Nobody likes to think that they’ll ever be involved in a motorcycle accident, but these things happen. And in the state of Arizona with our wide open roads, warm weather, and miles upon miles of beautiful scenery, they happen a lot. In fact, we deal with motorcycle accident settlements quite frequently here at Lebovitz Law Group.
And it’s not just what we’re seeing in terms of personal injury cases. The National Traffic Safety Administration reports that Arizona has between 3,000 and 5,000 motorcycle accidents every year and also the fifth-highest amount of fatalities (caused by motorcycle accidents) in the nation. Practicing safe riding and taking other road safety measures will help, but they aren’t always enough when you have to share the road with so many other kinds of vehicles.
If you are involved in a motorcycle-related accident, it’s important to know what to expect. If you’ve already been hurt in an accident, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer right away (if you have not done so already). In the meantime, read on to learn more about what you should do in the event of an accident and what kind of settlement outcome you could be looking at.
Steps to Take Following a Motorcycle Accident
It’s important to know that Arizona is a fault-based state. This means that you will need to prove the other person’s culpability or “fault” in the accident if you hope to recoup damages. The more evidence you have that backs you up, the better.
1. Get a Police Report
Depending on the severity of the accident, you may or may not be able to collect information at the scene. However, if you are able and nobody has done so already, you should call the police and wait for them to come fill out an accident report. Having this report will be beneficial in helping you get the full value of the compensation you may be eligible for. Likewise, if you undergo serious injuries and need more immediate medical attention, get in touch with the local police department or state troopers office when you can and ask about the report.
2. Obtain Medical Bills / Records
Now, if you are injured in any way, you need records of these damages as well. Keep all hospital bills, and if you can get a statement from your doctor about any lingering or lasting injuries, do so. Psychological suffering (like PTSD) can have lasting detrimental effects, so it is worthwhile to get an evaluation in this area if applicable.
3. Get the Cost of the Property Damages
If your motorcycle has suffered damage, get an estimate of the costs it will take to fix it. If it is deemed unfixable or otherwise totaled, obtain a copy of the Kelley Blue Book valley as well as records of your own investment into the bike (what you paid for it, any modification costs, maintenance and upgrades, etc.) In addition to having these documents, photographic evidence of the damage will also help your case.
4. Gather Eyewitness Accounts
Especially if you are lacking in official reports or other documentation, you may be able to gather eyewitness accounts of the accident and the scene of. While this should definitely not be the first thing on your list (again, official documents will hold up better), eyewitness accounts may offer further insight as to the real cost of the accident and may be able to back up who was at fault.
5. Make Sure You Have Experienced Legal Representation
Finally (if you have not done so already) enlisting the help of an experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer should be your priority. At Lebovitz Law Group, we look at all aspects of the accident in order to determine the value of your case and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Works
Once you and your attorney have gathered all the evidence and documentation you need, it is time to file a claim for damages against the other party. In many situations where there is sufficient evidence on one side, the case can be settled out out of court via mediation or even through more informal negotiations.
It’s important to know that the outcome of your settlement may be different from what you initially expect. After all, it’s not a simple process of just tallying up the damages and awarding you the total. Each case is different, and the outcome of your settlement will depend on a variety of different factors. These include, but may not be limited to:
• Physical injuries – This refers to your exact injuries and their extent.
• Psychological injuries – Many people suffer from PTSD or severe fears of being out on the road after going through an accident. If this is the case with you, it is possible that you may be entitled to further compensation.
• Property damage – This refers to the vehicular / motorcycle damage value and cost of repairs.
• Official accident reports – The police report may also show who was determined to be “at fault”.
• Lost wages – If you have had to miss out on work hours or have even had to change jobs entirely as a result of the accident, you may be owed additional compensation. If you were the primary breadwinner in your family before the accident, you may be entitled to a considerable amount.
It’s also worth noting that the other party’s ability to actually pay the compensation you are asking for plays a major role. If they claim to be unable to pay you, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to get off Scot-free. However, it does mean that the legal system is going to look closer at their financial assets and determine an amount or arrangement that may be more appropriate for both parties involved.
The amount of time it takes to settle your case will be dependent on how well both parties cooperate as well as the amount of valid evidence in the claim. Just gathering the documents you need can take weeks or even months, and the claim from there can take months longer. This can be disheartening when you have already suffered through a painful motorcycle accident. But by staying calm and being willing to work through the process as needed, you will be more likely to achieve the settlement outcome you want.
To learn more about navigating a motorcycle accident and filing for the compensation you deserve, contact our experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyer at Lebovitz Law Group today.