Even though you may have suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, you must protect yourself. As difficult as it seems, you need to focus on the path forward.
Practically everything begins with your physical health, and you must do whatever is necessary to recover to the fullest extent possible. You must see all the required doctors and follow their treatment recommendations. At the same time, you need to keep an eye on the legal process.
Even if you cannot handle the details of the legal process yourself (and you should never attempt to in the first place), you can still move the ball forward. All you need to do is consult and hire an experienced Albany motorcycle accident attorney who will make your case their cause.
Your attorney will face down the insurance company and keep you from making any mistakes that can harm your ability to obtain full and fair financial compensation for your accident.
At the same time, you can make errors or omissions and forget to complete necessary tasks, possibly compromising your case or creating complications. When you hire an experienced attorney, you will make fewer mistakes that cost you money, and you will have more time to focus on your health. Your lawyer will handle every step of your case, explain your legal options, and give you their best advice when you must make important decisions.
In the meantime, here are some things you must do after suffering an injury in a motorcycle accident.
Prepare to Defend Yourself
Insurance companies like to do whatever they can to blame motorcyclists for their accidents. They are looking at the same statistics you see – that motorcycle accident settlements are worth more than car accidents, and they want to find any way to cut the amount they owe you.
Insurance companies exploit the stereotype that motorcyclists are riskier than the average person. They always feed into these views, knowing that it can save them money, even if it means unfairly blaming you.
Here, blame means you can get less money than you deserve. The percentage of fault you bear can reduce the amount of your financial recovery and may even cause you to get nothing.
In addition to showing what the other driver did, you must demonstrate what you did right before the accident. This ensures you can counter the insurance company if they try to blame you in any way. Your attorney can challenge any accusations of negligence or fault the insurance company throws your way.
Get a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
One of the most critical steps you can take after a motorcycle accident is contacting an experienced attorney to handle your case. You cannot get the best result from the motorcycle claims process if you deal with the insurance company independently. No matter how much they wink and smile or try to give you a sense that they will be fair, they are not out for your interests in the least.
Adjusters might claim to be on your side and advise there is no need to hire a motorcycle accident attorney. This is not the case, as insurance companies do not favor injured claimants over profits and shareholders.
You need an advocate and defender throughout the process. The insurance company will not immediately give you all the money you deserve if you do not have someone fighting for you. Hiring an attorney shows your intention to do whatever it takes to get full financial compensation for your injuries. It signals that you mean business and do not plan to back down and accept less than you deserve.
You must consult an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. If you cannot contact an attorney on your own, have someone do it for you.
Never delay, because:
- It gets harder to prove liability in a motorcycle accident the longer you wait, as evidence might weaken or vanish
- The insurance company may try to resolve the claim before you even know the full scope of your legal rights
- You can make a mistake or say something to an insurance company that might compromise your ability to get full compensation for your losses
When you hire a motorcycle accident attorney, they can:
- Investigate the accident and begin to compile evidence to show that someone else was to blame for what happened
- Estimate the value of your damages so you know how much to seek in a claim
- Deal with the insurance company, keeping them from trying to hound you directly
- Negotiate a settlement in your case, respond to settlement offers, and write demand letters
Never try to do any of these things alone. An attorney can get to work on your case as soon as you hire them.
Do Not Speak About Your Accident
You can make mistakes that cost you money after a motorcycle accident, and one of the worst things you can do is to speak publicly or say too much about your injuries or what happened.
For example, you may want to post something on social media to let people know you are okay or talk about the crash. However, if details vary at all from what you tell insurers, it can jeopardize your claim.
You must operate under the assumption that the insurance company might access anything you say online. Even when your social media settings are private, they might still access your current or old posts through the discovery process.
You may also believe you can trust insurance companies when they try to speak with you after the accident. The last thing you should ever do is trust them because adjusters aim to get information they can use against you in the claims process.
The insurance adjuster is never your friend. They are simply doing their job in representing the insurance company. An experienced attorney will advise you that you are under no obligation to speak with anyone associated with insurance companies, and you should avoid such conversations.
Once you have legal representation, all communications with insurers will go through your attorney, eliminating the risk of unintentional comments that can hurt your claim.
Prepare for a Legal Battle
You must be patient during the motorcycle accident claims process and understand that you may not receive your settlement check quickly. It will likely take months or longer to evaluate and pursue your case.
While some cases resolve quicker than others, you should not expect to have anything in your hands right away. In other words, you should know going into the case that you will need to exercise as much patience as possible to get total financial compensation for your injuries.
If you rush a motorcycle accident settlement, you will likely end up with less than you deserve. Insurance companies want you to panic about finances, so you might accept a lower offer faster. They try to wear you down, so you will be grateful for anything you get, only to find out later the settlement was grossly inadequate.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer will counsel you to be patient and to let them do their work. Nothing will happen instantaneously, but waiting out insurance companies means they may be the ones who cave in to resolve the matter. Your attorney will know when to put pressure on the insurance companies, which can cause them to raise their settlement offers.
Take Care of Yourself
Needless to say, you can be overwhelmed both physically and emotionally after a motorcycle accident. You are dealing with both injuries and the concerns that go along with them, including physical pain, limitations, and mental distress. You likely feel financial stress because your bills are piling up without any money coming into your account, especially if you have to miss work.
Dealing with challenging physical and financial circumstances is difficult, along with the uncertainty of the legal process. Do what you can to take care of yourself to improve your chances of recovery. Get all the medical and household help you need and report the costs to your lawyer so they can include these bills in your claim.
Legal support can help improve your mental position almost immediately, as you can realize a competent and experienced professional is handling your case and protecting your future.
Get Control of Your Finances to the Fullest Extent Possible
Again, there is no sugarcoating that you can face financial difficulties after a motorcycle accident. Insurance companies know this and will do everything possible to complicate things because your desperation is perhaps their greatest asset.
Despite these concerns, you should hold out as long as necessary until you can agree with the insurance company on a fair settlement amount. Waiting longer is always preferable to ending up with less than you need to cover your losses. With an insufficient settlement, your financial concerns can last well into the future.
Patience is a virtue that can mean more money for you in a personal injury case. Your austerity may need to last longer than you hoped, but it allows you to stand up and demand what you deserve.
Your attorney will provide updates on your case and advise you of any offers or developments. You should never feel in the dark regarding your motorcycle accident claim.
You Do Not Have to Pay for Legal Help from Your Pocket
The call to a motorcycle accident lawyer is one of the most important you will make. Do not allow financial worries to hinder you from getting the legal help you need.
Reputable personal injury lawyers work for you on a contingency basis, which means they do not receive payment unless you get compensation for your losses. You will not owe them any money if you do not win your case, so getting a motorcycle accident lawyer costs nothing out of your pocket.
Case evaluations are free, and you pay nothing for a lawyer to begin representing you. If an attorney decides you have a valid accident claim and you trust the law firm following a consultation, never hesitate to move forward with the attorney-client relationship.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.