When Should I Settle My Motorcycle Accident Case versus Go to Trial?
If you have had the unfortunate occurrence of being involved in a motorcycle accident, there comes a point where you will have to decide whether to negotiate a settlement with your insurance company or whether you would like to litigate your case in court. This is true whether you have experienced minor scrapes and bruises or whether you have suffered serious injuries. Where uncertainty exists as to your next step, you should get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney who regularly deals with motorcycle injury cases. Your attorney can advise you on whether it is better to settle your clam or go to trial.
When it comes to deciding whether to settle versus go to court, one of the main questions concerns the extent of your damages. Property damage claims are often easier to prove, while personal injury claims tend to be more complicated. If you are dealing with your insurance company, the company’s claims adjusters are skilled at trying to encourage or induce individuals to accept low settlement offers for their damages from the motorcycle accident. These claims adjusters understand that an accident is a very stressful time and that people want to move on with their lives as quickly as possible. As a result, many individuals end up accepting settlement offers that are significantly less than what these individuals would have received had they litigated their case in court. An attorney can assess your case and help you decide whether your damages and the circumstances of your case make it worthwhile to litigate your case before the judge or jury in court.
Even though settlements with your insurance company generally result in a less monetary amount than a court would typically award, it is oftentimes quicker and less expensive than litigation. It also avoids the risk that the jury agrees with the defendant and decides that you were negligent for the accident. For instance, if your case is at trial and the jury holds that you were negligent for the accident, you may not receive any monetary compensation whatsoever.
However, if you and your attorney begin to feel that your insurance company is not negotiating in good faith or is not putting forth offers that are commensurate with the extent of your personal injury and property damages, then it may be better to proceed to court. The judge or jury would be able to hear your complaint and award the appropriate measure of damages based on the extent of your injuries and property damage. The litigation process will likely be more time consuming than settlement, but the reward potential could be significant. The process is longer due to the extensive evidence that needs to be gathered and presented to the court to prove your personal injuries and property damage. Examples of evidence that would demonstrate such injuries and property damages include medical bills, proof of loss of income from inability to work, physical therapy, estimates of property damages from motorcycle repair shops, etc. An experienced attorney can also help you get compensation for future medical bills, anticipated loss of earnings from the continued inability to work, and damages for the injured individual’s emotional pain and suffering.
It is also important to note that cases can be settled at any time during the litigation process. For instance, if you and your attorney initiated a litigation but later believe that settlement would be preferable (e.g., your insurance company offers you a more favorable settlement), the case can be settled. At all times, your attorney would be able to best advise you on which process would give you the maximum compensation.