What is My Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?

by Oct 8, 2019Motorcycle Accident

What is My Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth?

by Oct 8, 2019Motorcycle Accident

How much is my Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth
How much is my Motorcycle Accident Injury Claim Worth

Riding a motorcycle can be thrilling, exciting and give you a feeling of freedom. In fact, the state of Florida has the second-highest number of motorcycle registrations in the country with almost 600,000. However, when you are injured on a motorcycle, whether you are a driver or passenger, you may be unable to work and wonder how you will handle your family finances. This is especially difficult when the accident was the result of someone else’s carelessness. Therefore, you may be wondering what your motorcycle accident injury claim may be worth.

Liability and Damages

The first factor in determining how much a motorcycle accident claim is worth is to determine who was at fault. Although you may believe that the other person was at fault, the insurance company or an attorney may claim the other person was not at fault. In some cases, there is no liability in a motorcycle accident because the other person did nothing wrong or you may have difficulty proving they were negligent. The reason for this is that the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was negligent. Damages are the losses you suffered due to the accident. The worse your injury, the more you may be eligible to receive.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove there was negligence that caused your motorcycle accident injury, the other driver must have failed to exercise the degree of reasonable care required to minimize the risk to others. That is the legal basis for claiming personal injury in Florida. In addition to proving the other person did not use reasonable care, you must also prove that their failure to do so resulted in your injury. For example, if the other driver ran a stop sign, striking your motorcycle, resulting in a broken leg, it is likely a judge or jury would find the other person negligent.

Determining Damages

The damages you may be eligible to receive in a motorcycle accident claim depend on several factors. The negligence committed may have an impact on the amount you may receive. In the previous example, if the person who ran the stop sign could not see the sign due to a tree, it could be viewed as less negligent than if the person was driving under the influence. The severity of your injury will also have an impact on your damages. A broken leg may not qualify for as much compensation as one that was crushed and requires several surgeries to repair.

Comparative Negligence

Another factor that will be used to determine the amount of your claim is whether you were at all responsible for the accident. If it can be determined that you were at fault in the accident, your damages can be reduced. If you were speeding, causing the person who ran the stop sign to misjudge how close you were, you could be considered partially at fault for your accident. If a judge or jury determines that you were 30 percent at fault and your damages are $10,000, your compensation will be reduced to $7,000.

Types of Damages

There are two types of damages when determining what a motorcycle accident injury claim may be worth. The first is known as special damages which are damages of exact calculation. These are damages that can be easily identified, including lost earnings, medical bills and other costs you have incurred due to the accident. The second is pain and suffering which are those that do not have exact calculations. There are no guidelines for determining the value of pain and suffering. It is not possible to view a chart that tells a judge or jury how much pain you were in from your broken leg or how your family has suffered because you have been unable to work.

Lost Future Earnings

If your injury is severe enough that you cannot work for a long time or may not be able to return to work at all, you may be eligible for lost future earnings as well. If you were earning $100,000 per year prior to your accident but now your income has been cut in half because you cannot work full-time, your future lost earnings would be $50,000 per year for your work-life expectancy. Additionally, you would also be eligible to be awarded for the potential your earnings would have increased with the cost of living, inflation, pay raises, etc. Your attorney would hire a wage expert in order to assist with proving these losses to the trial jury. The court will use federal government statistics to determine what your work-life expectancy may be.

Determining Pain and Suffering

There is no rule for determining compensation for pain and suffering. In some cases, the insurance company multiplies special damages by a number, usually between one and five depending on the severity of the injury, offering that amount as compensation for pain and suffering. Other companies use a per diem method in which a certain amount is assigned to each day after the accident until you have reached maximum recovery. For example, if the insurance company sets the per diem amount at $100 and it takes you 90 days to reach maximum recovery, you may be offered $9,000 for pain and suffering. Still, others use computer programs to determine amounts for pain and suffering. Fortunately, if your case ends up in a trial, then the jury, not the insurance company, will make the determination based on the information presented to them by your attorney.

Proving Pain and Suffering

The more evidence you have to support your claim, the more likely you will receive pain and suffering. The most important thing to do after a motorcycle accident injury is to see a doctor immediately. Take photographs of all injuries and document everything the doctor tells you. Friends and family should also document how the injury has negatively impacted your life as well as theirs. Retain all paperwork provided by your doctor, including treatment recommendations, visit notes and statements. You may also receive compensation for mental pain and suffering, including anxiety, insomnia or depression. In order to do so, you may need documentation from a mental health professional as well.

Determining what is fair in a motorcycle accident injury claim is complicated. That is why you need to talk to an experienced attorney who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact the Bodden & Bennett Law Group today by calling or filling out the online form to schedule your no-obligation appointment.

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