The Insurance Companies Have Lawyers; You Should, Too
After a bad motorcycle accident in North Carolina, many injured people are still reeling from the shock and pain of the incident days, or even weeks, later. If you’ve been in a motorcycle wreck, you may be missing work, collecting medical debt, and unsure of what to do next. In this unfamiliar territory of insurance claims and accident law, you need help, guidance, and funds.
For decades, Brent Adams & Associates has been going head-to-head with insurance companies and their lawyers to secure accident victims’ rights. Our North Carolina motorcycle accident attorneys make insurance companies keep the promises their policies make. For years you’ve been paying into and supporting a system designed to protect and help the injured. Now it’s their turn to support you.
But if you accept less money than your claim is worth, that check will be the start of your problems – not the end. Failing to get all the money you will need now, could wind up being expensive later. If your injuries need medical attention in a year or two, a small settlement may not cover it. You could end up paying for treatment to accident injuries out of your own pocket.
If you or a loved one rides a motorcycle or was recently in a bike crash, contact us for a free case review. We can explain how the law applies to your specific situation and help you realize your claim’s true value.
In the meantime, here are some things to watch out for and tips on how to deal with the insurance companies.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Who Was At Fault?
This is very important since North Carolina has an at-fault insurance system. As a result, the at-fault party is responsible for paying injury victims for their accident-related expenses. In addition, North Carolina is one of four states that has a “pure contributory negligence” rule. This means that even if you were even 1 percent at fault for causing your motorcycle accident, you cannot recover any compensation.
With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder insurance companies search for evidence proving that their policy holder didn’t cause your motorcycle accident. That way, they can avoid paying you the money you rightfully deserve.
This is why you need an experienced North Carolina motorcycle accident attorney who understands how the state’s insurance system works and can deal directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
How Do Insurance Companies Calculate My Motorcycle Accident Claim?
Insurance companies play games when deciding how much your motorcycle injury claim is worth. Often, they only take into account short-term expenses when deciding how much money you should receive for your accident.
This is not correct. Your motorcycle accident claim should take into account all of your expenses, even if they occur years from now. For example, if you cannot work due to a permanent disability sustained in your motorcycle crash, you should get money for lost future income. And if you need ongoing medical care due to a serious injury, you should get money for that as well.
Can I Ask For More Money For My Motorcycle Accident?
If the at-fault driver’s insurance company makes a lowball settlement offer, you do not have to accept it. You can ask for more money to cover all your accident-related expenses. The problem is many insurance companies often refuse to offer more money.
When this happens, it’s our job as your North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyer to negotiate with them and demand the money you deserve. We take our job seriously and prepared to do what it takes to help you get the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
What If My Motorcycle Accident Claim Is Denied?
Sometimes, instead of making a lowball settlement offer, some insurance companies don’t make any offer at all. Instead, they deny legitimate injury claims for a wide range of reasons, leaving you with unpaid bills and mounting financial pressures due to your motorcycle crash.
You have several choices in such situations:
- Ask your lawyer to return to the negotiating table to ask the at-fault driver’s insurance company for more money.
- File a motorcycle accident lawsuit seeking damages in civil court.
Either way, our dedicated North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers can be there for you every step of the way.
Insurance Company And Motorcycle Accident Claims
Outlaw biker stereotype
After an accident, motorcycle riders often face an uphill battle when it comes to filing successful claims. Not only do you have to go through the normal steps of proving your injuries, investigating the case, and negotiating for a substantial settlement, you also must overcome anti-biker stigma.
It’s unfortunate, but there are people – including some insurance agents – who have bought into the “outlaw” biker stereotype you see on TV and the movies. They may assume a “dangerous” motorcycle enthusiast must be at least somewhat to blame for an accident.
Like all stereotypes, this one is ridiculous and unfair. In fact, bikers have a long track record of organizing charity runs to support their communities. Defusing this stigma is something that Brent Adams & Associates has had to do time and again. We are well-practiced at getting insurance adjusters to see past their own pre-held beliefs and get to the truth.
Insurance adjusters are taught to be friendly and kind when addressing accident victims.
This isn’t for your benefit.
They’re trying to establish trust between themselves and you. When people trust one another, they let their guard down and share information more readily. Adjusters are working this angle and listening for anything they can use to minimize or reject your claim. Don’t provide any more details about the accident, your health, or your personal life than beyond the obvious. Your lawyer can talk to the insurance companies and handle these questions for you.
Insurance adjusters often ask the same question phrased in diverse ways to trip you up. They are hoping that by hammering away at you, you will contradict yourself. For example, you might tell an adjuster the car hit you around 2 p.m. then, later in the conversation, say it occurred in late afternoon. A savvy insurance adjuster will notice the slight difference and use it to make you seem unreliable. A real accident claim can be ruined with just a few words.
Every time a claim is filed, an insurance adjuster, or their designee, investigates the accident.
When they come to you with questions, they may point out that the policy requires you to participate in their investigation. If you don’t, they may be able to deny your claim.
While this is usually true, it doesn’t mean that the insurance company is running the show. There is nothing wrong with telling an adjuster, “I am unavailable to answer that now, but I will get back to you soon.” Then, have your lawyer get back in touch with them for you.
A popular tactic among insurance companies trying to press you into accepting a lowball offer is to slow the process down to a crawl. Suddenly, it’s harder to contact the adjuster, documents need to be resent, responses are delayed for flimsy reasons. They are hoping that if they can drag out your claim long enough, you will give up and take their terrible offer.
“Lawyers are expensive”
Most motorcycle accident lawyers, including the lawyers at our firm, represent injured people on contingency. Some insurance agents like to twist this beneficial arrangement around to make it sound like you’re losing money. They may say that your attorney will “take” part of your settlement or verdict.
Here’s the truth: When our lawyers work on contingency, there is no retainer or hourly rate for you to pay for our services. Our fee is calculated into the final settlement or verdict and is paid for by the insurance companies – not you. Studies show that personal injury claimants who are represented by contingency fee lawyers net a much larger payout than claimants who do not have a lawyer, even after deducting a lawyer’s fees. Our fee is in addition to your compensation, but they are lumped together into one payout. If we don’t win, we don’t get paid.
Fighting For Your Rights Since 1973
Having a Brent Adams & Associates lawyer handle your insurance claim greatly improves your opportunity to get the maximum payout for your injuries. Studies have shown that people who hire lawyers often receive compensation that is 3.5 times more than people who don’t.
Brent Adams & Associates offers free case consultations to people injured in motorcycle accidents. We can help you understand the value of your claim and what you really need to make a full recovery and maintain your health for years to come.
Contact our firm now and take a strong step toward getting your life back on track today.