Should I Settle My Motorcycle Injury Case in West Virginia?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence in West Virginia, the state allows you to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the carrier of the at-fault party’s auto liability insurance. If the insurance provider fails to pay the claim or offer a fair settlement in order to resolve the claim, it can be filed in court as a lawsuit, and you can seek your compensation through litigation. While around 95 percent of personal injury claims in the U.S. are resolved through settlement, how do you know if you should settle your motorcycle injury case?
Factors to Consider Regarding Settling a Motorcycle Injury Case
A settlement represents the willingness of both parties in a claim to negotiate an agreement where the at-fault party compensates the victim for the expenses and impacts of their injury by providing less than the value of the claim. In exchange for this compensation, the claimant agrees to release the provider and the at-fault party from any future claims. Here are some factors to consider if you have been offered a settlement for your motorcycle injury case.
Have You Spoken with An Attorney?
Insurance companies will often offer an early settlement shortly after an accident, when the victim of the accident likely has not had a chance to speak with an attorney about the matter. The amount of compensation offered seldom is adequate to fully cover the expenses and impacts of the injury, many of which have not even yet been realized. One of the actions an attorney will take before even beginning to discuss a settlement with an insurance provider is to establish a value to the claim.
The most accurate claim value is generally one that is not calculated until the injured person has achieved maximum medical improvement. What this means is that your doctor has determined that your injury is unlikely to make any additional improvement, even with continued treatment. The reason the attorney waits until this point to value your claim is that there is a clearer picture of the medical bills you will incur for treating the injury, as well as the ability to determine if there are permanent disabilities that will create the need for a higher amount of compensation to cover lost earning capacity and future medical treatments necessary to address complications of the injury.
Does the Settlement Fairly Compensate Your Injury?
At the very minimum, a settlement for your motorcycle injury in West Virginia should provide full compensation of:
- Your medical expenses
- Wage loss, as well as loss of future earning capacity resulting from permanent disabilities
- The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and gear
- The physical pain and suffering or emotional distress you incurred due to the injury.
The reason insurance companies like to make settlement offers to individuals without attorneys is that many of those individuals are unaware of how much their expenses are going to be, and they’re often distressed about the injury and its impact on their finances when the settlement is offered. Commonly, initial settlement offers are only a fraction of the claim’s value even if there is an attorney involved. In situations where the claimant has not yet had time to speak with an attorney, the initial offer can be even smaller.
If you have an attorney, however, they can provide guidance as to whether the settlement fairly compensates your injury as well as the ability to negotiate on your behalf and make counter-offers.
Are You Able to Wait For the Court Process to Conclude?
If you fail to accept a settlement and instead decide to seek compensation through a lawsuit, be aware that it can take considerably more time for you to obtain your compensation. Much of this is due to the burden of the courts and its impact on scheduling. However, litigation is also expensive, requiring the preparation of exhibits, the cost of obtaining expert testimony, deposing witnesses, and much more. While there is the opportunity for a higher level of compensation if the courts are left to decide the claim, there is also the risk of less than what was offered in settlement as well.
The Role of an Attorney in Your Decision
Your attorney cannot decide for you whether you accept an offered settlement. They can, however, value your claim and provide guidance as to how the claim is valued so that you have a better understanding of whether an offer is fair. If you feel that it is unfair, the attorney can provide information on what a good counter-offer would be. They can also provide information to help you decide if it’s time to file your claim in court.
We Can Help You Get a Fair Settlement For Your Motorcycle Injury
If you have been injured in a West Virginia motorcycle accident and wish to seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury, let us give you more information about the process and the services we can offer to help you obtain a fair settlement. Contact us for your free case review.