If you were injured in a Denver motorcycle accident, you need to educate yourself on the settlement process so you are prepared for what is to come and get the maximum compensation possible. In most cases, everyone involved in the accident has some incentive for wanting to avoid the fiscal and time demands of going to trial. That means it’s (usually) faster and less costly to take a settlement offer.
However, this is not always the best option for everyone. The bottom line is that our Denver Personal Injury Lawyers can guide you through this difficult time and help ensure that you get the most out of your motorcycle accident claim in Denver.
What Is the Average Motorcycle Settlement Amount in Denver?
There’s no set number for motorcycle accident settlements in Denver; that’s because the settlement amount you are entitled to seek really depends on how bad your injuries are. Aside from the severity of your injury, you could also consider the following factors to gauge a proper amount for your settlement value:
- What was the extent of property damage you sustained?
- What and how much medical treatment will you require?
- Has your ability to work been affected?
- Do you require assisted living due to your injuries?
- Did you sustain a traumatic brain injury or a catastrophic injury?
- Who is at fault for the accident?
Rather than taking random numbers at face value, you can get an accurate and realistic settlement value by having a skilled Denver motorcycle accident lawyer assess your case.
Accepting a Denver Motorcycle Accident Settlement Vs. Going to Trial
Almost every claimant gets pushback from the insurance company. Even if you are clearly suffering physical injuries and endured extensive property damages in a motorcycle accident, the insurance company will start very low with their offer to protect their assets.
It’s rare for the insurance company to agree with the degree of fault, how the accident may have happened, and the extent of damages you are claiming. As a result, for many people it is necessary to proceed to trial to get the fair amount they deserve. Once you go to trial, your attorney will present the facts of your case to the judge or jury who will decide on your award amount.
That said, a large majority of motorcycle injury claims in Denver are settled out of court. Only a small percentage of personal injury cases go all the way to trial because people don’t want to put the extra time, money, and risk into going to trial. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about what the best course of action is for your case; an experienced attorney who has successfully handled these types of cases can advise you on whether trial is the right option for you or not.
If you suffered minor injuries like cuts, bruises and scrapes, you may not need to go to trial. The thing about motorcycle accident injuries, however, is that victims seldom walk away with minor injuries since they don’t have a protective barrier shielding them or breaking their fall if they get struck by a car. If you are unsure about the full extent of your injuries, there usually is not a need to rush to trial. As long as you have a good attorney fighting for you, the insurance company will likely know who they are and take negotiations seriously, rather than trying to lowball you.
One last note about negotiations is that they may take longer than you expect. However, this just means your attorney is fighting to get you the best possible number for your settlement. Under most circumstances, attorneys can resolve settlement negotiations quicker than trial, but if you feel that you can’t get a fair offer through negotiations, you can pursue your case in court.
How Do I Start a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Denver, Colorado?
Motorcycle accidents can leave riders and passengers with severe or life-threatening injuries. From a legal standpoint, your case is what is known as a personal injury claim, wherein you are allowed to seek compensation for your injuries, property damage, and any other damages you suffered.
The first step of every Denver Personal injury and property damage claim is to contact the at-fault insurance company. Denver is an “at-fault” state, so the insurer for the party at fault is responsible for paying all of your accident damages. If you only sustained property damage to your motorcycle, you will need to file a property damage insurance claim, which is required by law for all motor vehicle owners, but not for all motorcyclists.
Denver Motorcycle Claims Adjusters
An insurance claims adjuster will be assigned to your case to review the details of your claim and make a decision regarding the details of your claim. Their job is basically to minimize liability and pay-out amounts for the insurance company. This is why you need a lawyer – to level the playing field. By getting early legal advice, you can avoid delaying your claim past the deadline and get a clear idea of the true value of your claim.
Can I Still Seek a Settlement if I Was at Fault for the Accident?
Yes. If you were partly at fault for causing a motorcycle accident wherein you sustained injuries, you can still make a claim for damage compensation.
Since Colorado operates under modified comparative fault laws (Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-111), any plaintiff who is partially at fault still has a right to recover damages for personal injury, as long as they are not more than 49% at fault. However, if the plaintiff is over 49% at fault (50% or more) they lose their eligibility to seek financial compensation for personal injury damages.
A Denver motorcycle accident attorney can help you get a better idea of your degree of fault and what factors determine your degree of fault. For instance, were you wearing a helmet at the time of the incident? If not, this could equate to partial fault on your part.
How Long Does It Typically Take to Reach a Motorcycle Accident Claim Settlement in Denver?
It will vary depending on your unique circumstances and how long it takes for all parties to execute their investigations, along with other factors. There is a lot of preliminary work that is required before proceeding to a motorcycle accident claim settlement, including gathering evidence and a clear interpretation of how the evidence supports your damage claim.
