Motorcycles offer their riders virtually no protection on the road. When a motorcyclist falls off their bike in an accident, they may suffer serious injuries, even if they wore a sturdy helmet and other protective gear. In some situations, they may sustain permanent or even deadly injuries.
Many motorcycle crashes happen when other people drive negligently or recklessly. At other times, these crashes occur on defective roadways that contain deep cracks and potholes.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that someone else caused, you may recover monetary compensation. However, there is no average settlement or payout in a motorcycle accident case. Instead, the financial damages that a motorcycle accident victim receives via settlement or litigation are highly case-specific and will depend on various factors.
One of the most important steps you can take when maximizing your monetary payout is to retain experienced legal counsel to represent you as quickly as possible. If you wait too long to retain a lawyer in your case, you might jeopardize your right to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover monetary damages.
A trusted motorcycle accident attorney in your jurisdiction can promptly evaluate your motorcycle accident claim and give you an idea of the monetary damages you may expect to recover. Your lawyer can also file a timely claim for you, negotiate with insurance company representatives, and litigate your case in the court system if necessary. Your lawyer will maximize the total settlement or litigation compensation you receive, helping you become whole again after your motorcycle crash.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycles do not offer riders a protective barrier between themselves and the ground. Therefore, if a violent crash knocks a cyclist off their bike, the cyclist may suffer severe injuries. Fortunately, if the motorcyclist can demonstrate that the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence, they can recover various monetary damages.
Common injuries that motorcycle crash victims often suffer include:
- Road rash injuries from scraping along pavement
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue neck and back injuries
- Concussions and other traumatic head injuries
- Full and partial paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries, including vertebrae fractures
- Tailbone injuries
- Knee and shoulder injuries
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
Seeking medical treatment and undergoing a thorough treatment regimen following a motorcycle accident is extremely important. First, by treating your injuries, you improve your chances of making a full recovery after your accident. Secondly, consistent medical treatment shows insurance company representatives that your injuries are severe and you deserve to recover total monetary damages for your injuries.
While you complete all of your medical treatment, a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can begin working on your case and pursuing the monetary benefits and damages you deserve. Your lawyer can start gathering the necessary documents to help you prove your personal injury claim or lawsuit and can file a settlement demand package on your behalf after you complete your medical treatment.
Common Ways That Motorcycle Accidents Happen
In many situations, motorcycle accidents are the direct result of driver error and recklessness. Common traffic law violations that lead to motorcycle accidents include failing to use turn signals when executing turns or changing lanes, speeding, and failing to yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists at traffic intersections and other locations.
Motorcycle accidents may also happen when drivers fail to use their rearview and side view mirrors when making lane changes in busy highway traffic—or when backing out of a parking space. Road rage also commonly leads to accidents, especially when hurried drivers negligently tailgate motorcyclists or weave in and out of busy highway traffic, cutting cyclists off.
A motorcycle accident may also happen when a driver is under the illegal influence of alcohol or drugs while operating their vehicle. Alcohol intoxication is incredibly dangerous because it limits a driver’s faculties and prevents them from operating their vehicle safely and carefully. For example, a drunk driver may lose their ability to concentrate, or they may experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle before hitting a motorcycle. Drunk driving may also lead to impaired vision, preventing a driver from even noticing a nearby motorcyclist.
In addition, motorcycle crashes sometimes result from distracted drivers who fail to watch the road attentively. A distracted driver might be programming a GPS navigation system, speaking on a cellular device without Bluetooth capabilities, or sending a text message instead of watching the road. When a driver turns their head to the side or looks down, they might fail to see a motorcyclist in front of them or approaching their vehicle.
Finally, some motorcycle accidents do not result from negligent driving. Instead, they happen because municipalities, including cities and counties, fail to properly maintain roadways located in their jurisdictions. For example, a municipality might allow concrete spalling, potholes, and deep cracks to develop in the road, presenting a hazard to motorcyclists and bicyclists. When a motorcyclist hits a roadway defect at a high rate of speed, they may fall off their bike, hitting the ground with a significant amount of force and suffering serious injuries.
When taking legal action against a municipality, notice provisions often apply, and accident victims must supply the necessary notice before filing a lawsuit against the municipality directly. Otherwise, their claim or lawsuit for monetary compensation may result in a dismissal from the court.
