THE INSURANCE COMPANY OFFERED ME A SETTLEMENT. DO I STILL NEED TO HIRE A LAWYER?
Don’t accept the insurance company’s initial settlement offer without consulting with an attorney first. If you do, you would certainly resolve your case in quick fashion but most likely end up with insufficient compensation for your medical bills and other damages.
In spite of whatever the insurance adjuster says, he or she is not looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies are businesses, and like any other business, they prioritize their profits above all else. If you want to counter the insurance company’s attempts at weakening your claim, get legal representation from a qualified personal injury attorney. You won’t regret it.
HOW SOON SHOULD I FILE A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM?
In California, victims of motorcycle accidents typically have two years from the date of their accident to file their suit against liable parties. This deadline, also referred to as the statute of limitations, is strictly enforced – if you fail to file in time, you will be barred from pursuing compensation for your losses.
Keep in mind that the standard two year statute does not apply to every single personal injury claim. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may have as little as 180 days from the date of the accident to file your claim. Therefore, it is highly advised that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible, before your claim is put in jeopardy.
WHAT DOCUMENTS SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE MEETING WITH MY ATTORNEY?
Do not hold back anything from your attorney. The more information you provide, the better he or she will be able to achieve an optimal case outcome. Give your attorney police and medical reports, key eye witness statements, medical bills, the opposing party’s insurance information, relevant photographs and video footage, and any other documentation pertaining to your accident and/or injuries.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I SEEK IN A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may seek the following types of damages: medical expenses, wages lost during recovery, and pain and suffering. If you were hit by an impaired or reckless driver, you may pursue punitive damages as well. However, punitive damages are rewarded only in certain limited circumstances. Speak with an attorney to receive a rundown of your potential recovery.
CAN I RECOVER DAMAGES EVEN IF I WASN’T WEARING A HELMET AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT?
While this circumstance may impact the amount of damages for which you are eligible, it does not bar you from pursuing compensation altogether. In such cases where both parties are at fault, California determines damages based on a comparative negligence standard. This means the court will look at the details of your case, assign percentage of fault to each involved party, and then decrease your damages by the equivalent percentage of your fault. You may still recover damages even if you were 99 percent at fault.
WHAT IF AN UNIDENTIFIED DRIVER CAUSED ME TO SWERVE OFF THE ROAD AND CRASH BY CUTTING ME OFF?
It’s understandable if this scenario has left you feeling like you have no possibility of recourse or recovery. However, with assistance from an experienced attorney, you may still be able to identify and locate the liable driver and get justice from him or her. And if finding the driver is not possible, then you may still pursue damages through the uninsured motorist coverage provided by your insurance policy. You may have options – contact an attorney who can help you explore all of them.
About the Author:
Bobby Saadian, Esq. is the Founding President and Managing Attorney at Wilshire Law Firm. Known as the “People’s Lawyer,” he primarily handles major accident and catastrophic injury cases of many varieties, including auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and wrongful death.