Have you been hurt while riding your motorcycle? Check out this blog to learn more about our Idaho motorcycle accident attorneys. Call us now!
Taking to the road on a motorcycle has long been hailed as the epitome of freedom and independence. If you’ve been injured while riding on a motorcycle due to someone else’s negligence, however, you deserve to seek compensation.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been seriously injured while riding your motorcycle. You may still be hurting. You’ve probably missed work and may need to miss more, creating financial hardship. And you’re most likely wondering who can help you with a motorcycle accident claim.
We are here to help. Our firm offers free legal consultations. Call our Idaho motorcycle accident attorneys today.
Don’t let concern over having money to pay up-front for answers keep you from calling. Contact us any time to schedule a free legal consultation.
The information on this page should answer some of your motorcycle accident claim questions. First, we’ll make you aware of the numerous mistakes to avoid that can ruin the value of your claim. Then, we’ll tell you a client story to give you additional information. Make sure to read it through to learn as much as possible.
Common Motorcycle Accident Claim Mistakes
There are several ways people accidentally damage the value of their motorcycle accident claims. Check out our list below to help you avoid making them, too.
Not Going to the Doctor After the Accident
Any time you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s crucial not to assume you’re uninjured because you don’t feel pain.
The nature of the “fight or flight” response humans often have to traumatic events can mask pain for up to eighteen hours. In addition, it can give you a feeling of enhanced strength and energy. If you’re unaware of these effects, they can lead you to think you’re okay when you may have internal bleeding or other injuries.
Get to a medical facility as soon as you can after the accident. There is no shame in making the trip to the emergency room to ensure that you are, in fact, okay. It may just save your life.
Going to the doctor after the accident will also protect the value of your motorcycle accident claim, because it generates an official record of how and when you’ve been injured. The closer the date and time stamp of your appointment is to the accident, the stronger the evidence that you were hurt in the crash.
Without the evidence provided by a medical exam, the insurance company may be able to challenge your claim.
If, for instance, you wait three days and start to feel pain and get an exam, the insurance company can try to create reasonable doubt as to whether your injury happened in the crash or at some other unrelated time an event in the days that followed.
Don’t let the insurance company victimize you all over again. Get a medical exam as quickly as possible after the accident.
Not Taking Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan Seriously
When you’re released from the hospital after the motorcycle accident, the doctor will give you a treatment plan to follow. This can take any number of forms. It may include medications and icing the injury, for example, or wound care instructions, or occupational therapy.
It’s important to follow whatever combination of treatments you are asked to do to help you recover from your injuries. Doing so will help you get back to your life as quickly as possible. It will also protect the value of your claim.
If you don’t take your medications as prescribed or you skip physical therapy appointments, for example, you may impede or delay your ability to recover. You will also be jeopardizing your motorcycle accident claim.
The insurance company will be on the lookout for ways to deflect blame for your condition away from them. The less responsibility they bear, the less they can be expected to pay in compensation.
Keep in mind that in addition to skipping treatments or medications, failure to follow your treatment plan can look like doing more than your doctor recommends. Make sure you wait to resume activities too strenuous for your condition until the doctor says it’s okay to start up again.
Don’t give the insurance company a foot hold to claim you’ve harmed your own recovery. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan carefully.
Don’t Allow the Insurance Company to Record Your Statement
When you file a motorcycle accident claim, you can expect someone from the insurance company to call you and ask for your recorded statement about the accident. It’s a mistake to agree to this.
The insurance company is not trying to process your claim as quickly as possible. They are not looking out for you. They are calling to record you saying something they can use to deflect responsibility for the accident away from themselves. If they succeed, your claim’s value may be lowered.
It’s best to not even have this conversation. Many people assume that when the insurance company calls, they must answer it or risk having their claim denied. The opposite is actually true. You have the right to decline this conversation. Your claim is safer if you defer to one of our Idaho motorcycle accident attorneys to handle it.
Failing to Hire a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
If you’re procrastinating on finding an attorney to handle your motorcycle accident claim, it’s likely for one of two reasons. The first is that you want to handle your own claim to save money. The second is that you think you’ve got plenty of time to file.
If you plan to handle your motorcycle accident claim on your own, it’s important to know that statistically, people who don’t hire attorneys are awarded compensation many times less than people with attorneys.
