How do you settle a motorcycle crash claim? 

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, or if your family member was killed in a collision caused by another person, you are going to want to 1) hold the at-fault driver accountable for the pain and damage they have caused and 2) recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to receive under the facts of your case and SC law. 

Below, we will explain how to settle a motorcycle crash claim, including:

  • How to prove liability and damages, 
  • What should be included in your demand letter to the insurance companies, 
  • The process for how to settle a motorcycle crash claim, and
  • Why you might want an experienced motorcycle crash lawyer who can help you to get paid. 

How to Settle a Motorcycle Crash Claim: Before Sending the Demand Letter

Before the insurance company pays your claim, they are going to demand proof of two things: liability and damages. 

You will need to gather evidence to prove both before you send a demand letter to the insurance company, to prove to the insurance company that you are ready and able to prove liability and damages to a jury if it comes down to that. 

Proving Liability

You will need to gather evidence that proves the at-fault driver – the insurance company’s client – was at fault and that you were not more than 50% at fault in the crash. 

The available evidence varies from case to case but often includes:

  • The accident report filed by the responding officer, 
  • The MAIT team report when the crash involved a fatality or serious injuries, 
  • Photographs or video of the vehicles, the roadway, skid marks, the location of the vehicles, and any injuries, 
  • Locating, interviewing, and getting statements from witnesses to the crash, 
  • Use of an accident reconstructionist to establish liability, 
  • Breath test results, blood test results, or witness testimony to establish the at-fault driver was intoxicated, 
  • Receipts, credit card or bank statements, and witness testimony to prove where the at-fault driver was served alcohol in a dram shop action, and 
  • Medical evidence showing the nature of the injuries suffered by the occupants of the vehicles. 

Proving Damages

Proving liability is not enough – you must also prove the full extent of the damages you suffered if you want to receive full and fair compensation from the insurance companies. 

Depending on the circumstances, this may involve:

  • Obtaining your medical records and invoices from all providers including the EMS transport, emergency room, hospital records, surgeries, and doctor’s visits, 
  • Consulting with your doctors to ensure we have a complete picture of the extent of your injuries and the need for future treatment or long-term care, 
  • Retaining medical experts as needed for consultation or testimony to establish the full extent of your injuries and the need for future treatment or long-term care, 
  • Retaining other experts as needed for consultation or testimony to establish other elements of damages including accountants, life care planners, and mental health experts to prove mental or emotional injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 
  • Obtaining your work and income history to establish both lost wages and any future loss of income caused by the crash, 
  • Interviewing your family members to determine whether there are claims for loss of consortium or loss of companionship, 
  • Gathering evidence of any property damage including diminished value caused by the crash, and
  • Ensuring that we have identified all potential sources of recovery. 

The potential sources of recovery may include more than just the at-fault driver’s insurance company and could include:

  • Other drivers who contributed to the crash, 
  • Your own uninsured or underinsured policies, 
  • The at-fault driver’s employer, 
  • Third-party companies or individuals who contributed to the crash by negligently loading a truck or negligently entrusting the at-fault driver with their vehicle, 
  • Bars or restaurants that served a drunk driver before the crash, 
  • Businesses, individuals, or municipalities who created a hazardous road condition that contributed to the crash, or
  • Any insurance policy or defendant’s personal assets that can be “tapped” to pay your full claim. 

Before sending a demand letter or attempting to settle your claim, you need to consider all categories of damages that you are entitled to receive, including economic, or special damages, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering and punitive damages when appropriate. 

How to Settle a Motorcycle Crash Claim: Getting Paid

Once we have investigated your crash, gathered evidence of both liability and your damages, and you have finished treating your injuries (or we have retained an expert to estimate your future medical expenses), we will either send a demand letter to the insurance companies or file a lawsuit on your behalf. 

The Demand Letter

Your demand letter to the insurance company 1) tells them the full amount of damages they are obligated to pay and 2) why they must pay that amount. 

Before sending a demand letter, your attorney will review with you the evidence, any potential legal issues in your case, and the amount that you are demanding in your settlement offer – you are included at every step of the process. 

We may have already provided medical records, witness statements, and other evidence to the insurance company, proving both the liability of their insured and the extent of damages that you will prove to a jury if they do not pay you. 

In some cases, the insurance company might pay your claim at this point or make a reasonable offer that you choose to accept. 

In many other cases, however, the insurance adjuster will either refuse to pay or will drag their feet, making a lowball offer that you don’t accept. 

Litigation and Trial 

When the insurance company refuses to pay or offers a settlement that you do not accept, we file a lawsuit on your behalf and begin litigating your case, which may include:

  • Written discovery where each side provides evidence and answers questions, 
  • Depositions of essential witnesses in the case including the plaintiff and defendant, 
  • Pretrial motions including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, motions to exclude evidence, and motions to compel discovery, 
  • Mediation, 
  • Jury trial, and
  • Appeals. 

How do you settle a motorcycle crash claim? Be prepared to try your case…

Most cases do not go to trial, and your case could be settled at any time during the litigation including the day you file the lawsuit, on the eve of trial, during trial, or while your case is on appeal. You must be willing, able, and ready to go to trial, however, if you expect to receive a settlement offer for the full and fair value of your case. 

How Can Your Motorcycle Crash Attorney Help You?

Insurance companies exist to make profits. They do not exist to help people recover after a motorcycle crash or auto wreck. 

This means that every insurance company does everything legally possible to avoid paying claims or to avoid paying the full value of claims – they will tell you that you don’t have a case, that your comparative negligence bars you from recovery, or that they think you are exaggerating your injuries. 

They will argue liability, and they will argue damages, at every step of your case. They might offer you “nuisance money” to get you to “go away.” 

In short, they need to know that, when you say, “We are going to trial if you do not pay this claim,” you are serious. You need an attorney on your side who has experience settling – and trying – motorcycle crash cases before the insurance company will take you seriously. 

Questions About Settling Your Motorcycle Crash Claim? 

The motorcycle crash attorneys at the Boles Law Firm can help you to investigate your crash, gather the evidence you will need in court, negotiate with the insurance companies, and recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries.

Call us at 843-576-5775 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at our North Charleston or Walterboro offices or send us a message through our website.

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