Everything to Know About the Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement
Updated: Nov 4, 2020
Having a motorcycle accident can cause some serious physical, emotional, and in some cases, financial damage. No one wants to have an accident in their whole life, but there are some factors that can cause a person to have one still, even if it's not their fault. A motorcycle accident can be caused by another driver, bike malfunction, bad driving, etc.
Regardless of the case, a motorcycle crash poses a serious risk for everyone. While recovering physically and emotionally from the accident is a priority, financial recovery is also an important step to make since the victim may face unexpected medical bills. Most motorcycle accident cases involve getting as much compensation as possible for all the pain and suffering the victim may have obtained.
A motorcycle accident can be as severe - or even more severe - than a car accident, so it's crucial always to get proper compensation for all the damages caused. This article is going to go over all the steps to follow after having a motorcycle crash and what the average settlement for these cases is.
What Are the Common Injuries that People Can Face In a Motorcycle Accident?
Driving a motorcycle can sometimes be more complicated than driving a car. Motorcycles also involve a much higher risk factor since the person's body is more exposed. This doesn't necessarily mean that a car accident is less severe than a motorcycle accident; both are dangerous, so it's essential to prevent them in the best way possible.
Currently, there are over eight million registered motorcycles in the United States. According to statistics, 75% of motorcycle injury cases are due to the motorcycle colliding with a car, and 25% of cases are due to external factors, such as bad weather. These high percentage rates prove that motorcycle accidents are extremely common, which means that motorcycle accident claims are also common.
Overall, these are the major injuries that a person may face after a motorcycle crash:
Head injuries tend to be the most common type of injury for motorcyclists since some of them don't wear helmets, which are one of the most important safety tools. Head injuries may range from mild to severe, and in extreme cases, they may end up in death. Head injuries involve concussions, cracked skulls, and brain injuries.
Brain injuries tend to be the most severe head injuries for motorcycle accidents. While helmets help absorb some of the impacts, it's still likely that someone can sustain an injury if the crash is too severe. When brain injuries get complications, the victim may lose the ability to speak, move, and other vital functions. Brain injuries usually end up in substantial medical bills and rehabilitation costs.
Road rash happens when the motorcyclist's skin slides across the pavement when they get thrown off from their motorcycle. Depending on the type of clothing that the person was wearing, the damage may range from mild bruises or cuts to deep muscle and nerve damage. A common issue with road rash is that debris may lodge itself in the injury when the pavement scraps the skin away, causing prolonged infections.
The legs are one of the most commonly injured body parts along with the head. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 30% of motorcycle accidents cause injuries to the lower extremities since the legs are the closest to the pavement. In most accidents, the bike can fall on top of the victim's legs, causing even a bigger injury. These injuries involve fractures and lacerations.
The chest area can also get a high degree of impact after a motorcycle accident. Thorax injuries are dangerous because if the ribs are severely injured, they can puncture other nearby body parts, causing internal bleeding. One of the most dangerous injuries that a motorcyclist can sustain is punctured or collapsed lungs. This can cause severe cases of pneumonia or infection.
Spinal Cord Injuries
This type of injury can cause permanent damage if the person survives the accident. Since helmets don't protect against spinal cord injuries, this body part can be exposed to heavy cases of paralysis. While some kinds of body paralysis are temporary and can be healed through physical therapy, there are some cases where the person can stay paralyzed permanently.
What Are the Common Causes of a Motorcycle Accident?
Before diving into how a motorcycle accident claim works, it's essential to understand the causes of motorcycle accidents. This is an important thing to keep in mind when calling insurance companies to file a motorcycle accident settlement case.
Reckless driving is one of the leading causes of injuries and death in motorcycle and car accidents. Statistics show that 33% of motorcyclists died from speeding in 2017, while 28% of these deaths were because of drunk driving.
There are currently many ways to protect oneself against accidents with modern safety gear, new bikes, etc. However, a motorcycle accident is still possible, even if the person was fully protected.
