Motorcycle Accident Settlements: How Much is Your Claim Worth?
Motorcycle accidents amount to thousands of dollars of property damage. If you’re not at fault for the accident, you can file a claim with your insurance company, but what is a fair motorcycle accident settlement value? Keep in mind that most insurance companies want to pay your claim at as low an amount as possible, so you must stay ahead of the game.
The costs of these accidents amount to more than just your short-term expenses. Both the short-term and long-term expenses can really add up, so it is important to be aware. Here are some factors to consider when trying to determine the total amount of your motorcycle accident claim.
Table of Contents
Seek medical attention immediately after the motorcycle accident, even if you think you are not injured. You may be in shock, have a concussion or have other internal injuries that are not readily apparent.
Your medical records from these visits are useful to the insurance agency as they try to get a complete picture of the injuries you sustained in the accident. Be sure to keep all medical records, including long-term care such as physical therapy and related costs. Having detailed medical records is also a great way to refute any claims the other side may make regarding your faking or exaggerating your injuries.
This is an excellent example of where hiring a motorcycle accident attorney can help. The attorney can truly understand the duration and cost of all of your medical treatment and make sure that you don’t undervalue your settlement.
Your motorcycle accident claim should always include lost earnings, and calculating past losses is pretty straightforward. Simply add up the time you missed from work because of the injury. On the other hand, calculating future lost earnings is not as easy, and this is an area where a motorcycle accident attorney can really help. A lawyer will typically hire a financial expert to calculate future earning capacity.
If you can only earn half your income after the accident because you can only work part-time, your lost earning capacity is half your salary for the remainder of your work life expectancy, meaning the remaining years you can reasonably still work. The federal government bases these years on age, race, and gender. This amount would also include loss of employee benefits over time as well as any other financial losses you incur as a result of the accident.
Liability and damages must also be factored into the total claim amount. You are the plaintiff in the case so the burden of proof is on you to show that the other driver who hit you on your motorcycle was indeed liable through negligence.
Damages are paid based on the injuries and other losses you incurred in the motorcycle accident. The worse your injuries are, the higher the damages claim can be. Damages fall into two categories: those that can be exactly calculated, such as property loss and those that are more intangible, such as pain and suffering damages.
In cases where the driver was negligent but you were not injured and your motorcycle was not damaged, there would be no case for damages. Instead, your claim might be settled for a small amount.
In another example, if you were seriously injured and your motorcycle was totaled, but the driver is not negligent (or perhaps the accident was your fault), you may not have a case and your settlement will likely be small.
In a case where both medical and property loss costs are high, you will have a high claim value if you can also prove the other driver was negligent and at fault.
Furthermore, settlement value and trial value are different. The settlement value is an amount you reasonably hope to settle for out of court; it is always much lower than the trial value. If you go to trial, the trial value is the amount of liability and damages you hope to win at trial.
Consult an Attorney
It is important to know that motorcycle drivers are nearly 30 times more likely to be seriously or fatally injured in an accident, as compared to drivers of an automobile. If you’ve been in an accident, you deserve maximum compensation.
To have a successful motorcycle accident claim, you need insurance coverage, documentation of the accident from police reports and eyewitnesses, and medical records. You must also prove carelessness and negligence on the part of the other driver. Be aware that laws differ depending on the state you live in.
All of this can be difficult, particularly when you’re trying to heal from your injuries. Furthermore, since the burden of proof is on you, consulting with an attorney is advised, even if you think you do not want to file a lawsuit. An attorney can help you get the damages you are owed. Even a one-hour consultation with an attorney can help you in the long run, and our initial consultations are free. Give us a call today so we can discuss your motorcycle accident claim.