If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, there is a high probability you walked away from the incident with injuries. As a result, you might be wondering how much your accident claim is worth and how that value is determined. The two most important things to establish in valuing a motorcycle accident claim are damage and liability.
Valuing a Motorcycle Accident Claim
It’s likely that after a motorcycle accident, you’ve suffered serious losses. These losses are considered damages. Severe bodily injury, emotional trauma, and motorcycle damages are just a few possibilities. And these losses may have cost you financially. Hiring a lawyer could be your best option to recover financial losses and damages.
To value a motorcycle accident case, you will also need to consider liability. For example, was another driver at fault for your accident? Or it could be that a motorcycle part manufacturer is liable for your accident. The facts of each unique case will need to be assessed to determine the value of the claim.
Let’s look at two different scenarios to assess damage and liability.
Imagine you are on your motorcycle, at a stoplight. While waiting for the light to change, someone rear-ends you. You don’t sustain any serious injuries, nor does your motorcycle get any considerable damage. The person who hit you was the negligent party. But since you did not sustain injuries or property damage, there are no compensable damages. In this scenario, you would not have a viable case to file a claim, despite the other party being liable for the accident. You might be eligible for a small settlement for your troubles, but most likely only a minimal sum.
Now let’s take a scenario in which you were involved in a motorcycle accident, but you suffered substantial damages this time. This time, however, the other vehicle operator was not negligent. You may very well have been at fault for the accident. In this case, again, the settlement would not be a huge one. If the other party involved was not negligent, their insurance company has no obligation to compensate you. Again, you may be able to seek a relatively small settlement. But if you cannot prove that the other driver was negligent, your odds of receiving a substantial payment are unlikely.
How Do You Determine Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case?
There are usually two types of damages in a personal injury case (a motorcycle accident case).
- Economic damages, or special damage, can be calculated. Special damages include past, present, and future lost earnings, reduced earning capacity, lost or reduced employment benefits, medical bills, and other financial losses. Special damages are exact amounts that can be calculated to the dollar.
- Non-economic damages – intangible damages that cannot be calculated and don’t have specified costs. Examples of non-economic damages would be psychological distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional suffering, physical pain, diminished quality of life, loss of a loved one’s care or company, and loss of consortium. These are damages that may not have taken money out of your pockets but have caused significant pain and suffering. There is not one specific set of rules to determine the value of pain or suffering. During a trial, the jury decides on the non-economic damages amount. The judge will usually instruct jury members to evaluate these costs using sound judgment, supporting evidence, and experience. The more severe the accident, the higher the damage award usually is. A motorcycle accident that caused catastrophic injuries or death is likely to have a higher value than one that caused a minor collision. Hiring an attorney could help maximize your compensation and aid in your recovery.
Minor Injury vs. Severe Bodily Injury
In general, the more significant the injury, the more your case will be worth. How bad the injuries and to what extent they have impacted your life will affect the value of your settlement. You may also need to provide evidence to support your claim, like medical documentation.
If you received severe or catastrophic injuries from a motorcycle accident, you could receive a much higher settlement. Examples of severe injuries would include:
- Brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia.
- Loss of a limb.
- Scarring or disfigurement.
- Wrongful death.
Severe injuries like the previously mentioned would have high costs and a more significant impact on the victim’s life. As such, severe injuries are typically worth more when valuing motorcycle accident claims.
Lost Earnings and Disability Damages
In addition to injuries that can burden you with medical expenses, your injuries may have prevented you from returning to work. This could have resulted in a significant reduction or loss of earnings. To calculate lost earnings, add up the earnings and employment benefits you lost from being out of work. Perhaps medical treatment and recovery have further required you to take a considerable amount of time off of work or prevented you from working altogether. In this instance, a motorcycle accident claim could compensate you for your total lost earnings and any future lost earnings.
It’s also possible for you to receive disability benefits as part of your settlement. For example, suppose a medical professional can testify on your behalf that your injuries from the accident have led to temporary or permanent disability. In that case, you could be eligible for disability benefits. With the proper supporting evidence that these disabilities have prevented you from returning to work, a settlement could reimburse you for estimated lost wages, future lost earnings, promotions, and raises. Compensation could also cover other disability-related costs like medical care, nursing home, or vehicle disability accommodations.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you have sustained severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence, contact our Denver motorcycle accident attorneys as soon as possible.
With a combination of a proven track record, impressive financial resources, esteemed legal reputation, and a compassionate approach, we believe there is no better team than us.