Hurt in an Motorcycle Accident?
Motorcyclists are a special breed. They are adventuresome and fearless on the open road with nothing more than a helmet, padded leather, boots, and their own driving skills to protect them.
When your pleasure on the bike unexpectedly turns to horror due to an accident, you are one of the more than 80,000 riders each year who need help. Most importantly, the lawyers of McCready Law recognize that motorcycle riders have equal rights on the road and are dedicated to proving that.
When you are thrown from your bike into a ditch, another vehicle, or oncoming traffic, you may have had your last ride. Our team of personal injury lawyers and medical staff are determined to protect and fight for your rights. The day you retain us we start fighting for you. We contact the negligent party’s insurance company. We investigate the crash scene when necessary, get you a medical evaluation, and assess your damages to secure as much recovery as you deserve.
Your last seconds of joy and freedom on the road may have ended with a life threatening or life altering experience. When negligence or attitude on someone else’s part have now changed your life, call McCready Law for help. We not only fight for your compensation, our medical staff can refer you to the medical experts you need for the best recovery.
Who Is Going To Fix My Motorcycle And Pay My Medical Bills?
Responsibility for damages follows fault.
In Illinois motorcycle accidents, the person at fault is responsible for paying your damages. Damages may include fixing your motorcycle, paying your medical bills, paying you for any time you may have missed from work, as well as compensation for any injuries you may have sustained. The first issue in determining who will pay is knowing who was at fault. Usually, but not always, an insurance company will accept fault for a motorcycle accident based on the police report. If the police report places blame on the motorcycle rider, you may need to contact a personal injury lawyer to recover any damages. If the insurance company accepts 100% responsibility, they are responsible for 100% of your damages.
Getting your motorcycle fixed.
Most motorcycle vs. car accidents result in the motorcycle being a total loss. However, an insurance company is responsible for paying the lesser of the fair market value of your motorcycle or the cost to repair it. This means if the cost to repair the motorcycle costs more than its value, the insurance company only has to pay the value of the bike. Be sure to get an estimate for any repair from a collision repair shop you choose and don’t rely on the insurance company’s estimate.
The insurance company is also responsible to pay for any transfer tax and title expenses if your motorcycle is totaled. When you have to buy a new bike to replace the one which was totaled in the accident, you should not have to pay for these additional fees. The at fault insurance company is responsible for paying them.
Getting your medical bills paid.
The other driver’s insurance company is responsible for paying your medical bills. However, they will not pay the medical bills as they are incurred. For example, the at fault insurance company will not pay each time you go to the doctor or after each test you receive. An insurance company will pay your medical bills from the accident, but only after you agree to settle the case and sign a release. When you sign a release, your case is over and you cannot collect any more money from the insurance company. This is true even if you made a mistake or if your injuries get worse.
It is very important to get medical attention following a motorcycle accident, but it can sometimes be difficult if the insurance company will not pay your medical bills unless you settle your case. Many doctors refuse to treat patients unless they get paid immediately, and they are unwilling to wait until the case is over to be paid. An experienced personal injury lawyer can often get medical treatment authorized while your case is pending. To learn more, contact us for a free consultation.
Do not fall for the insurance company trick of offering to pay “any out of pocket medical expenses.” Some insurance adjusters use this line in an attempt to lower the amount they pay for your claim. Under Illinois law, an insurance company is legally responsible for the full amount of your medical bills, not just your out of pocket expenses. The fact that you may have health insurance or some other manner to pay your medical bills does not limit the responsibility of the insurance company for paying your bills. What’s more, you may be legally liable to pay back your health insurance company from any settlement. The claims adjuster will not tell you that and you will be in for a rude awakening if you find out after your case.
What is a lien?
A medical lien is a legal document sent by a health care provider such as a hospital, doctor, or chiropractor which ensures they will get paid from any settlement of your case. When an insurance company receives a lien from a health care provider, they will include the provider’s name on any settlement check you receive. You will not be able to cash or deposit your check unless you get the endorsement from the medical provider with the lien. So, if you settle your case for a certain amount, that may not be the amount you get if there are liens on your claim. Once again, an insurance adjuster may not tell you about any liens he or she has. All they want is for you to sign a release and close your claim.
Other available damages in a motorcycle accident case.
In addition to your medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your motorcycle, you are entitled to a settlement for any personal injuries you sustain. This includes any scarring you may have from the accident. Be sure to document any injuries to your body by taking photographs. You should do this at various points of healing and again when the injury has healed, if it has left any scar. You are also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering. To learn more on how much your motorcycle case is worth, click here.
