It is every rider's responsibility to make sure the bike is safe to ride. Every rider should have a trusted mechanic perform regular maintenance on the motorcycle to ensure that it is in sound working condition.
Motorcycle accident victims need to properly document the scene and the condition of the motorcycle following an accident. Photographing all of the damage to the motorcycle including scrapes, paint scratches, bent pegs or wheels, and broken shocks, will help provide visual evidence in later negotiations or litigation. Complete documentation is the best way to help ensure full recovery of repair or replacement costs.
After an accident, you should take your motorcycle to a trusted mechanic to determine if the bike can be salvaged. The insurance company may provide the name of a shop with which it contracts, but in most cases, the claimant is not required to use the insurance company's recommended repair facility.
If you don't have a regular mechanic, you can contact the dealer where you originally purchased the motorcycle. Ask a representative in the sales, parts, or service department about the dealer’s ability to perform cosmetic or mechanical repairs on your motorcycle.
If the bike has been customized, in order to receive the most accurate estimate for restoration to the original condition, it is advisable to take it to the shop that performed the custom work.
Some motorcycle repair shops charge a daily storage fee. Before delivering the motorcycle to the repair shop, verify the shop storage policy. Beware that repair delays could result in extended storage and enormous storage fees.
After the motorcycle has been thoroughly examined at the repair facility, you should discuss the extent of the necessary repairs and obtain an estimate from the repair facility. Generally, the estimate is based upon the cost of parts and the amount of time it takes to repair or replace parts based upon the shop labor rate. If the motorcycle has damaged aftermarket parts, the estimate may not reflect the necessary replacement cost. For questions concerning coverage of aftermarket custom motorcycle parts, contact your motorcycle insurance provider.
Once you have the final estimate, send it to the insurance company to review. The insurer will contact the motorcycle repair shop to verify the accuracy of the estimate and hopefully approve it. Make sure that the motorcycle insurance company and the motorcycle repair shop have instructions to notify you of any changes to the agreed estimate, such as the use of inferior parts or the decision not to replace certain parts.
Once the repairs are finished, the insurance company will forward payment to the shop, and the motorcycle will be ready to pick up. Make sure you carefully inspect the bike, checking for any scratches or blemishes that have been overlooked. Take the bike for a test ride to ensure that it performs satisfactorily. If there are any problems with the repairs, such as performance and handling, don't hesitate to return the bike to the shop to have them corrected.
When either the cost of repairs to the motorcycle is beyond a certain percentage of its appraised value or damage to the motorcycle is beyond repair, the insurance appraiser will determine the value of the bike. You need not necessarily succumb to the insurance company offer. You can use sources such as Cycle Trader; and newspaper classifieds to find listings of the same model of motorcycle and identify bikes with features similar to yours. This will help establish the “fair market value” of your damaged bike. Since each motorcycle insurance company policy differs, if you have questions about buying back your “totaled” motorcycle, as well as methods used to determine motorcycle replacement values, contact your insurance company. If the insurance company takes what you believe to be an unreasonable position, contact the Law Tigers for help.
If your motorcycle is a vintage model, you should have it appraised by a specialist. Start with a shop that specializes in the sale or repair of vintage bikes, but keep in mind the issue of availability. If the repair or replacement motorcycle is difficult to obtain, or the bike needs to be shipped for repair, the insurance company should be responsible for paying the additional ancillary costs. If the insurance company resists paying these costs, your Law Tigers attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
After the replacement price has been agreed upon, you may also be entitled to compensation for taxes, license fees, and the cost of custom modifications or equipment. If you add these expenses to the replacement cost, you can expect the insurance company to counter with a lower amount. If you have done your research and can demonstrate the validity of your estimates, in many cases, you will be able to recover the total fair market value of your motorcycle.
Though insurance companies typically do not volunteer this information, you may be entitled to compensation for the loss of use of your motorcycle throughout the repair or replacement process. This compensation can be in the form of cash or reimbursement for the cost of a rental vehicle.
A Law Tigers motorcycle accident lawyer can review the details of your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact the Law Tigers to learn more about our services, including our free Biker Benefit Card.