Motorcycle Accident Settlements in Arkansas: Everything You Need to Know
The majority of motorcycle accidents are catastrophic and life-changing. Since motorcycles lack many protective features, bikers often suffer more serious injuries, even in accidents that occur at relatively low speeds. These injuries can result in a lifetime of pain, suffering, and disability.
If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, you are not alone. In 2016, 88,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries in accidents across the United States. Many of these injury accidents are the result of other drivers on the road.
When another driver causes your motorcycle accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries and for the damages you suffered. However, reaching a fair settlement is not easy. For this reason, injured Arkansas motorcyclists need a law firm on their side from the very start.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Arkansas motorcycle accident attorneys are skilled negotiators and litigators who can hold negligent parties accountable.
A motorcycle settlement is an agreement between the injured motorcyclist and the “at-fault” insurance company. This agreement resolves the dispute and releases the responsible party from any further liabilities. In turn, the injured party receives a set amount of money to compensate them for their expenses and losses, as well as the pain and suffering they endured.
To reach a settlement, both parties must go through the motorcycle accident settlement process. Going through this legal process is significantly easier with an attorney on your side.
- Filing a claim with the insurance company
- Pre-suit investigations and case building
- Initial settlement offer
- Counteroffers and negotiations
- Settlement agreement
As a motorcyclist in Arkansas, you must notify your insurance company of any accident you are involved in. Your next step is to contact the insurer of the party responsible for your accident and begin the claims process. Most motorcycle accident claims involve seeking compensation for both personal injury and property damage.
Claims adjusters will then investigate the accident to determine how much compensation they believe you will require. Their goal is to limit the amount they pay injured motorcyclists. To do this, they may claim that you were partly to blame. They may also try to reduce the severity of your injuries or offer you a lowball offer. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can protect your rights to full compensation throughout the legal process.
Even if you believe that you contributed to the motorcycle accident, you can still file a claim and reach a settlement. Arkansas is a modified comparative negligence state. As such, if you are less than 49% responsible for the motorcycle accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries and damages. However, your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, if the court finds that you were speeding at the time of the motorcycle crash, they may find that you are 10 percent responsible for the accident. If you receive a settlement of $10,000, your award will be reduced by $1,000 (or 10%).
Your motorcycle accident attorney will begin by investigating your accident and determining the true extent of your injuries. To do this, they may involve medical experts, forensic specialists, and accident reconstruction teams. When they decide how much compensation you deserve, they will begin the settlement discussions.
Settlement negotiations usually begin when your lawyer sends a demand letter to the insurance company. The letter is typically sent to the “at-fault” motorist’s insurance company. This demand letter typically includes the amount of compensation you would like to receive and the evidence required to support this claim.
The insurance company will then review the demand letter and decide whether to accept this claim, reject it, or make a counteroffer. Most insurance companies will make a counteroffer to your claim and offer you an alternative settlement number. It will be up to you to determine which settlement offer to accept. However, your motorcycle accident attorney will be there to advise you of your options and help you choose the best offer.
It can take months or even years to reach a motorcycle accident settlement. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the accident details, your attorney may need to make several offers and counteroffers before reaching a fair settlement.
The accident settlement process is influenced and affected by several factors:
- Severity of injuries
- Degree of responsibility and liability
- Multiple parties involved
- Evidence gathered and strength of the case
- Long-term disabilities or impairment
- Legal counsel and power of negotiating experience
- How quickly you are willing to settle
- The insurance policy
Insurance companies will look to reduce their payouts as much as possible. They may question your injuries, the policy limits, and the liability of all parties. During this process, your motorcycle accident attorney will work tirelessly to protect your rights at every turn.
Every motorcycle accident case is different. As such, the amount of your settlement will vary widely. A reasonable settlement will consider all the factors of your case and seek to compensate you for:
- Medical expenses
- Long-term care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost quality of life
- Property damage
In some cases, there may be punitive damages available, depending on your case.
In general, motorcycle accident settlements can range from several thousand dollars to millions. Soft tissue injuries will settle for significantly less than catastrophic injuries, such as brain injuries.
To better predict how much your accident settlement is worth, it is important to contact an experienced and skilled motorcycle accident lawyer.
After a motorcycle accident in Arkansas, you will need to get your bike repaired or replaced. Most insurers will want to have their adjusters inspect the damage and get estimates from third-party professionals. Unlike personal injury claims, this can be done relatively quickly. Third-party mechanics, as well as sites like KBB, can determine the value of your motorcycle and what
Sometimes, the motorcycle damage is so excessive that repairing it would cost more than replacing the bike itself. In this case, the insurance company will say that your bike is totaled. If your bike is totaled, the insurance company will offer you the value of the motorcycle.
In addition to the value of the motorcycle, you may also have other property damage to claim. This may include pricey aftermarket parts, electronic equipment, or motorcycle accident gear. Insurance companies may not want to consider the value of replacing these items, but they can add up quickly.
A big question most injured motorcyclists have is, “should I accept the settlement or not?” Your attorney will help you evaluate the settlement offer and determine the best choice for you. However, in general, your attorney will want to know whether you have a good chance of winning if the case goes to trial and how much the jury might award you.
In general, it might be a bad idea to settle if:
- Long-term expenses or complications are not factored into the settlement amount
- Property damage claims don’t cover all your losses
- Your injuries haven’t reached maximum medical improvement or recovery
- Your lawyer believes you can get more money by going to trial
Call Our Arkansas Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today!
Motorcycle accidents are often complex and life-changing. You need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side that can handle these cases and help you achieve maximum compensation. At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, we have what it takes to win, and we would love the chance to show you what we can do!
With seven offices in Arkansas and Tennessee—Little Rock, Springdale, Conway, Hot Springs, Jacksonville, Bryant, and Memphis —our motorcycle accident lawyers are easily accessible from the moment you need us.