Handling your case yourself can be tricky.
This article addresses only some of the pitfalls facing people who have been in accidents and dealt directly with the insurance company. Having practiced personal injury law for over 20 years, I have come across countless horror stories of costly mistakes made by people handling their cases themselves. There is nothing I can do if a client contacts me after they have signed a release. If insurance companies dealt with people more fairly and honestly with regard to fixing the damage their client caused to your motorcycle or paying your medical bills, there would be no need for personal injury lawyers.
How to avoid making a mistake with your motorcycle accident case.
You can avoid making a mistake by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately following your motorcycle accident.
6 Things You Should Do After Being In A Motorcycle Accident
File a police report
Hopefully you already filed a police report at the scene of the accident. If not, you should go to the police department for the town or city in which the accident occurred and make a police report. You can make a report at any time, even after an accident. You can make a police report even if the other driver is not present. You can make a police report even if it was a hit-and-run accident. A police report is the only proof that an accident occurred. Exchanging information with the other driver, with his or her assurances that they “will take care of everything,” is not enough. File a police report.
Ideally, it is good to take photos at the scene before the cars have been moved. But we don’t always think of that. The next best thing is to take photos of the damage to your motorcycle as well as any bruising, cuts, or other visible reminder of the accident. The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” is even more important when it comes to a motorcycle accident. Injuries heal, bikes are repaired or totaled, but photos live forever. If you have to go to the tow yard to take photos, by all means do so. If the car which hit you is also at the tow yard, by all means, take photos of it as well. Don’t forget the important step of taking pictures.
Call your insurance company
But the accident wasn’t my fault, why should I call my insurance company? First, your insurance may be able to help you with your claim. They may be able to expedite getting your motorcycle fixed or your medical bills paid. The insurance company for the other driver may be a substandard carrier, which may mean difficulty getting your motorcycle fixed or your medical bills paid. Second, although the other driver showed you or the police an insurance card, it does not mean that their insurance was valid. You may find out days or weeks after the accident that their insurance was not valid. Your accident may become an uninsured motorist claim.
You may not feel like the accident was your fault, but the police may have written the police report up in a way which casts doubt on how the accident occurred. If there is any doubt in how the accident happened, your insurance company needs to know. This is why you have insurance in the first place. Finally, your insurance rates will not go up simply because you report the accident to your insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, reporting the accident does not count as a claim. Report the accident to your insurance company.
Seek medical attention
If you are experiencing ANY physical symptoms from the accident, you should go to the emergency room or to your doctor. You do not need to go to the emergency room directly from the accident. But you should seek some sort of medical attention as soon as is practical, in any event no more than one week after the accident. If you wait to see the doctor because you hope the pain resolves on its own, and it does not, it may be too late to include the treatment in a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
Insurance companies and juries figure that people who are hurt go to the doctor, and people who are not hurt do not go to the doctor. This is not always true, but that is how they evaluate cases and claims. Most pain and injuries resolve after an accident, but for those cases where the injuries are more serious than they initially appear, seeking prompt medical attention is critical to proving your case.
Remove the license plates from your motorcycle
If a tow truck takes your motorcycle to a salvage yard, you should go and remove your license plates from the bike. It is not unusual to have plates stolen from your motorcycle while it is at a tow yard. While at the tow yard, remember to take photos of your motorcycle.
Protect your rights
You may feel that the accident was not your fault and the other insurance company will take care of everything. You may be right and they will. But if insurance companies treated everyone fairly and honestly, there would be no need for lawyers, and insurance companies would probably be out of business. The reality is that insurance companies are in the business of minimizing paying out claims. You may be against lawsuits or not want to pursue a claim. That’s fine too, but the only one who benefits is the insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer can handle every aspect of your accident, allowing you to focus on recovering or getting on with your life.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
The value of your case depends on how the accident happened.
If there is any dispute as to how the accident happened, this can lower the value of your case. If the other driver claims you were speeding, you failed to yield, or were otherwise driving erratically, this can lower the value of a case. In fact, an insurance company may deny your claim and force you to go to court to make any recovery. Automobile drivers frequently blame motorcycle riders for contributing to an accident because they didn’t see them. They assume the motorcycle rider must have been speeding or driving erratically. Don’t let an insurance company blame you simply because you are riding a motorcycle if their insured driver caused the accident.
The value of your accident case is based on your medical treatment.
