California’s scenic environment provides ideal riding conditions for motorcyclists.
In fact, the state boasts the largest number of registered motorcycles in the country. With over 800,000 bikes traveling the roadways alongside California’s 26 million licensed car drivers, accidents are bound to happen.
Unfortunately, auto drivers may not pay attention to the motorcyclists around them, leading to serious collisions. Motorcyclists find themselves at a disadvantage when colliding with an auto.
Due to a motorcycle’s small size and lack of safety features like airbags, bikers can suffer serious injuries.
If you were involved in a motorcycle versus car accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. At The Beliz Law Firm, we help accident victims in Long Beach, Riverside, and throughout Orange County. Here, we provide an overview of steps you should take to file a motorcycle accident claim.
What Should You Do After a Motorcycle Accident?
After an accident involving a motorcycle and car, you can act to give yourself the best chance of obtaining compensation. Take these steps as soon as possible:
- Seek medical treatment;
- Exchange driver license and insurance information with the car driver;
- Call the police to the accident scene and file an accident report;
- Take photos of the damage to your bike and the other vehicle;
- Take photos of the surrounding scene;
- Get the names and contact information of witnesses; and
- Call an attorney.
Of course, you may not be able to take photos and speak to witnesses if you were injured in a motorcycle crash and need urgent medical care.
In that case, see if a trusted friend could gather this information for you. An accident attorney can also help investigate your crash and gather critical information to support your claim.
How Do You File a Claim?
After filing a police report, you’ll want to notify your insurance company of the motorcycle and car accident. Whether you also file with the other driver’s insurance depends on who caused the accident.
Even if you and the other driver both made mistakes that led to the motorcycle and car accident, you might still be able to receive compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
If the other driver was responsible for your accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company. When you file a claim, an insurer will conduct these steps to evaluate your claim:
- Review the police report,
- Take a statement from you and the other driver (be wary of giving a statement to the other side’s insurance without an attorney representing you),
- Review accident evidence, and
- Offer you a settlement.
While you should never rush to accept a low settlement offer, it is important to quickly file a claim. In California, you have only two years to file an accident lawsuit.
However this timeframe may be shorten if the negligent party is against the government. Insurance companies usually require you to notify them of an accident immediately. Also, you must notify the DMV within ten days of your accident.
What Should You Know About Insurance Claims?
There are some things you should be aware of before filing an insurance claim. Acting carefully and consulting an accident attorney can enable you to receive more compensation.
Don’t Talk to the Other Insurer
Don’t give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company until after you speak to an attorney. The insurer may try to get you to accept blame for the accident, and a skilled attorney can help you avoid this trap.
Understand the Extent of Your Harm
Evaluate the extent of your motorcycle accident injuries and understand what medical treatment you need. If you are injured in a motorcycle crash, an insurer may try to get you to settle your claim before you know the extent of your medical expenses.
Of course, this rushed claims process saves insurers money. Instead, you should not agree to a settlement until you understand your medical treatment expenses.
Don’t Take the First Settlement
Many bikers take the first settlement an insurance company offers, but that’s not the best strategy. Insurance companies goal after a motorcycle versus car accident is to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and settle it for the lowest possible number.
You should think carefully about the settlement offer and consult an attorney if possible before you accept any settlement offer.
How Much Money Can You Get for a Motorcycle Accident?
The value of your motorcycle wreck depends on many factors. The first factor is the liability of the case. The stronger the case for negligence on the other driver, the greater likelihood of better compensation.
If the other driver is 100 percent at fault is better for your case than if the other driver has partial fault. If you have negligence for the accident, this may lower the value of your case.
The second factor is your damages. Damages are your injuries. Injuries from a motorcycle versus car crash maybe soft tissue injuries to your neck and back to broken bones to your legs to road rash to your arms to a traumatic brain injury.
An injured person can receive compensation for past medical expenses, future medical expenses, loss of earnings, and loss of earning capacity. In addition, an injured person can receive compensation for pain and suffering.
The third factor is insurance. Depending on the amount of insurance available factors into the value of the settlement. You can go after the negligent party’s insurance. Also if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, you may receive compensation through your own insurance policy.
It’s hard to give an estimate of how much money you should aim for without knowing the specifics of your experience. An accident involving a motorcycle and a car that causes serious harm should provide significant compensation.
Contact an Experienced Motorcycle and Car Accident Attorney
If you experienced a motorcycle and car accident, an attorney can help. At The Beliz Law Firm, we’ve helped motorcycle accident victims recover milliions of dollars. Every case is different.
To get help with your motorcycle accident claim, contact attorney Michael A. Beliz at The Beliz Law Firm for a free consultation. Before forming his firm ten years ago, Michael worked for some of the most prominent plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms in Southern California.
His practice combines big law firm skills with the personalized attention to detail of a small firm. To speak with Michael about your motorcycle accident, call 562-452-3772 or contact us on The Beliz Law Firm’s online form.