Most motorcycle injury claims do not go to trial. In fact, about 95 percent of these matters settle out of court. If the crash involved wrongful death and the issues are crystal clear, settlement usually occurs within a few weeks. But in most situations, the victim is hospitalized with severe injuries and/or there is some question as to liability. So, in most cases, settlement may take several months.
This window of time gives Brainerd attorneys a chance to build a solid claim, based on the laws and the facts. Such claims greatly increase the odds of fair compensation. That compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Injuries in Motorcycle Accidents
Sadly, many motorcycle crash victims do not survive. Since riders are almost completely exposed to danger, the fatality rate among motorcyclists is about thirty times greater than the fatality rate for enclosed vehicle occupants. Some serious, life-threatening injuries include:
- Neck and Spine Wounds: The force of the impact almost always throws riders off their bikes. The sudden, jarring motion alone is enough to cause a serious injury. If victims land on their backs, these injuries are even worse. These kinds of injuries often generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in emergency treatment and physical therapy costs.
- Exsanguination: Excessive blood loss is usually the official cause of death in these cases. That same jarring motion causes internal organs to bump against one another in a violent manner. As a result, many victims lose so much blood that they are already on the edge of hypovolemic shock by the time emergency responders arrive.
- Biker’s Arm: When riders fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls, This reaction often causes permanent nerve injuries to the brachial plexus. While not immediately life-threatening, this degenerative condition often causes significant complications.
Because of all these serious injuries, immediate medical care is very important. But many health insurance companies do not cover accident-related expenses.
So, Brainerd attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers. Since these letters guarantee payment when the case is resolved, medical providers charge nothing upfront for their services. Additionally, these letters give Brainerd attorneys negotiating leverage to lower the amount due.
Immediate medical attention also helps the victim’s damage claim. If the victim does not see a doctor straightaway, the insurance company usually claims the victim’s injuries must not have been very bad, or at least not very painful. This claim, if proved, may reduce the compensation in the case.
Brainerd Attorneys and Your Claim for Damages
This compensation is available if the other driver was negligent. This legal concept is more than carelessness or thoughtlessness. Negligence means a lack of ordinary care. In many cases, negligence is closely linked to one of the five types of driving impairment:
- Alcohol: This substance causes about a third of the fatal crashes in Crow Wing County. Alcohol impairs both judgment ability and motor skills.
- Fatigue: Drowsiness has a similar effect on the brain and body. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level.
- Drugs: Both illegal substances, like cocaine or marijuana, and legal substances, like Sominex or prescription painkillers, may cause drug impairment. In many jurisdictions, “drugged” drivers cause more fatal crashes than “drunk” drivers.
- Medical Condition: Epilepsy, heart disease, and other such chronic conditions may cause sudden loss of consciousness when drivers are behind the wheel.
- Distraction: Legally, drivers are distracted when they take their hands off the wheel, take their eyes off the road, and/or take their minds off driving. So, distracted driving includes many activities that most people do on every trip, such as using a hands-free cellphone or eating while driving.
In other instances, operational negligence is an issue. Failure to maintain a proper lookout is a very good example. A significant number of vehicle-motorcycle crashes are left turn crashes. The tortfeasor (negligent driver) does not see an oncoming motorcycle, so when the tortfeasor makes a left turn against traffic, the tortfeasor crosses directly into the rider’s path.
The Settlement Process
Based on the victim’s injuries and the claim for damages, Brainerd attorneys calculate a case’s settlement value. This monetary amount serves as a starting point for pretrial negotiations with the insurance company.
As mentioned above, complex cases never settle right away. Typically, these matters go to mediation. Both sides work with a mediator, who is usually an unaffiliated Brainerd attorney. After hearing from both sides, the mediator uses shuttle diplomacy to transmit offers and counter-offers back and forth. If both parties negotiate in good faith, mediation is usually successful.
Work with Diligent Lawyers
Motorcycle crash claims usually settle on favorable terms, but they may not settle immediately. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd attorney, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We have four area office locations.