Reaching an insurance settlement can be one of the most important steps in your recovery from a motorcycle accident. Settling your case can bring you peace of mind after the stress of a collision and a complicated insurance claim. Making sure you receive as much as you need to move forward, however, is vital. Learn about the factors that could affect your motorcycle injury settlement in Kansas City, as well as how to fight for maximum financial recovery.
The Seriousness of the Injury
One of the main elements an insurance company will analyze during a motorcycle accident claim is the seriousness of the injuries in question. In general, minor injuries such as bruises and scrapes will not receive as much compensation as life-altering injuries. Serious injuries can include broken bones, brain injuries, spine injuries, internal organ damage and traumatic tattooing from major road rash.
Serious motorcycle injuries can result in expensive, long-term health care costs, such as medications, surgeries, rehabilitation therapies, medical devices and live-in nursing care. If the injury caused a permanent disability, you could have lifelong associated medical costs, including money to implement disability accommodations in your home or car.
The insurance company will also consider the values of damages besides personal injuries and medical bills, including lost wages and property repairs. The seriousness of the accident will also play a part in determining these values. The more catastrophic the collision, the more money you will lose on missed time at work and motorcycle repairs.
Another major settlement factor in Kansas City is comparative fault. Kansas and Missouri are both comparative negligence states, meaning the courts may reduce your compensatory award by your degree of fault. If the party you believe caused your motorcycle wreck is claiming that you caused or contributed to the accident, this may reduce your settlement award. An insurance company may offer you less with evidence that you were partially at fault.
Kansas has a 49% cap on comparative negligence damages. If the defendant proves you were 50% or more at fault for the motorcycle accident, therefore, an insurance company could get away with offering you $0 for your damages. Missouri, on the other hand, does not have a cap. You could be 99% responsible for causing the collision in Missouri and still be eligible for compensation. Minimizing your degree of fault can help you maximize your recovery award.
Unfortunately, biases against motorcyclists can lead to an insurance company reducing a settlement offer even without hard proof of your comparative fault. If an insurer inexplicably offers you a smaller sum than what you were anticipating, stigmas against you as a motorcyclist may be at play. Hire an attorney to look into your case. A lawyer may be able to force an insurance company to handle your claim more fairly, or else find the real reason the insurer offered a smaller award.
The Strength of the Negotiator
Questions of costs, values, injury severity and liability can all affect your motorcycle injury settlement in Kansas City. It can be possible to mitigate these factors and still achieve fair results, however, with a skilled negotiator in your corner. Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer who has experience handling these types of cases to represent you during an insurance claim could improve your chances of obtaining full compensation. If an insurance company refuses to offer what your lawyer believes is a reasonable settlement, he or she can take your claim to court.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit after a motorcycle accident could end in better compensation than an insurance company is willing to give you during settlement negotiations (here are some common ways insurance companies try to deny or devalue your claim). A lawsuit could repay you for intangible losses, for example, such as the physical pain and mental anguish that your serious injuries caused you and your loved ones. Discuss your case with a lawyer in Kansas City to find out if you could benefit from going to court.