Do I Need a Lawyer If I’ve Been Hurt in a Motorcycle Accident?
Riding a motorcycle is an appealing form of alternative transportation that may cut down on fuel costs and increase parking options in crowded cities like Atlanta. However, it can also be quite dangerous and lead to accidents that could be catastrophic.
If you are involved in a motorcycle collision, a personal injury attorney can be very helpful in getting you the compensation you deserve. But, the decision to hire a lawyer is ultimately up to you. That said, here are some important benefits to going with an attorney.
An Attorney Will Investigate and Strategize
It’s important to recognize that you are not entitled to compensation just because you were involved in an accident. Under Georgia law, you only have a valid claim if someone else acted “negligently.” This means that the person failed to drive as a reasonable person would have under the circumstances.
Note that negligence alone is not enough. You must also prove that a person’s careless driving actually caused your injuries. This requires evidence, often in the form of medical bills, witness testimony, and photographs.
With that in mind, a qualified personal injury attorney will thoroughly investigate your case to determine whether there was negligence. He or she will then gather the evidence listed above to prove your claim. This typically starts with listening to your recollection of the events and then reaching out to those that were present at the scene.
Having an attorney can be critical because sometimes these cases are not straightforward. For example, it can be difficult to sort out who should be held responsible if:
- There were multiple motorists involved
- A driver was working at the time
- There was a manufacturing defect in the vehicle, or
- The accident occurred in a construction zone.
Your motorcycle accident attorney will work hard to establish fault and causation so that you can get the money you need.
A Case Evaluation Will Ensure You Get the Compensation You Deserve
Once you establish that you have a valid claim, the next step is to determine how much you are entitled to receive in financial compensation. Keep in mind that these numbers are not always easy to calculate. First, there may be damages to your property, such as scratches or dents in your motorcycle, helmet or other gear. You might also have medical bills for injuries you sustained in the accident.
Note that when it comes to long-term medical issues, such as those requiring rehabilitation, it can be difficult to estimate how much this will cost. Further, if you are unable to work or can only do so in some diminished capacity, you are entitled to payment for your lost income and earnings. But, again, these numbers are not always easy to calculate.
There are also additional amounts that are “non-economic” in nature and even harder to place an exact dollar figure on. Examples are pain and suffering and punitive damages. Punitive damages apply in cases where a person acted either intentionally or was extremely reckless, such as a drunk driver. They are meant to punish the wrongdoer and are amounts above and beyond your ordinary damages.
Attorneys Have Negotiation Skills
Understanding all of the above forms compensation is important because an insurance company is probably not going to tell you that you’re entitled to those damages. Insurers are primarily interested in settling the case quickly and for the lowest amount possible.
That said, personal injury attorneys frequently work with insurance companies and know how to negotiate on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. Insurance representatives understand this fact and may be willing to take an attorney more seriously than someone without the same background and experience.
A Lawyer Will Prepare to Take Your Case to Trial
Now, not all accident cases result in a settlement. Sometimes these matters need to be taken to trial, which can be challenging and requires legal expertise. If this occurs, there will likely be:
- Initial filings
- Preliminary hearings
- Questioning of witnesses/introduction of evidence, and
- Opening/closing statements.
Bear in mind that trial preparation begins early. An attorney will know what records and evidence has to be gathered in order to build a successful lawsuit. The lawyer will also understand how to strategize to get certain evidence into the court record and how to examine witnesses in a way that helps the case.
Your Attorney Will Do the Hard Work While You Recover
Even for qualified attorneys, the court process is complex and can be time-consuming and demanding. If you are recovering from a motorcycle accident, representing yourself may add significant pressure to your life at a time when you are most vulnerable.
During this period, the most important thing is your health. If you’ve been seriously injured, your focus should be on rest and recovery. With that in mind, allowing an attorney to handle the legal process could be the best decision you make.