Motorcycle accidents often leave victims with serious injuries that can take months or years to heal. Additionally, insurance companies aren’t eager to pay out appropriate settlements for injury claims, and motorcycle accident cases often end up in court. The benefits of hiring a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident are substantial over attempting to represent your interests alone.
While you can try to negotiate with the insurance company or gather evidence for the claim, you may not realize that time is of the essence in any injury claim. Evidence disappears quickly, and having an attorney on your side to prioritize certain steps in your case can help you obtain key evidence and witness statements. Learn more below about how an attorney can help.
California Is an At-fault Insurance Claim State
California requires victims to file injury claims through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. This means you must determine which driver caused your accident. Sometimes, fault is easy to determine, such as a car in the middle lane cutting you off in the left lane by making a quick merge without checking their blind spots.
However, this can be more complicated if the driver who hit you was reacting to the actions of another driver. If a driver in the right lane merged into the middle lane, cutting off a driver who then swerved into the left lane to avoid hitting that car and hit you instead, which driver is at fault?
In this scenario, the driver who merged from the right lane into the middle lane and forced the driver who hit you out of their lane would most likely be the at-fault driver, meaning you would need to file your claim with their insurance company.
Proving Fault in Your Insurance Claim or Court Case
For either an insurance claim or a lawsuit in court, you will need to prove the other driver’s negligence. Proving negligence involves four primary factors:
- Establishing the other driver owed you a duty of care
- Proving the other driver breached said duty
- Demonstrating you suffered injuries and losses from the accident
- Proving the other driver’s actions led to the accident that caused your injuries
One of the key benefits of hiring a motorcycle accident attorney is their knowledge and experience. They know what an insurance adjuster or court needs to understand about fault and negligence in motorcycle accident cases.
Helping You Handle a Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claim
Insurance companies don’t like paying out large settlements. They often deny or attempt to reduce the value of legitimate injury claims. You should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident for legal representation when submitting and managing your claim.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can help with your accident claim by:
- Filing your claim and supporting evidence for you
- Speaking with the insurance adjuster on your behalf
- Calculating a fair value for compensation
- Helping you understand whether a settlement offer will cover your current and future medical bills and related expenses due to the accident
- Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement if you reject an offer
If you can’t settle with the insurance company, or your injuries exceed the policy limits, you can file a lawsuit to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. Also, remember that insurance companies only settle for economic damages. If you experience pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or permanent disability due to your injuries, you can pursue economic and non-economic damages in court.
Gathering Evidence for Your Claim or Court Case
Whether you pursue an insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the negligent driver, you will need evidence to support your case. Your attorney can help gather the necessary evidence for your claim, including:
- Taking photos of the accident scene
- Acquiring video footage of the accident from nearby business security cameras
- Finding witnesses and collecting statements
- Getting the police report and helping you issue any corrections
- Gathering medical records from before and after the accident
- Getting expert witness statements from medical professionals, accident reconstruction engineers, and other credible authorities
You will need to demonstrate that your injuries stemmed from the accident and that you didn’t have a pre-existing condition. If you already have a condition, you must provide enough evidence to prove that the accident worsened your injuries. You will also need evidence to support your claim of fault against the other driver.
Your attorney can present the evidence to an accident reconstruction engineer to develop a simulation that demonstrates the events of the accident. They can also present your medical information to a doctor who can describe how the accident caused your injuries or worsened a pre-existing condition.
Compensation To Pursue for Your Motorcycle Accident Case
You can pursue economic, non-economic, and even punitive damages in court. Economic damages are those with specific costs tied directly to your injuries. Non-economic damages include intangible losses such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. Economic and non-economic damages can include:
- Medical bills (past and future)
- Transportation costs to and from appointments
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Costs of home services (lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc.)
- Childcare expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are additional damages the court may award as a multiplier of your total compensation award. The court generally awards punitive damages to punish the at-fault party for recklessness or intent in their actions that led to your injuries. Unlike many other states, California does not cap punitive damages.
Contact a Southern California Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Orange County
The benefits of hiring a motorcycle accident attorney to handle your motorcycle accident are clear. Motorcycle accident cases are complex, and you need experienced legal representation working for you. Call Khalil Law Group today at (714) 617-7870 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney at our office in Newport Beach, CA.