How to Recover Damages Following a Motorcycle Accident
By Team at Zimmet & Zimmet, In Personal injury
Dealing with the physical and emotional injuries that can go along with a motorcycle accident is not easy. You may have to go through months of therapy to reduce pain. You could even remain bedridden for months.
The best you can do is to file a claim to ensure you get compensated for the injuries you sustained. Before then, though, it is essential to know a thing or two about motorcycle accidents.
The Insurance Information Institute claims that injuries and fatalities are more likely to occur each time a motorcycle is involved in a crash. This is according to a report they released in 2006. Additionally, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than other motorists.
Note that these statistics compared deaths of passenger car occupants and motorcyclists for each mile traveled. Interestingly only 14% of motorcycle crashes did not feature an injury or a fatality.
Recovery for Damages
Accidents always result in extremely costly personal injuries. Filing for damages is therefore necessary. Before then, though, you must establish that the defendant was at fault. You will then have to calculate damages to file a personal injury claim against the party at fault.
Determining the Party at Fault
Before anything, always remember that Florida is a no-fault party state. In other words, you may have to follow up with an insurance company for your claim and not the individual who caused the accident.
Once you have filed a claim, your lawyer will argue your case to determine whether the defendant was negligent. This step is important because establishing negligence is the only way you can be sure you will get compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries.
Your lawyer must establish that the defendant owed you a duty of care. The defendant must have breached that duty. It is from that breach that you got injured or hurt. In other words, if the defendant was in a car, he had an obligation to other road users. Such a duty involves observing traffic rules.
Failure to follow the rules means the driver will be held liable once his or her failure to obey traffic rules causes an accident. The driver’s insurance company will then be brought on board as a party to the claim. Examples of negligence in traffic accidents include
- Ignoring traffic lights
- Driving under alcoholic or drug influence
- Poorly maintained roads
The last two pointers above mean that the defendant will try to pass on liability to another party. He or she could blame the local city council for poorly lit streets or car manufacturers for a defect that caused the accident.
Determining fault is simply a complicated process. It calls for in-depth interviews and investigations. Police reports and citations used at the accident scene must undergo careful review alongside witness statements. Police reports are particularly important because they include citations issued to an individual for violation of different laws.
Motorcycle accidents often result in two main types of damages
- Non-economic damages – They are damages that cannot be accurately calculated. Pain and suffering fall under this category.
- Calculable damages are damages that can be calculated, such as medical bills, future lost earnings, and motor vehicle repair costs.
Calculable damages are not so hard to determine. In many cases, the claimant can prove the amount he or she is asking for by providing receipts. On the contrary, non-economic damages are hard to determine. The jury is often left to decide. Thus, your lawyer must make a convincing and compelling argument to influence the jury.
There are two approaches to handle this. You can choose to go all the way to court for trial or decide to settle your claim out of court. The latter option is not always recommended because you can easily accept far less than you deserve. This happens mostly where an individual decides to pursue a claim without the help of an advocate.
Once you file a claim, the insurance company involved will first try to make you an offer. Many insurance companies do this to save on costs. Some deny claims right away. Keep in mind that nearly all insurance companies hire full-time adjusters and lawyers.
Their work is to vigorously protect their employer’s interests. This means denying as many claims as they can. You will need a competent attorney to help you reach a favorable settlement.
You do not have to accept an out of court settlement offer if you feel the amount on the table will not cater to your needs. You may have lost consortium, income, and so many other things that the insurance may have deliberately ignored. Your motorcycle accident attorney will argue this out in court on your behalf and ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for legal help if you believe your motorcycle accident injury results from another person’s fault.