Most of my clients are very reasonable people who got into a tough situation through no fault of their own. Often, they ended up out of work, suffered significant life-changing injuries, incurred huge medical expenses and they are dealing with an insurance company that is incredibly insensitive to their needs.
In many cases, they’re basically chased into my office because they have no other choice and they have to deal with their situation. Very few have the types of resources that will be required to pay for all of medical expenses and wage loss, as well as the damage to the motorcycle, which is usually totaled in the accident.
Will It Be An Easy Case To Win?
Motorcycle accident cases are always a battle. The best way to win is to get the case into the category of cases the insurance company wants to settle. There is no advantage in going to trial unless it is truly necessary. Trials are very expensive, very enervating and very unpleasant, even if the person eventually wins.
The way to handle a case is to be well prepared and have lots of documentation. You must make the insurance company see that yours is not a case they will win.
I like staying a step ahead of everything, so I have my clients work on answers to interrogatories, which are written questions they have to answer under oath. I have the client answer them even before the defense sends them, so that they know how to answer questions when the time comes, and also because it speeds up the process.
Going over the interrogatory answers provides a good opportunity to prepare clients for the deposition. The goal is to make them completely comfortable and ready to handle it. Prepared clients have discussed and know which difficult issues could come up. They will be relaxed, which helps a lot avoid experiencing what is for most people a terrifying and unnerving experience.
How Long Will the Case Take?
If it happens fast, it’s usually not a good settlement. Before entering into negotiations, it is a good idea to know how much insurance coverage is available. Assuming there is adequate coverage for the injury, it makes no sense to settle the case until you are at least permanent and stationery. Once you settle, you are done. You don’t want to settle a case only to find out later that you may have had more coming because your injuries turn out to be worse than you thought.
Motorcycle accident injuries tend to be more severe. It takes time for a rider to get to maximum medical improvement and to become permanent and stationery, even if they are not necessarily cured. Until reaching this point, it is difficult to evaluate a case fully.
The courts generally take about a year from the time the person files a lawsuit to the trial date, which why I file cases quickly; in a matter of days, not weeks. Not every case will be tried, but the best settlements happen when the parties get closer to trial. There is no advantage in waiting, especially if you have huge medical bills, were out of work and had a life-changing event.
Insurance companies make the most money by getting as quick and cheap a settlement as possible or in the alternative by delaying the process as much as they can. Insurance companies count on impatience for profits. Money always seems better if received sooner rather than later. The insurance companies make money by holding onto as much money for as long as possible. They won’t pay unless they have to, unless they think you are so desperate you will take a pittance for your case.
Why File the Case Early?
Filing as soon as possible moves the case toward a trial date, which places an end-date on bringing the case to a conclusion. Another advantage comes from the fact that most insurance companies won’t disclose how much insurance is available. Without this is crucial piece of information it is difficult to evaluate the situation or to negotiate a proper settlement.
Once the lawsuit is filed, you have a right to ask under oath how much insurance there is, and to actually have a copy of the cover sheet showing the available coverage. Insurance companies provide the wrong amount of coverage on occasion. I see this around 2 to 3 times a year. Because of this fact, I think it is necessary to insist on actually seeing the cover sheet.
Once suit is filed, you are in a position to find out what the defense will claim in the case. If the defense is weak, this becomes apparent, and this also helps your settlement.
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