Average Payout for a Motorcycle Accident
The average payout for a motorcycle accident varies, depending on how the accident occurs and the injuries the accident victim suffers. Accident victims can seek damages from liable parties, including compensation for their lost wages, inconvenience, pain, and suffering.
The first step to recovering money damages following a motorcycle accident is to file a personal injury claim—usually with the at-fault person’s insurance company. If the insurance company does not offer you fair settlement compensation for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can litigate the case by filing a lawsuit in court. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can assist you throughout your case’s settlement and litigation, helping you recover the full amount of damages you deserve.
What Damages That Motorcycle Accident Victims Can Recover?
Motorcycle accident victims often suffer extremely serious injuries, especially if they strike the ground in their crashes. The monetary damages that motorcycle accident victims recover depend on the seriousness and extent of their injuries, the type of accident, the extent of their medical treatment, and the pain and suffering they endured.
Generally speaking, the more serious the property damage in an accident—and the more significant the injuries and medical treatment—the higher the compensation an accident victim can recover in their case.
A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer will pursue a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company. However, insurance companies are rarely generous when compensating accident victim plaintiffs. Therefore, your lawyer might need to file a lawsuit—and litigate it—to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Many motorcycle accident victims have to miss time away from their jobs due to disabilities or pain and suffering. They may also need to attend medical and physical therapy appointments, preventing them from working their usual hours. When that happens, the accident victim can bring a claim for lost wages.
Some motorcycle accident victims suffer permanent injuries that prevent them from working long-term. An accident victim might not return to their same job or industry after the accident due to the severity of their injuries. When that happens, and the accident victim must switch to a lower-paying job, they can claim a loss of earning capacity.
Lost wages are economic damages. However, motorcycle crash victims can also pursue non-economic damages and recover compensation for their inconvenience, pain, and suffering. They might also be eligible to recover damages for their mental distress, emotional anguish, and lost quality of life.
These latter damages are available when a motorcycle crash victim can no longer participate in recreational activities, such as sports, that they enjoyed before their accident. Moreover, after the motorcycle crash, they might not spend the same time with friends and family members as they did before the collision.
Some accident victims suffer permanent injuries, such as full or partial paralysis, in their motorcycle crashes. When that happens, the accident victim can seek compensation for losing their ability to use a body part. Finally, some motorcycle accident victims can bring claims for loss of spousal companionship and family support.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash that left you debilitated and in significant pain, you have legal options. A motorcycle accident lawyer can assist throughout the claims-filing and litigation processes to recover the maximum amount of compensation available in your case.
Common Injuries to Motorcycle Accident Victims
Motorcycle accident victims often sustain extremely serious injuries. Unlike the occupants of cars and trucks, motorcyclists and bicyclists do not have the benefit of a thick metal shell surrounding them. If another vehicle strikes their motorcycle or bicycle, they can fall to the ground—or onto another vehicle—suffering serious injuries.
A victim’s injuries depend on many factors, including the type of accident, how they fall to the ground, and the specific body part(s) that strike the ground. The impact force can also determine the injuries the accident victim suffers in the crash.
Some of the most common motorcycle accident injuries include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations and cuts
- Road rash
Injuries may require prompt medical treatment in a hospital emergency room, followed by appointments with a medical specialist, primary care doctor, or physical therapist, depending on the extent of the accident victim’s injuries.
A motorcycle crash victim should always obtain medical treatment on the same date as their accident. A medical provider needs to thoroughly examine the accident victim, take the necessary MRIs, X-rays, and other imaging studies, and diagnose the accident victim’s condition. A relatively minor injury that goes untreated can become far more serious as time progresses. Therefore, it is important for motorcycle crash victims to obtain their initial medical treatment as soon as possible.
Delaying medical treatment can also hurt the accident victim’s injury claim. For example, the insurance company might become skeptical of the accident victim’s injuries, believing they are not serious and do not warrant significant monetary compensation. Accident victims should also treat continuously for their injuries and wait for a healthcare provider to discharge them rather than discharging themselves from treatment.
While you finish your medical treatment, your lawyer can begin working on various aspects of your injury claim. Specifically, your lawyer can gather your lost wage documents, photographs, victim impact statement, medical treatment records, and other evidence to create a settlement demand package. After completing treatment or knowing you will need ongoing treatment, your lawyer can submit this demand package to the insurance adjuster handling your claim and begin the settlement negotiation process.
How do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?
Motorcycle crashes typically result from driver error.
Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:
- Distracted driving – A driver is distracted when they fail to watch the road. Some drivers become distracted when they listen to loud music in their vehicles, while at other times, passengers in the vehicle can distract the driver. At other times, drivers become distracted when they use an electronic device, such as a tablet or cellular phone, while driving. A distracted driver who looks away from the road for a second or two may not see an approaching motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian, causing a serious collision that dislodges the cyclist from their vehicle.
- Drunk driving – The law prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol. Every driver should know the risks of impaired driving, though many people continue to get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. While impaired drivers can face administrative sanctions (for a BAC over .05) or criminal penalties (for a BAC over 0.08), they are also civilly liable for any harm they cause due to their reckless decisions.
- Violating road rules – Drivers must follow all road rules. The purpose of these rules is to keep drivers and their passengers safe. However, when drivers violate these rules, they increase the chances that they will cause an accident. Common road rule violations that lead to motorcycle crashes include following motorcycles too closely, failing to use turn signals, failing to yield the right-of-way to a motorcycle at the appropriate time, and aggressive driving, including speeding.
Although negligent driving is a common cause of motorcycle crashes, it is not the only cause. Sometimes, these accidents happen because of defective motorcycle parts. Part manufacturers must properly design and test their products, including handlebars, braking systems, and steering mechanisms, before selling them. When a motorcycle part malfunctions while a cyclist is out on the road and an accident occurs, the accident victim can bring a legal claim against the product manufacturer or distributor in the chain of commerce.
At other times, motorcycle crashes happen because of negligent repair work. Repair facilities must make the necessary repairs in a workmanlike and careful manner. When they fail in that regard and motorcycle malfunctions lead to an accident, the injured cyclist can bring a claim against the repair facility for negligence.
Finally, some motorcycle crashes happen because of roadway defects. Municipalities and other government entities must properly maintain the roadways in their jurisdictions. This includes keeping roads free of defects like large cracks and potholes.
When a motorcycle hits a deep pothole at high speeds, it can dislodge the cyclist from their bike, causing them to sustain serious injuries. When that happens, the accident victim can bring a claim against the municipality—and later a lawsuit, under certain circumstances.
If you suffered injuries in a motorcycle crash because of someone else’s negligence, you should speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer right away. Your lawyer will safeguard your legal rights and explain your options, helping you select the best one for your unique circumstances.
Filing a Claim or Lawsuit for Damages in Your Motorcycle Accident Case
After you complete your medical treatment, a lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim for damages with the appropriate insurance company.
Specifically, your lawyer can:
- Submit a settlement demand letter, along with a complete demand package, to the insurance company adjuster on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company claims adjuster who is handling your case
- Make recommendations about whether you should accept a particular settlement offer or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
- Help you finalize the release and settlement documents if you decide to settle your case.
- File a lawsuit in the court system if you decide to pursue litigation
- Handle all aspects of litigation in your case, including completing written discovery and preparing you for your discovery deposition
- Representing you at all court hearings, including settlement conferences and mediations
- Preparing you for trial or alternative dispute resolution proceedings, such as binding arbitration
- Representing you at all court hearings and advocating for your legal interests there
- Filing an appeal in your case if one becomes necessary
Deadline to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Injured motorcycle crash victims should not wait until the last minute to file a legal claim or lawsuit. For example, in Alberta, motorcycle accident victims only have two years from their accident to file a lawsuit that seeks monetary damages. If the accident victim waits too long and does not file their lawsuit in time, they will inadvertently waive their right to recover monetary compensation.
Therefore, you should always get a lawyer on board in your case immediately after your crash. Your lawyer can begin the claim process right away and start negotiating a settlement in your case. If the insurance company refuses to offer you the damages you deserve, your lawyer can promptly file a lawsuit well within the statute of limitations.
Consult with a Skilled Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
In addition to causing serious injuries that require lengthy medical treatment, motorcycle accidents often leave their victims confused and unsure of where to turn next. Fortunately, that’s where an experienced personal injury lawyer can help.
Your lawyer will take your side during every step of the process, from filing the insurance claim to litigating your case in court if necessary. Your lawyer will pursue the maximum compensation possible for your motorcycle accident injuries and can help you make informed legal decisions in your case.
Many people have concerns about average payouts and whether they can obtain what other victims did for their injuries. Insurance adjusters might throw out numbers, claiming to offer an above-average settlement, but do not fall for this tactic. The so-called average payout might be much less than you need.
Every motorcycle accident victim has a unique experience and losses, so you need a lawyer to evaluate your losses considering your specific circumstances. Only then can you know how much compensation will cover your past and future losses. If your injuries are severe, this amount will be much higher than an average insurance settlement.
Be careful when communicating with insurers on your own, and never accept anything without the advice of a motorcycle accident lawyer. Seek legal help immediately once your injuries are stable. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.