Car and motorcycle accidents can be both physically and financially devastating. While we cannot repair the damage that has been done to your body, we can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
To make a successful car accident claim the other driver must be at-fault. If you know the other driver was negligent and you were following the rules of the road, then you may have a strong case.
If you have been injured in a car or motorbike accident then you’ll need help protecting your rights. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to do everything it can to pay you as little as possible.
WHO SHOULD SUE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
If you have very minor injuries you might not need to sue. In minor injury cases insurance companies often offer compensation sufficient to meet your expenses without complaint.
If you have severe, devastating injuries that could keep you from working, have disfigured you, are likely to cause chronic, lifelong pain or impact your ability to ambulate then you absolutely need to be considering a lawsuit early. You should reach out to a personal injury lawyer just as quickly as you can.
The reason is simple. The more expensive your case, the more incentive insurance companies have not to pay the claim. The more expensive the case, the more you need them to do so.
These monies cover medical bills that Medicaid doesn’t cover. They cover your lost wages. If you can’t work anymore, this money can help you replace your lost income.
HOW SOON SHOULD YOU CALL A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER?
There are a lot of myths about when it’s right to call a personal injury lawyer. For example, some people believe you have to wait until you’ve reached maximum medical improvement before you even put in the call.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality you can call the day of the accident, and should.
It is true that your lawyer will be unable to start the negotiation process until maximum medical improvement is reached. That will tell us what your final tally of medical bills looks like, which gives us a starting point for negotiations. It also tells us what your future care needs are likely to look like. Since we want your settlement to cover as much as possible we need the full, complete picture.
Remember, too, that you have just two years from the date of your accident to file. Convincing people to wait too long and dragging out the process is in fact a common insurance company trick.
WHAT IS THE AVERAGE PAYOUT FOR A CAR OR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT?
There is no such thing as an average payout, though motorcycle accident claims tend to be larger than car accident claims. This is because motorcycle accident injuries tend to be more catastrophic.
Every personal injury settlement covers your economic damages. This is the sum total of your medical bills, lost wages, and long-term care bills. If your injuries are severe enough to make it impossible for you to work then you may receive a loss of earning capacity payout as well.
Your settlement will also include a pain and suffering award. In Alberta, this is capped at $370,000, which is reserved for some of the most serious and life-threatening injuries. You need a lawyer who is an excellent negotiator to maximize a pain and suffering award.
Ultimately, the goal is to ensure your needs are met when the case is done. The specific dollar amount will therefore be unique to every case.
WHY DO YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED INJURY LAWYER FOR AN ALBERTA MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT CLAIM CASE?
You may have heard before that it’s important to hire lawyers who have extensive experience in motorcycle accident cases. This is absolutely true. Riders face special challenges when they try to pursue their claims.
Car accidents are the most basic type of personal injury case, and they’re often straightforward. If the lawyer can prove the other driver was mostly at-fault, provide evidence of financial loss, and draw a clear line between the accident and the loss then that lawyer can generally get a plaintiff paid.
Motorcycle accidents can be a little different, especially in Alberta.
One reason is that Alberta is a comparative negligence province. This means both drivers get assigned a percentage of fault. Whatever percentage of fault gets assigned to the plaintiff reduces the settlement amount by the same percentage. So if you are found 10% at fault for your accident and win $100,000, then the other driver’s insurance company will ultimately only be writing a check for $90,000.
Riders face severe stigma, and often both insurance companies and jurors are willing to assign them a much higher percentage of fault simply because they were on a motorcycle at the time of the accident. Being a rider is seen as being, in and of itself, a reckless, contributory act.
Obviously this isn’t very fair, but nevertheless, it’s a challenge your lawyer will have to overcome. Defendant insurance companies are going to be all-too-happy to lean into this stigma, as a motorcycle accident case tends to cost them a lot more than your average passenger vehicle case. This knowledge sometimes makes them less prone to negotiation as well.
Finally, there’s the fact that the defendant insurance company usually has a significant head start on preparing their case. Riders are often unconscious after the accident. They’re not in a position to take photographs, interview witnesses, or even take insurance information. This means riders need lawyers who are skilled at reconstructing the facts of a case even when they don’t have everything they need.
How Does Your Lawyer Prove Who Was At-Fault for the Accident?
The determination of fault can make hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of difference.
In Alberta, fault is expressed as a series of percentages. The “at-fault” driver is the one who is more than 51% at fault, but these percentages can be split up any way: 70/30, 60/30, 80/20. Much will depend on the facts of the case and your lawyer’s ability to negotiate on your behalf.
Your settlement will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault gets assigned. Even one percentage point can make a difference. Make sure you have a lawyer who can put your case in the best light.
How to Avoid Costly Mistakes
The other driver’s insurance company will try to contact you soon after the accident. When they do, they’re going to try to pressure you into making statements which will weaken your case.
They may also try to get you to sign statements which can keep you from pursuing your case in the future.
Avoid this problem by retaining a personal injury lawyer as soon as you’re medically capable of doing so. Your first priority should be receiving medical care, but your second priority should be getting a personal injury lawyer.
We will file the claim on your behalf and deal with the insurance company directly. This will save you time and hassle. In the meantime, we will work with you to gather the evidence you’ll need to make your strongest case for maximum compensation.
Remember, we work on contingency. That means you don’t have to come up with any money out-of-pocket. We get paid when you get paid. Don’t worry—you’ll still come out ahead. Typically, our clients walk away with ten times as much money as they’d have gotten on their own.
Why Merchant Law?
The car and motorcycle accident injury lawyers at Merchant Law have a long track record of helping Cochrane residents with their motorcycle accident claims. We have gotten outstanding results for most of our clients, and will fight hard for you, too.
How do you know you have a case? Just call (403) 225-7777 to schedule your no-obligation case review today.