A lawyer can help you accurately assess your damages, both economic and non-economic. This will help ensure that you don’t leave “money on the table” when negotiating a fair settlement.
A lawyer will recognize insurance company tactics and not fall prey to mistakes that lower the value of your claim.
A lawyer will have the experience and objectivity to consider settlement offers without the danger of accepting an offer that’s far too low.
A lawyer will have the legal heft to sue the insurance company in court if they refuse to arrive at a reasonable settlement offer.
Don’t give the insurance company the gift of skipping the attorney. Hire someone with the experience and training to take them on.
A second reason that people procrastinate on finding an attorney is they look up the statute of limitations and believe it gives them lots of time to get around to filing a claim. The problem these people have is they’re looking at the wrong target.
No matter how much time the statute of limitations gives you to file your claim, you’ve got to remember evidence doesn’t hang around. Accident scenes get cleared away, and evidence can disappear — intentionally or otherwise.
Consider, for example, a store’s security camera that may have recorded the accident. If you wait to get started on your claim and the police miss the camera, that recording might get overwritten before your lawyer discovers it.
To build your strongest claim, hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
Hiring the Wrong Attorney for Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
When you’re ready to hire an attorney, don’t make the mistake so many people make of assuming all lawyers are equally capable of bringing you success.
Attorneys, like doctors, often have areas in which they specialize. You wouldn’t look to an orthopedic surgeon for brain surgery. Don’t call your uncle’s estate lawyer for your personal injury claim.
In addition, experience matters. When you do hire a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to find one with experience in motorcycle accident cases. It’s true that most claims are settled before they end up in front of a jury, but some aren’t. If yours needs to go all the way to court, your lawyer needs to be ready.
Idaho Motorcycle Accident Client Story
The following client story is intended to provide additional answers to questions you may have about your motorcycle accident claim. Though names and details have been edited to protect the privacy of our clients, the value of the information remains. Please read to the end to learn as much as possible. When you’re done, please give us a call. We’d love to discuss your specific claim in a free legal consultation.
On a warm September day not so long ago, Sam Esser gained a girlfriend and lost a leg.
When he heard that Sara Berenger had broken up with her boyfriend, Sam decided it was time to take a chance with someone who might have the capacity to really hurt him.
Until that day, the girls Sam had dated were more alike than unique. They were all attractive, but had nothing in common with him. The excitement inevitably died and they’d end up sitting around with nothing to talk about.
But Sara was different. She was a natural resource studies major with natural beauty and fierce intelligence. If he knew any better, he’d have been too intimidated to give it a shot, but this was his chance, he could feel it.
With the help of his roommate, Sam managed to “end up” in the dining hall at the same time as Sara. He set his tray and forestry text across from her as she studied for their upcoming test, casually remarking that he thought he’d ‘seen her around.’
She raised her eyebrows and remarked with a class of less than twenty, she hoped for his sake his study skills were better than his powers of observation. That’s when Sam learned Sara Berenger was not only lovely and smart, she was funny.
He also learned that he’d almost blown his chance with her without even getting started.
“So, I hear you date models,” Sara said with half an eye-roll before resuming her studies. Definitely wary, he thought, no pressure; say something casual that proves you have substance, quick!
He managed to laugh and explain that he’d been fixed up a few times, but he’d sworn off dating until he found something “real.”
He worked hard at casually bumping into Sara for couple weeks; brief chats in forestry class or more “chance encounters” in the dining hall. On day fifteen (not that he was counting), Sam took a chance and asked Sara on a date.
He could see the wheels turning in her hesitation. She was definitely wary.
For Sara’s part, Sam was a risk. It was well known in her dorm that the ladies swooned whenever he was near. With a Lebanese mother and English father, Sam had soulful blue eyes, thick blond hair, a smooth olive complexion that gave him the look of a perpetually perfect tan, and a deep, smooth baritone voice. He’d grown up in London and had the accent to prove it. A heartbreaker, for sure.
It wasn’t that she was still hung up on her ex. Truth-be-told, they’d taking far too long to break up. She was more tired than anything, and ready for some rest and the comfort of real friends who loved and accepted her. She was pretty sure she wasn’t looking for a guy incapable of anything other than a fling.
The more they talked, the more she realized they had in common, though. They even both lost their dads before graduating high school. And, maybe she was just judging him unfairly because of his looks. Even incredibly attractive people needed real love, right?
