Get Legal Help for a Motorcycle Injury

August 19, 2022 | Bill Henry

Auto accidents are the second most common source of accidental injury. While modern vehicles and roadways are designed to be as safe as possible, human factors inevitably lead to accidents every day. When a motorcyclist is hit, the injuries are likely to be catastrophic. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, your best bet for recovery is to enlist the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who has worked on motorcycle injury cases.

In This Article:

How a Motorcycle Injury Attorney Can Help After an Accident
The Role Insurance Companies Take in a Motorcycle Injury Accident
How the Value of Your Case is Determined
How the At-Fault Party Can Limit Your Recoverable Damages
What Does My Insurance Cover?
Types of Insurance Coverage
Long-standing Biases Against Motorcyclists
Types of Motorcycle Injuries

BOTTOM LINE

When you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you deserve a fair settlement so your only concern is getting well. A personal injury attorney greatly increases your chances of receiving a larger settlement than if you try to negotiate one on your own.

If You’re Injured in a Motorcycle Accident

You need to be represented by a tenacious personal injury attorney. Our Personal Injury Team understands the tactics insurance companies use to get out of paying injured people what they rightfully deserve, and we won’t back down. Let us fight for you. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your free case assessment.

How a Motorcycle Injury Attorney Can Help After an Accident

Most of us at one time or another have been involved in a fender bender that required us to file a claim to get our car repaired. A crash that involves an injury, well, that’s an entirely different ball of wax. A motorcycle injury attorney will be there to advocate for you each step of the way.

Your personal injury lawyer will investigate the crash by obtaining all the related police records and crash reports. Your attorney will also:

  • assess your damages
  • gather evidence to support your claim
  • assist you in filing your claim
  • negotiate a settlement amount
  • fight for you in court if a settlement cannot be reached

The Role Insurance Companies Take in a Motorcycle Injury Accident

When you are injured and it is someone else’s fault, your insurance company has certain obligations to you based on the terms of your policy. However, no insurance policy includes representing your claim in court, nor does it represent your interests in its dealings with the adjustor from the other driver’s insurance company.

Your insurance company is interested solely in limiting their responsibility for property damage occurring in the accident, and that will be the extent of their efforts. They almost always do nothing to resolve injury issues. That means it’s up to you and your own attorney to seek out a resolution.

Many insurance providers do have the option to have bodily injury coverage, including liability coverage in case you are at fault for someone else’s injury. However, this coverage has a cap on the dollar amount it covers. Bodily injury coverage is also subject to arbitrary limits you might not even be aware of, such as non-coverage for certain types of medical care like MRIs.

For these reasons, if you are a motorcyclist who is injured by another driver, it is paramount to get legal advice and representation. It could be the difference between being compensated justly for what happened to you and getting nothing at all, and having to live with the costs of an unfortunate incident.

How the Value of Your Case is Determined

The value of a case is the best guess at what a jury would award the plaintiff as well as what the defendant might be willing to settle for.

In a personal injury case, this is usually calculated as the sum of all damages accrued, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • vehicle repair costs
  • medical bills
  • court fees
  • compensation for recovery time
  • lost hours at work

Valuation is typically predicted by the injured party’s attorney as a careful estimation of what she or he thinks a jury would award you based on what the defense can pay, as well as the other circumstances and facts of the case.

Types of Damages

There are two categories used to calculate damages:

  • Special Damages –  those that can be precisely added up and accounted for, such as the costs above
  • Pain and Suffering – which is subjective and decided by the court

The value of a case is significantly reduced if there is little evidence that the defendant will be held liable. The stronger the case is from the get-go, the more likely you will receive a fair settlement or award.

How the At-Fault Party Can Limit Your Recoverable Damages

Another major factor in case valuation is the liability limits of the defendant’s auto insurance. A favorable verdict will likely exceed those limits, but that does not mean you will be able to recover any money in excess of the insurance limits. Why? The at-fault party may not have the funds or assets to sell to cover the rest of what the court awarded you.

