If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, you are probably curious what the average motorcycle accident settlement amount is. In this guide, we will briefly discuss what goes into the average settlement for a motorcycle accident, and how you can determine what your motorcycle accident settlement may be worth.
Factors in an Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement
As a general rule, the more serious your injuries are the higher your compensation will be. There are several reasons for this. First, serious injuries typically result in extensive medical expenses and other costs. This can include the costs of past, present, and ongoing medical treatment such as physical therapy or chiropractic care.
Moreover, if you suffer a serious injury in a motorcycle accident, you will likely be forced to miss time from work. This may entitle you to compensation for lost wages and even reduced future earning capacity.
Second, serious injuries often result in non-economic damages such as mental anguish and pain and suffering. Motorcycle accident claims that involve higher amounts of compensation usually take longer to settle. You will need to work with your lawyer to document your injuries and calculate the extent of your losses. Moreover, your lawyer will likely engage in several rounds of negotiations to obtain adequate compensation for your losses.
Calculating Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Case
The average motorcycle accident settlement will consist of several different types of damages. The first category is economic damages. Economic damages are those that are easy to document and prove. For example, medical expenses and lost wages.
The second type are non-economic damages. This category is more difficult to establish. It includes mental anguish and pain and suffering.
The third type of damages are punitive damages. Punitive damages are usually not awarded in the average motorcycle accident settlement case. Rather, the court awards punitive damages only to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar content.
For example, if the defendant was driving under the influence when his car struck your motorcycle the court may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are often a major factor in determining whether to settle a motorcycle accident claim outside of court or file a lawsuit and go through all the time and expense of litigation.
To better understand compensation awarded in average motorcycle accident settlements, it helps to look at how some types of damages are calculated.
Compensation for medical expenses is included in just about every motorcycle accident settlement case. Medical costs are generally easy to document and prove. You can provide copies of receipts and medical records to the insurance company.
But other types of medical costs are more speculative. For example, the costs of future medical care if you will require ongoing treatment. To prove future medical expenses, you typically require a report from a doctor and/or medical expert.
It is difficult to put a number on the amount of medical costs in the average motorcycle accident settlement. But in one study, the authors found that suffering severe injuries was 10 times more likely in motorcycle accident than in car crashes.
And the average cost of treatment for motorcyclists was almost double those of car accident victims. Serious injuries such as lost limbs and brain injuries are much more common in motorcycle accidents than they are in the average car accident.
According to the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research, the average charge for a motorcyclist who is admitted to a hospital for treatment is nearly $50,000. While every case is different, motorcycle accident victims usually incur significant medical expenses.
Many motorcycle accidents cause victims to miss time from work. If you are a salaried employee, calculating lost wages is straight forward. You simply multiply your daily salary by the number of days that you missed work.
But in other cases, calculating lost earnings is more complicated. For example calculating lost benefits, career advancement opportunities, or opportunity cost.
Moreover, the injury could result in permanent life-long complications. As a result, you may be unable to work in the same job that you had before the accident. You will likely need to retain an expert such as an economist to determine your lost long-term earnings. The long term value of a lost account for a small business owner is much harder to quantify than a month’s salary for a w-2 employee.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering generally refers to two things. The first is physical pain and suffering that is associated with an injury. The second is mental anguish or emotional distress caused by the motorcycle crash. Since pain and suffering is subjective it is not easy to calculate.
As a general rule, serious injuries are presumed to cause a higher degree of pain and suffering. For example, a broken arm or leg is noticeable, and it is common knowledge that it is painful. But a less obvious injury such as whiplash or ligament damage is more difficult to assign a number to. For these reasons, pain and suffering damages tend to be higher for serious injuries that require a significant amount of time to recover from.
Insurance companies will review several different types of evidence to calculate the value of pain and suffering. This can include:
· Medical bills and records
· Photographs of your injuries, property damages, and the scene of the accident
· Prescriptions and receipts for over-the-counter medications
· Documentation showing the amount of time missed from work
· Evidence of mental health treatment
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you to calculate and recover the pain and suffering compensation that you deserve. Your lawyer will base his or her calculations on average motorcycle accident settlements in your jurisdiction and the facts of your case.
The Number of Parties Involved
The more parties that are involved in the motorcycle accident settlement process, the longer it typically takes to settle. You or your motorcycle accident lawyer will need to communicate with multiple defendants, witnesses, lawyers, insurance companies, and/or other parties.
Motorcycle Accident Settlement Value vs. Trial Value
The settlement value of a the average motorcycle accident claim is the amount that a victim can receive from the insurance company without going to court. The victim typically negotiates with the insurance company to arrive at the settlement amount. In exchange for the settlement funds, the victim agrees to release the at-fault driver and his insurance company from further liability.
The average motorcycle accident settlement is generally lower than the amount a victim could recover at trial. A judge or jury awards damages based on evidence. An insurance company arrives at a settlement value based on average motorcycle accident settlements reached in similar cases. While every case is different, research conducted by Jury Verdict Research (published by Thomson Reuters) found that the average motorcycle injury verdict is approximately $73,000.
So, you may be wondering why anyone would accept less money for their motorcycle accident personal injury claim than they could potentially receive at trial. The decision really comes down to two factors – time and risk.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit may not go to trial for several years. In the meantime, the victim may lack the funds to pay for medical treatment and other expenses. A motorcycle accident settlement may only take a few months.
A motorcycle accident lawsuit can involve significant risk. If the jury finds that the victim was negligent, then the victim may recover nothing. Or, if the accident occurred in a state with comparative negligence laws, the court may reduce the victim’s damages award. Many claimants are unwilling to take the risk.
To decide whether to settle or go to trial, it may be helpful to perform a quick analysis. Let’s say you think that if you went to trial for your motorcycle accident case and prove that the other party was negligent, you will recover $200,000. But you only think you have a 20% chance of winning the case at trial. Depending on your situation, it may make sense to just settle the case for $40,000, which is 20% of the trial value.
Motorcycle Accident Settlement Examples
The following are three motorcycle injury cases where the victim received an average or above average motorcycle accident settlement.
$150,000 Motorcycle Accident Settlement
A motorcycle rider was traveling southbound and approached a truck parked on the shoulder. The truck began moving forward back onto the roadway and the motorcyclist attempted to move out of the way. At the same moment another vehicle passed in front of the motorcycle. The motorcyclist swerved and struck the truck leading to serious injuries. It was determined that both the truck and other vehicle were at-fault for the accident. The victim settled his motorcycle accident personal injury claim for $150,000.
$500,000 Motorcycle Accident Settlement
A motorcyclist was traveling on a two-lane roadway when a pickup truck failed to stop for a stop sign and struck him. The motorcyclist did not require emergency medical treatment at the scene. He experienced knee pain for several months and had surgery. He was forced to miss over 6 months of work. He settled with the insurance company for $500,000. The compensation included the costs of past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
$2,500,000 Motorcycle Accident Settlement
A motorcyclist was traveling on a two-lane highway in a rural area. A vehicle made a left hand turn and struck his motorcycle. The motorcyclist was severely injured, suffering several broken ribs and a hand injury. He was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. The victim slowly recovered but will never regain full use of his right hand and was unable to return to the same job that he had before the accident. The insurance company settled the case for $2.5 million given the victim’s permanent disability, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Motorcycle Accident Settlement Calculator
If you have suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident you may be entitled to financial compensation. Use our free online Car Accident Settlement Calculator to determine what your case might be worth.
Get Legal Help for Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious and life-changing injuries. Victims often incur significant expenses and losses, as well as mental anguish.
You can get a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to find out how much compensation you may be entitled to for your motorcycle accident.