She took a chance, agreeing to meet him at a restaurant within walking distance from her dorm. Sam had offered to pick her up, but she decided to walk. She said motorcycles always scared her a little. He said he understood.
As he took his motorcycle from the house he shared with two friends in Boise up to campus that Friday evening for dinner, he decided he liked that Sara Berenger was cautious. She really seemed like someone who was sure about the things she committed to. A good quality.
Their first date was amazing. They ate and laughed for two hours before leaving the motorcycle at the restaurant and crossing West Beacon Street on foot for a stroll through Mustard Field.
Over two more hours, he asked about geoscience studies major and what she wanted to do after college. He learned that she’d grown up on the coast of Maine and fell in love with natural history before heading west before seventh grade.
Sara learned that Sam’s parents had left England after his father’s death and his mom now lived in a modest house in Twin Falls. He told her his dream of becoming a wildland firefighter.
“Sounds dangerous,” Sara had said.
“Not if you’re trained and careful,” Sam said, taking her hand as they walked. And I’ll have my environmental studies degree on top of my training. I’ll be able to work local, state, or federal. I want to work for the National Park Service.”
Sara could see Sam’s determination and the way his eyes lit up when he talked about his career plans. “I bet there’s nothing you can’t do when you put your mind to it, Sam,” she’d said with a smile.
When the date ended, Sam asked Sara for a second date the following Friday. He was elated when she agreed. She then surprised him by agreeing to let him give her a ride back to her dorm on his motorcycle. He was careful to go slowly. This was one woman he didn’t want to scare off.
Sam was over-the-moon as he rode away from the dorm. He’d been intrigued by Sara, but with each conversation, he’d become more and more certain that something important was happening.
He got back onto West Cesar Chavez Lane and slowly took the loop through campus to hook a right onto Theatre Lane, where he could head down South Lincoln Avenue and back to his house.
As he approached Theatre Lane, however, a battered red Acura pulled directly in front of him from a parking lot to his left. There was no time to stop or even lay down the bike. Sam swerved, breaking hard. His last thought was, “This is going to be bad.”
Sam’s next memory was waking up twenty hours later in a drug-induced fog. Painkillers. The lower half of his left leg was encased in a metal cage. The muscle of his calf had essentially exploded on impact.
Sara beat herself up for the next four days. She hadn’t heard from Sam. Nothing.
How could she have been so stupid, getting her hopes up like she had?
By Tuesday afternoon, she told herself she was over it. After all, it was just one date. It would be interesting to see what he had to say in their 3:00 p.m. forestry class, though, if anything.
She told herself it didn’t matter. She was going to ignore him, like he wasn’t even there.
But it did matter. Sara found tears sting her eyes when class began and there was still no sign of Sam. No call, no text, and now no Sam in the classroom. Coward. In a class this small his absence was a slap in the face.
She’d been deprived even of the chance to act like he was invisible and walk right past him. She tried her best to lose herself in the lecture. Watershed hydrology; fascinating. Not.
As class drew to a close, the teacher asked the students to hang back for a moment. That’s when he announced that one of their fellow students had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on Friday night and was still in intensive care at St. Luke’s. There would be a collection, if anyone was interested…
Sara didn’t hear the rest as she rushed from the room.
When she arrived in the ICU, Sara expected to be turned away. She was shocked to find her name on the short list of allowable family visitors. As she entered the room, Sam turned to her and an entire range of emotions crossed his face in the span of three seconds.
Relief. Joy. Embarrassment. Anxiety. Sorrow.
Sara spent the rest of the afternoon by Sam’s side. Then the doctor came in and she rose to leave. He asked her to stay, and his hand clung to hers as together they learned that his lower leg could not be saved.
It was amputated the next morning.
Sam was released from the hospital two weeks after the accident. His mom moved him back home in Twin Falls to help him recover. Sara gave him space during his first week home.
They continued to talk on the phone, but she could tell he was rapidly slipping into depression. Not that she blamed him. His dream of becoming a wildland firefighter was, at the moment at least, all but gone.
Three weeks after the amputation, Sara was surprised to get a call from Sam’s mother. She asked Sara to speak to Sam about filing a motorcycle accident claim.
“Why me?” She asked, uncertainly. She liked to think they had grown close over the past month, but he may push her away for vastly overstepping.