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in Colorado, you may be wondering what your case is worth. Your Colorado lawyer will have access to a database of verdicts and settlements that he or she will search to find similar circumstances to yours within the jurisdiction the accident happened. This data will further help you find the potential value of the case.

What Does My Insurance Cover?

Auto insurance policies are tricky. When they work as intended, they act as a safety net that figuratively cushions the blow to an individual involved in an accident. However, insurance companies are not charity organizations. They are primarily interested in maximizing profits and minimizing costs, and insurance payouts for accidents are one of their primary costs. Therefore, you should not expect your insurance company to have your best interests at heart, regardless of how comprehensive you believe your coverage is.

How much they pay, and whether they pay at all, is ultimately their choice and subject to their terms. A personal injury attorney is your best option to not only deal with whatever legal proceedings are necessary as a result of your accident but also in dealing with your insurance company. A lawyer can help you understand and benefit from your auto policy and your contract(s) with your insurance provider.

Types of Insurance Coverage

Property Damage Coverage 

The first thing that insurance companies do after an accident is to contact each other to determine who is responsible for the property damage that occurred in the collision. They are obligated to adjust claims to pay for costs such as sales tax, title fees, and any other transfer or registration fees if a vehicle is a complete loss or totaled as it is often called.

Factors Insurance Companies Consider

If a vehicle is a total loss, the responsible insurance provider will base their valuation using a method consistent across all auto insurance providers from a third-party appraisal service. They will take specific factors into account, such as the vehicle’s unique features. So, for example, if your highly-customized motorcycle is lost in an accident, the insurance company will take into account the bike’s customizations when it determines the loss value.

How Customizations Can Hurt Your Claim

Sometimes insurance companies will use modifications as a reason to minimize the cost of reimbursement to the insured motorist. The insurance company may construe modifications that affect speed, aerodynamics, weight distribution, or electronics to be a hazard or detrimental to the vehicle’s operation.

An upside to hiring a personal injury attorney is he or she can monitor your insurance company’s handling of your claim. The unfortunate truth is that they are more likely to treat you fairly and honestly if they know a lawyer is watching them.

Medical Coverage

Also known as med-pay, insurance companies operating in Colorado must are legally required to offer at least $5,000 in medical payments coverage to their customers. Now, you may decline this coverage, but it is wise to retain it as medical expenses can be exorbitant in some situations.

Med-pay is coverage for medical bills immediately following the accident and going forward. This coverage is different from your regular health insurance. Med-pay ensures that you aren’t stuck with insane medical bills while your health insurance approves your claims, and it ensures that you get the potentially life-saving, time-critical care you might need due to a motorcycle injury.

Challenging Med-Pay Denials and Delays

If your insurer claims that you elected not to have medical coverage or refuses to pay, your attorney can challenge it, and force them to provide proof that you opted out. It’s important that you receive these benefits in case of an accident, as it acts as a buffer for time delays or other snags that may arise from your medical insurance provider.

Auto insurance companies are obligated to pay these benefits within 30 or 45 days of a claim. If they deny your claim or delay payment, they can be penalized by having to pay twice the claim plus your attorney’s fees.

In most cases, simply having a motorcycle injury attorney will prevent this from happening since the insurance company wishes to avoid going to court unless absolutely necessary.

Bodily Injury Coverage

Also called bodily injury liability coverage, this coverage is required for every auto insurance policy in Colorado. It covers a motorist for injuries inflicted on other people. When you seek to recover damages from a driver who hurt you, the money would come from their liability coverage.

Bodily Injury Coverage Min. & Max. 
  • minimum bodily injury coverage – $25,000
  • maximum bodily injury coverage – $50,000

In theory, bodily injury coverage should allow you to get reimbursed for your injuries. In practice, though, it’s rarely so simple.

