Despite what insurance companies and their representatives state in their television, internet, and radio advertisements, insurance companies are not in the business of compensating accident victims fairly and ensuring that they recover top dollar for their injuries in an accident. Rather, insurance companies are first and foremost businesses; their top priority is looking out for themselves and their bottom line.
However, they can only achieve this goal when they collect—and keep—premium payments from their insureds and avoid paying out significant monetary settlements and damage awards to injured accident victims. Consequently, insurance companies often offer accident victims the smallest amount of monetary compensation they can to settle a motorcycle accident claim.
Insurance companies also hold implicit biases against individuals who bring personal injury claims, and they hold an especially negative bias towards motorcyclists. Insurance companies hold this bias for many reasons, but they often (wrongly) believe that all motorcyclists speed and drive recklessly. Consequently, when a cyclist becomes injured in an accident resulting from another driver’s reckless conduct, the insurance company may still hold the cyclist fully or partially responsible.
When dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters following a motorcycle accident, you should have a skilled team of lawyers on your side advocating for you each step of the way.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and pursue favorable settlement compensation for your accident-related injuries. If the insurance company doesn’t offer you the true damages you deserve, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in court and pursuing the damages you deserve through the litigation process.
What Are Some Common Biases That Insurance Companies Hold Against Cyclists?
Insurance companies, unfortunately, hold several biases against motorcyclists. First, the insurance company may contend that a cyclist will need more compensation if they suffer injuries in a crash. This is because cyclists, unlike motor vehicle operators, have extremely limited protection in an accident.
Cyclists are also responsible for wearing the proper safety gear, including boots, gloves, pants, jackets, and helmets as per law. while riding. Because insurance companies know that they may have to pay out a big damage award if their insured driver did something wrong, they may treat the injured cyclist skeptically from the beginning of the case.
Insurance companies—and even police officers—are also guilty of wrongly blaming cyclists for motor vehicle crashes. This is true even when another driver clearly caused the crash. Insurance company adjusters sometimes think that all cyclists are reckless, careless, and speedy while on the road. However, in many cases, that simply is not true.
Finally, many insurance companies and their adjusters wrongly believe that all motorcyclists are young and inexperienced and lack the proper skill to operate their motorcycles safely. However, many motorcyclists actually complete safety courses and rack up numerous miles on the road, not to mention years of riding experience.
If you believe that you are the victim of insurance company bias in the context of a motorcycle accident case, you should speak with an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can handle all dealings with the insurance company for you and help you pursue the highest monetary settlement available in your case.
Motorcycle Accident Causes
Motorcycle accidents frequently occur when drivers disregard the rules of the road and commit other traffic violations. At other times, motorcycle crashes happen when a roadway defect causes a cyclist to lose control and fall off their bike, sustaining serious injuries.
One common cause of motorcycle crashes is road rage. Drivers have a duty to obey all speed limits and follow all other road regulations while they are behind the wheel. However, some drivers are in a hurry to get ahead, and in doing so, tailgate other drivers, weaving in and out of traffic, and cutting off other vehicles, including motorcycles. When people drive overzealously, they significantly heighten their chances of causing an accident with a motorcycle.
In addition to road rage, some motorcycle accidents happen when drivers fail to yield the right-of-way to motorcycles at the appropriate times. These failure-to-yield motorcycle accidents are especially common at traffic intersections—even those equipped with traffic control devices. When another driver fails to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time, they might cause severe injuries.
At other times, motorcycle crashes happen when drivers experience the negative effects of alcohol or drug impairment while behind the wheel. Everyone has a duty to drive safely and to refrain from drinking and driving. Any alcohol in their system will delay a driver’s reaction time, impair their concentration, and limit their ability to stop their vehicle quickly enough to avoid an accident.
Motorcycle crashes can also occur when drivers fail to watch the road attentively. Drivers must constantly watch the road in front of them and look in their rearview and side view mirrors for other traffic and pedestrians. In many instances, because motorcycles are small vehicles, other drivers do not notice them. These drivers may bring about a serious collision if they do not watch the road attentively.
Inattentive driving can take several different forms. In some cases, drivers become distracted by electronic devices, such as cell phones, hands-free systems, GPS navigation systems, and music systems. When a driver focuses their attention on one of these devices, they might fail to see a nearby cyclist, causing a collision with them.
Finally, some motorcycle accidents happen when drivers fall asleep at the wheel or drive while fatigued. Fatigued driving often comes with various physical symptoms, including lack of concentration and limited reflexes. It may also cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of their vehicle, potentially causing their car or truck to careen into a cyclist’s path.
