San Jose Motorcycle Accident Claims
Motorcycle accidents are a serious issue that occurs too frequently, and they have a devastating impact on victims. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorcyclists face a much higher risk of serious injuries or death than car drivers.
If you have been injured in a San Jose motorcycle accident, you may be wondering how to file a proper motorcycle accident claim. Well, the claims process for motorcycle accidents is similar to the claims process for car accidents.
However, there are some key differences motorcycle accident victims must be aware of, such as how to file a personal injury claim, recoverable damages, and how long it takes to settle a motorcycle accident claim. For insight into these areas and more, continue reading.
How Is a Motorcycle Accident Claim Different From Other Auto Accident Claims?
Unlike motor vehicle drivers of passenger cars, motorcyclists are not surrounded by shielding or safeguarded with airbags and seatbelts. This makes them more exposed and susceptible to harm in a crash.
Because a motorcycle accident victim is more likely to suffer serious injuries and greater overall damages than a car accident victim, the value of a motorcycle accident claim can be worth more than other types of personal injury claims. Here are how both accidents vary from each other.
- The Severity of Suffered Injuries: Motorcyclists are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in an accident than car drivers. In fact, motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to be killed in a crash than car drivers.
- Complexity: Motorcycle accident cases are often more complex than car accident cases. This is because multiple parties may be involved, such as the motorcycle rider, the other driver, or the bike manufacturer. Because California is an at-fault state, every party who caused the crash can be held liable.
- Insurance Coverage: Motorcycle riders may be required to carry higher levels of accident coverage than car drivers, as insurance rates will be based on the type of bike, age and riding experience, accident history, and location of where the bike will be ridden.
- Damages: Due to impact and lack of protection, motorcycle accident victims often suffer serious and long-term injuries. These injuries can include physical injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries. They can also include emotional harm, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety.
If you suffered injuries in a San Jose motorcycle accident, seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim and negotiate with the insurance company so that you are appropriately compensated.
What to Do After a San Jose Motorcycle Crash
When it comes to what to do after a San Jose accident motorcycle accident, there are some similarities to what to do after a car accident. Here are the key steps to take after a motorcycle crash.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if it is believed that motorcycle accident injuries have not been sustained, it is highly recommended to still see a doctor. A motorcycle crash can cause hidden or delayed injuries that may not be apparent right away, and only a physician's expertise can detect them.
- Be sure to retain all medical bills and other medical records. These documents indicate if severe injuries were sustained, the medical costs to treat those injuries, and recommendations for future medical treatment.
- File a police report. Regardless of the initial damages, call 911 following a motorcycle crash. The responding officers will create a police report, document the accident scene, and can determine which party was at fault. This is extremely helpful when it comes time to file a motorcycle accident claim.
- Gather evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene, visible motorcycle accident injuries, and damages to the motorcycle. In personal injury cases, visual evidence details the extent of sustained injuries and property damage, and it improves the plaintiff's chances to recover compensation.
- File a motorcycle accident claim. If a motorcycle rider suffered injuries, then he or she can seek compensation by filing a motorcycle accident claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. However, it's possible that the insurance companies will deny the claim and not accept liability.
- Contact a San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will simplify the motorcycle injury claim process, provide insight into the legal options victims have, and will aggressively represent clients in negotiations with the insurance company.
Following a crash, it is immensely helpful to consult with a San Jose motorcycle accident law firm. The firm's knowledge can protect a victim from being taken advantage of by the insurance companies and further secure maximum compensation on their behalf.
The Process for Filing Motorcycle Accident Claims
The process of filing a personal injury claim after a motorcycle accident will vary depending on the state where the accident occurred. However, there are some general steps that must be followed–one of the most important being to contact a San Jose motorcycle accident attorney.
Motorcycle accident lawyers help their clients understand their legal rights and options. In addition, legal representation can determine how much compensation an injured motorcycle rider can recover, as attorneys are expert negotiators. The claims process consists of the following:
- Send the demand letter: The demand letter will outline the facts of the accident, the injuries sustained, and the amount of compensation that is being sought.
- Initial review: The insurance company will review the demand letter and may make a settlement offer. If the injured party is not satisfied with the insurance company's offer, they may counteroffer.
- Negotiations: The negotiation process may continue back and forth until both parties reach an agreement on a settlement amount.
- Review counteroffers: Once an agreement is reached, it will be memorialized in a written settlement agreement. The settlement agreement will outline the terms of the agreement, such as the amount of compensation being paid, the release of liability, and the confidentiality of the settlement.
- Accept an offer: Once the settlement agreement is signed by both parties, it will be binding. This means that neither party can go back on the agreement.
- Reject an offer: If an ideal agreement cannot be met, a motorcycle accident lawsuit can be filed, and the case goes to court.
