This is the next post in our series on the handling of motorcycle accident cases in Fort Worth, Texas. Our last article discussed how Texas’ comparative fault statute impacts a motorcycle wreck. It is important to realize that a victim may be able to gain compensation for their injuries even if they were partially at fault for the accident. It is important to retain a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling such matters as the determination of fault can involve complex issues of fact. In this article we will discuss what one should expect while their lawyer is dealing with the defendant’s insurance adjusters. If you or a loved one have been injured then it is important to contact counsel immediately.
A motorcycle accident victim’s lawyer will immediately contact the defendant’s insurance carrier in order to inform them of the representation. The insurance company’s claims adjuster will then deal with counsel directly, as opposed to dealing with the victim. Counsel will then begin gathering evidence of the defendant’s liability. This evidence can include police reports, witness statements, photographs of the scene, etc. The victim will also sign a HIPPA release so that their lawyer may communicate with their treating physician and obtain their medical records. If the victim has suffered serious injuries, then it is possible that they may be undergoing treatment for some time. If this is the case, then counsel will notify the insurance adjusters of the lengthy treatment period. The case will then be in a “holding pattern” until the victim’s long-term prognosis can be ascertained.
Once the victim’s long-term prognosis is determined then their damages may be properly calculated (we will be discussing the calculation of damages in a later article), the a demand for payment will be sent to the insurance adjusters. This demand will include a breakdown of the compensation requested, the basis for the calculation, as well as evidence supporting the claims of liability and damages. Counsel will then negotiate back and forth with the adjuster. If a settlement cannot be reached then a lawsuit will be filed on the victim’s behalf.
One crucial point is that a victim may have to wait a substantial amount of time before the settlement demand can be sent. As stated above, the case involves serious injuries (such as spinal damage, brain trauma, etc.) then a long-term prognosis must be determined before damages can be calculated. Accepting a “quick” settlement can result in a victim not receiving the full amount to which they may be entitled. By retaining a Fort Worth motorcycle accident lawyer with substantial resources at their disposal, a victim can help to ensure that counsel takes their time and handles their case properly. This is why it is suggested that you retain a firm which employs multiple attorneys and is selective in the case which it takes.