NYC Motorcycle Accident Law Firm: Frequently Asked Questions
Law enforcement officers and accident investigators often find motorcycle collisions among the hardest cases to handle. Sadly, these riders have such limited physical protection that they often suffer severe and even fatal injuries. Furthermore, even the toughest helmet can crack or break apart, especially after a rider has been thrown from a bike upon impact.
After major collisions with large trucks or SUVs, surviving riders and their loved ones often pose many questions to our firm. They are understandably eager to obtain justice and proper financial damages for all that was suffered.
Here are some of the typical questions often posed to our firm about how motorcycle accident cases are handled and what clients can expect during the negotiation, discovery, and trial stages.
Motorcycle accident cases – queries often posed to our attorneys
Question: How much is an average motorcycle accident case worth to a plaintiff?
As you might guess, many unique factors play a role in our ability to properly respond to this question. In general, if you did not play a role in causing the collision, there is a chance you will receive the average motorcycle settlement amount of $200,000. Of course, you must bear in mind that the “average amount” means that half of motorcycle accident survivors receive more than $200,000 – and the other half may receive far less.
The decisive factors usually revolve around the seriousness of your injuries, whether you had to miss work and lost considerable earnings, and the final costs of your medical treatment and rehabilitation expenses. We must also add in the dollar amount your doctors predict will be your future medical care and expenses (directly caused by the accident).
Question: Can I recover for my injuries if I was partially at fault for causing the collision?
Since New York State is a “pure” comparative negligence state, if your assigned percentage of fault for the accident is not substantial, you can usually still recover a reasonable amount of monetary damages. However, should the degree of fault assigned to you be well over 50% (and backed by strong evidence like surveillance videos), it can greatly reduce the settlement amount offered or the size of any jury verdict.
Question: How long can it take to settle a case or take it to trial and receive a verdict?
While the facts of some motorcycle accidents may be similar, the ethical standards of various insurance company agents and lawyers who represent defendants may vary. If these individuals decide at an early stage that your injuries have a low dollar value, they can force us to go through a very lengthy discovery process leading up to trial. Discovery is the phase of a case that often starts early after we have reviewed all your medical records and our first settlement negotiation efforts have been rejected.
During discovery, attorneys for both sides ask each other to produce specific documents and answer questions about the accident. Key parties in the case may also have to undergo formal questioning in depositions – which frequently reveal the full strength or weakness of a case. Likewise, if our firm has hired expert witnesses to help strengthen your case with their sworn testimony and professional opinions, they will also often be deposed or formally questioned. All these activities can take many months – or even two or more years. However, throughout this discovery phase, our law firm keeps fighting hard to negotiate a settlement for the maximum compensation available on your behalf.
Should your case go to trial, that process can take many weeks or months. Yet once the defendant’s lawyers recognize that your case is strong, they will often become more willing to settle your case for an appropriate amount of money – rather than taking the chance a jury will award a much larger verdict.
Question: Who pays all my medical bills – as well as your attorney fees?
As your lawyers, it is our job to carefully review all your medical records and bills. We also ask each of your doctors, once they state your current treatment has ended, what types of future medical care you will require — if you have sustained long-term or permanent injuries or disabilities.
Once we obtain this information, we are then prepared to start negotiating a settlement on your behalf. Should we be unable to obtain a reasonable sum of money to cover your pain and suffering – as well as your injuries, we may need to go ahead and take your case to trial.
Upon winning your case, the jury verdict will include enough money to fully pay all your past medical bills – and all future medical care directly required due to your motorcycle accident. You pay our firm nothing unless we win your case. The court costs for your lawsuit (and our attorney fees) are deducted from any settlement award or jury verdict we obtain on your behalf.
Question: Can I freely answer anything asked if an insurance adjustor contacts me?
Unfortunately, it is never wise for a motorcycle accident victim to speak with an insurance company adjustor after an accident before hiring a law firm. This is because it is the insurance adjustor’s job to try and convince all accident victims to accept as little money as possible for their injuries.
If you choose to speak with them, you can be sure they’ll ask many questions designed to compromise your case – or help them cast doubts on the accuracy of any statement you may give them. Always decline to answer an adjustor’s questions – and tell them you are in the process of hiring a law firm to represent you. (One general exception: You can confirm your correct legal name, your street address, driver’s license number – and the name of your auto insurance company and policy number).
Should an adjustor contact you after you have hired our firm, you should just give them our firm’s phone number and tell them that your attorney can answer all their questions on your behalf.
Question: Which family members can bring a wrongful death claim after someone is killed in a motorcycle accident?
Answer: Only an immediate family member of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York. This includes the deceased person’s spouse, children – or the parents of the victim.
If you have suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you need to contact our New York City motorcycle accident law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.