If a motorcycle accident resulting from another person’s negligence injured you or someone you love, you have legal options. A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can evaluate your options and discuss a plan of action for recovering the monetary compensation you deserve.
In some cases, you can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, while at other times, you may need to file a lawsuit in court to seek the necessary damages. In either instance, your motorcycle accident lawyer can help you along the way and work to maximize the monetary recovery you receive in your case.
Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Compared with car and truck riders, motorcyclists are at an extreme disadvantage. This is because, unlike the occupants of larger motor vehicles, cyclists have direct exposure to the ground. They do not benefit from an outer covering surrounding them when a crash occurs. Rather, when a larger vehicle hits a motorcycle, the cyclist may fall on the ground and seriously hurt themselves.
Common injuries that motorcyclists may suffer in a crash include internal organ damage, road rash injuries, spinal cord injuries, full and partial paralysis injuries, abrasions, soft tissue injuries, rib fractures, bone fractures, and traumatic head and brain injuries.
Since symptoms of these injuries do not always appear right away, you must seek prompt medical treatment after a motorcycle accident. Medical providers at emergency rooms and urgent care facilities have the knowledge and skills to interpret X-rays and MRIs and accurately diagnose your medical condition. Furthermore, a treating medical provider can recommend a specialist or other provider with whom you may wish to continue treating.
Failing to seek proper medical treatment after a motorcycle accident can negatively affect your injury claim or lawsuit. Insurance companies often become even more skeptical when motorcycle accident victims put off their treatment for too long. In some instances, a settlement adjuster might believe that your injuries are not serious and did not warrant medical treatment in the first place. Moreover, by seeking medical treatment immediately after your accident, you increase your chances of a speedy and full recovery.
While you continue to undergo medical treatment for your accident-related injuries, your motorcycle accident lawyer can begin handling your personal injury claim.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Despite what insurance companies and their representatives say in their frequent advertisements, insurers are not interested in helping you or ensuring you obtain a fair monetary recovery for your injuries.
At the end of the day, insurers are only interested in their bottom line and how they can save themselves money. Insurance companies save money by poking holes in accident victims’ cases and paying them as little monetary compensation as possible to satisfy their personal injury claims and lawsuits.
Sometimes, insurance companies allege that accident victims suffered a pre-existing injury that should limit the compensation they receive in their current case. The insurance company might also argue that the cyclist caused or contributed to the accident in some way.
Once an accident victim’s lawyer submits a settlement demand package to the insurance company adjuster, and the adjuster accepts fault for the accident, the parties may begin their settlement negotiations. This process can often take a significant amount of time because insurance companies will not offer top dollar from the outset of the case. Rather, a personal injury lawyer may need to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster several times before the adjuster will even submit a favorable settlement offer for consideration.
If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation for your motorcycle accident injuries, your lawyer can promptly threaten them with imminent litigation without actually filing a lawsuit.
Sometimes, the mere threat of civil litigation in the court system will entice insurance company adjusters to offer additional monetary compensation to settle the case. Many insurers want to avoid the significant time and expense associated with litigating a case in the court system. Insurance companies are also anxious to avoid a potentially high verdict in court, which is unfavorable to their interests.
Litigating a Motorcycle Accident Case in Court
Although the litigation process begins when a motorcycle accident lawyer files suit in court, the case may still settle at any point in time. In fact, most motorcycle claims resolve during litigation rather than going to a jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
If you do need to litigate your case in the court system:
- The insurance company for the at-fault driver will appoint a lawyer to handle the case on the driver’s behalf.
- The parties will exchange answers to written questions, called interrogatories, to find out more about the case.
- The defense lawyer will take the accident victim’s deposition during the discovery phase of the litigation.
- The parties will attend one or more mediation or settlement conferences with the court in an attempt to resolve the case amicably.
If the motorcycle accident case does not settle and the matter goes to trial, the jury members will decide the outcome of all disputed issues in the case, including those involving monetary compensation and damages. As alternatives to a jury trial, the parties may consider binding arbitration or mediation, both of which occur outside the courtroom setting.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you recently sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash, you should speak with a knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer right away. Your lawyer can assist you in your dealings with the insurance company and aggressively advocate for your interests during all settlement negotiations.
Personal Injury Lawyers in Edmonton can also advise you whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company adjuster or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
Your lawyer can help you recover the monetary compensation you deserve for your lost earnings, inconvenience, pain, and suffering, lost quality of life, disfigurement, permanent disability, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
If your case ultimately goes to a jury trial, mediation hearing, or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer will represent you and aggressively fight for your right to the monetary damages you need.