Motorcycle accidents can be severe and life-changing, often resulting in serious and catastrophic injuries. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 100,000 individuals are injured in motorcycle crashes each year. And because they are less protected than drivers and occupants of other types of vehicles, motorcyclists tend to sustain the most severe injuries after a crash.
Many people who are injured in a motorcycle accident wonder if they need to retain an attorney to help them with their accident claim. Of course, an attorney will collect a portion of your compensation as their fee for handling your claim, and this is definitely a major consideration in deciding whether or not it is worthwhile to retain legal counsel.
There are times when it may be fine for you to handle your motorcycle accident claim on your own. For example, if the accident was unquestionably the fault of another party, you sustained relatively minor injuries, and the insurance company has offered a settlement you believe is fair, then you can probably handle the claim on your own, take the settlement, and move on with your life.
If, on the other hand, your injuries are moderate to severe (and maybe you do not even know the full extent of them yet), there is some question about who was at fault, and there are other complicating factors, retaining an attorney is highly recommended. Accident injury cases can be complex and confusing, and there are numerous potential pitfalls that could trip you up and cause you to receive less compensation than you deserve, or even lose out on receiving any compensation at all.
An experienced personal injury attorney is familiar with the claims process and the common tactics insurance companies use to try to diminish the value of the claim or deny it all together. Here are just a few ways an attorney can help you successfully pursue a motorcycle accident injury claim:
Your Attorney can Protect your Legal Right to Compensation
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident in Alabama, you may be facing an uphill battle trying to recover compensation. Alabama is a “contributory negligence” state. This means that if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident that caused their injuries (even 1%), they can be barred from recovering compensation.
There is no doubt that the insurance company will attempt to use the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard against you by trying to get you to admit fault or otherwise show that you bear some responsibility for the accident. If you retain an attorney early on in the process, they will advise you on what to say and what not to say, and they will go to work immediately to gather important evidence to help prove that the other party is 100% at-fault for the accident.
Your Attorney can Accurately Value your Claim
If you have never dealt with an accident injury claim in the past, you may not be familiar with the various types of damages that may be available and how much compensation you should ask for. If you work with an experienced attorney, they will have handled numerous cases like yours before, and they will have the in-depth knowledge necessary to thoroughly assess your case, determine the full extent of your injuries, call on the assistance of outside experts when necessary, and aggressively pursue full and fair compensation.
Your Attorney can Negotiate Directly with the Insurance Company
If you are not familiar with the process, it may also be difficult for you to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance adjuster. These adjusters are trained negotiators whose interests are not aligned with yours. They work for the insurance company, and as such, their goal is to pay out as little as possible for your claim. In this situation, you need a skilled negotiator in your corner who is looking out for your interests. Your attorney will negotiate directly with the adjuster, and if the adjuster is not willing to negotiate in good faith, they will be ready and able to pursue full damages through litigation.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Alabama? Call the Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers at Burge & Burge
If you or someone close to you was injured in a motorcycle crash, it is a good idea to at least talk with an attorney free of charge to discuss your case and go over your rights and options. That way, you can make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed. For a free, no-obligation consultation and case assessment, call Burge & Burge today at 205-251-9000. You may also message us through our web contact form or stop by our Birmingham office in-person at your convenience.