If you’re injured by another driver in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your damages.
Getting into a motorcycle accident can be scary and stressful. You shouldn’t have to worry about your medical debt and lost wages while you’re recovering from an injury that you weren’t responsible for. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident at the fault of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. In this article, we will discuss:
- How much compensation motorcycle accident victims can receive
- What factors affect the amount of compensation that you can claim
In the United States, there were 5,172 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2017. These numbers are much smaller than the amount of car accidents that occur each year, but the ratio of motorcyclists to passenger vehicles is very skewed. Because of that, cars often don’t know how to drive around motorcyclists or don’t check their blindspots for them.
How Severe are Your Injuries?
One of the biggest factors in determining how much compensation you receive is the severity of your injuries. More severe injuries, like traumatic brain injury (TBI) or spinal cord injuries, can have serious repercussions and lead to large medical bills. For example, spinal cord injuries may require a lifetime of treatment, including physical therapies, surgeries, and injections. In the same vein, traumatic brain injuries can also require life-long treatment, if, for example, the victim falls into a coma or vegetative state. It’s incredibly expensive to keep someone alive while in these states so the compensation would be much higher.
However, more minor injuries are still eligible for compensation. Injuries that disfigure or disable the victim can also lead to more compensation. Overall, the compensation that you receive is tied to the severity of your injuries for two reasons:
- The more severe your injuries are, the higher your medical bills will be.
- The more severe your injuries are, the more pain and suffering you may have gone through, making your total amount of damages higher.
Who’s Liable for the Accident?
When you hire an attorney, the first thing that they’ll do is investigate your case and determine who was liable for your accident. This determines who you’ll file your injury claim against or, more realistically, whose insurance company is going to get sued.
In accidents where the motorcyclist is struck by a passenger vehicle, the insurance company of the at-fault driver is almost always the party that will be sued. This means that how much compensation you can receive is based on coverage levels of the at-fault party’s insurance. They can only pay out as much as they have available. If they have poor insurance, you might not be able to get your entire payout.
If you’re involved in an accident with a semi-truck, there are many different parties that can be sued, including the trucking company. Suing a company usually means two things. First, they have more money available to hand out in lawsuits. Second, they’re more unwilling to spend it.
Your Total Damages and How They’re Calculated
Your total damages are calculated by combining your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include losses with a monetary value associated with them, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages include losses that don’t have a monetary value associated with them. This includes pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and any compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement.
Economic damages are calculated by adding up the sum of your expenses, like your medical bills and lost wages. This is a straightforward calculation based on bills you’ve received. Non-economic damages, however, are not as straightforward. There is no bill for pain and suffering. Non-economic damages are calculated by looking at how much your life has changed before and after the accident.
Insurance adjusters and your attorney will look at the amount that your quality of life has changed and determine how much compensation you should receive (or how much they should argue for you in settlement negotiations). The same is true if your case is taken to trial, but instead the judge will make this decision.
Settlement Value vs. Trial Value
Your claim has two values, your settlement value and your trial value. Your claim’s trial value is the total combined amount of your damages. Basically, the amount that you would win if you were to take your case to trial. Your settlement value is the ratio of your trial value divided by your chances of winning the case at trial. For example, if your claim has a trial value of $300,000, and you have a 50% chance of winning your case if it were to go to trial, you would have a settlement value of $150,000. That’s not to say that your attorney can’t argue a settlement higher than $150,000. Instead, it’s more of a baseline for what you should expect.
Will Unfair Motorcycle Bias Affect the Value of my Injury Claim?
Unfair motorcycle bias occurs in two different areas of your lawsuit’s timeline. First, when arguing your settlement with the insurance adjuster. They may try to lowball the settlement, making it seem like you were engaging in risky behavior just by driving a motorcycle at all. Second, you may face unfair motorcycle bias in trial, and the at-fault party’s insurance company may try to make the same claims. The jury is more likely to be swayed by these claims as many jury members don’t have a wealth of knowledge about how motorcycles work. However, a talented attorney who has years of experience working on motorcycle accident cases and arguing against unfair motorcycle bias will be able to combat these tactics with ease.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact our experienced attorneys at Sand Law LLC. Our compassionate staff will make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We know that money won’t solve everything that happened to you. But we hope it will lessen the blow and take some of the weight off of your shoulders. For more information or a free case evaluation please contact us online, using our chat feature, or by calling us at 651-291-7263.