According to the landmark Hurt Report, dangerous left turns account for a third of the motorcycle accidents in the United States. Usually, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) is making an unprotected left turn against traffic. The tortfeasor doesn’t see an approaching motorcycle, perhaps because it’s in the midst of pickups, SUVs, and other large vehicles. Then, the tortfeasor turns left, crossing directly into the rider’s path.
In the movies, stuntmen usually get up unhurt after such collisions. But in the real world, these crashes often cause serious or fatal injuries. A Columbus motorcycle accident lawyer does more than obtain the financial compensation these victims need and deserve. A lawyer also holds tortfeasors accountable for the mistakes they make. Ohio would be a much better place to live if we all faced the music after we made mistakes.
Building a Case
Compensation and justice are available if a Columbus personal injury lawyer proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Evidence in a personal injury case usually includes the police accident report, medical bills, and witness statements. The Big Three is always a good start. In fact, these three kinds of evidence are often sufficient to obtain maximum compensation. But that’s not always the case.
The police accident report is a good example. Many left-turn wrecks happen on side streets, and the victim often doesn’t survive. For these reasons, the police accident report is often incomplete and inaccurate.
Side street collisions are usually single-agency investigations. A single emergency responder prepares a report, often as an afterthought. The police report is much more reliable if multiple agencies with large resources contribute to the report.
Furthermore, if the victim died, the report only contains one side of the story. Almost invariably, the tortfeasor’s side of the story is that “s/he came out of nowhere and I couldn’t avoid a collision.”
Electronic evidence, like surveillance camera footage, often fills in the gaps. At least one camera covers almost every intersection in Columbus. And, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. When jurors see the crash for themselves on a high-definition video screen, they often award maximum compensation.
Resolving a Case
Over 90 percent of motorcycle crash claims, and other accident claims, settle out of court. Meaningful settlement negotiations usually begin once medical treatment is at least substantially complete. At that point, a Columbus personal injury attorney can accurately set the settlement value.
The settlement value, much like a new car’s sticker price, is the starting point for financial negotiations. Attorneys must consider many things when they set a settlement value, such as:
Medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages,
Injury recovery time,
Intensity of physical therapy,
Legal issues in the case (e.g. does the insurance company have a legal defense), and
The victim’s motivation to settle quickly.
Sometimes, informal negotiations resolve cases. That’s especially true if issues like liability and damages are relatively clear.
Generally, however, a third-party mediator must get involved. These professionals know how to bring two sides together. In fact, mediators are so good at their jobs that civil mediation in Franklin County is about 90 percent successful.
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