Oftentimes the other driver’s insurance will offer an absurdly small amount as a settlement to you. While they are required to be reasonable when assessing claims, their primary concern is minimizing costs. If there is any feasible way to do so, the insurance company will.

In Colorado, insurance companies’ primary legal responsibility is to their insured drivers. Since by law the individual driver is responsible for his or her damage to others, their insurance company usually cannot be sued for your damages. That means if you find yourself with an unreasonably low offer from the insurance company of the driver who hit you, your only option will be to sue the driver—not their insurance.

Preparing to Sue the At-Fault Party

A motorcycle injury attorney can represent you if you have to sue the driver who hit you. However, if you hire a personal injury attorney before you file an insurance claim, you may be able to avoid an unreasonably low settlement offer and a lawsuit altogether.

Settlement demands are typically made after your medical treatment is complete. This way, your attorney can gather all relevant documents such as medical bills and records for submission to the other driver’s insurance company. The fact that the settlement demand comes from an attorney’s office will drastically improve your chances of receiving your requested amount.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident that is not your fault and the other driver does not have insurance or has insufficient bodily injury liability coverage, you can receive benefits from your own insurance company. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is a required policy provision in Colorado. Its coverage amount must be equal to or greater than the bodily injury coverage you receive.

UIM coverage is important to have, as it covers you if the other driver leaves the scene of the accident. Unfortunately, your insurance company may try to avoid paying a UIM claim. A motorcycle injury lawyer can help you compile the evidence, documents, and other materials you will need to successfully claim your UIM settlement from your insurance company.

Long-standing Biases Against Motorcyclists

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 125 motorcyclists died in Colorado in 2016. Because motorcycles are inherently more dangerous to ride than cars, many people harbor a bias, and, in some cases, resentment, toward motorcyclists.

Some drivers tend to see motorcyclists as more aggressive or foolhardy and this presents a problem for injured riders seeking their just due from someone else’s negligent driving.

A Motorcycle Injury Attorney Can Help Thwart Bias

While courts are set up to prevent personal bias or extrajudicial judgment from affecting fair compensation for injured motorcyclists, it happens all the same. Many people distrust motorcyclists, and some members of a jury may hold this prejudice.

Statistically, juries are less likely to award favorable verdicts to motorcyclists regardless of the circumstances involved. Since this bias can be difficult to avoid, creating a solid case is extremely important if you have a motorcycle injury.

Hiring a motorcycle injury attorney can ensure you receive the proper treatment from insurance companies and the courts.

Types of Motorcycle Endorsements

Motorcycles also require more skill to ride. Many new riders aren’t aware that Colorado requires a Motorcycle Endorsement added to a license before you can take to the roads.

There are two types of Colorado Motorcycle Endorsements: M and 3.

The M Endorsement 

The M means you are allowed to drive two- and three-wheeled motorcycles.

The 3 Endorsement

The 3 on a license means you are limited to operating only three-wheeled motorcycles.

You can only obtain these endorsements through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. You must either pass the motorcycle written exam and driving test or complete the Motorcycle Operator Safety Training course.

Types of Motorcycle Injuries

Even if your motorcycle accident didn’t happen on the interstate or on a busy local road, you can still sustain serious injuries.

Some of the most common injuries include:

  • head, scalp, and traumatic brain injuries
  • facial injuries
  • broken bones
  • internal injuries
  • road burn/road rash
  • spinal cord injuries
  • bruises and lacerations

These injuries can land someone in the hospital for days or weeks—even months. And some motorcycle injuries will result in permanent disabilities that require long-term care.

The loss of income combined with expensive medical bills can strain an already difficult situation. Because the damages incurred in a motorcycle accident are great, it is in your best interest to work with a personal injury attorney who will advocate for you.

Hire an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

In Colorado, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a motorcycle suit. That may sound like a lot of time, but it’s not when you’re facing months of recovery ahead of you.

Do not delay to take action. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your free case assessment. Find out how we can help you if you have a motorcycle injury.

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