Riding a motorcycle is one of the most freeing and enjoyable experiences one can have on the road. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous.
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 48,000 motorcycle fatalities from 2008 to 2017, and the NHTSA estimates that over 88,000 people are injured in motorcycle accidents every year.
While being involved in a motorcycle accident is difficult for those involved, as well as their loved ones, the reality is that it can only get worse once insurance companies are involved and legal battles start.
In this article we discuss the importance of retaining an experienced attorney to act on your behalf, and three of the most important reasons why you need a lawyer after a motorcycle wreck.
1. Evidence, Facts and Investigation
Once a motorcycle wreck occurs, every party involved will try to determine who was at fault and how they can be compensated for their injuries. This means that it’s vital to know what evidence to look for, what facts to collect, and how to have a proper investigation into your wreck conducted.
In these situations, many insurance companies will seek to have evidence suppressed or facts misconstrued in order to avoid a large payout.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney is familiar with tactics used by opposing parties, and understands what is necessary for a thorough investigation. A lawyer will know what to look for at the investigation site, whom to interview, and what questions need to be asked.
After a motorcycle accident, you should focus on your health, not investigations. Let your lawyer help.
2. Negotiation and Settlement
As noted above, each party involved in the accident, including insurance companies, will try to negotiate damages and enter into a settlement agreement as soon as possible.
Insurance companies will want you to enter into a settlement before you have the opportunity to speak with an attorney – especially if they want to limit their payout without admitting liability.
Retaining a lawyer immediately after a wreck is important to ensure you are represented in any subsequent negotiation or settlement attempt. An attorney can reach out to the negligent party and their insurance company or representatives on your behalf.
This can not only save you the possibility of lengthy court battles, but also minimizes any likelihood that you enter into an agreement that is unfair and does not get you the compensation you deserve.
3. Navigate the Legal Process
If a fair settlement agreement cannot be reached, your case will probably wind up in the court system. Unfortunately, the legal process is a difficult one – even for motorcycle accidents.
The full legal process can include:
- Filing your claim
- Arguing in court
- Meeting strict filing deadlines
- Obtaining compensation
- And so much more
Insurance companies will aggressively defend any claims in motorcycle accidents in an effort to minimize the amount of compensation they pay. This can get even more complicated when legal theories such as negligence are involved.
The Louisiana justice system follows a legal negligence scheme known as “comparative negligence.” This means that the fault is determined by the percentage of responsibility of everyone contributing to an accident.
So if someone suffers as a result of an accident partly of their own negligence, the amount of damages they receive will be reduced by the same percentage of negligence attributable to them.
(For example, if someone is found by the court to be 10% at fault, the amount of damages they can recover is reduced by 10%.)
Contact a motorcycle accident attorney today
Being involved in a motorcycle accident can be one of the most terrifying events in one’s life. Unfortunately, the complex legal process following an accident just adds to the harshness of the situation.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney knows the nuances of these laws and is familiar with the legal process of filing a claim, including relevant deadlines and necessary paperwork. An attorney is also familiar with typical payouts of similar accidents, and will fight to ensure you are compensated appropriately.
Hire an experienced and qualified attorney today to help you investigate the accident, negotiate on your behalf, and navigate the legal process to help you and your loved ones get through this difficult and lengthy process.