Motorcycle collisions are among the most dangerous types of accidents that can occur in Missouri. In 2021, the most recent year for which data is available, 159 people in the state were killed in motorcycle crashes, and many more were injured. If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash and have filed a claim against the at-fault driver, you might wonder what you can expect from a motorcycle accident settlement.
What to Expect from a Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Varying Settlement Amounts
Many motorcycle crash victims want to know about the average motorcycle accident settlement when they contact accident attorneys. However, you should steer clear of anyone who provides a quote of what you might expect to receive for your claim without investigating your crash. Each motorcycle accident involves unique facts and circumstances, so there isn’t a set value for what a claim might be worth. Instead, your attorney will evaluate various factors involved in your case to calculate a range of monetary values within which a fair settlement offer might fall.
Investigating Your Crash and Determining Liability
Once you retain a lawyer, your attorney will begin investigating what happened and gathering evidence. This might involve working with an accident reconstruction expert and investigators to reconstruct what occurred and find and interview all witnesses who saw what happened. Your attorney might look for surveillance video from nearby businesses and traffic cameras that might have caught the accident and examine the damage to your bike and the other involved vehicle.
Your attorney will also want to review your medical records and doctor’s reports about your injuries and your likelihood of recovering from them. Obtaining and reviewing a copy of the police report can provide your lawyer with a roadmap of where to begin the investigation. The investigative process might take several months if your accident was severe. Once it is finished, your attorney will then be able to explain the merits of your claim, determine liability, and place a value on it.
Valuing Your Claim
Once your lawyer has determined liability and investigated your crash, they will be able to value your claim. This process involves calculating both your economic and non-economic damages, which are the losses you incurred because of the accident and your injuries.
Your compensatory damages can be divided into special and general damages. Special damages are the out-of-pocket losses that you have already incurred and that you will likely incur in the future. General damages are your non-economic, more intangible losses and are more difficult to value.
Your attorney and the insurance company will start by calculating your special damages since they are fairly straightforward to value. This will involve adding up all of your medical bills, wage losses, and property damages and calculating the cost of the medical expenses and income losses you are likely to sustain in the future. Once your attorney has calculated a total for your economic losses, they will value your non-economic losses, which may involve a more complicated process.
Your attorney will send a demand letter to the insurance company with the monetary demand you are asking for, and the insurance company can accept it, deny it, or come back with a counteroffer.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to try to secure the most favorable settlement offer achievable. This might be limited by the available insurance carried by the other motorist. For example, if your total damages calculation is $500,000, but the at-fault driver’s policy provides a limit of $100,000, that could restrict the recovery amount. Your attorney will search for other sources of recovery that might also be available to try to maximize your settlement.
Reaching a Settlement Agreement or Going to Trial
It’s important to note that the vast majority of motorcycle accident claims are resolved through settlements. However, some cases will instead proceed to trial. Even if you file a formal lawsuit, your case could settle at any time during the discovery process. Your attorney will continue negotiating with the insurance company while your case is pending to try to reach a settlement agreement but will be prepared to litigate for you at trial if necessary.
If you reach a fair settlement agreement, your attorney will go over the document with you. Once you sign the agreement, the insurance company will pay the agreed-upon amount to you, and your case will be over. If you don’t reach a settlement, your attorney will fight for your rights at trial until a verdict is reached.
Talk to a Motorcycle Crash Attorney
If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, you should speak to an experienced injury attorney at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave as soon as possible. Reaching out early can provide your lawyer with more time to investigate your case and preserve evidence that could otherwise be lost. For a free evaluation, call 417-322-2222 (Springfield) or 417-624-4258 (Joplin) or send us a message online.