If you ride a bike, you’re a part of an exclusive club.
There are more than 8.6 million motorcycles registered in the United States. Compare that to the almost 113 million cars, and you’ll see you really are in an elite group!
Despite the push for drivers to “look twice for motorcycles,” bike riders are at a disadvantage when it comes to accidents. Without the protection of a structure around you, you’re more likely to get hurt or killed in a motorcycle crash than in a car accident.
That puts you in another, more unfortunate, club.
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, you know how terrifying it can be. Especially, when someone didn’t see you and ploughed right into you.
The first thing you should do is contact an attorney. But you may be wondering if it’s worth it. After all, bikers usually get a bad rap.
But knowing what goes into the average motorcycle accident settlement is important. In this post, we take a look at what you can expect if you’re the victim of a motorcycle crash.
The Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement
If you’ve been in an accident, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your case:
- Take photos
- If possible, speak to witnesses
- Don’t get your bike repaired – the other party’s insurance adjuster may need to assess the damage
- Seek medical attention if needed
Don’t post your photos or anything else relating to your accident on social media. Your social media profiles are public and the at-fault party can try and use what you say about the accident against you.
Now, let’s get to the money. There are many factors that determine a motorcycle accident settlement.
Liability and Damages
The two biggest factors are liability and damages. Liability is who’s at fault in the accident. Damages are money awarded from injuries and property damage.
If you weren’t injured and your bike sustained little damage, your case isn’t worth much. But, if you did suffer from injuries, you’re likely entitled to compensation. If your injuries are severe, you could get awarded a higher amount.
Hiring an attorney that specializes in motorcycle accidents gives you a better chance of winning your case. As such, you have a better chance of getting compensated for damages.
Settlement vs. Trial Value
You and your attorney will discuss settlement value vs. trial value. Trial value is the amount you hope to win if you go to court and win your case. Settlement value is the amount you hope to settle for to avoid going to trial.
If you go to court, there’s a chance you won’t win. But if you settle, all that gets avoided for a lower amount. The way these numbers get figured is by the percentage you feel you’d win the case.
In other words, if you feel you’re reasonably owed $500,000 in damages and have a 50% chance of winning, you may consider accepting a $250,000 settlement.
How Damages Get Calculated
There are two kinds of damages involved in motorcycle accident cases:
- Special damages, or exact damages
- Damages not capable of exact calculations
Special damages are your lost earnings. This is earnings you’ve already lost, are currently losing, and earnings you estimate you’ll lose. Benefits, medical bills, property damage, and so on are all special damages.
For the most part, calculating lost damages is simple. There are records of time missed from work and medical bills. It does get tricky when it comes to future losses but your lawyer will help with that.
Damages not capable of exact calculations are pain and suffering. There are no legal guidelines for awarding these damages. Courts use common sense and experience to determine how much you’ll get awarded for your pain and suffering.
This is Why Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney is Important
You’ve been through enough, don’t attempt to navigate the legal system alone. While we’ve outlined the average motorcycle accident settlement, you still need legal representation.
If you need help finding an attorney that specializes in representing motorcycle crash victims, we can help.
Search our database to find the best motorcycle accident attorneys in your area. Or, visit our blog for more tips and advice on bike crashes.