Bad Traffic Conditions
Certain traffic conditions, such as rush hours, can be hazardous for a motorcyclist since many drivers tend to drive carelessly. Even if the motorcyclists are driving correctly, they're still exposed to other bad drivers around.
Driving a motorcycle involves certain maneuverability to keep it steady. In some cases, when there's a traffic jam, some motorcyclists may try to move from one lane to another to avoid the traffic. If this isn't done carefully, it can cause the driver to ram into another vehicle, causing severe accidents.
Fixed Objects On the Road
Concentrating on the road is very important since motorcycles tend to reach high speeds. If the motorcyclist doesn't constantly focus on the road, they may ram the bike into a car, building, or tree, causing fatal injuries. Overall, the best thing to do in this case is to avoid distractions.
Bad weather conditions, such as heavy rain, wind, or fog, can be dangerous to motorcyclists since the smallest mistake while driving may cause an accident. These weather conditions tend to cause less visibility for the driver, which causes the accident.
What Factors Affect a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
Many things can affect motorbike accident claims. While the damages are a big factor in determining the compensation that the victim can get from insurance companies, there are other details to keep in mind. Most personal injury attorneys calculate the loss according to three main factors: Pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.
Lost wages and medical bills tend to be the easiest to calculate since all the attorney needs are those bills and job wage reports. On the other hand, pain and suffering are usually harder to calculate. It often ends up in the personal injury lawyer making an educated guess on what their client is entitled to.
To make a better guess, personal injury lawyers investigate similar accidents in the area and how much those cases got in compensation. However, in most cases, the best way to calculate pain and suffering is by determining how bad the damage was. For example, if the victim was paralyzed entirely, the value for the motorcycle accident settlement can go higher.
These are the most common areas in which an accident victim may be entitled to compensation:
Health and/or physical rehabilitation bills
Home health aid services
Possible home renovations
Modification of vehicles in case that the victim lost a limb
If the crash involves another driver, and that driver was driving recklessly, he or she may be entitled to punitive damages. However, the amount of money that the victim is entitled at the end of an accident case depends on the nature of the injuries, and who was at fault.
Determining the Degree of Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Settlement
One of the deciding factors in determining a motorcycle accident settlement is showing who was at fault. It's the victim's responsibility to provide as much evidence as possible to determine that another person or entity caused the accident injuries. If the person isn't able to prove that, the settlement's value can go lower. In some cases where the accident's fault is unclear, insurance companies and attorneys may decide to go to court.
The state in which the person had the crash is also important since some states have a contributory negligence rule. This means that if the victim was 1% responsible for the accident or higher, they can't be entitled to collect compensation for their injuries. Deciding who was at fault in a motorcycle accident is usually complicated for personal injury lawyers and insurance companies, so it's always important to provide as much information as possible about the accident and the injuries.
How Much Is a Good Settlement for a Motorcycle Accident?
A motorcycle accident settlement can vary from case to case since there are many factors that add up to the final decision from the jury or the insurance company. The amount of insurance available depends on the assets of the person who caused the accident. For example, if that person doesn't have many material assets, the final settlement may not be higher than the liability limit of their insurance policy.
If the person who caused the accident has few material assets, their personal injury lawyer may advise them to accept a settlement that is equal to the insurance policy's coverage. The average settlement for motorcycle accident between 1999 and 2006 was $73,700. However, since 90% of accidents settle before going to court, the verdict may not affect the victim's final settlement.
An insurance company usually tries to settle the compensation before going to court since the victim can be compensated with much higher damages if the accident cases proceed to trial. However, this depends on how much evidence is there and how severe the damage was. If a person was injured in motorcycle accident, the best thing to do is contact a personal injury lawyer who can assess their case in a better way. Most of those lawyers offer a free consultation for their services, which is a great option to know how much the person could obtain if the case goes well.
Having a good attorney-client relationship can help the victim to achieve proper compensation for their damages, so it's important to help and provide as much information as possible.
If the injuries weren't the victim's fault, the motorcycle settlement can be considered "fair" when it covers most or all of the medical expenses, property damages, wage loss, and pain and suffering.