How Motorcycle Lawsuits Differ From Other Vehicle Lawsuits
Motorcycle lawsuits follow a similar structure to car accident lawsuits. Essentially, the injured party hires a motorcycle accident lawyer for legal representation. A demand letter is sent to the at-fault driver requesting damages. If the other party opposes the demands, negotiations take place, and a motorcycle accident lawsuit could follow.
One of the major differences that interferes with the success of a motorcycle accident case, versus a car accident case, is the overwhelming bias surrounding motorcyclists. A non-motorcycle rider is more likely to support the stigma that bike riders are reckless thrill-seekers, which ultimately can affect the outcome of a personal injury claim.
In addition, motorcyclists often sustain far more complicated and serious injuries, which means longer hospital stays, higher medical bills, and longer aftercare to recover. These incurred medical costs can quickly put victims into financial debt. While accumulated costs can equate to a higher personal injury settlement, insurance companies will make relentless efforts to avoid paying fair compensation.
When battling against insurance companies and social taboos following a crash, victims can greatly benefit from a San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer's expertise. In fact, 9 out of 10 victims who sought legal representation following an accident, received a payout when working with a motorcycle accident lawyer.
How Negligence Is Proven in Motorcycle Accidents
After hiring motorcycle accident lawyers, they will file a lawsuit on behalf of their clients. The lawsuit will allege that the defendant was negligent, causing injuries and damages to the plaintiff.
In order to win a motorcycle accident lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. Negligence is a legal term that is applied in a case to indicate that the defendant acted in an unreasonable manner, which led to the motorcycle accident. There are four elements to prove negligence.
- The defendant failed to exercise a duty of care
- The breach in duty of care lead to the motorcycle accident
- The motorcycle accident was the proximate cause of injuries, meaning it was the direct and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff's injuries
- There must be a connection between the suffered damages (injuries, property damage, etc.) resulting from the motorcycle accident
The defendant will then have an opportunity to respond to the lawsuit. If the defendant denies liability, the case will go to trial. At trial, a judge or jury will decide if there is enough evidence to prove that the defendant was, in fact, negligent and should be held liable for the San Jose motorcycle crash.
If the trial is successful, damages will be awarded, with the amount being determined by the judge or jury.
The Value San Jose Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Provide
When motorcycle accident lawsuits go to trial, there will be some biases against motorcycle riders. These preconceived notions about how motorcycle accidents occur can significantly hurt a case.
It is likely that most of the jury have never been on a bike. Therefore, they may not understand exactly how motorcycle crashes happen, assuming they are the result of reckless riders. For instance, speed creates greater stability for motorcyclists; however, non-riders may perceive this as speeding and being careless.
Another common misconception pertains to lane splitting, as it is a major cause of many cause of motorcycle accidents. This act is when the rider maneuvers between two slowed or stopped lanes of traffic. Lane splitting is legal in California, but accidents occur when car drivers do not check blind spots before switching lanes.
Knowledgeable San Jose motorcycle accident lawyers will be able to explain the mechanics of operating a bike to a jury, giving them a better understanding of the event. Ultimately, the decision should be based on the facts, evidence, and not biases.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
In general, motorcycle accident claims can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to settle. Factors that affect the turnaround time will differ from a car accident case, as a motorcycle accident can result in more complex injuries and losses.
The severity of injuries, the complexity of the case, accrued medical bills, and the willingness of the insurance company to negotiate will all affect how soon a motorcycle accident case will conclude.
There are a number of actions that can be taken to avoid comprising the case, which ultimately prevents delays and accelerates the timeline. This includes:
- File a San Jose motorcycle accident claim as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner the claim is filed, the sooner the insurance company can begin investigating the accident and making a settlement offer.
- Gather evidence that supports the motorcycle accident claim. This includes medical records, police reports, photographs of the accident scene, and all medical bills.
- Work with a San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer. A San Jose law firm will negotiate with the insurance company and fight to recover the maximum compensation.
Do not fall victim to a quick payout. An injured motorcycle rider will suffer substantial losses, in the form of lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. The insurance company will not account for all of these losses and will likely present a lower offer than what was requested or expected.
While more time will need to be invested in order to recover maximum compensation, don't succumb to an unfair settlement, because of a quick turnaround.
Work with a San Jose Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Have you been injured in a motorcycle accident? Get the compensation you deserve with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.
Insurance adjusters are aware of the biases against motorcycle riders and use that to their advantage in personal injury cases, reducing bodily injury liability claims as much as possible. However, a motorcycle accident lawyer who has handled these types of cases understands how the insurance company operates and will provide expert negotiations to recover maximum compensation.
Valley Accident Attorneys knows how to handle even the most complicated personal injury claims that deal with motorcycle accidents. If you were injured in an accident, call us to begin discussing your case. We offer a free consultation to get started.