Motorcycle Accident Claims Process
Although motorcycles share the road with cars and trucks, that’s about as far as the comparisons go between motorcycles and automobiles. Motorcycle riders are a minority, and they have to deal with a system that is predominately meant for four-wheeled vehicles. This applies not only on the road, but in the accident claims process.
Drivers often point to motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic and speeding, but research from the Florida Department of Transportation found that other drivers cause most crashes with motorcycles. While stereotypes about motorcyclists as reckless and irresponsible thrill-seekers are mostly untrue, they persist and can make it more difficult for riders to recover compensation after an accident.
If you ride a motorcycle, you should know how to protect your rights following a crash. And if you were in an accident, you should consider retaining an attorney who has experience and success handling these types of claims.
Step 1: Immediately After The Accident
The moments after an accident are usually stressful and chaotic. They are also important for establishing some basic facts about what happened and building evidence. The claims process really begins at the accident scene.
Provided that you’re not seriously injured or in immediate danger, take pictures of the accident scene and damage to your motorcycle, collect as much information as possible from other drivers and witnesses, alert the police, and remain on the scene until they arrive and write an accident report. Get medical attention right away if you need it. You may want to be examined by a doctor no matter what since some injuries aren’t immediately obvious. It’s never too early to contact a lawyer, just to make sure you’re doing everything by the book.
Step 2: Filing an Insurance Claim
You don’t have to file an insurance claim right away, but you also shouldn’t wait too long. This is something you can ask your attorney. Once you hire an attorney, they’ll handle insurance company communications for you.
The insurance company will ask for certain information and documentation to support your claim. Make sure you carefully read everything before signing it. Don’t try to explain how the accident happened, assign blame, discuss your injury details, or admit guilt. You will need to provide the insurer with certain information to move the claim forward but stick to the facts. When in doubt, call Morgan & Morgan.
Step 3: Resolving The Claim
Eventually, the insurance company will offer you a settlement. Typically, if you have both a property damage claim and a bodily injury claim arising from the same accident, the insurer presents two separate settlements.
You do not have to accept any settlement offer from the insurance company. In many cases, adjusters make low initial offers. You can make a counteroffer along with figures to back up your case of why you deserve more. Should your negotiations result in a satisfactory settlement offer, and you accept, you’ll be asked to sign a release form. Be careful though: once you sign a release and accept the settlement, the claims process is over. You cannot go back and negotiate for a higher settlement.
You can, however, file a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t budge on their settlement offer. Negotiations outside the courtroom may continue all the way up until the court returns a verdict.
Trust Morgan & Morgan
The motorcycle accident attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience representing riders against insurance companies. Working closely with experts in the fields of medicine and accident reconstruction, we have recovered significant compensation for injured riders, including verdicts of $6.5 million and $47.5 million.
When the stakes are high, don’t trust your claim to a small, unproven firm. Trust Morgan & Morgan, the nation’s largest injury law firm. To talk to a lawyer, fill out a free case review form.