How Insurance Companies Treat Motorcycle Claims
You might find as an injured motorcyclist that an insurance company offers you much less than you believe your damages are worth, or that the insurer tries to allege your comparative fault for the collision. An insurance company might even deny your claim altogether based on preconceived notions of motorcycles. Due to these and other tactics, you need an attorney to combat these prejudices and improve your odds of securing compensation. Work with the experienced Phoenix motorcycle accident lawyers Begam Marks & Traulsen, P.A. for award-winning legal representation in Arizona.
Why Are Motorcycle Accident Insurance Claims Unique?
Motorcycle insurance claims often do not follow the same chain of events as other types of auto accident claims. This is because insurance companies tend to treat motorcycle accidents differently than standard car accidents. A negative stigma surrounds motorcyclists as high-speed, reckless, and dangerous operators. Insurance companies will often use this stigma to take advantage of motorcyclists during insurance claim negotiations.
To an insurance company, a high-speed motorbike equals high amounts of danger. The insurer therefore might use the “assumption of risk” defense as a way to limit or eliminate your financial recovery. Assumption of risk states that the plaintiff knowingly accepted certain risks of injury when he or she agreed to a certain activity – therefore limiting the defendant’s liability. In other words, an insurance company could try to shirk responsibility for a crash by stating that the motorcyclist knew the risks when he or she decided to ride such a vehicle.
Insurers might also try to bring the issue of helmet-wearing up as a defense. In Arizona, only motorcyclists under the age of 18 legally have to wear a helmet. All others are free to ride helmetless. Because it is not against the law not to wear a helmet, an insurance company generally cannot use your lack of helmet wearing against you during claims negotiation. Even if you’re seeking retribution for a head, brain, or facial injury and weren’t wearing a helmet, you were within your rights to do so.
Finally, an insurance company could try to drastically reduce your settlement award using a comparative fault defense. Arizona is a “pure comparative negligence” state, meaning the courts will reduce a plaintiff’s compensation by his/her percentage of fault for the accident. If you were 10% at fault for your accident and the settlement is for $100,000, for example, you would only receive $90,000. Asserting comparative fault is a tactic an insurance company might use to get away with paying you less for your damages.
How to Protect Your Rights During Insurance Settlement Negotiations
Insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. This is true in any personal injury insurance claim, but even more so in motorcycle accidents. Preconceived notions of motorcycles and biases against their riders can result in unfair, one-sided arbitration. Our attorneys can combat that with thorough documentation of your accident, as well as other tricks learned from decades of legal experience.
Retain one of our attorneys to represent you during motorcycle accident insurance negotiations. Only with an attorney speaking on your behalf can you rest assured you’re getting the best possible results for your claim. We’ll put decades of experience to good use for you, aggressively fighting for fair compensation every step of the way. We can even take your case to trial if that’s what it takes.
Employing proven arbitration tactics, gathering information and evidence, and reconstructing your crash are all strategies we can use to help build your case. We know exactly how to handle insurance companies and their claims adjusters in Phoenix, Arizona. We won’t back down until we’ve won. Call (602) 254-6071 or reach out online for your free consultation today. You’ll always speak to a lead personal injury attorney about your case, not to a paralegal or assistant.