Motorcycle accidents are far from one-size-fits-all. Some people collide with deer head-on while others get rear-ended by jeeps. Because of this wide variety of cases, it’s important that an experienced lawyer can look at your case and help advocate for your specific scenario.
But how can an attorney help you reach a good motorcycle accident settlement? Read on to learn how a qualified, reputable lawyer can help you recover damages and get back on your feet after a crash.
Consulting With You
Quality attorneys won’t wait until you enter into a legal contract with them to give you information. If you’re working with a good lawyer, they’ll offer you a free consultation to see whether you’re a good fit.
Consultations aren’t a commitment. They’re just a chance to ask any questions you have about the practice.
You’ll get to talk one-on-one with someone from the team and see whether your personalities mesh well. This is important because you need to hire an attorney who you’re comfortable communicating with throughout the settlement process. You also need to be able to trust that you’re getting open and transparent information.
At a consultation, you can ask about their experience with motorcycle accident cases similar to yours. They will give you anecdotes about these cases and how they handled them. You can then ask them how they plan to bring this energy to your case so you get a fair settlement.
Motorcycle accident lawyers will also talk about their successes and success rates with you at a consultation. They’ll tell you the statistics and facts so that you can make an informed decision about working with their practice.
You can also ask for references to contact while consulting with your lawyer. These are past clients who have volunteered to talk with prospective ones about their experiences with the law firm.
You’ll be able to get real information about the pros and cons of hiring them. This can help you get objective facts so that you’re more confident when you contract with a lawyer.
Understanding the Law
A motorcycle accident attorney falls under the personal injury umbrella. However, they have specialized in negotiating on behalf of those involved in motorcycle collisions.
These professionals didn’t spend time studying other specializations like medical malpractice or product liability. This gave them leave to put all of their efforts into learning the ins and outs of auto accident law.
Because of the countless hours that a motorcycle accident lawyer has spent pouring over collision cases, their causes, and fair outcomes, they’re uniquely positioned to help you reach a settlement after a crash.
When you hire someone with appropriate specialization, you’ll be getting an attorney who knows everything about their practice area. This leaves you in good hands.
Because of this, they also will know roughly what sort of compensation you can expect. They can assess your case in an unbiased and unemotional way to give you an estimated dollar amount. This will be based on their past experiences with cases like yours.
They’ll also tell you which categories of compensation you can expect. Possibilities include:
- Compensation to cover medical bills
- Funds for future therapy (both physical and psychological)
- Money to make up for lost wages
- Temporary or permanent disability compensation
- Funds to cover mobility aids that you need after the injury
- Pain and suffering damages
The attorney can relay this information to you and answer any lingering questions. This ensures that there will be no surprises later.
After you contract with an auto accident lawyer, they’ll begin the process of gathering evidence to prove that you deserve compensation. Some evidence may include:
- Photos of the accident site, your motorcycle, and your injuries
- Security camera footage from roadside cameras
- Eyewitness accounts from people who saw what happened during the motorcycle crash
- Police reports filed immediately after the accident
- Medical records describing your injuries
Besides the photos, these are all things that you won’t be able to access on your own. The city isn’t just going to hand off security footage to anyone who asks, and you can’t go interrogate eyewitnesses on your own.
Individuals can technically access their medical records, but you won’t have them in your hands for months. An attorney can request access to them for a legal case and have them within just a couple of days.
Once your attorney has all available evidence, they can begin the process of proving that the other party was at fault for the accident.
Proving fault is the most important aspect of getting compensation after a motorcycle accident. You need to show that the party you’re suing could have stopped the collision if they took appropriate and reasonable measures to do so. You’re entitled to their compensation because they were negligent.
Attorneys can assess the images and records that they gathered to put together a strong case.
It’s also important to note that Arizona is a comparative fault state. This means that one party is rarely 100% at fault for an accident. Instead, each party will bear partial fault depending on how negligent each one was.
For example, let’s say that you were rear-ended by a car while parked at a stoplight. You stopped too quickly, but the other driver was distracted. You may be 10% at fault for the collision while the car was 90% at fault.
In another case, a motorcycle may hit a deer on private property that they were legally allowed to drive on. If the property owner took no measures to keep deer out, and the area is commonly rife with deer, they could be 70% at fault. You might still be 30% at fault for not noticing the animal.
In both scenarios, the motorcycle driver is entitled to compensation from the party that was more at fault. However, the first driver will get a higher percentage of compensation than the second. This is because the at-fault party bears a greater amount of fault.
A good attorney will advocate for you to get the lowest fault percentage possible.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
After proving fault, your attorney will begin to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. This will usually happen through the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Insurance companies want to save money, so they aim to give you the least amount of damages possible. This naturally stops you from getting due compensation if you try to negotiate on your own or simply accept their first offer. Lawyers aim to get you as much compensation as possible and negotiate professionally with insurance companies to increase damages.
This give-and-take process requires long conversations about fault, expenses, and other factors contributing to your target settlement. They’ll show the agents documents of your motorcycle accident injuries to make the process smoother.
You can’t do this on your own. Even if you were to gather evidence against all odds, you would likely fall for common traps that insurance companies try to get people to fall into. One wrong move or statement could lead to you getting nothing at all.
Lawyers know all of these pitfalls. Experienced ones have seen every verbal trap there is and know how to work around it without saying anything legally incriminating.
Additionally, local attorneys often work with the same insurance agent multiple times. They’ll negotiate with the same people over and over again and know the tactics they use to try and settle. They’ll also know what to expect from these agents so they can give you accurate estimates for damages you can receive.
Keeping You Informed
Keeping you informed of changes and developments through the settlement process is a core part of your lawyer’s job. They’ll tell you settlement offers and provide suggestions on when to accept one. They’ll be able to advise you appropriately to ensure that you reach as much compensation as possible.
They also will tell you what exactly they’re discussing during the negotiation process. You’ll have all pertinent information to your case in the form of real-time updates.
You also will be able to contact them throughout the process for status updates. Good lawyers will give you means to reach out whenever you like and get back to you ASAP if they miss a call. You’ll never be left to wonder where you stand.
When all is said and done and you accept a settlement offer, your attorney can make sure that you do so confidently.
Get a Top-Notch Motorcycle Accident Settlement
While being involved in a motorcycle accident is stressful and painful, an attorney can help you recover compensation to reduce this strife as much as possible. Now that you know how a lawyer can help you reach a fair motorcycle accident settlement, it’s time to begin working with an experienced and reputable attorney.
Sweet Lawyers’ team is committed to negotiating on your behalf by advocating until we get you as much money as possible. We have a 98% success rate and don’t charge you unless you win, so contact us today to schedule a free consultation.