Suffering an injury in a motorcycle accident is traumatizing, and when someone else was to blame, you want to seek adequate compensation. How much is enough for a motorcycle accident settlement? Is there an average amount that victims receive?
This question has no specific answer because motorcycle accident claims are each unique and unpredictable, and your settlement will depend on individual factors. When seeking compensation, you can recover the costs of medical treatment, lost income, and more.
Since settlement amounts will vary, a nearby motorcycle accident lawyer can help determine your case value and possible outcomes.
Calculating a motorcycle accident settlement
The types of injury you sustain will significantly impact your settlement amount and how they impact your life now and in the future. After suffering minor injuries and returning to work quickly, your settlement amount will likely be lower. When your injury has long-term effects that affect your ability to work, it can increase how much compensation you can seek. Disability is another factor that can lead to a higher settlement.
When calculating the claim value, your motorcycle injury lawyer will calculate your losses, such as:
- Costs for repairing or replacing your motorcycle
- Medical care and ongoing treatment costs
- Lost income and benefits
- Emotional damages
- Pain and suffering
Your losses are one aspect of calculating your damages, but so is the at-fault party’s conduct. When there is gross negligence, punitive damages are possible, which sends a message to the negligent party. Lastly, settling out of court or going to trial can also impact your potential settlement amount.
Calculating economic and non-economic damages
Economic damages are simpler to calculate because they involve concrete bills for medical treatment and replacing your other financial losses, like lost income. However, non-economic damages do not have these tangible receipts and dollar values.
Intangible damages are calculated in different ways. The two primary methods used to calculate these damages are the multiplier and per-diem methods.
Depending on the laws near you and other factors, your lawyer can inform you of the best method. The multiplier method involves using the amount of your economic damages and multiplying it by a number representing your injury severity. The per-diem method places a dollar amount on every day you suffer and will suffer to reach a monetary figure.
Factors that affect your payment
Every motorcycle accident claim is unique, even when another accident is similar to yours. Your motorcycle crash lawyer will build your case for maximum compensation. The opposing party is working to lower that compensation. Several factors will impact your potential payment.
Pre-existing medical conditions
One tactic that insurance companies will use to impact settlement amounts is saying that your injuries are from a pre-existing condition and, therefore, they are not responsible for paying you. A pre-existing condition doesn’t impede you from seeking compensation. You have the right to file a compensation claim for how the collision worsens your condition. You can also seek payment for additional injuries outside of your pre-existing condition.
Occupation and employment status
When your injuries affect your future earning capacity, they affect the amount you should receive for compensation. Essentially, the more you earn or have the capacity to earn, the more compensation you can request for your motorcycle collision. Lost income is contingent on your occupation and employment status at the time of the accident.
If you can no longer work, your motorcycle accident lawyer can calculate and claim your earnings until retirement age. That calculation will include bonuses, commissions, benefits, and raises.
When a motorcycle rider has a spouse, children, or both, their injury will impact their relationships. Impairments can mean the family must take on more responsibilities. It can also be detrimental to the family because they can become caregivers instead of loved ones. You can seek compensation for your family’s losses from your condition.
Diagnosis and prognosis
The basis of your claim is your injury diagnosis and prognosis. The severity of your injuries will affect how much treatment you need and the compensation you deserve. Riders should have ample information about their long-term medical needs. Doctors should also inform you of permanent disability or a shortened life expectancy. These factors can increase your possible compensation award.
Motorcycle accidents can result in injuries but can also damage property, and you might have to repair or replace your vehicle. Property damage can be evidence of the impact of the crash and its severity. Other personal property you had on you, like electronics, clothing, etc., should also be part of your claim.
Your psychological trauma is another factor in your claim. It is non-financial harm and can include losses like pain and suffering. Your attorney can identify and quantify your emotional trauma in non-financial losses. The insurance company or court must consider your injuries’ psychological impact and how long you will endure them.
Unfortunately, while your injuries are severe, the insurance policy has limits that can impact how much you can ask for. When an at-fault driver has a maximum coverage that does not cover your losses, you can only request the policy limit. Depending on your circumstances, there might be other options for recovering compensation that surpasses insurance policy limits.
Evidence to build your case
Your crash details, injuries, and losses will heavily impact compensation amounts in motorcycle accident claims. Evidence can build your case and prove that you should receive compensation for all of your losses. Evidence can also help calculate your case value.
