Motorcycle accidents are serious. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, motorcyclists are 400% more likely to sustain injuries in an accident than people in cars.
After an accident, motorcyclists often find themselves fighting their insurance companies, missing work as their medical bills pile up, and even navigating lawsuits—or criminal charges.
A motorcyclist charged with reckless driving in Arizona can face serious penalties. Judges can impose license suspensions, fines, and jail time.
Even if nobody is at-fault, it can be challenging to get compensation. Regardless of the particulars, hiring motorcycle accident attorneys is a wise first step.
After a motorcycle accident, an attorney is one of the best allies you can have.
You may think your case is straightforward. But, your insurance company decides to look for loopholes, to dodge paying for the bills your claim covers.
Or, different parties in the accident may have different ideas about who’s at fault. Some accusations of fault can lead to greater penalties than you anticipate.
Attorneys can help you navigate your situation and determine what you’re owed.
Still skeptical? In this guide, discover ten key benefits of hiring a motorcycle accident attorney in Arizona—even if you think you don’t need one.
8 Key Benefits of Hiring Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Arizona
Navigating Arizona’s Byzantine laws, set by its Department of Transportation, is no easy feat. That’s why it’s best to have an attorney on your side after a motorcycle accident.
But what exactly are the benefits of hiring a lawyer? There are at least eight great advantages.
1. Fairness: Get on Equal Footing With Your Insurance Company
Did you know that there are too many federal laws to count?
Researchers have launched projects to count all distinct federal laws in the United States. They found themselves stuck after discerning roughly 5,199 criminal statutes.
In some estimates, there are potentially over 10,000 federal regulations for industries that affect human health and safety—including insurance.
Why does this matter?
Because insurance companies have a vested interest in mastering the ins and outs of insurance law. So, they dedicate huge swaths of their budgets—well into the millions—to retain attorneys long-term.
The considerable business insurance companies give law firms improves their negotiating position on retainer fees.
For years, it’s been an “open secret” that insurance companies can get steep discounts—akin to “wholesale rates”—on attorney fees. This lets companies re-invest the savings into their legal defense budgets.
With that re-investment, insurers will hire even more attorneys.
With all those advantages in their favor, the legal odds are stacked against claimants. Fortunately, there’s one surefire way to even those odds: hire an attorney yourself.
2. Knowledge: Learn if You’re Entitled to Compensation (and How Much You Can Recoup)
As noted in the previous section, there are so many laws in the United States, that scholars have lost count of them.
When it comes to traffic laws, analysts have discovered over 400 laws that vary state by state which, when followed, prevent traffic accidents and injuries. So, what happens when a driver breaks one of these laws and causes an accident?
Legally, the driver is then responsible for any resulting injuries or damage. This includes property damage.
And, in the vast majority of cases, unlawful driving choices likely contributed to the accident. Studies show that 90-96% of all auto accidents are caused by human error.
Yet, most people who are injured in an accident don’t know what circumstances may mean another driver is at fault.
It’s unclear to the average motorcycle crash survivor if another person on the road is financially responsible for the damage, due to their unlawful actions. And it is particularly unclear when the accident involved multiple parties.
As a result of this lack of clarity, many people in motorcycle accidents don’t get the compensation they’re legally entitled to.
Moreover, in some circumstances, the state’s Department of Transportation is liable for an accident. States and municipalities have a legal responsibility to maintain roads and abide by regulations when conducting roadwork.
Neglecting these responsibilities imperils drivers. So, drivers have a legal right to sue state transportation departments or cities if negligence caused the accident.
Thus, after an accident, it’s crucial to discover who is truly responsible. Then, it’s wise to marshal your resources to get the compensation you’re owed.
3. Negotiation: Get the Insurance Company to Pay What They Owe
If you suffer from a motorcycle accident injury, you’ll likely incur serious medical bills.
There are a few different parties that may be responsible for paying some or all of those bills, depending on your circumstances. These include:
- Your health insurance company
- Your motorcycle insurance company (particularly if you have MedPay or PIP)
- The vehicle insurance company of an at-fault driver
Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible for every motorcycle accident claim you file—regardless of their contractual obligations. So, insurers keep claims adjusters on staff.
Claims adjusters determine how much the company owes the claimant.
The adjuster makes a series of calculations according to variables in an equation the company designs. Claimants rarely know what those variables are, or how they might be disputed.
This often results in a payout that is lower than the claimant truly deserves under the contract. It may even result in an unjust denial of the claim altogether.
By some legal scholars’ estimates, up to one-third of insurance adjusters have a law degree.
This empowers adjusters to give their employers—the insurance company—yet another edge when navigating regulations that compel them to pay out what they owe. This is true for auto insurers and health insurers alike.
Remember: the claims adjuster’s job is to enable the company to pay out as little as possible. Fortunately, they legally must respond to disputes.
With an attorney, you’ll have an incredible ally in negotiations. Attorneys know how to dispute the adjuster’s assessment and force insurers to reckon with the truth.
Just like claims adjusters, your attorney is motivated to get as much money as possible. But, unlike the adjuster, your attorney is on your side. When you win the negotiation, so does your lawyer.
4. Protection: Defend Yourself Against Lawsuits or Charges
As previously mentioned, 90-96% of accidents are caused by human error. But, what if other drivers—or the state—allege that you are at fault?
If you think you may be the defendant in a motorcycle accident case, consult an attorney immediately.
Facing the Threat of Charges, Lawsuit
Even if no suit has been officially brought against you, or no charges have been pressed yet, mitigating the potential risk makes a lawyer worthwhile. If legal processes determine that your actions caused the accident, it can be painful.
