Have you recently been involved in a motorcycle accident? Probably with a car or truck? Was it the other driver’s fault?
In 80% of motorcycle accidents, it is the vehicle, not the bike, that is the cause of the collision. This can be a devastating reality for riders, with less protection and less visibility than the bigger vehicles. And in the aftermath of the chaos, it can be overwhelming to navigate insurance companies, medical bills, and repairs to your motorcycle, along with all the other demands of your daily life.
Then, the other driver’s insurance company offers to pay you a certain amount to ‘cover your costs’. Maybe it’s more than your expenses. Maybe it’s not. But it’s definitely better than nothing, and you begin to wonder:
Should you accept the money?
The short answer is no, do not accept a side offer from an insurance company. And definitely not without speaking to a lawyer. Here’s why:
If you choose to accept the check, it is likely that the money comes with an agreement that you are releasing the other driver from all liability for the accident. You may have to sign a release in order to receive the money. Or, the check may arrive with a notation on the back, stating that your signature is your agreement to release the other driver from past, present, or future liability for your injuries. Depending on the details of the accident, that is a big deal.
The problem with a quick settlement
With an offer like this, the other driver’s insurance company is trying to take advantage of your immediate need for cash and minimize their own losses by offering you a “quick settlement”. The main problem with this is that there is no one on that side of the company who is looking out for your best interests. Insurance companies are not in the business of awarding fair settlements. Their sole purpose is to get away with giving you the very least they can, regardless of the extent of your damages.
And with an accident like this, it is likely that it will take weeks or months or longer before you know the full extent of your injuries. Maybe you’ll have recurring problems connected to those injuries. Perhaps you’ll have to take time off of work–have you even returned to work yet?
You may have received some of your medical bills, but there could be fees for this service and that on their way to you in the mail, not to mention what will come up if your injuries turn out to be more extensive.
At this point in time, there are far too many unknowns in your case for it to make sense to settle now. Instead, consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases–even better if he or she rides, too. Find someone to advocate for you, before settling for anything less than what you deserve and need.]]>