Average Payout for Soft Tissue Injuries
As stated before, the amount of compensation that someone can get from the insurance company depends on the type of damages sustained, and the amount of evidence presented. However, there are some ways to estimate the amount of compensation depending on the kind of injuries.
It may be more complicated to calculate the damages when it comes to soft tissue injuries since they are minor damages. However, the average payout for these injuries may get close to the following:
From $2,500 to $10,000 - Whiplash Injuries
From $100k to $350k - Herniated Discs
$15,000 Approximately - Ankle Sprains
$20,000 Approximately - Shoulder Injuries
These are only approximate and the best way to calculate the compensation properly is by contacting an attorney to help. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation where the victim can give a detailed rundown of everything.
Average Payout for Other Severe Injuries
While soft tissue injuries are more common than other injuries, they are not as severe. Injuries such as a concussion may get a payout of $70,000 to $100,000 depending on the concussion's severity. On the other hand, traumatic brain injuries can get from $185,000 up to a million dollars in worst-case scenarios.
Regardless of the type of injuries, a motorcycle accident settlement is continually changing its value depending on the circumstance, so it's always best to ask for a free consultation from an attorney or an insurance provider.
How Long Does Reaching a Settlement Take?
Contrary to popular belief, the average motorcycle settlement can take a few months, and in some complicated cases, years. Most of that time is spent investigating both parties' claims on the case. Hiring an attorney can certainly help to achieve a settlement faster, but it isn't always guaranteed.
The attorney's free consultation can help to shed some light on how much the settlement can take. However, reaching a settlement doesn't necessarily mean that the victim is going to get the money right away. In most cases, The jury, insurance companies, or lawyers calculate the compensation after the treatment for the injury is over.
Generally, the case settlement covers motorcycle accident treatments that are already over.
What is the Difference Between Motorcycle Accident Insurance and Car Insurance?
While both types of insurance may look similar, they can vary in some small aspects. Generally, the average insurance policy for motorcycle accidents costs approximately 30% less than car insurance. However, there are factors such as driving record and age that may affect the insurance rate. Overall, the more secure the motorcycle or car is, the more affordable the insurance may be.
However, since a person is more likely to have a higher amount of damages after motorcycle accidents, they're likely to receive a lower value settlement.
What to Do After Having an Accident with a Motorcycle
Depending on the severity of the motorcycle injuries, they can leave a person overwhelmed. If someone sustains injuries even after following all the safety measures, there are some essential steps to follow that can help their case.
Check for injuries
Call the police to file a case report
Collect evidence for the case
Seek medical attention
Contact an attorney and schedule a consultation for the case
Contact the insurance company
Collect the personal information about the other parties involves in the case
Following all these steps can help to start building a steady motorcycle injury case. While that doesn't guarantee a good outcome for the case, it's always better to be prepared.
Is Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer Necessary?
While it's not necessary to contact an attorney to file a claim, it's better to have an experienced person to help with collecting all the required information about the case. Most insurance providers attempt to settle for the lowest amount possible, so contacting someone who can fight for a fair settlement is the right choice.
A good thing about this kind of attorney is that they often offer a free consultation. In there, the victim can determine how much they can approximately get in compensation and how much the case can take.
Average cases can take some time to get resolved, but with proper help and preparation, the victim can get fair settlement amounts. However, not every case is the same, so there's no fixed compensation amount. The best thing to do is to avoid accidents altogether, and wear all the recommended motorcycle safety equipment. That way, it can be easier for the attorney to ask for proper compensation if there was a crash, and someone else caused the accident.
Whether you are interested in learning how to get your motorcycle license in Ohio or you want to know the average semi-truck accident settlement, The Keating Firm can help you find the information you need.
Disclaimer: The details included in this blog is offered for educational purposes only, and should not be taken as lawful guidance in any way. No recipients of material from this blog, clients or otherwise, should or should not act on the basis of any material consisted in the blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional guidance on the particular facts and situations at issue from an attorney accredited in the recipient's state.