A motorcycle accident can be devastating and may lead to severe emotional, physical, and financial burdens to injured victims and their family members. As such, survivors deserve adequate compensation to cover the resultant expenses.
The most complex part of the legal process is determining the precise amount to cover the resultant damages. Here, several factors come into play, and it won’t be easy to get what you deserve without expert guidance on the process.
The Possible Legal Options After a Motorcycle Accident
After determining that the other party’s negligence caused the accident that brought about your injuries, your attorney will begin the process of obtaining the deserved compensation from them. This could be through settlement negotiations or filing a personal injury lawsuit against them.
The amount awarded should cover your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages comprise the direct and verifiable costs on the accident victim. They’re usually documented, and it’s easy to compute them because you’ll rely on receipts for verifications. Typical economic damages in a motorcycle accident include:
- Hospitalization expenses
- The cost of surgeries and future therapy
- Lost income after the incident
- The cost of medical devices
Motorcycle accidents also result in non-economic damages. Generally, these are the implications inflicted at a personal level. It’s not easy to attach a dollar value to them as they’re profoundly intimate; that’s why these are the leading cause of contention. Examples include:
- Anxiety PTSD
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Lost income stream
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Chronic pain
The judge and jury may also decide to award punitive damages, but these don’t compensate for any damage suffered by the motorcycle accident survivor. Instead, they punish the at-fault party for their highly negligent or intentional actions or crime.
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What Determines Your Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Motorcycle accident circumstances vary, and several factors come into play when deciding the compensation awarded. However, several elements stand out. Let’s jump in!
Your Insurance Coverage
New Orleans is in a fault-based state where the negligent driver is liable for the damages they cause in an auto accident. An accident involving a motorcycle will likely lead to more severe injuries, so riders must provide proof of minimum liability policy when registering their bikes in the state.
The minimum liability insurance limits include:
- $15,000 per individual for bodily injury
- $30,000 for everyone injured in the incident
- $25,000 per accident for property damage.
It’s easy for your damages to exceed these limits, especially if there are catastrophic injuries. When the negligent driver is uninsured or lacks sufficient coverage, you may have to dig in from yours. But you’ll be limited by your policy limits.
The court will conduct a reasonable assessment of the monetary damages of your motorcycle accident. Valuation also entails understanding what the other party is willing to offer as a settlement before trial.
Various factors determine the desired award but ensure you’ve considered the extent of harm inflicted on the involved parties and damages on the involved vehicles. These values are part of economic damages and will significantly impact your motorcycle accident claim.
Extent and Severity of Your Injuries
This is probably the most obvious factor. If you sustained minor injuries from the motorcycle accident, the claim’s value would be relatively less than a major collision that caused life-altering or long-term injuries. Instead, your lawsuit will only comprise actual losses like property damage, healthcare expenses, and lost income.
On the other hand, serious motorbike crashes have more compensation for pain and suffering damages than the former.
Ideally, personal biases and preconceived judgments should never affect the compensation decision after a motorcycle accident. However, this is rarely the case as riders are mostly perceived as rebellious, reckless, and ignorant of safety laws by other motorists, law enforcement, or some judges.
To beat this prejudice when filing a lawsuit against the party that caused your injuries and property damage, you’ll need a structured plan. This can be hard to achieve without the guidance of a personal injury attorney specializing in motorcycle accident claims.
The attorney knows how to define and represent your rights as an injured victim, address the biased opinions, and increase the chances of a fair outcome.
Available Evidence to Support Your Claim
The facts and circumstances surrounding the motorcycle accident will determine the amount you’ll possibly recover from the lawsuit. Insurers are profit-oriented, and they’ll find any reason or explanation to dispute your claim and offer an unreasonably low settlement. The best way to beat these tactics is to provide compelling evidence.
Always treat the claim as if it’s on the trial stage. Your attorney will compile the necessary evidence and documentation to tell your story. These include:
- Medical documentation for injuries, care, and functional limitations
- Accurate estimates for future treatment
- Witness statements
- Crash investigation data and accident reconstructions and reports
- Lost income estimates
- Documentation of the altered quality of life
- Engineering assessment of defective motorcycle parts
The Time Factor
Louisianan’s statute of limitations determines the deadline for filing a personal injury claim after someone else’s negligence causes your accident. According to the law, you have only one year to file a case to claim the compensation, and the time starts from the day of the motorcycle accident.
If you fail to adhere, the court will likely not hear your case. Furthermore, the at-fault party will use this fact as their primary defense, and the judge may decide in their favor. This means you’ll get nothing as compensation.
Why do You Need a Motorcycle Attorney?
Motorcycle accidents differ from typical motorist crashes. For instance, there’s a high probability of sustaining severe injuries, and the property damage can be immense. As a result, most such cases are usually high-valued. The wrongdoer or insurance company will likely fight to reduce the potential compensation by arguing that you’re partly to blame for the accident.
A unique set of laws also governs motorcycle users, so getting all the fact rights in after an accident is not simple. Only a reputable attorney can guide you through the process.
Other benefits of working with a motorcycle accident lawyer include:
- Helping you understand your rights and safeguarding them throughout the process
- Connoting you with reputable healthcare providers to aid your recovery
- Gathering you gather sufficient evidence to build a strong case and win a substantial settlement amount
- Representing you in settlement negotiations and court proceedings as you recover
- Negotiating with the insurance company or in court for adequate compensation
- Using their connections in the legal system to facilitate a great case outcome
- Dealing with lienholders after compensation
Based on the complex circumstances surrounding motorcycle accidents, it can be hard to obtain the deserved compensation without the proper legal representation. Fortunately, you don’t have to search anymore. A qualified motorcycle accident attorney can handle your case.
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