Riding on a motorcycle brings many people a sense of freedom, exhilaration, and joy. But sadly, people are more likely to be seriously injured or killed when they are involved in motorcycle accidents. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 88,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2015, and 5,216 were killed in 2016. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident as a passenger or rider, you might wonder how much your claim is worth. However, motorcycle accident compensation depends on several factors.
Understanding Motorcycle Accident Compensation
The value of a motorcycle accident claim depends on liability and damages.
Determining liability in an accident means figuring out who was at fault. If the other involved party was not negligent, this means that he or she would not be liable. If the other party was negligent, and his or her negligence caused your accident and injuries, he or she may be liable to pay damages to cover your losses.
Damages in a motorcycle accident claim are monetary amounts that are paid to compensate injured victims for their losses. Damages may be compensatory (intended to compensate the injured party for loss or injury) or punitive (intended to punish the wrongdoer). In general, punitive damages are frequently unavailable except in egregious cases, so we’re going to focus on compensatory damages.
Available Compensatory Damages
The damages in a motorcycle accident claim depend on the facts and circumstances, the seriousness of the injuries, the likelihood of recovery, and whether liability was shared between the victim and the other motorist. There are two types of compensatory damages: special damages and general damages.
Special damages are monetary awards for your actual pecuniary losses, including the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Property losses
- Funeral and burial costs in wrongful death actions
- Lost inheritance rights in wrongful death actions
General damages are more difficult to value and are designed to compensate you for your noneconomic losses, including the following:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma or mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduction in your ability to enjoy life
- Loss of consortium for spouses
The types of damages and their monetary amounts will vary from case to case.
Special damages are fairly easy to calculate because they can be calculated to a dollar amount. General damages cannot be exactly calculated. Instead, juries might be instructed to use their experience, backgrounds, and sense to calculate the amount of pain and suffering damages to award.
Settlement vs. Trial Value
Now that you have a better understanding of damages, it’s important to note that there are two different types of claim valuations: settlement values and trial values.
The settlement value is the amount for which your claim might be reasonably settled. It will generally be lower than the trial value because people settle claims to avoid the risk of potentially losing at trial. The trial value is the amount that you might expect to win at trial if you prevail. When your attorney determines the trial value of your claim, he or she will also calculate the likelihood of winning at trial. Your attorney will then compare the settlement value with the trial value to help you to determine which option is most beneficial in your circumstances.
Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
Because a variety of different factors influence motorcycle accident compensation, we can’t provide an exact quote for how much you might expect to receive. An attorney will need to carefully review your case, taking all the facts and circumstances into account, to properly value the claim. Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today to schedule a consultation by calling 417-322-2222 or sending us a message online.