Notice we did not say that the value of your case is based on your injuries. An insurance adjuster has no way of knowing what your injuries are, only what medical treatment you had for those injuries. This is a crucial distinction in valuing personal injury cases. You can have serious injuries and experience a great deal of pain and recovery, but without medical treatment, your case will not be worth as much.
Insurance companies, as well as juries, figure that people who are hurt go to the doctor, and those who are not hurt do not seek medical attention. This may not always be true, but this impacts the value of a case. For this reason, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will always advise a client to continue to seek medical attention until they have made a complete recovery. Failure to seek medical attention is the largest single factor which lowers the value of your case.
Be sure to document any physical injuries you sustain with periodic photos. Take pictures of any cuts, lacerations, bruises, or “road rash” immediately after the accident. Continue to take photos to document the healing. If the injuries leave scars, it is important to document them. Often we will have a professional photographer take pictures of scars of our clients. A picture is worth a thousand words and good pictures can be worth many thousands of dollars. Don’t think that a photo from your phone will be as good as one taken by a professional photographer.
The value of your case is usually proportional to the amount of your medical bills.
Let’s get something straight before you read on further. There is no “rule” that a case is worth three times your medical bills. This is a longstanding myth which bears no basis in reality. Now, the greater your medical bills, the greater your recovery. This is because the at-fault party is responsible for paying the full amount of your medical bills, not just your out of pocket costs. Logically, the higher your medical bills, the greater your recovery. However, there is no direct, mathematical formula to use in determining the value of your case.
Also, some types of bills increase the value of your case more than others. For example, if most of your medical bills are for diagnostic testing such as x-rays, MRIs, EMGs, etc., those types of bills do not lead to a large increase in value in your case. Medical bills for treatment, such as doctor’s visits, physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment, increase the value of your case more than diagnostic bills.
Don’t let the insurance company tell you the value of your case.
Odds are this is the first time you have been in an accident and sustained personal injuries. You are doing the wise thing in learning as much as possible about your case. As experienced personal injury lawyers, we seek to educate our clients. Our website is designed to provide answers to commonly asked questions. However, our ability to evaluate the value of a personal injury case comes from years of experience and from representing thousands of clients. If it were so simple to know the value of an accident case, there would be no need for lawyers. The job of the insurance company claim adjuster is to pay as little as possible to settle a case. The goal of a personal injury attorney is to obtain the greatest recovery possible from the insurance company. In the middle is you, the injured person.
How you can make things worse by handling the case yourself.
Many people in motorcycle accidents just want their medical bills paid and the money they lost from being off from work. There is nothing wrong with this and we will not attempt to persuade you otherwise. But it is important for you to know that you personally may be responsible for paying back your health insurance if they paid any of your medical bills. There may be doctors or hospitals who do not submit their bills to your health insurance and expect to be paid from the insurance settlement. These and other things can come back to bite you if you settle the case on your own. Of course, the insurance adjuster will not tell you of these things, they just want you to sign a release and settle your case. Accident claims are much more complicated than they appear.
How to get the best recovery for your car accident case.
We have tried to provide you with some valuable information in handling your accident case yourself. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to provide a value to your case by reading a few website articles. The single biggest factor in increasing your recovery in a personal injury case is by hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. In our experience, even after paying our contingency attorney fee, our clients usually walk away with more money than they would have if they handled their case themselves. Remember, only you, the client, can settle your case.
How Long Do I Have To File A Case For Injuries In A Motorcycle Accident?
Time limitations can vary in motorcycle accident cases.
The good news is that in Illinois, the time limit to bring a case for personal injuries against private individuals is two years from the date of the accident. However, it is one year against many municipalities such as town, city, or county governments. For property damage, it is five years from the date of the accident. Finally, for personal injuries to a minor, the statute of limitations expires on their 20th birthday. If all of this sounds confusing, it can be. Do not risk losing your rights by letting a statute of limitations expire. You should discuss any time limitations with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
It is important to present your claim promptly.
You may be dealing directly with an insurance adjuster who assures you, “we’ll take care of everything.” They may lull you into a false sense of security about your claim. Time passes and you go on with your life and the next thing you know, your time to bring a claim has passed. Don’t let this happen to you. Second, it can take time to properly present a claim to an insurance company. You must complete your medical treatment and make a complete recovery, or heal as fully as you can, before even contemplating a claim. Finally, there are things which you can do which can hurt your case by waiting. It is always advisable to consult with a lawyer who handles motorcycle accident cases.