If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident that you didn’t cause, you might wonder how much you should settle for after the accident. Motorcycle accidents can be really complex, so there’s no one ideal settlement amount after this type of crash. It’s best to consider a couple of different factors when determining how much your settlement should be.
Liability in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Liability is key in a motorcycle accident claim. For one or more parties to be liable, they must have been negligent, meaning they acted in a careless way that led to your motorcycle accident.
In Georgia, when someone is negligent and it causes an injury accident, the injured party has a right to recover damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6). As the motorcycle accident victim, you hold the burden of proof to show that the other party caused the accident and your damages.
If one party was 100% negligent in the accident, they are fully responsible for the damages. However, if you held some fault in the accident, your recovery may be reduced based on your percentage of fault (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). In complicated accidents, it typically takes the help of a motorcycle accident lawyer to determine liability in your accident.
Your Total Motorcycle Accident Damages
Besides fault and liability in the accident, the other significant factor is your damages. There are two main types of damages in a motorcycle accident case:
- Special damages that have a set dollar amount and
- General damages that cannot be clearly calculated through a dollar amount
Special damages include your medical costs, your lost wages, vehicle repair costs, and any other monetary losses from the accident. These damages can be calculated to the dollar and included in your injury claim.
Unlike special damages, general damages cannot be clearly calculated. These damages account for pain and suffering that you experience as a result of your physical injuries. There is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, so you and your lawyer will work to come up with an accurate value for your general damages in your claim.
The more significant your injuries from the motorcycle accident, the higher your damages will usually be. You will need to get an accurate calculation of all of your damages so you know how much you should settle for. The at-fault party’s insurance company will probably look for ways to reduce what they pay you, so you’ll need to know from the beginning what your settlement is worth.
Calculating Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
Lost wages are the earnings and other benefits that you missed out on because the accident led to missed work time. Calculating these lost wages is fairly straightforward. However, you might also need to calculate loss of earning capacity, which is earnings you would have made in the future but can no longer earn because of the accident.
If your injuries prevent you from working in the same capacity as you could before, you can typically claim loss of earning capacity. For example, you might need to work a different job to accommodate your injuries or switch to part-time work. It usually requires the expertise of a lawyer or an expert to accurately calculate loss of earning capacity.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Know When to Settle
This is the last thing you want to happen: You accept a settlement from the insurance company and close your case, only to realize that it doesn’t come close to covering all of your expenses. Unfortunately, this happens way too often in motorcycle accident cases. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, in most cases to know what your settlement should be without a lawyer.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will sit down with you and hear the details of your accident. Then, they’ll investigate to gather evidence of your accident and determine how much your total damages are. (They will also typically think of damages that you hadn’t yet considered.)
A lawyer will help your case by:
- Compiling evidence from the accident
- Investigating the scene of the accident
- Contacting any eyewitnesses for statements to support your claim
- Keeping track of all expenses you face from the accident
- Calculating your total damages, including lost income and pain and suffering
- Making sure the insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you
Your lawyer will work to build a strong insurance claim to show your damages and how you were a victim in the accident. The goal is to get a settlement offer from the insurance company that provides full compensation for your damages. The insurance company will usually offer a lowball settlement instead, so you’ll need a lawyer who is not afraid to negotiate for the settlement you actually deserve.
There is No Risk to Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Many motorcycle accident victims are understandably worried about the cost of hiring a lawyer. Thankfully, most motorcycle accident lawyers do not charge any upfront fees to begin working with them. They only charge a fee if they win you money—and if they don’t win you anything, you don’t pay a fee.
Since there’s no fee unless you win—and most lawyers offer a FREE consultation—there’s no risk in contacting a trusted lawyer to learn more. You can discuss the details of your case with them and get their take on your settlement options. Then, if you work with them and they win you a settlement, the fee is simply taken as a percentage of whatever you win.
Talk to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have been helping injured motorcyclists win the settlements they deserve for more than 20 years. We know what it takes to win fair settlements, and we are not afraid to stand up to the insurance companies. We never charge a fee unless we win you money, and the consultation is always free of charge.
To schedule your FREE consultation and case evaluation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started for FREE today.