While more people are riding motorcycles now than ever, the National Safety Council reports that these drivers are disproportionately represented in collisions resulting in injury or death. Ideally, motorcycle accident victims or their families can anticipate total compensation for the economic and non-economic losses caused by their collision after filing their motorcycle injury claim. However, before their case makes it to that point, they will be presented with various costs and fees associated with taking their case to court.
The following guide to the cost of filing a motorcycle accident lawsuit is approximate and may vary from state to state. However, an awareness of these potential financial obligations can help injured bikers and their attorneys’ budgets accordingly.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?
Whether or not to seek legal representation is one of the first decisions victims must make following a severe motorcycle accident. Does filing a motorcycle injury lawsuit require the services of a skilled attorney? What are the major benefits of seeking representation? How will the representation of an attorney affect the success of your injury claim and eventual settlement?
A motorcycle accident attorney can help you seek justice and fair compensation for your accident injuries. They will protect your best interests through every step of your motorcycle accident lawsuit. To win your motorcycle injury case, you will need to hire an attorney with expertise in motorcycle injury law and prior experience representing injured bikers like you. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you are more likely to get full compensation for your injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Costs: What to Expect
Pursuing compensation for your injuries may come with hidden costs. While your motorcycle injury attorney may initially cover the following costs, they expect to be reimbursed at the end of the lawsuit. Victims must be aware of the financial obligations of filing their motorcycle accident lawsuit in order to budget accordingly.
First and foremost, you will need to account for your motorcycle injury attorney’s compensation. Hiring a qualified professional to protect your best interests is a necessary expenditure if you intend to receive any compensation for your injuries. Generally, motorcycle accident attorneys operate using contingent-fee contracts. Under a contingent-fee contract, attorneys are compensated from your final settlement. When you sign a contract with an attorney, review what percentage they will take from your final settlement. The compensation due to your attorney is separate from the other fees they may have initially paid on your behalf (such as the examples below). In some cases, however, motorcycle accident victims choose to hire a lawyer on retainer and will pay a deposit upfront.
To process your motorcycle injury lawsuit, you must pay a filing fee. This fee will cover the cost of the court processing your claim documents. Aside from your lawyer’s compensation, the filing fee will likely be one of the largest costs associated with your lawsuit. On average, filing fees cost around $350 but may cost up to $500, depending on your location.
After you have filed your claim with the court, you will need to pay a service fee. A court summons will need to be served to the defendant (the person you are suing for compensation) in your motorcycle accident lawsuit. In order for the defendant to be served, the defendant is responsible for covering the cost of a professional process server. The costs of hiring a professional process server range from approximately $50-$100 per address.
The plaintiff is responsible for paying court costs that go towards compensating the court employees, covering the costs of a stenographer, and paying for the jurors’ stipend. Paying these costs allows the court to run smoothly and ensures employees are able to carry out their appointed tasks. Plaintiffs should plan to spend up to $200 on these additional costs.
To gather evidence regarding the motorcycle accident, the court allows a “discovery” process for the representatives of both the plaintiff and the defendant. During discovery, attorneys may request information from insurance adjusters, interview witnesses to the accident, or request copies of documentation. The evidence gathered during the discovery phase may be invaluable to your claim. However, many of these tasks will require hours of your attorney’s time and may increase the total amount of legal fees you are responsible for paying.
In many cases, your attorney’s argument may rest on the testimony of an expert witness such as a medical professional. Before an expert can testify on your behalf, they will need to spend hours reviewing the details of your claim. Depending on how many expert testimonies your case requires, you could end up spending a hefty portion of your final settlement to cover these fees.
While at first glance administrative costs may seem similar to court costs. However, the purpose of these fees is to cover miscellaneous expenses incurred throughout the litigation. For example, if your case requires a lengthy trial, the administration of the court will increase in scope. Generally, the longer your trial takes, the higher you can expect to pay in administrative costs.
Legal Resources for Motorcycle Accident Victims
While there are many resources for general accident victims, few organizations specifically focus on injured bikers. Luckily, the organizations listed below are excellent resources for injured bikers and their families. Each of these organizations can provide financial assistance, legal advice, or emotional support to those affected by motorcycle accidents.
Established in 2011, BikerDown is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting injured bikers in the aftermath of their collision. The organization helps injured bikers fundraise their medical bills and provides financial strategizing resources. With four chapters in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada, BikerDown serves injured bikers and their families nationwide. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and would like to learn more about this organization’s resources, send a Help Request to contact a BikerDown representative within 24-48 hours.
Moto F.A.M. is a nonprofit organization that offers charitable assistance to injured bikers and partners with various organizations to provide motorcycle safety training nationwide. Through donations collected through various fundraising events, Moto F.A.M. can make $500 donations to injured bikers and fund various organizations and motorcycle training programs. Check Moto F.A.M’s Request Help page to get in contact and make sure you meet the organization’s requirements for assistance.
Injured Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Since their friend’s devastating motorcycle accident in 2007, founders Steve Weston and Chris Green have devoted their energies to helping injured motorcyclists and addressing the rising incidents of motorcycle collisions throughout their home state of Pennsylvania. Weston and Green founded the Injured Motorcycle Riders Foundation (IMRF) to address this growing need. While the IMRF is based in the Tri-State area, the foundation has also assisted injured bikers in Texas, Florida, and Oregon. To contact, visit the organization’s official Facebook page or helpabiker.com.
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