Motorcyclists face extra risks on the road compared to other motorists. Even the most careful rider is still driving in close proximity to huge vehicles with greater degrees of protection. So if a motorcycle rider gets into an accident, they are more likely to suffer serious injuries and vehicle damage—from colliding with other vehicles, flying objects, or the pavement. Considering these facts, it’s little surprise the cost of a motorcycle accident can add up quickly.
If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, it’s important to understand what you’re up against. Between your injuries, damage to your bike, time away from work, and any emotional damages, your costs may skyrocket. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay those costs.
If you were not at fault for a motorcycle accident in Georgia, you are entitled to seek recovery for your damages. And to do that, you’ll need to figure out how much your accident costs are worth. We can give you averages, but the final number for your situation will depend on several factors.
How Much Does the Average Motorcycle Accident Cost?
The main cost of a motorcycle accident comes down to your damages (in other words, what you lost in the accident). In Georgia and other fault states, the party whose negligence caused an accident is responsible for all costs that result. Typically, the more serious an accident is, the more damages you’ll have. And more damages means a higher insurance claim amount.
Data is limited on exact costs of motorcycle accidents across the country. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), U.S. costs that can and have been measured directly resulting from motorcycle accidents totaled around $16 billion in 2010. But those costs are probably higher because it’s hard to accurately measure long-term medical expenses and other additional costs to victims and their families.
Head injuries make up a large portion of the medical costs from motorcycle riders, especially if they were unhelmeted. A privately-conducted study in California averaged the hospital costs for a rider without a helmet at $17,704.
Basically, the full costs of a motorcycle accident can range from tens of thousands all the way into the millions, depending on the accident. Below are some of the factors that go into the full cost of a motorcycle accident.
Medical Bills as Motorcycle Accident Costs
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), medical costs make up the largest expense in motorcycle accidents. And the costs were much greater if a head injury was involved.
Medical costs that are included in a motorcycle accident claim can include:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital bills and tests
- Surgery costs
- Costs of prescription medications
- Ongoing treatment
It’s crucial to account for the costs of your accident now and in the future. Serious motorcycle accident injuries can take months or even years to heal completely, and some turn into life-long disabilities. The more serious the injuries are, the higher treatment costs are likely to be.
Property Damage to Your Motorcycle
If your motorcycle was damaged in the accident, you can include the costs in your insurance claim. You might need repairs or even complete replacement of your bike. Keep track of all receipts or payments for repairs.
Lost Wages from Missed Work
Lost wages refer to any income you missed from having to take time away from work because of your accident. For most people, this is as simple as adding up the work hours you missed and multiplying the total by your hourly rate. You might not have anything to recover if you were salaried and continued to receive wages.
If your job involved bonuses or you get a regular commission, you can account for these in your claim too. You’d need to estimate how much income you would have received during the work days you missed. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you with these calculations and make sure everything is accurate.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Besides physical injuries and property damage, the cost of your accident may include pain and suffering damages too. These fall under the category of “general damages” that can’t be calculated from medical bills or receipts. Pain and suffering damages account for not only physical pain, but mental and emotional suffering too.
Examples of pain and suffering damages can include:
- Anxiety, depression, PTSD
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- And more
Since there’s no set way to determine every pain and suffering damage, the costs can vary greatly. If you have significant general damages, they can make your motorcycle accident claim worth a lot more. You should talk to a personal injury lawyer who regularly handles motorcycle accidents to know for sure what your losses are worth.
Whether or Not a Helmet Was Worn
Motorcycle injuries can happen whether or not a helmet was worn during the accident. However, research has shown that serious head injuries are much more likely if the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet. So this factor can impact how much the motorcycle accident costs in terms of medical bills. Plus, serious head injuries can be life-threatening or leave the victim disabled. If that happens, current and future costs can rise dramatically.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company can also try to claim the motorcycle rider was partly at fault for their injuries if they weren’t wearing a helmet. In this case, a good lawyer can look at the facts. In some cases, a biker’s injuries aren’t related to whether or not a helmet was worn, such as if they suffered broken bones in their arms or legs. But if the rider sustained head injuries that it’s determined may have been prevented with a helmet, the total claim worth may be reduced.
Does Unfair Bias Play a Part in How Much a Motorcycle Accident Costs?
Unfortunately, some people still hold preconceived biases about motorcycle riders. They might believe they are not as trustworthy or responsible as other motorists. This is an unfair judgment, but even juries and other drivers can hold these views. Insurance companies know this bias is sometimes present, so yes, they may use it to reduce their settlement offer.
Because of this, it’s all the more important for motorcycle accident victims to build a strong case and show they were not at fault for the accident. An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will know how to do this effectively, always on the side of the injured biker.
Need Help with the Cost of Your Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, determining how much your crash is worth isn’t an easy task. At John Foy & Associates, we can help. We’ve been representing injured motorcyclists for more than 20 years, and we’re always on your side. To get started with a FREE consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys, call us today at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form on this page.