2013 Settlement of Motorcycle Accident
Our client was traveling on a two-lane road near Bangor on his Harley-Davidson with his wife on a pleasant afternoon day in the Fall. As he came around a bend, he saw a car approaching from the other direction. As he approached the car, it suddenly turned in front of him toward a side road. Our client applied the brakes and ended up having to lay the Harley on its side. The motorcycle slid for a distance and collided with the back end of the defendant’s car. Our client was thrown over the back of the car and landed on his back, suffering serious spinal injuries. Fortunately his wife escaped major harm.
The defendant claimed that she felt she had sufficient room to make the turn and that our client was speeding. To respond to this claim, we hired an expert on accidents to determine the speed of our client’s motorcycle when he first applied his brakes. It was fortunate in that case that our client retained our firm within a month of the accident because the skid marks from his motorcycle were still visible. (It would have been better to have been contacted earlier because some of the scrape marks when the motorcycle was on its side were difficult to see, calling into question some of our expert’s conclusions.) It was also fortunate that we were able to have the motorcycle inspected before repairs were performed because we were able to establish that there were no mechanical defects.
Our expert’s careful analysis of the accident scene enabled him to provide an opinion that our client was, in fact, not speeding when he noticed the vehicle turning in front of him. This evidence turned out to be very important in persuading the insurance company to reverse its initial position that our client was primarily at fault and be willing to settle the case for considerably more than an amount we had determined would be fair and reasonable.
This case presents yet another example of why it is important to at least consult an attorney promptly when you are in a serious accident. Many people who are involved in a serious accident are dealing with medical treatment, paying medical bills, etc. and are not focusing on what needs to happen to protect their interests in the event that, as in this case, there is a dispute over who was at fault for the accident. Our client had no idea that the insurance company was going to claim that he was speeding and that he—and not the driver that cut in front of him—was at fault. Insurance company adjusters will frequently string an accident victim along with promises to pay for lost income and medical bills, hoping that the accident victim will not consult with a lawyer specializing in personal injury law and knowing full-well that the longer time passes, the more likely it will be that critical evidence that the accident victim will need to prove his or her case will be lost.