Note that you are not the only party who needs to gather evidence to support your case – the at-fault party also needs to gather evidence to support their defense. This can affect the timeline of your personal injury claim. In any case, you never want to settle for a claim unless you are sure that it will fairly and adequately cover all of your damages, which includes future medical care you need for accident-related injuries.
Once you accept a settlement, you can no longer get compensation for any expenses that come up as a result of the accident. So if you accept a settlement offer and later have additional medical care needs, you can’t reo-open the case to seek additional damage compensation. This is why it’s essential to have a lawyer who can assess all of your damages and be sure all your bases are covered before you settle.
Determining the Value of Property Damage Claims in a Dever Motorcycle Accident
Once you establish fault, the next step is to file a claim to reimburse you for all the losses you incurred, including property damage.there are several ways to determine the value of property damage you can realistically seek to recuperate. Those include third party professional evaluations and current market value of the motorcycle.
Many times the insurance company will want a third party professional to give an objective estimate before an adjuster does their inspection. You can also use resources like Kelley’s Blue Book, NADA, or other local retailers to get an idea of the current market value of your motorcycle.
If the market value of your motorcycle is less than the amount of the repair costs, the insurance company will offer you whatever is less.
You Need to Assess Property Damage Unrelated To the Accident
We often see disputes arise due to property damage claims that may have already existed and thus been unrelated to the accident. Let’s say your motorcycle already had damage that was unlikely to have been caused by the accident (such as rusting). The insurance company will not pay for those types of damages, especially if an adjuster deems any damages to be unrelated to the accident.
If you have recent pictures of your motorcycle that show its condition before the accident, those can be helpful evidence to give you an upper hand connecting the accident to the damages. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the better odds you have of negotiating a fair settlement to compensate you accordingly.
The discussion about property damages usually happens right after the insurance adjuster finishes their investigation. If you have Collision coverage in your policy, you can file through your own insurance policy. However, if you need to seek payment from the at fault party, you won’t file a claim with your own insurer.
How Do I Know When to Accept a Settlement Offer?
You need to ask yourself two critical questions when considering whether or not you should accept a settlement. First, consider the likelihood of your case winning at trial. Is your claim and the supporting evidence strong enough that a judge or jury will side with you in court? Then, ask your attorney how much you can realistically expect to win if you go to court. If your odds are not likely or the amount you would win in court is not sígnificantly greater than the settlement offer, it may not be worth your time to go to court.
The Potential Advantages of Accepting a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Offer
If it isn’t necessary to go to trial, you can still get a fair amount of compensation as long as you have a skilled attorney negotiating on your behalf. Rather than going to court, an alternative would be reaching an out-of-court settlement agreement between you and the at-fault party.
When you accept the insurance company’s settlement offer, you are guaranteed to receive that money. Contrarily, if you go to trial there is a risk of not winning anything at all, but that usually doesn’t happen because your attorney will ensure that you have a strong case before going to court. Even so, you are subject to receive only the amount that the judge or jury awards you, which could be more or less than the settlement offer. So there’s always a slight risk associated with going to trial.
If you end up winning a verdict that exceeds their policy limits you will need to retrieve the differential amount through a collections procedure. This procedure is not always guaranteed to give you money, so another upside to accepting a settlement is the guarantee of payment.
Accepting a settlement offer also requires less financial resources. Going to trial is not only time consuming, but it’s also costly for all parties involved. In addition to waiting for a trial date, there are trial-related expenses that need to be accounted for.
As the saying goes, time is money, and going to trial takes more time. You may have to wait several months or longer to get a trial date. On top of that, you have to think about the cost of paying witnesses and other experts who will testify for court, and any other expenses related to court.
Lastly, accepting a settlement can be more convenient than going to trial, for all parties involved. For example, if you walk away with a generous payout amount and the insurance company gets to pay you a structured settlement, that’s a win-win for everyone.
How Do I Know if I’ve Received a Fair Settlement Offer?
To assess whether you’re getting a fair settlement offer from the insurance company, consider whether or not it will cover all of the following (if not, it’s probably not a fair value to compensate you for all your losses).
- All medical expenses related to the motorcycle accident (including future medical bills that can be anticipated based on your injury). Motorcycle accident victims usually end up with severe or catastrophic injuries that may require long-term treatment and on-going care. This is why it’s crucial to understand the full extent of your injury and what medical services and equipment you require in the future before accepting an offer.
- Coverage for all income you lost due to missed work while recovering, including diminished earning capacity or decreased earning potential
- Pain and suffering damages (e.g., emotional distress, mental anguish, and other psychological conditions that were a direct result of the accident such as PTSD)
Contact a Knowledgeable Denver Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
Insurance companies are not always on your side and that’s why you need a compassionate and committed attorney who will fight for your rights. With our skilled Denver motorcycle accident lawyers on your side, you have an upper hand. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you get the best possible settlement offer.
Reach out to us today for a free initial consultation.