Yes. A lawyer will assist you with calculating your damages, seeking compensation from the liable party, and ensuring you receive a fair settlement.
The claims process can be complicated, and the insurance company is not on your side – no matter what their representative says. If you don’t have an attorney, you may struggle with lowball offers or an insurance adjuster who thinks the accident was your fault.
A lawyer can help you show fault in the accident and refute the insurance company’s version of events while fighting for a reasonable settlement amount.
Why You Should Get a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents frequently result in severe injuries for the biker. Without safety features like seatbelts and airbags, motorcyclists have a high risk of being ejected from the bike in a collision.
As a result, we often see serious injuries, including broken bones, internal injuries, head or traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures, eye or vision damage, back and neck injuries, and more.
These injuries can lead to expensive medical bills, but there are other concerns as well. You could miss days, weeks, or even months of work or become permanently disabled.
At the same time, you might also have chronic physical pain or mental health issues brought on by your injuries. You may also have significant, expensive damage to your bike, including depreciation due to the accident.
You deserve compensation for all these damages, but the insurance adjuster is only looking out for their bottom line. A motorcycle accident lawyer will fight to get you the settlement you need to recover and move on with your life.
Can the Insurance Company Blame You If the Police Report Says the Other Driver Was At Fault?
Yes, for several reasons:
- A police report can be refuted if you have evidence to show it isn’t accurate. An accident report includes a section where the officer shares their opinion on how the crash occurred and who was at fault. This is an educated guess based on witness interviews and evidence at the scene, but it’s not always correct. In fact, if you feel that the police report inaccurately blames you for the accident, we will investigate and look for evidence to refute it. While the police report can be an important piece of evidence in your case, it doesn’t always have the final say in who is at fault.
- Utah allows for shared fault in an accident. Under modified comparative negligence laws, each party is assigned a percentage of fault. Being partly responsible won’t completely block you from recovering damages as long as you are less than 50 percent at fault. However, you will lose your percentage of fault from the final award. This makes blaming you advantageous for the insurance company – even if they can’t prove you were totally or even mostly responsible, they may be able to reduce how much they have to pay.
Your lawyer will work to assemble evidence showing the other driver caused the accident, at least primarily. If you did make a mistake, we may be able to demonstrate that it had little to do with the accident, and your share of fault is relatively small.
This will help to preserve your rights and allow you to collect a fair settlement.
Can a Lawyer Help if an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver Hit You?
In many cases, yes, but you should speak with a lawyer about your specific situation. If there is a way to recover your damages, we’ll identify it.
There are a few options we may consider in these situations:
- Sue the driver who hit you. If the other driver was at fault and uninsured, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against them directly. Being uninsured doesn’t absolve a person of responsibility for their actions. However, a lawsuit may not be a practical solution if the at-fault driver has few or no assets we can seize. Going through the time, stress, and court costs of a trial may not be worth it if you can’t realistically collect on a judgment.
- Make a claim on your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UI). This is the part where we ask if you have UM/UI, and we really hope the answer is yes. In some situations, UM/UI is the only way to recover damages after a motorcycle accident. UM/UI will cover if the driver who hit you was uninsured or if their policy limit is too low to cover all your damages. This is not uncommon in motorcycle accidents, where the injured person may have severe injuries and a high amount of damage. Additionally, UM/UI is also helpful if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident and the driver is never found.
- Sue a third party. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have assets and you don’t have UM/UI, we will consider if there are any other liable parties. There may not be, but in some cases, we might find one. For instance, if your motorcycle helmet was defective and failed to protect your head in adherence to industry standards, making your injury worse, we might be able to make a claim against the manufacturer. Another possibility is suing under Utah’s dram shop laws. This may be possible if the driver was drunk and an establishment like a bar served them when they were underage or clearly intoxicated already.
It’s hard to know if any of these situations apply to your case, so we recommend speaking with a qualified motorcycle accident attorney who can advise you about the options.
What Can You Do if the Insurance Company Has Already Denied Your Claim?
Claim denials are not necessarily final, but you shouldn’t try to handle one yourself. It’s natural to pick up the phone and call the insurance company, but we strongly recommend against doing this for several reasons:
- The insurance company is probably going to record your call. They may tell you this is for “quality control” purposes, but they will use anything you might say against you if they can. Even if you think you’re being careful with your words, the adjuster might seize on a comment and misconstrue it to mean you were somehow at fault.
- Unless you’re an expert on the insurance industry and Utah laws—and most people aren’t—the insurance adjuster likely knows much more about these topics than you do. They will use that knowledge to reiterate why they’re denying your claim.
- The adjuster might also reference some convoluted clause in your policy that supposedly justifies denying your claim. Is that what it means? Would a judge agree? Does it apply in this particular situation? It’s challenging to try to answer those questions on your own, and the adjuster knows that many people will assume they’re right and give up.
Of course, we’re not advocating that you give up, but we do recommend you think strategically and resist the urge to call the insurance adjuster. Instead, please contact a motorcycle accident lawyer who has the knowledge to advise you on your rights and negotiate with the insurance company for you.
We will also investigate the accident and search for more evidence, including the following:
- Witness testimony. The responding officer will try to interview everyone who saw the accident, but that may not be possible in every case. Sometimes, witnesses have left the scene before the police arrive, or they may have seen something from inside a nearby building. Our investigators will canvas the scene and talk with local residents and workers to learn if they saw anything.
- Video or photo evidence. If you’re able, please try to take pictures of the accident scene, the damage to both vehicles, and your injuries. However, we do understand that sometimes people are hurt very badly in a motorcycle accident, and this simply isn’t possible. For that reason, we will search for any nearby cameras – such as doorbells or security cameras – and speak with the owners. Sometimes, we’re able to recover a video of the accident that shows what happened.
- Other electronic evidence. If video isn’t available, we’ll consider other ways to illustrate what happened in the accident. Most modern cars come with event data recorders, or EDRs, which record a number of data points about an accident. After filing a lawsuit, we can request access to this data to learn how fast the driver was going, their direction at the time of the crash, what evasive maneuvers the driver made (if any), and more.
- Smartphone records. Sometimes, we also request phone records if we think the other driver might have been distracted by their phone at the time of the crash.
How Can You Get Help From a Lawyer for a Motorcycle Accident?
Please contact Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation about your case. We’re happy to review the accident report, answer your questions, and lay out your options for seeking damages.
If we take your case, there are no upfront fees – you don’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.
Valley Law was founded by attorney Brigham Richards, who is experienced in insurance claims litigation and negotiation. He believes responsibility is the foundation of a successful practice and works diligently to help his clients get the compensation they deserve.
Mr. Richards is also fluent in English and Spanish. Work with him today at Valley Law by calling 801-810-9999.