Why Are Motorcycle Accident Claims More Complicated?
Motorcycle accident claims are often far more complex than a typical car wreck. This is largely because of the nature of motorcycle crashes and the severity of the injuries. After all, for an insurance company, the greater the injury, the greater the financial risk.
With this in mind, here are a handful of the specific reasons why these types of accidents are so much more complicated.
- Helmet Laws. Alabama requires all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear a helmet. Therefore, if someone is injured while not wearing a helmet, you can expect the insurance company to use this as an excuse to try to avoid paying for your injuries. While this can be a difficult issue, our firm will strongly oppose any attempt to hold the victim responsible for their own injuries when the at-fault driver was the one who actually caused the crash.
- Types of Collisions. Drivers often become almost blind to motorcyclists. This even has a term – “inattentional blindness.” It means a person simply is not aware of or does not see something that is right in front of them. Much like billboards or common TV commercials, we can almost become immune to certain things, completely forgetting to notice them. This happens to drivers all the time. The driver technically “sees” the motorcycle, but they don’t “acknowledge” it for some reason.
- Anti-Biker Biases. Oddly enough, even in this modern day, there are a lot of people who still see motorcyclists as rebellious bikers. Older jurors especially may conjure memories of biker gangs or other negative images from TV and movies. These unfair stereotypes completely ignore reality, but insurance companies are aware of these prejudices and they will play on them to diminish the value of your case. We won’t let them get away with it.
What Compensation is Available for Injuries in an Alabama Motorcycle Accident?
In the days following a serious motorcycle crash, you will probably be in and out of doctors’ appointments, rehabilitation treatments, physical therapy and even surgery. The last thing you need to do is deal with rude, aggressive, and disrespectful insurance adjusters. Although some may act friendly, do not be fooled. These people are not your friends. They are paid specifically to get your case to go away for as little money as possible – ideally nothing. In fact, some adjusters even get bonuses based on how much money they save the insurance company. That means the less they pay you, the more they make. Think about it. They’re not looking out for your family.
No one other than your personal injury attorney has your best interests at heart after a motorcycle crash – not the insurance companies, not the police, not even the courts.
A dedicated motorcycle accident attorney from Gartlan Injury Law can fight for just and fair compensation, which may include:
- Money for medical bills
- Compensation to help with future medical care and treatment
- Compensation for lost income and earnings from work
- Money to help with out-of-pocket expenses from the crash
- Payment for your damaged or destroyed motorcycle
- Money to make up for your diminished earning potential in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Every type of compensation will not be available in every case, but as a general rule, you can expect to negotiate for a lump-sum settlement. If you are able to reach a settlement agreement, then your attorney can help to stretch that money further by negotiating medical bills and liens and helping to reduce the other expenses that will come out of your settlement.
If your case goes to a jury, then Gartlan Injury Law will work to ensure the jury hears about all the various ways the injury affected your life and caused difficulties for your family.
What If I Am Being Blamed for the Motorcycle Crash?
Sadly, insurance companies are particularly good at blaming motorcycle accident victims for their own injuries. There are a few reasons for this.
- Contributory Negligence in Alabama. Unlike most states that allow injured people to seek compensation even if they bear a small share of the blame, Alabama has one of the harshest negligence laws in the country. If a motorcyclist is found to have contributed any share of the fault for the crash, a jury will not be able to award any compensation. This means insurance companies have a huge incentive to concoct elaborate theories for how the motorcyclist is at fault for their own injuries. In many cases, defense theories are almost incredible and entirely unbelievable. Fortunately, juries are made up of real people. Often a common sense approach will help to show a jury that the defense is making up a story simply to avoid liability for something that is clearly wrong.
- The More Severe the Injury, the Greater the Fight. The bigger the risk to the insurance company, the more you can bet they will look for ways to avoid paying. If there is even a slight chance of avoiding payment of a claim, the insurance company will find it.
There Is Good News. What insurance companies won’t tell you is that most crashes involve fairly straightforward facts that everyday Alabama citizens can understand. For instance, a driver’s insurance company may try to argue a motorcyclist was at fault, even where the motorcyclist had a clear right-of-way and the driver simply pulled out in front of him, totally ignoring the motorcycle’s presence.
An insurance company’s defense begins to erode when regular citizens are shown pictures of the road, the unobstructed view and the stop sign. A skilled motorcycle injury lawyer can help to paint a compelling picture that shows a jury just who should be responsible for the crash.
What You Need to Know About Dealing with Insurance Adjusters
Perhaps you’re wondering whether you should deal with the insurance company. Maybe you are wondering, “Are there any motorcycle accident attorneys near me?” Gartlan Injury Law is conveniently located here in Dothan, Alabama, and we work hard to make sure all of our clients are protected, no matter where they live. Whether you’re a visitor from a nearby state who was injured in town or a local resident who was injured while riding one weekend, we want to be your lawyer.
No matter what the insurance companies say in their catchy TV ads, they are not your neighbors, they are not out to save you money, and you are better off keeping your case out of their hands. The fact is they are paid large monthly premiums by thousands of people. They collect these monthly premiums and amass multi-billion-dollar portfolios. They spend millions on expensive ad campaigns, and they build warm and fuzzy brands. They do all of this for one reason only – profits. If you want to truly understand the insurance companies, wait until you are truly injured and in need of their help. This is when things change drastically.
Insurance adjusters are paid well and trained well. They tend to have a similar playbook.
- Step 1: They gain your trust. They will call with sympathy and a friendly tone. They will ask if you are okay and whether you are still hurting. It sounds like they care, but this is actually a fishing expedition. If you say you are feeling a little better, they will record this as “no injury.”
- Step 2: They get information. Next the insurance company will ask you to sign “routine paperwork,” which will give them access to your entire medical history. Once they have all your medical records, they can have their experts look for excuses to argue you had a pre-existing condition and were not really hurt in the crash. They will also quickly gather witness statements and photographs that selectively support their defense.
- Step 3: They leave you hanging. Once they’ve built up your trust and let you sit waiting for weeks without transportation, medical bills mounting, and weeks without work, then they let you know that they are denying your claim.
- Step 4: They come in with the lowball. Finally, when you are frustrated, desperate, and without any other options, they may make you a terrible lowball offer. Out of desperation, you are tempted to accept. This is if they make an offer at all. Many will just change the adjuster, disconnect the assigned phone number, then ignore you indefinitely in hopes that you miss the 2-year deadline.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Motorcycle Accident
When you hire Gartlan Injury Law, you don’t have to deal with the adjusters. We put pressure on them, not the other way around. If they want information, we will give them what they need. If they won’t respond to our calls, we can sue the driver that caused the crash, thereby forcing the insurance company to hire attorneys to defend that driver. If they still don’t listen, we can pursue the case to trial.
Ultimately, when you hire an attorney, the insurance company has no real choice but to pay attention. If they still ignore us, they risk committing bad faith, which essentially means they are breaching their contract with their own customer. If this happens, it may give you additional opportunities for compensation.