“He trusts you,” said Mrs. Esser simply. “This accident will at best delay his graduation for a year. At worst —” she couldn’t finish. “Sara, he’s really depressed. His sudden helplessness…
“You and I both know he deserves compensation for what’s happened. But more than that, he needs something to fight for. Standing up for his rights may help him begin to retrieve a sense of personal power.
“He’s agreed to begin counseling when he gets fitted for a prosthetic, but that’s weeks away, yet. I’m worried and I don’t know what else to do.”
“Okay, Mrs. Esser. I promise I’ll try,” Sara managed as she, began crying.
Attorney Kurt Holzer arrived at Sam’s mother’s home two days later to speak with Sam, his mother, and Sara for a free legal consultation. Sam was gaunt, but Sara could see he was regaining color as he got rest and began to eat home-cooked meals. She was surprised, however, to see a spark in Sam’s eye for the first time since the accident. He had intense focus and was looking for answers. Maybe his mom was right about taking back his personal power.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
“How much would it cost to hire your firm?” Sam asked as soon as Attorney Holzer sat down.
Mr. Holzer explained that the firm works on a contingency-fee model. “There is no up-front cost,” he said. “The firm covers all case expenses: administration, and investigation. It also covers litigation, should it come to a trial.
“In the end, we only get compensated when we bring a successful resolution to your claim.”
How much is my claim worth?
“Okay,” Sam answered. “Have you done motorcycle accident claims before? I’d like to know what a claim like mine is worth.” He was leaning in now. Sara looked at Mrs. Esser. Sam’s mom winked at her.
Holzer explained that it would be irresponsible to quote a case value before conducting an investigation into the accident and also having a clear understanding of Sam’s damages.
“You should be wary of any attorney who pulls a claim value up for you out of thin air, Sam,” Holzer said. “There’s no way to be accurate without the proper information. It’s not fair to you to pretend otherwise.”
“We can get started with the investigation right away, but determining your damages will require you to reach ‘maximum medical improvement,’” said Holzer. “This is the point at which your medical team would declare you back to your pre-accident level of health; back to ‘normal,’ as it were.
“If your old ‘normal’ is no longer an option, considering your injuries, then maximum medical improvement will be the point at which you’ve reached as close to your former level of health as possible — your ‘new normal.’
“When you reach maximum medical improvement, we’ll know your damages. That’s the point at which I can tell you the value of your claim.
“This means your only job right now is to rest and recover. I realize this has been a huge shock and will require ongoing adjustment as you recover mentally and emotionally in addition to physically. Please honor that and let your legal team worry about your claim — no matter who you hire, Sam.”
How long will my claim take?
Sam nodded and reached for Sara’s hand. She held it tightly and asked, “How long will Sam’s claim take?”
“That’s also something I can’t predict without more information, but I can tell you what it will depend on,” Holzer answered.
“The first part of the case timeline will depend on how long it takes Sam to reach maximum medical improvement.
“Once he’s there, we’ll know his economic damages and non-economic damages, and we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident. From that point on, the case timeline is going to depend on how the insurance company responds.
“If they’re reasonable and work with us on a fair settlement, we’ll be all set to resolve Sam’s claim and wrap up the case.
“If, however, they fight us and refuse to settle, we’ll take them to court. Please don’t let this possibility cause you stress, however. Our firm has a long, very successful record of resolving personal injury claims, including motorcycle accident claims, both in- and out of the courtroom.
“In fact, I’d be shocked if the insurance company doesn’t know who we are,” said Holzer. “It’s not unheard of for these companies to agree to a settlement to avoid a court battle with a successful trial attorney.
“There are no guarantees, Sam, but it’s happened before. Either way, we’ll be ready to fight for your right to compensation. That’s why no matter who you choose to hire for your claim, I urge you to go with a personal injury trial lawyer experienced in motorcycle accident claims.”
Sam was content with what he learned in his free legal consultation. He retained our firm, and today we are happy to say that Attorney Holzer got him over eight times the amount the insurance company initially offered.
Call Our Idaho Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Hopefully, this page has answered some of your questions about your motorcycle accident claim. Since every claim is unique, we urge you to call our Idaho motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as you can to schedule a free legal consultation. You don’t have to figure this out alone. Let Hepworth Holzer help.
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