Many people love the feeling of freedom they get when riding on motorcycles. But unfortunately, motorcyclists are overrepresented in the number of serious injuries and traffic fatalities that happen each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,985 motorcyclists were killed in the U.S. in 2018, despite accounting for a small percentage of the vehicles on the road. If you’re injured in a motorcycle collision caused by someone else’s actions, you may wonder about the possibility of bringing an injury claim or a lawsuit. What are the factors in motorcycle injury settlements? How might those factors apply to your claim?
What Are the Factors in Motorcycle Injury Settlements?
Every motorcycle collision is different. The value of a potential settlement depends on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. An experienced personal injury lawyer cannot provide you with a value for your potential settlement without reviewing what happened in your case and considering all of the evidence and the different factors which come into play in motorcycle injury settlements. The following are some of the factors that might affect your potential case and potential settlement:
The Extent of Your Economic and Noneconomic Losses
The extent of your economic and noneconomic losses is among the most important factors in determining the settlement that you might receive. Your claim’s value should equal the total of the losses that you suffered, disregarding other factors that could impact your claim. Your attorney will start by valuing your economic losses, including your past and future medical expenses, your past wage losses, your future anticipated wage losses, and your property losses. Once he or she arrives at the value of your economic losses, he or she will then calculate the value of your noneconomic losses. The noneconomic losses in a case are more difficult to value and include such things as your physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, disability, scarring and disfigurement, and others.
How Your Life Has Changed Because of the Collision
To what extent has your life changed as a result of the collision? Has it impacted your ability to work, your hobbies, your relationships, or your enjoyment of life? For example, if you worked as a nurse before your motorcycle accident and suffered a serious traumatic brain injury that will prevent you from ever working as a nurse again, your settlement might be high. By contrast, if your motorcycle accident injuries do not interfere with your ability to return to your job, your settlement will likely be lower. If you previously competed in marathons but are now paralyzed, your settlement will likely be higher than someone who fully recovers from their injuries after a few months. Every situation is different, which is why it’s important that you help your attorney fully understand how your life has changed as a result of the collision.
The Ability of the Defendant to Pay
Missouri mandates that all drivers carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. The minimum liability limits are $25,000 for bodily injury for one person, $50,000 for two or more injured people, and $25,000 for property damage in an accident. If your motorcycle accident was caused by someone who only carried the minimum liability insurance required by the state, your settlement value might be limited to the policy limits even if your losses are substantial. While some defendants have other assets that might be reached, many people are essentially judgment-proof, which means that they do not have sufficient assets to settle claims beyond their insurance policies. The policy limits of the defendant’s insurance policy might significantly impact the value of your claim.
There are other avenues of coverage, such as underinsured motorist coverage. Your lawyer should look to see if there might be additional sources of recovery beyond the basic insurance policy.
Jury Bias Against Motorcyclists
Many people hold personal biases against motorcyclists and perceive them as risk-takers who are likely to be at fault for the accidents in which they are involved. Because of these types of stereotypes and biases, some juries, if not properly persuaded, might be less inclined to award large verdicts to motorcycle accident victims. Since insurance companies are aware of the biases that people hold, they sometimes offer lower settlements to motorcycle accident victims. To overcome potential juror bias and recover a fair settlement amount, it will be very important to build a strong case from the very beginning with substantial evidence to support liability and damages.
Your life might be permanently altered after a motorcycle accident. If your accident and injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver or entity, you might be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. Contact the experienced team at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave to schedule a free consultation by calling 417-322-2222 or sending us a message. In addition, check out our Verdicts and Settlements page to view a small sample of cases we’ve handled for clients. In one case, our team successfully secured a $1,100,00 settlement for a motorcyclist injured in a collision! With our experience and expertise, you can count on us to fight hard on your behalf.