As a motorcyclist, nothing is more terrifying than being involved in an accident—especially if you know that it wasn't your fault. To make things right, you might be tempted to work with the first personal injury attorney you can find. Unfortunately, some lawyers are better prepared to argue these special cases than others are. Here are two reasons you need to work with a specialized motorcycle accident attorney:
1: Damages Are Typically Much Higher
Everyone knows that riding motorcycles is inherently dangerous, but sometimes people underestimate just how bad motorcycle accidents can be. Unfortunately, in one 2012 study that compared death and injury rates, motorcyclists were more than 26 times more likely to die in a wreck than enclosed car passengers. In fact, they were also about five times more likely to sustain injuries.
Because riding a motorcycle is so much riskier, damages are typically much higher. This means that you have a lot more to lose than someone with injuries that are less serious. In addition to missing work and calculating your medical expenses, you might be faced with debilitating injuries or amputations. Unfortunately, if a motorcyclist dies in the wreck, the family might also be faced with filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Fortunately, motorcycle accident lawyers understand how to fight for the damages you are entitled to. In fact, if you work with an attorney, your settlement could be anywhere from 1.5 to 5 times the total amount of your calculated damages. This means that if you have $20,000 worth of medical bills and you missed 3 weeks of work that cost you $5,000, your settlement could be anywhere from $37,500 to $125,000—just because you decided to work with a specialized lawyer from a firm like Hinkle Law Offices.
2: Motorcycle Insurance is Different
Motorcycle accidents are also more complicated because insurance policies tend to be a little more specific. If you try to argue your case on your own without understanding what your policy covers, you might end up footing the bill for damages on your own. Here are a few ways your motorcycle insurance policy might be different than the coverage you have for your car, and how it could affect your personal injury case:
- Insurance Riders: Because some people only ride their motorcycle on weekends or during the summer months, some insurance companies have special riders that dictate when coverage is in effect. Unfortunately, if you were involved in your accident outside of this timeframe, it might be more difficult to argue your personal injury case.
- Gamesmanship: Motorcycles are fun to drive, but don't expect your insurance policy to cover gamesmanship. Insurance adjusters and lawyers will try to determine whether or not you were doing things like racing, playing chicken, or trying to do tricks on your bike. If you can't successfully argue that you were driving responsibly, you might never see a settlement.
- Custom Parts: If you have tricked out your bike, it might have special additions like sidecars, custom paint jobs, or antennas. Because these items can be expensive, they can be figured into your settlement—if you can prove their value.
Motorcycle insurance can be difficult to figure out, which is why it is best to let a lawyer handle the job. When you meet with your lawyer, make sure to bring copies of your policy and a statement that shows you have been making your payments. If your attorney can prove that your insurance should be in force, you will be more successful in court.
By working with a lawyer that really understands motorcycles, you can earn the settlement you deserve, without all of the hassle that you don't.