If you were involved in a motorcycle accident as a driver or passenger, you have the right to file a personal injury claim for the damages incurred. Accident outcomes can be tricky to determine, especially with the bias against motorists. Although it depends on the case, oftentimes these claims are settled out of court.
What to consider before filing for a motor accident claim
Damages after an accident are not limited to pain and suffering. They also include lost wages from time spent away from work, as well as property damage costs. In the aftermath of an accident, a personal injury attorney will examine all the facts. They will determine whether it is advisable to take the case to a jury, or if it’s better to settle and forgo a trial.
While a case may settle outside of litigation, the motorist still has to prove that the defendant was negligent or guilty of wrongdoing to receive fair compensation. Regardless of the damage, there are a series of steps that you can take to maximize your motorcycle accident settlement claim.
1. File an injury claim as soon as possible
Always make sure that you file an injury claim as soon as you can. First of all, a statute of limitations requires you to file promptly. Moreover, filing a case shows that you are eager to recover your rights. Once you’ve filed the claim, you and your attorney can formally gather the evidence needed to support your case.
After you file the claim, your attorney should also inform the other party. This can serve as a form of legal protection from the other party in the future. They cannot claim that you took a long time to let them know about your injuries if you inform them immediately.
2. Hire a motorcycle accident lawyer
When it comes to filing an injury claim, hiring an injury lawyer with experience handling motorcycle accident cases should be a priority. An attorney knows how to navigate the legal process and helps you gather the evidence necessary to maximize your claim. Your lawyer also handles correspondence with the other party’s legal team and will recommend the proper course of action to take.
A personal injury lawyer is a critical player in settlement negotiations. Additionally, he or she can evaluate the damage incurred after your motorcycle accident and tell you the strength of your case. Most importantly, an attorney is not intimidated by the red tape placed by insurance companies or their legal jargon. They help you put pressure on insurance companies to get a fair settlement.
3. Gather evidence
Along with your attorney, you should gather all the evidence you can to bolster your accident case. Take an extensive video or photo documentation of your injuries and the scene of the accident when safe to do so. Speak to people who were present and take their information if possible. You might have to call them to get a formal statement.
Your lawyer can help with this process by speaking to the witnesses and law enforcement. If you have filed a police report, ask for a copy of it. Your lawyer will use this evidence to build your case, along with your medical bills and other reports connected to the accident.
4. Prepare your case
Even if you have decided not to go to trial, preparing your accident case thoroughly is necessary to receive the highest amount of compensation from a settlement. Your attorney plays a crucial role in this process by making sure the evidence paints an accurate picture of your case.
Building a strong case sends a clear message that you will do what it takes to prove that you are not at fault. The other side will be less inclined to offer a small settlement when they see that you are well-prepared. Once your case is ready, your attorney will be able to present it before a jury or during settlement negotiations confidently.
5. Gather medical reports
Injuries after a motorcycle accident can be permanent or can cause a decrease in quality of life. After the accident, you must see a doctor as some injuries are not immediately apparent. Furthermore, medical reports are one of the strongest pieces of evidence that a plaintiff can use to prove damages.
Medical reports give the court or the other team a clearer picture of the plaintiff’s current and potential future damages. These documents are important, especially since pain and suffering are more difficult to prove as concretely as other things such as financial loss. Thorough medical documentation allows for a stronger injury claim and justifies a larger settlement.
6. Stay vigilant on and offline
After you file a case, you must monitor your actions, words, and your activity on social media. The other party’s legal team can and will use any form of evidence that they have against you to decrease the settlement amount. Even seemingly innocent statements can be interpreted as an admission of guilt or fault on your part.
If you’re in the middle of a claim, it’s best to deactivate your social media platforms temporarily and not to speak to anyone about your case. Always be wary of the details that you are giving out. Staying vigilant on and offline is an overlooked but essential part of the injury claim process.
7. Your first offer may not be the best
Even if you believe that the first settlement offer is good enough to cover your expenses, it may not be advisable to accept an initial offer. This refusal sends two messages. First, it says that you will not jump at the first chance when offered money. It also means that you are serious about your recovery. If the second offer does not seem adequate, you have the right to reject it as well.
Your attorney can tell you if the amount you have been offered is reasonable, or if you should continue to push for a larger settlement. In some cases, declining an offer is not in your best interests. An experienced attorney recognizes a reasonable settlement and will push to maximize it after the first offer.
8. Actions speak louder than words
A jury looks at every possible angle when determining a case outcome, and so too does the other party. If you are always disheveled, angry, and unable to maintain your composure, the other side will notice. They might use your actions against you when it comes to deciding the fate of your case.
Always be well-groomed, polite, and neutral when you are filing an injury claim. Never lose your temper and stay civil, even if the other party does not exercise the same restraint and dignity. If you consistently present yourself in a good light, you are more likely to get good results with your settlement.
9. Understand how damages are calculated
Special damages are calculated based on precise numerical data. Pain and suffering damages are less clear-cut. The median personal injury verdict for a motorcycle accident claim in the United States is roughly $74,000, but each case varies greatly.
An experienced attorney will evaluate your damages based on other cases, which allows you to gauge how much your claim is worth. If your evidence is weak, your lawyer will negotiate a fair settlement because the court may reject the claim altogether if you go to trial.
Speak with a personal injury attorney
Recovering from an accident does not have to come with the added burden of being unfairly compensated for another person’s negligence. If you have strong evidence and have taken steps to prepare your case, you have a strong chance at success in maximizing your settlement.
Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer can maximize your motorcycle accident settlement and bring peace of mind during a stressful time.
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