Evidence that can build your case includes:
- Photographs and videos
- Police reports
- Expert opinions
- Accident scene reconstruction experts
- Witnesses statements
Evidence you may need to substantiate your damages include:
- Tax returns
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repair bills
- Documents showing the value of your totaled vehicle
- Income and income statements
- Records from medical or psychological treatment
When calculating future losses, you might need experts’ opinions on the subject matter. Vocational experts can also provide information on your ability to resume your job duties and any accommodations you need. Medical professionals can also offer opinions about your future treatment and prognosis. The insurance company might want multiple opinions, so the doctor you are seeing might not be the only one giving their opinion.
Why you need a local motorcycle accident lawyer?
There are several advantages to working with a lawyer for your motorcycle claim, especially when there are severe injuries or permanent disabilities. Working with an experienced motorcycle collision lawyer near you is in your best interest, and here are some ways an attorney can help.
Investigating the claim
Documentation and evidence are essential aspects of proving your motorcycle collision claim, which is one thing your local motorcycle accident lawyer will handle. Law firms have the resources to find all pertinent documents and evidence to help your case. They will also look for evidence that the insurance will try to use against you. It is necessary to look at all the evidence, good or bad.
Handling the case process
There are many legal processes involved in seeking compensation for your motorcycle accident. The pressures of a legal claim can be burdensome to injury victims trying to focus on getting better. While you are focusing on your health, you need someone fighting for your best interests. That is one of the most significant benefits your motorcycle injury lawyer will provide.
Establishing fault and liability
When proving negligence, the plaintiff must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, and by failing to uphold that duty, they caused an accident and subsequent damages. The at-fault party’s insurance company will not pay anything unless you can prove the policyholder was at fault. Establishing who the at-fault driver is will require evidence.
Dealing with the insurance company
Accident victims should refrain from speaking to the insurance company or defense lawyers whenever possible. Acting as a buffer, your motorcycle lawyer will handle communications between injury victims and insurance companies. Among the essential communications they will handle is negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
Protect your legal rights
Insurance companies believe injury victims are unaware of their rights and try to take advantage of them in dire conditions. They want to limit their liability and pay the least amount possible or nothing at all. What they do not want is for injury victims to have lawyers who understand their rights. Your motorcycle injury lawyer will implore the insurance company to settle your claim in good faith, and when they do not, filing a lawsuit might be necessary.
Length of claim and your settlement
The duration of the claim will vary depending on the severity of your injuries and willingness of insurance companies to negotiate. Some motorcycle accident claims will take a few months, and the injury victims can receive a fair settlement. Complex cases can take longer to resolve and you might face many delays. When a claim takes a long time, it is usually because the insurance company is trying to delay paying you anything.
Another reason a claim can take longer is that lawyers on both sides are waiting for the injury victim to reach maximum medical improvement. MMI is essential because that is when doctors can evaluate your losses and future prognosis. If the injury resolves at MMI, then all parties involved can often come to the table to successfully negotiate. However, if there is a permanent injury, it can complicate the negotiation process because these injuries require higher payouts.
Factors that can impact your case
Aside from your injuries and the cooperation of insurance companies, other factors can affect your case, including:
- Severity of injuries
- Case complexity
- Insurance company process
- Evidence availability
- Willingness to settle on either side
Something else that can affect your claim is the litigation process and the probability of a jury trial. Litigation involves preparing for trial and engaging in more negotiations. An injury claim negotiated between the parties involved will resolve faster than one that goes into litigation. Settlements also give you more control over how much you receive. However, going to trial is sometimes necessary so you do not accept an inadequate settlement.
Trial versus settlement
When looking at maximizing a motorcycle accident claim, you should consider the value of a settlement over going to trial. Depending on factors in your case, some claims are better suited for trial and others for direct negotiations. The most common resolution is a settlement because if the evidence is there and the insurance company is willing, it is the best way to assure payment. It also avoids court costs and trial risks.
A less common but also viable option is going to trial. This requires more time and resources, and juries are unpredictable. Injury victims can go to trial and receive nothing or obtain more than they bargained for.
Each path has pros and cons, but one thing is certain: you must work with a motorcycle injury lawyer near you for the best results. They can help you weigh your options between accepting the insurance company’s pretrial settlement offer or taking your case to court.
Speak to a motorcycle injury lawyer near you
After a motorcycle accident, you want to recover full compensation for your losses, which is a challenging process even when you are not in pain and dealing with serious injuries. As soon as possible, contact a personal injury lawyer and start your claim. The possible settlement amount will vary from case to case, and you can get an accurate estimate from a legal representative with experience calculating damages and handling motorcycle accident cases.