There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how much any given motorcycle accident injury claim is worth, but there are several factors that are used to calculate the value. This article will provide a brief overview of what insurance companies and courts consider when valuing an injury claim.
One of the first steps in settling any accident claim is determining who is liable or “at fault” for the incident. Depending on the state where you reside, different laws dictate how liability may affect the value of your injury claim.
For example, some states follow a contributory negligence standard. This means that if you bear any responsibility for the accident, you will be completely barred from recovery. Only a handful of states apply this rule.
Most states follow a comparative negligence principle that allows an accident victim to recover a percentage of the applicable damages less the amount of fault that their actions contributed to the accident.
The burden, regardless of which fault standard exists, is on the plaintiff to show that the other driver acted negligently. In some cases, you might not be seeking damages from a driver. You could potentially file suit against a manufacturer for a defective product or a municipality for unsafe conditions. Regardless, as the plaintiff, you must be able to demonstrate that the act of negligence was the cause of the accident.
Once liability is established, the next step is to calculate financial damages sustained by the accident victim.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you can seek several categories of compensation in your motorcycle accident injury claim.
1. Medical bills
Your medical bills include your immediate treatment as well as future therapies. This could consist of a series of surgeries as well as rehabilitation. Other expenses such as an ambulance ride and transportation to appointments may also be included in your claim.
2. Lost wages
This amount includes not only the amount of money you’ll sacrifice while you recover from your injury, but should also compensate you for any changes to your future earning capacity. Determining future earning capacity is not as straightforward as calculating lost wages. Still, there are several formulas the insurance company and your attorney can plug in to come up with a reasonable figure.
3. Pain and suffering
You’ll often hear the term “pain and suffering” outlined in a motorcycle injury claim. This type of financial compensation does not have an exact calculation associated with it. It’s usually determined by using experience in calculating claims similar to yours.
Settling Versus Going to Court
After an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will typically begin negotiating with you (or your attorney) to determine how much your claim is worth. The insurance company may offer you an amount that fairly compensates you for your lost wages, medical bills, and other damages. Alternatively, they may submit a lowball offer.
If the amount that the insurance company offers is inadequate or they attempt to deny liability altogether, you may file a lawsuit and go to court to seek more appropriate damages. Inevitably, the amount you try to collect in court will far exceed what your initial settlement claim was for.
However, it’s also vital to consider the risk of going to court. There is no guarantee of a favorable outcome. A personal injury attorney with experience in motorcycle accident claims can help you strategize in this area.
Suppose you were a passenger on the back of a motorcycle. In that case, you may be able to file an injury claim against two separate parties: the driver of the vehicle and the motorcycle operator. To determine who is at fault in this situation requires gathering and evaluating as much evidence as possible, including reviewing a police report and reading witness statements.
Motorcycle accident injury claims are similar to those involving passenger vehicles. At Law Tigers, we are a team of avid motorcycle riders dedicated to helping our community of bikers. When you have us on your side, you never ride alone.