The average annual cost of motorcycle insurance is $1,173 in the US. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, the number of households with motorcycles rose to 8% in 2019, the highest on record.
With roughly 8 and a half million motorcycles on US highways, you can see that motorcycle insurance is big money with providers raking in over $10 billion a year.
When you pay to insure your motorcycle, you expect to be covered in the unfortunate event of an accident.
If you end up in a motorcycle accident that isn’t your fault, it’s worth contacting a motorcycle lawyer no matter how minimal the damage caused.
Typically, severe motorcycle injuries occur as a result of accidents.
In some instances where a motorcycle sustains minor damage without injuries to the rider, it may not be worth involving a lawyer. The claim may be so small that it’ll be swallowed up in legal fees.
Ultimately, attorneys want to make their cut, and if there’s not much damage, there is little incentive for the lawyer. You’ll find some attorneys who are prepared to entertain the case, but they’ll expect a higher percentage of the claim for doing so.
Of course, if the damage to your bike is extensive and you’re well covered on your insurance, or if you’ve sustained a physical or psychological injury from the accident, it’s well worth contacting a motorcycle attorney.
Tricks of Insurance Companies
Most insurance companies will advise you not to hire an attorney because they want to minimize the size of payouts.
You want someone on your side who can fight the expensive attorneys hired by insurance companies. A motorcycle lawyer will have the ammunition and willingness to take your case to court and fight for every cent you deserve.
Insurance companies will do anything to reduce your compensation. An experienced motorcycle attorney  knows the underhand tricks insurance companies use to squirm out of paying you. They will also have a clear idea of the amount of compensation you can expect.
Benefits of Using a Motorcycle Lawyer
If you are injured in an accident, you need time to convalesce and recover physically and emotionally from your ordeal.
Sky-high medical bills and time off work can be financially crippling. If the accident is not your fault, a motorcycle attorney will not only handle matters with your insurance company, they can also pursue compensation.
A good motorcycle lawyer will:
- Explain the full legal process of dealing with the insurance company on your behalf
- Gather all evidence necessary to create a solid court case
- Prepare you for giving evidence in court
- Tell you how much to expect from a claim
- Be trained in negotiation skills to get the best outcome
- Be able to file a lawsuit if the negotiations don’t produce the desired outcome
A motorcycle lawyer understands the complexities of insurance law and knows what to say and when to say it.
If you’re recovering in hospital, you’ll be far from able to handle these matters alone.
The Settlement Process
Most insurance claims are resolved with a negotiated figure out of court.
That said, some cases end up in a lawsuit if the claimant isn’t satisfied with the insurance company’s offer. If you hire a motorcycle attorney, this can often be the case.
If you and your attorney are not happy with the insurance company’s settlement offer, your attorney can file a lawsuit.
You’ll need to take the following steps.
Service of the Answer
The first stage of a lawsuit starts with a written reply about the allegations raised in the lawsuit from the defendant. 30 days is the longest they have to send this reply. If they miss the deadline, it will strengthen your case due to this technicality.
This stage is where both parties gather as much evidence about damages and fault.
The focus is on:
- Medical records
- Physical examinations
- Interrogatories (written questions sent between each party)
- Depositions (witness statements)
In the time running up to the trial, either party may file motions with the court if the opposition does not answer requests for information on time. The court will resolve the issue by ordering the relevant party to respond to unanswered discovery requests, for example.
Conferences are meetings set up between attorneys and judges to discuss the progress of the case to ensure it keeps moving.
Once all the preliminary steps have been covered, a court date is set for a trial. At the trial, each party’s attorney presents the evidence to be considered by the judge and jury.
A motorcycle attorney’s job is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were not at fault, and that the defendant caused the accident. The attorney will also argue the extent of injuries and damages caused.
97% of settlements are negotiated out of court before it goes to trial.
Settlement vs Trial
Settling out of court is more favorable for defendants as it keeps the case confidential, and saves time and money.
Your motorcycle attorney will be armed with strategies to negotiate a higher settlement at this stage. They may continue to threaten the defendant with a court action to pressure them to raise the settlement value.
An attorney has an interest in maximizing your settlement as they will receive a percentage. The higher the settlement, the higher their commission.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Motorcycle Claim?
It all depends on how long it takes for both parties to gather enough evidence to fully understand the degree of fault on either side.
Both parties must gather information to understand the evidence and damages. This can take between 30 days and 6 weeks after the date of the accident.
If the case goes to trial it could drag on for a couple of years.
How Much Can You Get From a Settlement?
If you hire a motorcycle attorney you are likely to win more than if you represent yourself. Depending on the nature of the accident, a personal injury claim could win between $73,000 and $355,000.
Your attorney will research landmark cases with a similar nature and be able to calculate the potential award for damages to cover loss of earnings, medical bills, and associated costs.
It’s always worth consulting with an attorney to see if it is worth using their services.