the case. The damages are a significant factor. For every loss you sustain, you have to provide evidence to support that claim. Economic damages, such as medical bills, lost income, and property damage, are more easily proven using tangible paperwork. However, non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life, are more difficult to quantify. They typically require educated guesses from legal professionals based on elements such as the long-term effects of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the type and amount of medical care needed to help you recover.
Other factors that affect your settlement potential include the defendant’s auto insurance policy and the possibility of shared fault. The defendant’s insurance policy affects how much you can receive. For example, you typically cannot receive more than the extent of the policy. Additionally, the question of liability significantly affects your ability to settle. If the defense has a solid case to prove you are wholly or partially responsible, it may be more challenging to settle.
What if Both Parties Share Fault for a Motorcycle Accident?
The state mandates the laws that govern shared fault in a motorcycle accident case. However, few states follow the contributory negligence rule. Instead, most abide by one of the two types of the comparative fault rule.
Only four states, Virginia, Alabama, North Caroline, and Maryland, along with the District of Columbia, follow the contributory negligence rule. This states that you cannot recover compensation if the court finds you responsible for the accident. Therefore, shared fault immediately renders you ineligible for compensation.
The majority of states follow one of the two comparative fault rules:
- Pure comparative fault allows you to receive compensation, the only exception being if you are entirely at fault. This means you can still recover a portion of the sum of damages less your percentage of fault. Therefore, if the court assigns 75% fault to you, the plaintiff, you can still recover 25% of the total award.
- Modified comparative fault allows you to receive compensation as long as your percentage of responsibility does not exceed 50% or 51%, depending on the state. If you exceed the threshold, you are no longer able to recover any damages. However, if your percentage of fault is less than half, you can recover the total damages less your portion of responsibility.
Only 12 states follow the comparative fault rule, and 33 follow modified comparative fault. For example, if you live in Michigan, a modified comparative fault state, and the court defines the value of your claim at $100,000 and finds you 25% at fault for the accident, you will still receive $75,000 in compensation. However, Michigan sets the threshold at 50%. Therefore, should the court find you 51% at fault, you would lose the opportunity to recover any damages. When you speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, they can help you better understand the possibility of recovering damages and the significance of your role in the accident.
Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Be an Advantage for Your Case?
If a motorcycle accident resulted in devastating injuries to yourself or a loved one, you should not have to face the grueling legal process while trying to recover. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you navigate the process and act as your legal representation. They will take care of all the necessary paperwork to ensure you file within the statute of limitations and get your case on the books as quickly as possible. In the meantime, they also handle all back and forth communication with the insurance companies to work on settling your case outside of the lengthy and costly court process.
People who hire a motorcycle accident lawyer typically have a better chance of recovering a higher settlement. This is because your attorney will have experience working on similar cases and can more adequately value the losses you sustained, some of which you may not even realize are recoverable. For example, your pain and suffering as a result of your injuries or the loss of love and nurturing received from your lost loved one is quantifiable damages in a motorcycle accident case.
At Mike Morse Law Firm, our skilled motorcycle accident lawyers commit to providing our clients with compassionate representation and unparalleled service. We believe in keeping you informed every step of the way as we take care of all the tedious work necessary to prove your claim. Additionally, our attorneys work on contingency, meaning we expect you to pay no fees unless we are able to settle your case. Contact Mike Morse Law Firm today by calling 800-MIKE-WINS, completing our online case evaluation form, or starting a live chat on our website. We are ready to answer any questions you have about your case.