If you own a motorcycle, there’s a chance you might be involved in an accident at some point. If you are injured because of someone else’s actions in the accident, you can seek a settlement through an insurance claim. This might lead you to wonder if there is an average settlement for motorcycle accidents and what you can expect.
The truth is, no one motorcycle accident is the same. Although motorcycle crashes tend to be very serious, even deadly, for the motorcyclist, the range of damages can be large. That fact prevents us from having a true average settlement amount to use for every accident.
What we can cover are the different factors that determine how much a motorcycle accident is worth and what the settlement should be. The below elements are what our motorcycle accident lawyers use to calculate the value of each client’s damages when helping them seek compensation.
Prejudice Against Motorcycle Riders
Bias shouldn’t be a factor in any motorcycle accident case, but unfortunately, many people have preconceived notions about motorcyclists that can impact how a case is received.
Motorcyclists are sometimes seen as reckless, untrustworthy, or associated with undesirable behavior. We know this is an extremely unfair bias, but it can impact how much juries are willing to award in a trial or how the insurance company handles your case. Insurance adjusters will know that these judgments are common and may use them to offer you a lower settlement.
The prejudice against motorcyclists is one big reason to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer after a collision. A lawyer can work to build a strong case and negotiate with the insurance company despite any unfairness you may encounter.
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Liability in the Motorcycle Accident
Liability is the most important factor in a motorcycle accident. When someone is at fault for an accident, they are liable for the costs. If no one was at fault, there is no liability, and thus no injury case.
You will need to be able to demonstrate who was negligent in your case and how they were negligent. For example, if a car driver fails to check their blind spot before merging and collides with your motorcycle, they have been negligent and caused the accident. You will need to be able to show how they are liable and responsible for your damages.
Sometimes, more than one party is at fault for a motorcycle accident. If you were less than 50% at fault, you may still be able to recover damages but your compensation would be reduced by your percentage of fault (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). Either way, liability is a huge determining factor when it comes to your settlement amount.
Your Total Damages
Damages are another huge element in calculating the value of a motorcycle accident case. Personal injury damages are typically divided into two types:
- Special (or monetary) damages that can be calculated with an exact dollar amount, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity and property damage, and
- General (or non-monetary) damages that do not have a dollar amount, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life
Special Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Special damages can be demonstrated through medical bills, prescription medication receipts, invoices, quotes, pay stubs, and other ways of showing your monetary losses.
Your motorcycle accident lawyer can fairly easily calculate your special damages through evidence of your costs. However, to fully know the costs of your injuries, you will need to wait until you’ve completed all medical treatment.
General Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
General damages cannot be demonstrated through bills or receipts. They are meant to account for how the accident and your physical injuries have impacted your life.
Pain and suffering (and other general damages) do not have a set formula for how to calculate them, so your lawyer will use their expertise to determine how much you should receive as a settlement for these damages.
The higher your damages from the motorcycle accident, the higher your settlement may be. It’s crucial that you work with a lawyer who can accurately calculate your total damages. Otherwise, you will not know how much your case is worth and what you need to cover all of your costs.
Settlement Versus Trial Values
When you’re working to put a value on a motorcycle accident case, it’s known as “valuing” the case. There are two main types of valuing:
- Settlement value and
- Trial value
Valuing depends on what the victim would be willing to accept before settling their case, what the at-fault party would be willing to pay, and your total damages. The settlement value is what you are reasonably hoping your case will settle for, while the trial value is what you could reasonably hope to win in court.
The trial value will be much higher than the settlement value. While your settlement value would be lower, it’s often preferable because it avoids the risk you face from going to trial and possibly losing. When you consult with your motorcycle accident lawyer, they will consider your chances for settlement as well as what you might expect if you went to trial.
How Much Insurance is Available
Lastly, your motorcycle accident settlement will depend on the at-fault party’s insurance policy and its coverage. If you are filing a claim through the insurance company, you might not be able to receive more than the liability limit. Your lawyer can look into this information and determine what limitations you may have for recovery.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
While we can’t provide a set average settlement for a motorcycle accident, we can give you an idea of what to expect from your own motorcycle accident case. Contact John Foy & Associates today for a FREE consultation to discuss the details. We have more than 20 years of experience, and we do not charge a fee unless we win you money.
Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation today.