I was Injured in a Motorcycle Accident, do I Need to Retain an Attorney
Motorcycle accidents have been on the rise in recent years. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that just under 5,200 individuals were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2017, accounting for approximately 14% of all motor vehicle-related deaths that year. Just a couple decades earlier in the late 1990s, there were less than half as many motorcycle accident fatalities, and they only accounted for between 5% and 7% of the overall motor vehicle-related fatalities in a given year.
The vast increase in motorcycle accidents and subsequent injuries and fatalities is blamed largely on distracted driving due to the growing use of smartphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Because of their low profile, many drivers just do not see motorcyclists when their eyes are turned away from the road and focused on their phones. And because bikers have far less protection than occupants of other motor vehicles, they are more likely to be injured after a crash.
When someone is injured in a motorcycle accident, one of the first questions that is often asked is, “do I need to retain an attorney?” Attorneys do take a percentage of the eventual settlement as their fee, so it is definitely fair to ask whether or not you are better off handling the injury claim on your own.
There is no right answer to that question that applies in all circumstances. There are cases in which you might be okay dealing directly with the insurance company. For example, if you sustained fairly minor injuries, the parties are generally in agreement on the facts of the case and who was at fault, and you have received what you believe to be a fair offer from the other party’s insurer, then it might make sense to accept the settlement and move forward with your life.
If, however, there are any complications in your case, it would be to your benefit to at least talk with a lawyer about your legal rights and options, so you can make the most informed decision about how you wish to proceed.
Here are some circumstances in which you should consider speaking with an attorney:
- There are disputes regarding key facts in the case;
- An investigation may be required to establish who was at-fault;
- There were multiple parties involved in the motorcycle accidents;
- The accident resulted in serious injuries and/or fatalities;
- You are not able to go back to work for a while due to the accident and the injuries you sustained;
- You require ongoing medical care because of your injuries.
If you sustained moderate to severe injuries from the accident and any of the above circumstances apply, an attorney can help you recover the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.
Here are just a few ways your attorney can assist you:
Your Attorney can Properly Value your Claim
If you have never handled a personal injury claim before, you may not be familiar with the types of compensation that may be available to you. An attorney who is familiar with this process can evaluate your claim, determine the extent of your injuries, and consult with experts when necessary to accurately assess your losses and the damages you should be paid. In addition to economic damages such as medical costs and time missed from work, your attorney will ask for compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
Your Attorney can Help Protect your Legal Right to Compensation
Dealing with an insurance company on your own can be a difficult and confusing process. In addition, there are numerous pitfalls that could trip you up and cause you to receive far less compensation than you are entitled to. For example, an insurance adjuster may ask for a recorded statement, which may seem like a standard request that is needed to move the claim forward. However, the questions the adjuster asks are usually worded in a way that is designed to get you on record saying things that can be used to undermine your claim. Your lawyer will be well aware of the common tactics an insurer may use, and they will be able to provide strong legal guidance to help ensure that you do not do anything that hurts your claim.
Your Attorney can Negotiate Directly with the Insurer and Handle other Complex Legal Tasks
When you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the most important thing you should be focused on is your recovery. Having to handle settlement talks on your own with an insurance adjuster who is a professional negotiator and whose interests are not aligned with yours can be very stressful. If you retain the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you have a skilled advocate who is looking out for your interests and is able to negotiate on your behalf. And if the insurance company is not willing to negotiate in good faith, your lawyer has the ability to pursue full damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. This fact, in and of itself, can be enough to motivate an insurance adjuster to submit a reasonable settlement offer.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Kentucky? Contact John H. Ruby & Associates for Assistance
If you or someone close to you was hurt in a motorcycle crash in Kentucky, it is in your best interests to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney to review your case and learn your legal rights and options. Call the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates today to schedule your free consultation, or message us through our online contact form. You may also stop by our Louisville office at your convenience.