A motorcycle accident can leave you with a lot of pain, medical costs, and other expensive and stressful damages. If you or a loved one was in a motorcycle accident, you might wonder how much money you can recover.
In Georgia, the person responsible for any personal injury accident is liable for damages. That means if you didn’t cause the accident, you can make an insurance claim for your costs. But how much is that claim typically worth? This article will discuss key factors that help determine the worth of a claim—and give you an idea of what will go into your own claim.
Proving Fault and Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
In the State of Georgia, you can only make a motorcycle accident insurance claim if there is liability. In other words, one or more parties must be at fault for the accident. This means the person who was in the accident must have been negligent in some way—and you must be able to prove that negligence. If the other driver is found to be at fault, they (or, in most cases, their insurance company) will be responsible for the costs you face as a result of the accident.
On the other hand, if the other driver was not negligent in the accident, they won’t owe you anything. If you hold some fault in the accident but the other driver is mostly at fault, that is known as comparative negligence and your financial recovery will depend on your percentage of fault. Even if you were partially at fault, though, it’s still worth speaking to a motorcycle accident lawyer about your settlement options.
In most cases, if the other driver’s actions or inaction led to your accident, a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you prove their fault. Then, the worth of your accident claim comes down to your specific damages.
The more serious your injuries and other costs, the higher your damages (and your potential recovery) will be. If you didn’t suffer any injuries or property damage, you likely won’t have a case. But in most motorcycle accident, there are damages—and they are often serious.
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Calculating Motorcycle Accident Damages
Personal injury damages are typically broken into two categories:
- Special damages that are specific and can be calculated exactly.
- General damages, which are related to the victim’s pain and suffering or other factors that affect their life.
Examples of special damages include:
- Medical costs, including doctor bills, tests, surgeries, prescription medications, and more
- Loss of past present, and future wages or earning capacity
- Property damage, such as repairs or replacement of your motorcycle
- Other financial losses
Since motorcycles do not provide the same protection for bikers as cars or trucks do for other motorists, motorcycle accident injuries tend to be extreme. Common motorcycle accident injuries can include broken bones, head and brain injuries, road rash, nerve damage, joint or limb injuries, and more.
While it would be better if you didn’t suffer at all, more serious injuries does mean you can make a more substantial insurance claim for damages.
Special damages can be calculated to the dollar, but some, like loss of future earnings, requires a professional who can come up with an accurate number—especially if the accident affects the type of work you can now do. It’s very important to keep track of all payments and bills you receive because of your accident. These will serve as proof of your special damages.
General damages are more complex and can’t be calculated like special damages. Examples of general damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish resulting from what was lost
- Lowered quality of life
- Loss of companionship (if a loved one was killed in the accident)
- Physical disabilities or other impairments
- Disfigurement, such as from scarring, reparative surgeries, burns, etc
The law knows money can never fully make up for the emotional tolls of general damages. But the value of claiming general damages is meant to compensate the victim for what they loss in an effort to help them get their life back on track.
Since there is no set way to calculate general damages like pain and suffering, the judge will usually turn to juries to determine an appropriate amount. This is where having a motorcycle accident lawyer can really help, as they can help fully communicate what you’ve lost because of the accident—physically and emotionally.
There are also punitive damages, which apply in cases like drunk driving accidents or other situations where a person broke the law or performed egregious actions. The main purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at fault person.
Average Worth of a Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim
Unfortunately, we can’t give a specific number for what your own motorcycle accident claim will be worth. That’s because every case is so different, and the value really depends on the degree of fault and the worth of your total damages.
That being said, Jury Verdict Research published by Thomson Reuters shows the median motorcycle accident settlement between the years 1999 and 2006 was $73,700. And there have been cases that reach settlements much higher than that amount.
Also, keep in mind that most motorcycle accident cases are settled before they go to court—meaning, if your injuries are serious the amount may be much higher because the insurer knows your awards will be even higher if you go to trial. Or, if your injuries are not so severe or your evidence against the at-fault person is not as strong, your settlement could be smaller.
Either way, it helps to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer. They know the insurance claim process and will give you the best shot at recovering what you truly deserve for your damages. Your attorney will also be able to accurately calculate the worth of your accident claim based on the specific details of your case.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you calculate all of your damages and ensure you submit an accurate insurance claim. They can also help you seek a fair settlement if the insurance company tries to deny your claim or offer you less than what will cover what you’ve lost.
At John Foy & Associates, we have more than 20 years of experience helping motorcycle accident victims get a settlement that actually matches what their claim is worth. For a FREE consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate attorneys, contact us today. Call 404-400-4000, or fill out the form on this page for your free consultation.