Serious injuries can result from a motorcycle accident. Riders hit by an oncoming car may suffer a traumatic brain injury, neck injury, spinal damage, or even wrongful death. If you have been involved in such an accident, then it is important that you immediately take steps to protect your health and your legal rights. Failing to do so can result in you not receiving the full amount of compensation which you are entitled to. Below are suggested steps to make sure that you remain in the best position possible.
Seek Immediate Medical Care
If you are seriously injured in an accident, then an ambulance will typically arrive to take you to the hospital. It is important that you accept this care even if you believe that an ambulance ride is unnecessary. If the accident was not serious enough to warrant an ambulance being called, then it is important that you go straight to a hospital regardless of how you are feeling. The primary reason for seeking immediate care is that many injury symptoms may not begin to manifest until later. This can result in your injuries worsening more than necessary as time goes on.
If you do not seek immediate medical care after an accident, then you run the risk of the defense claiming that you, in fact, were not injured in the wreck. The defense will claim that, instead, you were likely injured by some event that occurred in between the accident and the time at which you went to the hospital. In the pre-trial phase, you can expect that such arguments will be made as part of an inadequate settlement offer. Should the matter go to trial, then you would run the risk of receiving nothing if the jury believes such arguments. By seeking care as soon as possible, you help to foreclose such arguments.
The cost of medical care should not dissuade you from going to the hospital after an accident. Medical providers will typically agree to accept a lien on any eventual settlement. This means that you will be able to receive treatment, now and in the future, without having to pay money out of pocket before a settlement is reached.
Retain an Attorney Before Speaking With the Insurance Adjuster
It is common for the defendant’s insurance adjuster to contact you immediately following an accident. They may even contact you within twenty-four hours. The adjuster will typically encourage you to meet with them as soon as possible. They will also claim that it is not in your interests to deal with an attorney. They will state that having an attorney does not increase the amount you will receive for a settlement. It must be remembered, however, that the insurance adjusters protect the rights of the insurance company. It is their job to get you to settle for the lowest amount possible, and they are not concerned with protecting your best interests. An attorney, by contrast, is charged with protecting your rights. This is why it is suggested that you retain counsel to deal with the insurer on your behalf.
Once you retain an attorney, your counsel will inform the insurance company of the representation. The insurer will then deal with your representative directly. This will allow you to deal with the important business of treating your injuries. When selecting counsel, we suggest that you choose a firm that focuses on personal injury law as opposed to one that simply takes personal injury cases. We also suggest you ask your prospective attorney specifics as to how they will handle your case and about the results they have achieved in similar matters.
Understand That It May Take Substantial Time Before Your Case Settles
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, then you most likely are hoping to put the matter behind you as soon as possible. While this desire is understandable, it is important that you not accept a “quick” settlement. This is due to the fact that your long-term chances of recovery must be reasonably ascertainable before you accept a settlement. If you settle before knowing your long-term chances of recovery, then you run the risk of accepting a “lowball” settlement that will not meet your needs.
Consider the following example. Joe Victim, is in a motorcycle accident and suffers a head injury. He is suffering symptoms that include dizziness and a lack of coordination. He receives a low settlement offer and accepts it out of the belief that he will make a full recovery. Unfortunately, as time goes on the doctors inform Joe that he will not recover further and he will suffer these symptoms for the rest of his life. Joe is unable to return to his career as a result. Given that Joe has already settled his claims, he will not be compensated for future medical care and future lost wages. While this example may be simplified, it demonstrates the need to know your long-term prognosis before accepting a settlement.
Take the Advice of Your Attorney as to When You Should Settle
Your attorney will offer advice as to when is the best time to settle your case. Remember that your lawyer is responsible for protecting your best interests, which includes whether or not you should accept a settlement offer. Given that counsel will have experience in dealing with medical professionals, they will be able to make an educated decision as to whether you should treat further before accepting an offer or whether it is best to settle now. You can increase your chances of recovering as much as possible by listening to your attorney.
Contact A Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident then you have likely suffered serious injuries. It is important that you retain a lawyer with experience in such matters in order to protect your rights.