Every Oregon motorcyclist knows that if they’re in a collision with a car, no matter whose fault it is, the motorcyclist is going to bear the brunt of the damage. And while motorcyclists often get a “bum rap” due to the ingrained prejudices of many motorists, the fact is that a high percentage of accidents between cars and motorcycles are caused because the car driver either didn’t see the motorcyclist, or didn’t judge the speed and distance between the vehicles correctly. When that happens, the injured party (almost always the person who was on two wheels) will probably require the services of an experienced Portland motorcycle injury claim lawyer.
Once the motorcyclist has received the necessary medical assistance and made the decision to go ahead with a claim, they will at some early stage in the proceedings ask their lawyer what kind of compensation they can expect to receive. Any reputable attorney will quickly explain the factors that go into determining what your injury claim is worth, and there are many. In a majority of cases, the insurance company representing the at-fault driver will try to reduce the award amount in any number of ways, making it all the more important for the motorcyclist to have good legal representation.
Factors to Determine the Worth of Your Motorcycle Injury Claim
From the first trip to the doctor, it’s critically important to keep exact records of your expenditures, as well as any income lost through missing work and any additional money paid out to aid in your recovery.
These are known as “special damages,” and if properly recorded are the easiest to quantify in terms of an award. The other factors a court will consider include:
- Who was at fault? While insurance companies invariably try to apportion at least some of the liability to the person making the claim, recent statistics show that in 83% of cases, it’s possible to clearly show which party was at fault. A reputable Portland motorcycle injury claim will strongly advise against proceeding with a lawsuit unless there’s a clear case of negligence on the part of the other driver.
- How badly were you hurt? If your injuries were relatively minor and the other party is clearly liable, it’s possible you won’t need the services of an attorney, but if you’ve been severely injured or there’s any contesting of liability, having a good lawyer can be helpful.
- Are you a nice guy/lady? Unfair as it may seem, a jury will look more favorably on a claim submitted by someone without a criminal record or a history of traffic offenses.
- What’s the other person like? This is the flip side of the same coin. If the person who hit you is a solid, upstanding citizen whose never been in trouble and can present him or herself as something of a saint, this can actually have a negative impact on the amount of compensation you receive. Again, it will take a good lawyer to make a jury see past the surface.
- The damages you’ve suffered fall into the categories of:
- Medical special damage expenses, including ambulance costs, emergency room and hospital expenses, clinic charges, chiropractor fees, dental fees, costs of medicines and even bandages and ointments. Document all of them carefully because they will also help determine the amount of pain and suffering you’ve endured, which can substantially increase the value of your claim.
- Non-medical special damage expenses are things like lost wages, lost vacation time and travel expenses like public transport or renting a vehicle while your own is being replaced or repaired. Keep every receipt and get written confirmation regarding your lost wages—including any commissions or bonuses you may have lost–or vacation time, in as much detail as possible, from your company or accountant.
- Property damage expenses account for your motorcycle repair bills, damaged clothing, helmets and any other property damaged in the accident. Give your Portland motorcycle injury claim lawyer receipts for everything, and keep photocopies for yourself.
- Your age will be taken into consideration. From the late teens into the 50’s, victims will be considered to be at their physical peak, and any loss of income will be potentially quite serious. On the other hand, those in their late 60’s and older will often receive a sympathetic view from the courts, and this can work in their favor.
- Witness statements could be invaluable in filing a successful claim. The most important thing to remember is that the insurance company that has to pay out will have as much information as possible on hand to reduce the value of your claim. Anything and everything you can bring to court will be important in offsetting those negative effects.
Every year in Oregon, hundreds of motorcyclists are injured in collisions with other vehicles, the drivers of which are seemingly incapable of seeing anything smaller than a four-wheeled vehicle on the road. The results of these collisions are quite often serious injury for the motorcyclist. Sadly, many die. In fact, a motorcyclist is 37 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than someone traveling in a car.
If you’re a motorcyclist who has been injured through the negligence of another driver, the very first thing you should do after getting appropriate medical help is contact an experienced and reputable Portland motorcycle injury claim lawyer. They can explain the entire process of filing a claim, tell you everything you need to know and give you a good idea of the compensation you can expect to receive. What’s more, they will deal with the insurance companies and fight on your behalf to ensure you get a just settlement.