California Motorcycle Accident Settlement and Lawsuit Process
Understanding the California motorcycle accident settlement and lawsuit process can be confusing, but it does not have to be. You simply need to hire an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney to explain your legal rights and represent you in your motorcycle accident claim.
Hiring a lawyer with experience in California motorcycle accident cases can work to your advantage in two ways:
- Your lawyer will do most of the work for you; and
- Your settlement will usually be higher than if you represent yourself and negotiate with the liable insurance companies without a lawyer.
In this article, we will briefly discuss how the settlement process works and the key factors that will impact the value of your California motorcycle accident claim.
How California Motorcycle Accident Claims Are Resolved
California motorcycle accident claims are resolved in one of two ways
- Through a settlement; or
- Through a verdict at trial
The vast majority of motorcycle accident claims, like all other personal injury claims, are resolved through a settlement.
When deciding how much money to pay you to settle your motorcycle accident claim, the liable insurance companies will ask one simple question:
What is the least amount of money we can offer and you will accept?
The settlement value of your claim that your insurance company offers you many times is not representative of your actual damages or what your claim is worth. That is why it is so important to have an advocate on your side fighting for all of your losses.
The more information you have and the better your motorcycle accident claim is investigated, the more accurately your lawyer can estimate the value of your motorcycle accident claim.
Factors That Will Impact the Value of Your California Motorcycle Accident Claim
Besides hiring a qualified California personal injury lawyer to handle your case, many factors will impact the value of your California motorcycle accident claim, most notably:
Evidence of Fault
Some evidence the insurance company will look for include:
- The police report;
- Statements given by eyewitnesses;
- Statements given by people who were involved in the incident;
- Photos and videos of the scene of the accident and the resulting damage; and
- Photos of your injuries.
If you were partially at fault for the accident, then the value of your case will be lower than if you had no fault at all for the accident (all other things being equal). In California, an accident victim is still entitled to recover compensation, even if they were partially at fault for the accident. However, your recovery will be decreased by your percentage of fault.
Insurance Policy Limits
California requires all motorists to carry liability auto insurance in the minimum amounts of $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident for bodily injuries, and $5,000 for property damage. But if the at-fault driver only carries the legal minimum amount of auto insurance, that may not be enough to compensate you fully for your claim.
What’s more, some drivers are unfortunately still driving around with absolutely no insurance, in which case it can be very difficult or virtually impossible to recover anything if you have not purchased uninsured /underinsured motorist coverage.
Therefore, the amount of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage limits will give you a good idea of the maximum amount you can recover in your motorcycle accident claim—unless there are other funds or insurance policies available from which you can recover compensation.
Other factors that will influence the value of your motorcycle accident settlement include:
- The nature and severity of your injuries – cases involving only soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, sprains, and strains, are generally worth less than cases involving hard injuries like broken bones, head injuries, scarring, or disfigurement.
- The types and amount of your damages – this includes economic damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and damage to your motorcycle, as well as, non-economic damages like pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact a Qualified California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
The bottom line is that if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, you need an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer to help you recover the highest possible amount for your injuries. Remember, we do not get paid unless we recover money on your behalf. We know that this is a difficult time for you and your family so we don’t charge you up front or an hourly fee, instead we take a percentage of the amount we obtain at the end of the case. So, we have every incentive to work hard on your case and get you the best possible results. Remember you have the choice to pick your lawyer and you should pick one that you feel most comfortable with as you will work closely with them throughout your case.
Give our office a call today at (562) 901-4664 or visit our contact page to arrange a free consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer. We will help you protect your legal rights to compensation.
Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.