Unfortunately, many of us have been in an automobile or motorcycle accident and had to deal with an insurance company. The question to ask is whether or not insurance made everything better? Further, could hiring an attorney have helped in a meaningful way?
To answer these questions, let’s layout two different scenarios:
- In the first scenario, imagine you are riding your motorcycle and a car runs you off the road. Your bike gets totaled, but thankfully you’re okay from a personal injury point of view.
- The second scenario is identical to the first scenario, but unfortunately your leg is broken and you will be out of work until your injuries heal.
In the first scenario, an attorney will not be very helpful because the only injury you suffered was property damage. Insurance companies keep records of the current values of cars, motorcycles, boats, etc. (similar to Kelly Blue Book) and they know what the present value of your ride is. You may have paid more for your bike, but like many other items, the value depreciates overtime and often times the insurance company is only going to pay you what the current value is. An attorney may be able to negotiate a higher return for your ride, but you have to remember the attorney is going to get a cut of the recovered value or charge you an hourly rate. If you feel the insurance company is offering you too little, it is always the best practice to reach out to your a motorcycle accident lawyer and see if anything can be done to get more.
In the second scenario, an attorney can be extremely helpful because not only was your bike totaled, but you were also injured. Attorneys are able to negotiate with insurance companies who generally do not have an incentive to settle your case for much over your medical bills, if not less than your medical expenses. An experienced attorney understands the ins and outs of the insurance industry and can often negotiate a higher settlement from an insurance company. Generally speaking, the greater the injuries sustained, the greater your settlement will be. If an attorney is unable to negotiate a higher settlement, the attorney has the option to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident.
An attorney will also be able to advice you about the issue of comparative fault (whether you are partially at fault for the accident) or to determine who was at fault for the accident.
If you find yourself at-fault for an accident, be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will provide you with an attorney if an injured party files a lawsuit. If you do not have insurance, be sure to contact an attorney about representation.
Whenever you are in doubt if you might need an attorney—or just have some questions about what you should do—the best practice is to contact a local attorney for advice. Remember, you need to pick an attorney who is licensed to practice in the state that the accident happened.
Marcos Garza is the owner of Garza Law Firm, PLLC a Tennessee Law Firm dedicated to the full service of motorcyclists, bikers, cruiser and crotch rocket riders across the state. Please direct all comments and follow up questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org., or call (865)-540-8300 to request a free consultation.