The best-case scenario is that you’re liable for an accident, but you have solid motorcycle insurance. So, your insurer pays the claim on your behalf. Even in that case, though, your monthly insurance premiums will skyrocket.
The increased premiums mean you’ll end up paying out in some form either way. But, that’s not the worst outcome. No, the worst-case scenario is that you’re found liable for an accident in criminal court.
If you are accused of causing an accident by breaking traffic laws, you can be charged with reckless driving, vehicular assault, or vehicular manslaughter. At its most severe, vehicular assault or manslaughter are felonies.
Even misdemeanor reckless driving charges can result in jail time, fines, and license suspension.
Analyses suggest motorcyclists are slapped with license suspensions more frequently than car drivers. And, judges perceive motorcycle drivers as more dangerous than their car-driving peers.
The good news is that none of these outcomes are inevitable.
Early in the process, an attorney may be able to get charges dropped. According to a 2018 study, roughly 8% of all criminal charges are dropped before they make it to trial.
There’s no doubt those defendants had a rock-solid attorney.
Likewise, an attorney can aid you long before you need to defend yourself from a lawsuit in court. There are no statistics that show how often judges “throw out” lawsuits. But, it is known that 95% of suits are settled without a trial.
If you do end up defending yourself in court, an attorney is still phenomenally helpful. If you made some mistakes, your lawyer can still present you in the most favorable light possible to a judge or jury.
An attorney can also make compelling arguments that you deserve the most lenient possible sentence. If you’re charged with a DUI, for example, you might be able to walk away with a small fine and rehab rather than jail time.
5. Representation: Get a Fighting Chance in Court
Regardless of whether you’re a defendant or a plaintiff, you need a legal expert on your side in the courtroom.
Technically, it is legal to file a lawsuit and to defend yourself from allegations, without a lawyer. If you seek to use the law to defend yourself or your rights without an attorney, you become a “pro se litigant.”
“Pro se” means “for oneself” in the law.
Unfortunately, studies have found pro se litigants face extreme bias.
Pro Se Litigants Face Prejudice
In a study published in The University of Chicago Law Review, judges have prejudiced beliefs about and are discriminated against, pro se litigants at every level.
Some of this prejudice stems from judges’ awareness of the pro se litigant’s ignorance in complex matters of law. And some of it stems from deeper prejudices or bigoted beliefs.
Regardless of the origins of this prejudice, the facts clearly show how nearly impossible it is to succeed as a pro se litigant—regardless of whether you’re a plaintiff or a defendant.
In cases where a pro se plaintiff sues a defendant with an attorney, the judge awards the judgment to the well-lawyered defendant 82% of the time. Only 3% of cases are awarded to the pro se plaintiff.
When the litigants’ representation status is reversed, so is the ratio of judgments. When a pro se defendant faces a plaintiff with a lawyer, the judgment then goes to the plaintiff 73% of the time.
Only 12% of pro se defendants win the judgment.
Pro Se vs. Professional Representation
The only hope for a fair trial a pro se litigant has is when the opposing party is also pro se. If you’re up against an insurance company—or the District Attorney’s office—that definitely won’t be the case.
So, whether you’re filing a lawsuit or defending yourself against one, it’s best to get professional representation.
6. Persuasion: Win Over a Jury
Professional attorneys are not just well-versed in the law. They’ve also mastered the art of persuasion. They know what it takes to win over a jury.
In short: tell a good story.
In US Law Week, legal consultant and CEO Ken Lopez published an essay extolling the importance of storytelling—both in the courtroom and, if it’s relevant, in the media.
In Lopez’s argument, a story isn’t a falsehood. Instead, it’s a way of telling the truth that paints the client as the protagonist.
The client’s opponent may be the antagonist. Or, the antagonist may be a concept, like “ignorance,” in which the opponent is an equal victim.
When the judge or jury listens to a good story, they’re likely to empathize with the protagonist. They can see the scenes play out—in their minds—from the protagonist’s point of view.
Critically, listeners who empathize with the protagonist become invested in the “plot” of the story. They want a positive outcome for the protagonist. They want the hero of the story to win.
A client wins when the jury awards a judgment in their favor.
The best part is, that an attorney’s persuasive skills are useful even if a trial never happens. They can persuade media members to report on your story in a way that portrays the insurance company as the villain.
Or, they can negotiate a settlement wherein a positive outcome for you is also a positive for your opponent—due to how the lawyer frames the outcome in the narrative.
7. Dedication: Do the Work to Build a Strong Case
After a motorcycle accident, it can be hard to do anything but heal. But, no matter how you slice it, building a case takes considerable work.
A good legal team can do that work for you. Whether that means conducting investigations, researching precedents, or reading dense contracts line-by-line, an attorney knows how to do the work to get things done.
All that dedication means you don’t have to use much of your own energy. An attorney’s work leaves you with enough of your own resources to focus on healing.
8. Justice: Hold Perpetrators Responsible
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s reckless driving, it makes sense to feel angry. Anger can fuel some destructive tendencies, like a drive for vengeance or self-destruction.
But anger can also be a powerful force for justice.
One of the best things an attorney can get you after an accident is justice. With an attorney, you can channel your anger into a process that gets you what you deserve.
Moreover, it’s a process that shows even the most powerful—giant insurance companies, maniacal drivers—that they’re responsible for the impact of their actions.
Get Justice After Accidents With Sweet Lawyers
After a motorcycle accident, hiring an attorney isn’t just the wisest option. It’s the only way to get the results you want.
If you’re thinking about hiring motorcycle accident attorneys in Arizona, contact Sweet Law. With a single phone call, text, or email, you’re entitled to a free consultation.