People don’t understand that insurance companies are in business to make money. The larger and better a case is, the more money the insurance company is going to have to pay out. This means that the insurance company is going to fight much harder in a bigger, better case than in a smaller, worse case, in order to hang on to as much of the money as they can. Because of the resources they will put into fighting a bigger and better case, it’s virtually impossible for someone without an attorney to settle a significant accident case by themselves.
How Important is an Investigation In Motorcycle Accident Cases?
Investigation is critical.
At the moment, I’m working on a case where we did a number of things that would be very difficult or impossible for an individual without an attorney. We have an investigator tracking down the witnesses on the police report. We have set a deposition of the police officer so that we can find out what the police officer remembers. We obtained the printout and the tape of the 911 call, so we have the names of everyone who called 911 to report the accident. Many of the 911 callers are also witnesses. Our investigator has that list and he is going to speak to all of those people.
We also have the names of the people from the Fire Department and the paramedics who were called to the scene, and our investigator is going to attempt to speak to those people as well. Sometimes, people in Fire Departments or paramedics won’t talk to an investigator. If that happens, we can take their depositions.
As you can see, there is an enormous amount of material that’s available but will not be presented or considered by someone who doesn’t have an attorney who can go after it all.
How Do You Determine All Available Insurance Coverage in a Motorcycle Accident?
This is a really surprising, but. two or three times a year, I ask an insurance company what the policy limits are and they give me the wrong policy limit information.
Very rarely will an insurance company tell you what the policy limits are without you having to first file a lawsuit and send them discovery. The discovery has to be responded to under oath, and you can ask them how much insurance coverage there is. Even under oath, I find that they sometimes give the wrong amount.
The only way to really know for sure is to make them actually produce a copy of the declarations page for the policy as it was in force on the day of the accident. Then I can see for sure what policy limits are available for the case.
I’m not necessarily saying insurance companies are intentionally lying, but this mistake occurs regularly. I have to believe they are either using the limit information for the original policy, which may have been changed later. Maybe they carelessly look at the policy limits for a different vehicle owned by the defendant driver. Whatever it is, it’s very, very important to actually see the correct policy and the only way you get that is by filing a lawsuit and using formal discovery to get it.
Insurance companies will not give you the policy limits information without a lawsuit except in the one instance where it turns out that the policy is way, way inadequate to compensate you for your injuries. If maybe you have a $100,000 case or greater and there is a $15,000 policy, in that situation they often tell you there is not enough insurance coverage. In this instance, they tell you that you’re facing an inadequate policy to see if they can settle the case within their puny coverage limits.
How Do You Determine If Filing A Lawsuit Is In The Best Interests of Your Client?
I do things differently than most attorneys in a number of ways. One of the differences is that I regularly file a lawsuit very quickly and very shortly after I take over a case. The reason that I do this is because there are many benefits to filing suit quickly. The first benefit is that you get to trial much sooner.
In most courts, it takes at least a year to get a trial date. You don’t get on the list to get a trial date until you file the lawsuit, so if you wait a year before you file the lawsuit and it takes a year to get to trial, it’s going to take two years to finish the case.
Of course, you want enough time to elapse so that you can get a fair evaluation of the injuries and you as a client or injured rider to be what’s called “permanent and stationary” and to have reached what’s called “maximum medical improvement”. You want to reach this stage before settling so that you are certain your injuries won’t turn out to be worse than you think they are. Normally a year is enough time for that. If not, we can ask the court for more time.
What you can’t do is move the trial to an earlier date. If you’ve waited too long to file the lawsuit, you’re stuck. Another advantage of filing the lawsuit is that you can have access to actual copies of the insurance policies. This way, you know for sure what the policy limits were or are.
Filing your lawsuit tells the the insurance company you have an attorney who is really going to take this seriously and take your case to trial if the insurance company doesn’t make a reasonable offer. The final advantage in filing your case in court is that when you’re in litigation, your case gets transferred within the insurance company to what’s called a litigation adjuster. These adjusters are much more experienced and have a higher level of authority to settle your case than the adjuster you have when you’re trying to have a pre-filing discussion. These lower level adjuster, handling claims that have yet to be filed in court, are under no pressure whatsoever to make a reasonable offer.
For more information on Hiring A Motorcycle Accident Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (800) 928-1511 today.