Why Is Getting A Fair Settlement For A Motorcycle Lawsuit So Difficult?
Motorcycle accidents are devastating; there’s no two ways about it. Whether it’s losing control of your bike and getting thrown, or colliding with another vehicle, the injuries you suffer from crashing your bike can be permanently life-altering. They can take years from which to recover, if you ever recover at all. Unlike when two cars wreck, motorcyclists don’t have four walls and a roof, plus airbags, to protect them.
When you are involved in a serious motorcycle accident and it’s the fault of someone else, they are responsible for paying the injuries you suffer. You deserve this compensation and the law entitles you to it. Unfortunately, for all too many cyclists, it can be very hard to collect on your lawsuit. Learn why getting a fair settlement for a motorcycle lawsuit is so difficult, and how a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you get the money you deserve.
Future Medical Costs
One of the biggest issues you’ll face from your motorcycle accident is mounting medical bills. Unfortunately, when you get a settlement, you’ll never be awarded ongoing costs. The award will be a one-time lump sum. This means that if you don’t take the potential costs of future medical bills into account right away, you can end up losing out on your settlement.
Some attorneys will wait until you reach a stage of “maximum medical improvement,” or MMI, before settling your case for this reason. It allows them to have a solid grasp on what your case is worth. The problem is, you’ll have to find a way to cover those costs until that point.
Lost Wages and Potential Future Compensation
Again, it’s easy to sue for the wages you’ve already lost. Accounting for potential future compensation, however, is a trickier prospect. You need to be sure that you’re accounting for the money you would have earned that your now-inability to hold down a job will cost you in the future.
This can be tricky to calculate, but a solid attorney will know how to factor it in, including potential benefits for cost of living and merit raises, inflation and the like. It’s important to calculate these values in, especially if your injury is expected to be lifelong in scope.
Dealing with Insurance Company Non-Payment Tactics
This is probably the biggest hurdle most people face when they’re trying to get a settlement. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They’re in it to make a buck, not to pay one out. While that may seem counterintuitive, it’s true. Insurance companies collect huge premiums from people every month, and they stand to lose millions by paying out every settlement.
When you get hurt in an accident, the insurance adjuster will often contact you very quickly and offer you what they will deem a “fair” settlement. Usually, this will be an extremely lowball offer, possibly not even enough to cover your medical bills. When you refuse this offer, they’ll try anything to convince you to sign off.
They’ll start off by pretending to be your friend, but then they’ll gradually get more aggressive. They will try to trick you into admitting a degree of fault for the accident. They’ll bully you. The adjuster might claim that you’re not that badly hurt and threaten that if you push the issue, you won’t see a dime.
One of their favorite claims against cyclists is to claim your bike wasn’t street-legal, that it was in some way defective. They could claim the brakes were bad, the headlights or taillights were out, mirrors weren’t set properly or any number of other potential issues.
Calling a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
No matter how friendly they seem at first, the insurance adjuster is not your friend. They are, in fact, your adversary in this case, out for one thing: to pay as little as possible. The best way to fight back against these aggressive bullies is to hire the services of a qualified motorcycle accident attorney.
The right accident lawyer knows how to gather evidence to back up your case. They know how to remind everyone who the victim is. A good attorney can get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of consortium and comfort, and in some cases, even punitive damages.
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident in California and you need help, contact our offices for a free consultation about your case today.
By: Mitch Grissim, managing partner of Mitch Grissim & Associates, a Tennessee firm.