Motorcycle Accident Insurance Settlement Process – Claims and Lawsuits
Were you involved in a motorcycle accident and you want to know how the claim and settlement process is going to work? Check out this short blog article to find out.
The Question I Always Get Asked
You’re probably thinking is, does this guy ride? I am licensed to ride, but I don’t ride and haven’t in about 10 years. However, I have handled over a hundred motorcycle accident claims. So, I’m pretty qualified to give some valuable information on this topic.
If the unfortunate day comes and you get hit by a distracted driver or a careless driver, what can you expect in the future from the claim and settlement process?
There are so many we could talk about here. But instead we’re going to address a few key issues.
If you have any other questions, reach out to us at 1-847-305-4105.
File a Claim with Both Insurance Companies
First, the thing that bikers are always most hesitant about is filing a claim for damages with their own insurance company.
There are so many reasons why this is important. One is you’re going to get your property damage fixed much quicker than waiting for the driver’s car to investigate the accident, get you an offer, and pay on it.
Yes, you will have to pay your deductible, but if you weren’t at fault for the accident, chances are you’re going to get the deductible back.
The other reason you want to go with your own insurance is because there’s chances are really good chances that you have coverage that can benefit you.
For example, if you get hit by an uninsured driver, or if the driver has minimal insurance policy limits like $25,000 – which is the minimum limit here in the state of Illinois – you can use your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to cover the damages.
In a motorcycle accident, you could easily have a hundred thousand dollars case worth of medical bills let alone compensation for lost wages and your pain and suffering. So file with your own insurance too.
In addition, you may have med pay or medical payments coverage, or maybe it’s called PIP coverage where you are. That is a type of insurance found in motorcycle insurance policies that will cover the first 2,500 or $5,000 (or whatever you contracted for) in medical payments.
Another reason to use your own coverage is that your insurance may pay you more for your bike than the defendant’s insurance will and they may pay for parts and aftermarket equipment to a greater extent than the defendant’s insurance will.
Obtain The Proper Medical Treatment
After your property damage is resolved, you’ll focus on your medical recovery. I always tell clients (and sometimes they don’t like it) to focus on your health not your insurance claim.
The reality is if you get involved in an accident and you walk with a limp for the rest of your life, even if you get a million dollars, that’s not enough compensation to make you whole. So, focus on getting better and everything else is going to take care of itself.
How do you do this? You get the right medical treatment immediately after the accident. Do not allow a gap in treatment to occur, and do not stop getting treatment until your doctor discharges you.
Medical treatment is the primary reason cases take so long to settle. If you get severely injured in a motorcycle accident, you could be treating for 18 months. So get the medical attention you need.
If you need help getting medical treatment, talk to your lawyer. She or he will know how to get you in to see providers you might not otherwise be able to see.
Do Not Be a Tough Guy
When you do see your doctor, don’t be a tough guy. This is not the time to be quiet about the pain and suffering you’re going through. I always tell people if its not in the medical records, it does not exist to the insurance company.
So, when you see your doctors tell them about everything you’re going through. From the broken bones that you have to the fact that you’re suffering nightmares and PTSD or the fact that you can’t have sexual relations with your significant other. Whatever you’re dealing with tell your doctor/nurse.
Insurance Company Demand Process
You’re done treating – so what do you do next? Well, you’re going to put a package in front of an insurance company and demand compensation. Before you do that, you need to have all your medical bills and records together.
So you need to start ordering these bills and records from your health care providers. Now, if you have an attorney, they’ll take care of this for you.
How do you do that? You call up the main number for the hospital and ask for the billing department. Then you call back and ask for the records department – chances are these two departments are very separate and you’re going to have to order separately from both of them.
Also, if you went to an emergency room, chances are there are providers you don’t even know about like the emergency room radiologist or the fact that the emergency room physician probably bills separately than the emergency room.
This is very complicated and it’s one of the reasons I recommend hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer to represent you.
If you have any other questions, reach out to us at 1-847-305-4105.
Order Your Lost Wages
In addition to ordering your medical bills and records, you’re going to want to get documentation to document the fact that you lost wages because of injuries suffered in the accident.
Generally speaking, an insurance company is not going to pay a significant amount of money for lost wages, unless you can prove it through time sheets or, contracts that you have or if you have your employer fill out a lost wages verification form.
If you’re an independent contractor, like a painter, you’re going to have to have documentation to prove that you lost wages because of the accident.
Prepare a Demand Package
You got all your medical bills and records and you can prove you lost wages. Now you’re going to take all this information and put it all together and analyze them and write out a summary and demand to the insurance company.
Study your medical records, find the ICD codes and the diagnoses from your treatment and document it for the insurance company. You don’t want to rely on them to do it for themselves.
Then you’re going to submit your demand to the insurance company. You can do it by fax or most of these insurance companies allow you to send it by email these days.
Then the insurance company will make a very lowball offer. You’ll then counter and you’ll go back and forth. Then you’re going to either settle your claim, or you’re not going to settle your claim. So, let’s address those two different situations.
What if You Settle Your Claim
First, let’s say you settle your claim with them. They offered you $10,000 and you agreed to it. The insurance company is going to send you a document called a release of all claims or a settlement agreement.
There’s a lot of stuff you need to do a lot of things you need to wrap up like negotiating your medical bills and making sure that your liens are all paid off. There are also other things you need to do before you signed on the dotted line.
About 90% of the cases, at least that I’ve been involved in actually do so on. And I’ve heard that a lot that about 90%, or maybe even more of all cases settle.
What if You Cannot Settle Your Claim
Let’s say you can’t settle your claim. What do you do? You have to file a lawsuit. Now, the lawsuit that you file is going to be against the driver of the vehicle, not the insurance company.
The insurance company will then assign either their in-house attorneys or an outside attorney to represent their insured. And they will respond to the lawsuit (or, complaint) that you filed.
Thus starts the whole litigation process. This could include written discovery, meaning questions you ask them and they ask you. It could involve depositions where they ask you questions under oath. It could involve the deposing of expert witnesses.
There are so many things that happen all the way up until you get to trial your day in court. I strongly recommend if you’re going this route, get an attorney who knows what they’re doing to represent you.
This could be overwhelming for most people and chances are because it’s so overwhelming. You’re going to accept less than your cases worth. So instead of doing that, just talk to a motorcycle accident lawyer. I can almost guarantee you that with an attorney representing you, you’re going to recover more than you would’ve otherwise recovered on your own.
If you would like to schedule a strategy session with us to increase the value of your claim call 1-847-305-4105.
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