Questions to Consider Before Accepting a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Offer

Motorcycle Wreckage at a NM IntersectionAfter sustaining catastrophic injuries in a devastating motorcycle crash in Albuquerque, any amount of money from the at-fault driver will probably look good to you. You are worried about how you are going to pay your medical bills, make up for the wages you were unable to earn, and cover the cost of ongoing doctor visits, so when the insurance company for the other driver offers you a lump-sum settlement, you might be tempted to take the money and run.

However, it’s important to realize that your claim is probably worth more—maybe even much more—than an insurance company’s initial offer. Our experienced New Mexico motorcycle accident lawyer team encourages you to answer the following questions before agreeing to a settlement offer.

Is the Insurance Company Pressuring You to Settle Quickly?

This is a clear sign that the insurance company sees the claim's potential value and wants to avoid a big payoff. If they contact you immediately and dangle a decent-sized check in front of you, it’s probably because they know you have a legitimate claim for damages. By getting you to accept the check and sign a waiver of liability, they can save themselves a lot of money in the long run. This is particularly true when a motorcycle rider is a victim because there are often catastrophic injuries, and the claim can drag out for years. If you are being pressured to accept a settlement, call our personal injury attorney team as soon as possible.

Have You Finished Medical Treatment?

If you are contacted by the other driver’s insurance company right after the crash, it’s unlikely that you even understand the full extent of your injuries. Without having a full assessment of your current injuries, long-term prognosis, potential future surgeries, ongoing rehabilitation, and physical therapy, and your ability to continue to earn the wages you earned before the crash, you cannot possibly know what your claim is worth. We advise clients to wait until they have reached maximum medical improvement—meaning they have recovered from the crash as much as they are likely to recover—before entertaining a settlement offer.

How Strong Is the Evidence in Your Case?

In order to hold another driver accountable, you will have to prove that their actions caused the crash. The more evidence you have of their negligence—and the more convincing that evidence is—the more your claim is worth. You will also need medical evidence proving the extent of your injuries. Examples of strong evidence include:

  • A traffic citation was issued to the driver at the scene of the crash
  • An arrest for reckless driving or DUI arrest after your crash
  • A driving record that includes previous accidents and multiple moving violations
  • Witnesses at the scene who saw the driver’s negligent actions
  • Records of your medical evaluation and treatment starting the day of the crash

If you were seriously injured in the crash, it’s too much to expect you also to identify and gather evidence of negligence, but a personal injury attorney will do all of that—and much more.

Does the Other Driver Have the Resources to Pay Your Damages?

Most motorcycle crash claims are only worth as much as the at-fault driver is carrying in liability insurance. If the driver has no personal assets to speak of, and the insurer is offering you the maximum payout on the policy, you likely won’t be able to get any more money, even if you wait it out. However, while you may not be able to determine if there are other potential sources of compensation, your attorney will, and you can be sure that no stone will go unturned in finding the compensation you deserve.

What Is Your Lawyer Advising You to Do?

The key to maximizing the value of your claim is hiring an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to answer the above questions for you. Along with an early settlement offer, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will probably advise you not to hire your own lawyer. They will tell you that a lawyer will just skim off the top of the offer they are making. However, the truth is that a skilled personal injury lawyer can significantly increase the value of your claim so that, even with their fee, you are better off than you would be by accepting a low settlement offer.

Trust Keller & Keller to Fight for You

When we talk to a potential client in a free, no-obligation consultation, we ask these questions to determine the potential value of your claim. If we determine that we can’t help you get more than what the insurance company is offering, we will be upfront and honest about it, so you have nothing to lose.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller
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