A skilled motorcycle accident attorney in your area can file a timely claim or lawsuit on your behalf when you suffer injuries due to others’ negligence.
Factors That Influence the Value of a Motorcycle Accident Case
The monetary value of every motorcycle accident case is different. Monetary settlements, jury verdicts, and binding arbitration awards can range from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands. However, certain factors may affect the monetary value of a particular case.
Those factors include:
- The specific circumstances surrounding the accident
- The speeds of the involved vehicles
- The specific injury or injuries the motorcyclist suffered in the accident
- Whether the motorcyclist suffered a permanent injury in the accident
- The cost of the accident victim’s medical treatment
- The extent of the accident victim’s pain, suffering, and inconvenience due to their injuries
- The likelihood that an accident victim may need to undergo additional medical treatment in the future for their injuries
- Whether the accident victim had to miss time from work and lose income as a result of their injuries
- Whether the accident victim may have to switch jobs or careers or take a pay cut due to their inability to perform certain manual work on the job
- Whether the accident victim suffered a disabling or disfiguring injury in their accident
Other factors that affect the potential value of a motorcycle accident claim are not dependent upon the accident circumstances themselves but instead depend upon other factors.
Those factors may include:
- The specific jurisdiction or venue where the motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit is pending
- The insurance company with whom you are dealing
- The insurance adjuster handling your claim
Although it can be difficult to pinpoint an exact dollar amount, your motorcycle accident attorney can give you a ballpark figure—or range—as to the likely value of your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit. Your attorney can also answer all of your questions and help you make important decisions in your case, such as whether to accept or reject a pending settlement offer from the insurance company.
Settling and Litigating Motorcycle Accident Cases
Settlement and litigation are two ways of resolving motorcycle accident claims. The first step to recovering a favorable settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company is for your attorney to file a personal injury claim with that insurance company. The claims process begins when your lawyer submits a settlement demand package to the insurance company. This demand package usually includes a formal settlement demand letter stating a monetary demand for settlement, along with copies of police reports, vehicle photographs, injury photographs, medical treatment records, and medical bills related to your claim.
If the insurance company makes an initial settlement offer to resolve your claim, it will likely be far below the true value of your motorcycle accident case. However, an aggressive attorney can negotiate with a settlement adjuster and pursue higher compensation on your behalf. If that does not happen, your lawyer can immediately file a lawsuit in court and begin litigation.
Although filing a lawsuit in the court system begins litigation, the parties may still settle their case at any time. However, the court will establish strict time deadlines for various case milestones, including discovery completion and trial.
While the majority of motorcycle accident cases resolve outside of court, the matter may need to go to trial if the parties cannot resolve all of the disputed issues. Usually, the most highly disputed issue in a motorcycle accident case is monetary compensation and damages.
If you take your case to a civil jury trial, the jury will decide the outcome of these disputed issues. Instead of a trial, your lawyer can convince the other side to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation or binding arbitration.
Recovering Monetary Damages for Motorcycle Accident Injuries
The monetary damages that an individual may receive in a motorcycle accident case include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate motorcycle crash victims for their tangible losses, including the cost of their medical treatment, both past and anticipated. Accident victims can also recover compensation for their lost earnings, as well as for their loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate motorcycle accident victims for their intangible losses.
Those damages compensate accident victims for all of their:
- Mental distress (such as from accident-related PTSD)
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Embarrassment or humiliation from visible scarring
- Loss of the ability to use a specific body part, such as from a spinal cord injury or paralysis
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can help you estimate the likely types and amounts of monetary damages you are eligible to recover in your case.
Contact a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Your Area Today
If you sustained injuries in a recent motorcycle crash, time is of the essence. The sooner you retain a qualified attorney to represent you throughout your claim or lawsuit, the better your chances of recovering favorable monetary compensation. Your personal injury attorney can assist you at every stage of your case and help to ensure that the monetary damages you recover are fair and reasonable.
In addition to investigating your motorcycle accident circumstances, your attorney can assist you during all settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives and can help you litigate your case in court. Finally, your lawyer can represent you at all legal proceedings, including a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, and work to maximize the total monetary award you receive for your motorcycle injuries.