Getting fair compensation for any auto accident can be challenging. It may be especially difficult if you are involved in a motorcycle accident. As a rider, you have the full protection of the law and the right to fair compensation. However, motorcyclists continue to face an uphill battle to be fully compensated when they’re hurt.
When the insurance company offers a low settlement offer, you need to know how to respond. The steps that you take can increase your chances of getting a fair settlement and resolving your claim quickly. Our motorcycle accident lawyers want you to know what to do next.
Responding to a low settlement offer for motorcycle accident lawsuits
When responding to a low settlement offer as a motorcyclist, remember and follow these steps:
1. Know that it’s not over
A low settlement offer is just that – an offer. It’s not the end of the story. Take a deep breath and remember that you can continue to pursue your lawsuit.
In fact, there are multiple avenues for you to continue your pursuit of fair compensation. Insurance appeals, a demand letter and a formal legal claim are all options. Once you learn more about the options, you can choose the best path to respond to the low settlement offer.
2. Review why the offer is low
An important step in responding to a low settlement offer is understanding the reasoning for the offer. Review the information from the insurance company and try to follow their logic. Then, examine the reason that they gave, including:
- What are the policy limits?
- Was there a dispute about fault?
- Is there a lack of coverage based on the policy terms?
- Did they bring up pre-existing conditions?
- Is your medical documentation incomplete?
- Did the claim fail to ask for types of compensation that you may deserve?
Once you understand the reason that the insurance company gives for why the offer is as low as it is, you can go about responding. You may be able to point out where they are wrong about their interpretation of the policy. It may be possible to provide more evidence to document your losses. Responding directly to their reasoning and logic can help you provide the right information to improve the offer.
3. Save records and keep a diary
As you continue to negotiate your insurance claim settlement, keep records as you go. Document every interaction with the insurance company. Knowing what has happened and who you have spoken to is important in working towards a fair settlement offer.
The insurance company has a fiduciary duty to act in good faith and fairly settle claims that are covered. If a low offer meets the criteria for bad faith, there may be additional remedies available to you under Pennsylvania bad faith laws. Keeping a record of all contact with the insurance company can show how they handled your claim.
4. Learn about common issues in motorcycle accident claims
There are a few tactics that insurance companies use to make lowball offers for motorcycle accident lawsuits. Learning about these tactics and the law that refutes them can help your case.
Motorcycle helmet laws
Pennsylvania motorcycle helmet laws allow some riders to go without a helmet. They be over the age of 21 and either have two years of riding experience or completed an approved motorcycle safety course. When a person meets the criteria to ride without a helmet, they are within their legal right to do so, just like a person in a car can drive without a helmet.
If the insurance company tries to claim that you are at fault for the accident because of failing to wear a helmet, be skeptical. It is unlikely that you failing to wear a helmet contributed to the fact that the crash occurred. Pennsylvania has a law that prohibits the other party from using failure to wear a seat belt against someone in a civil suit, and other states have ruled that there is no duty to mitigate damages before the occurrence of an accident. (Halvorson v. Voeller, 336 N.W.2d 118 (1983).)
A lot of people assume that they can hold it against the motorcyclist that they chose not to wear a helmet. However, you can fight back against unfair allegations. Our lawyers can help you respond to issues of helmet use if they arise in a motorcycle accident claim.
5. Bias towards motorcyclists
As a motorcyclist, you have the same right to compensation as any other person on the roads. You deserve fair compensation for your damages, whatever they are. There is no reduction because someone is on a motorcycle at the time of an accident.
The insurance company may make a low settlement offer because of bias against motorcyclists or an assumption of recklessness. Know that you have the right to full protection under Pennsylvania law and fair treatment like all other motorists.
6. Take the next steps
After you have fully evaluated the low motorcycle lawsuit offer, you’re ready to take the next steps. It may be appropriate to respond to the insurance company with a counteroffer. Alternatively, a more formal demand letter may be appropriate.
The insurance company likely has a system for internal appeals. With an internal appeal, someone looks at the claim with fresh eyes, and you can respond to the issues that the insurance company raised when they made the low offer. An experienced lawyer for car accidents can help you determine which step to take next.
If you are unable to resolve the case by responding to the insurance company directly, you may file your claim in court. With a formal legal claim, you present your case to a neutral third party. While the claim is pending, you may continue to pursue ways to resolve the claim by settlement.
Lawyers for responding to a low settlement offer for motorcycle lawsuit
Our law firm is 100% focused on guiding you and your loved one through challenges. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, we can help you respond to a settlement offer that is too low. Contact us to talk to our Bloomsburg car accident lawyers about your case.