Following a serious injury crash, the hospital bills alone often exceed $100,000. Other economic losses include lost work, or lost productivity at work, along with property damage. Motorcycle crash victims are also generally entitled to compensation for their noneconomic losses, such as loss of consortium (companionship), pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life. Such losses are difficult to quantify in monetary terms.
Since most of these claims settle after the victim/plaintiff files legal paperwork, a Brandon motorcycle accident attorney must be a good litigator and a good negotiator. Attorneys must aggressively promote their clients’ interests in court. And, during settlement negotiations, attorneys must know when to compromise and when to stand firm. Unless a lawyer has both these abilities, fair compensation is usually impossible.
Gathering Evidence and Pre-Filing Activity
The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in a negligence claim. Additionally, there is usually a direct relationship between the amount of evidence the victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of damages a Hillsborough County jury awards. Since insurance companies know this is true, additional evidence usually raises a case’s settlement value. More on that below.
Evidence in motorcycle crash claims usually includes the police accident report, medical bills, and the victim’s own testimony. Other evidence could include:
- Additional Witness Statements: For various reasons, many people do not like talking to police officers. But they will talk to a personal injury attorney, or an attorney’s representative.
- Event Data Recorder: Vehicle EDRs are a bit like black box flight recorders. Event Data Recorders capture and record information like vehicle speed and steering angle. Such data could be very valuable in car crash claims.
- Video Evidence: Many intersections have red light or traffic cameras, and many surveillance cameras record street traffic. Such evidence could show things like excessive speed or reckless driving.
Once the evidence collection phase is over and medical treatment is at least substantially complete, attorneys usually send demand letters to insurance companies. These letters demand a certain amount of money in exchange for a liability waiver.
The amount of noneconomic damages usually depends on the facts of the case along with some other factors, such as the presence (or absence) of any insurance company defenses.
Third party liability often comes into play here. For example, if the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was a commercial operator, the tortfeasor’s employer might be vicariously liable for damages.
Resolving the Claim
If there is no liability dispute, insurance companies have a duty to quickly settle claims. However, there is almost always at least some dispute as to liability.
Insurance companies usually file procedural motions seeking to dismiss the claim. These motions are a bit like the tests in school. If attorneys do their homework, they usually do well on the tests.
After these hurdles are clear, settlement negotiations usually resume. By this time, the claim’s settlement value is usually apparent. Frequently, motorcycle crash claims settle during mediation. Assuming both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Contact Aggressive Attorneys
Motorcycle crash settlements usually include compensation for economic and noneconomic losses. For a free consultation with an experienced motorcycle injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).