Motorcycle riders face serious risks every time they hit the roads. Motorcycle accidents are much more likely to result in severe injuries or death compared to car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be wondering what kind of compensation you can expect to receive and how a Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyer can help.
Two Main Factors that Influence Settlements
Several key factors impact how much compensation injured motorcycle riders receive. The compensation can come from insurance settlements or personal injury lawsuits. The most important factors include:
Liability and Fault
The first factor insurance companies examine is who was at fault and to what degree. If you were partially at fault, it reduces the amount you can recover. Strong evidence proving the other driver’s complete negligence leads to higher settlements.
To determine fault, insurance investigators will review police reports, speak to witnesses, and examine evidence like skid marks and damage patterns. They will assign comparative negligence percentages based on each party’s contributing role in the crash. This is the best time to ensure you provide all of the necessary proof so the case goes more in your favor.
It is also beneficial to have an attorney demonstrate the other motorist’s full liability through accident reconstruction, expert testimony, and thorough evidence gathering. This can maximize your payout. An experienced lawyer will know how to build a compelling case for negligence.
Lost Income and Future Earning Capacity
If injuries prevent you from working for some time or permanently, the settlement will account for lost wages. Permanent impairment may impact future earning potential as well. If the injury is permanent, you will see a significant increase in your compensation.
Tracking lost income with pay stubs, employer statements, and tax returns is key. At-fault parties must reimburse your proven lost pay. Experts can assess impairment of future earnings, and your lawyer can have one on your case.
Make sure you consider lost promotions, raises, retirement benefits, and earning potential over your lifetime increases settlements, especially if you are young. Strong evidence of decreased work capacity enhances your payout. Your lawyer will know how to do this strategically.
Typical Settlement Ranges Based on Injury
While every motorcycle accident settlement depends on the details of the case, it is important to look at typical ranges for common motorcycle injuries. These ranges provide a general benchmark, but your specific compensation will vary based on your injuries, losses, and evidence. Here are some common ranges:
- Minor Soft Tissue Injuries – Minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, bruises, whiplash, and mild sprains usually lead to smaller settlements, from $3,000 to $25,000. Uninsured claims may be on the lower end.
- Broken Bones – Fractures requiring casts/splints and a few months of recovery could settle for $10,000 to $75,000, depending on severity. Compound or comminuted fractures warrant higher ranges.
- Serious Orthopedic Injuries – Major broken bones, torn ligaments, cartilage damage, etc., often result in $50,000 to $250,000 with proper medical documentation and lost income evidence.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – Due to high medical bills and permanent impairment, TBI settlements range from low 6-figures to millions for severe, life-altering head trauma. Exact amounts depend on severity, medical care, and recovery outlook.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Paralysis from spinal cord damage leads to 7-figure settlements or more given extensive lifetime medical costs and disability. Higher settlements occur for younger victims with more lost earning capacity.
- Amputation and Loss of Limb – Amputation of limbs causes severe hardship and disability. Settlements can reach or exceed $1 million depending on what body part was lost, prosthesis costs, and impact on quality of life.
- Wrongful Death – If a motorcyclist died in the accident, the surviving family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Settlements account for lost income, companionship, pain and suffering, and other factors. Multi-million dollar settlements are common.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can provide insight into what settlement amount is realistic based on your specific injuries, damages, and policy limits. Do not accept an offer without fully understanding the potential case value. You deserve the most out of your case as possible.
Steps to Take to Maximize Settlement Value
To ensure you receive full and fair compensation, you need to know the important steps to take after a motorcycle crash. If you do not follow the proper steps, you can end up jeopardizing your entire case. Here are some of the steps you should take:
- Get prompt medical treatment and follow all doctors’ orders. Gaps may reduce claim value.
- Document all injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, costs, and effects on daily life.
- Speak to an experienced personal injury attorney to handle negotiations and litigation.
- Do not settle without confirming the at-fault driver’s policy limits.
- Be reasonable but remain firm on deserved compensation.
- Proceed cautiously if accepting a structured settlement with periodic payments.
Following these steps immediately after your motorcycle accident is crucial for proving damages, establishing negligence, and determining the full value of your injury claim. An experienced lawyer can advise you on putting together evidence, valuing your losses, and negotiating for maximum compensation. You have to be careful not to make mistakes that could limit your payout.
Common Defenses Against Motorcycle Injury Claims
After a motorcycle accident, insurance carriers will investigate potential defenses to avoid or minimize payouts. It is not uncommon for them to try and get out of paying compensation. Some common defenses include:
- Claiming the Motorcyclist Was Speeding: Insurers may argue speeding contributed to the crash, reducing liability even if the other driver was negligent. Your attorney can argue the speeding claims with accident reconstruction evidence.
- Blaming Alcohol or Drug Use: Evidence of any intoxication makes defending claims much harder. Sobriety testing and drug screens should be promptly obtained.
- Questioning the Severity of Injuries: Insurers may claim injury reports are exaggerated to inflate damages. Your doctors must thoroughly document treatment and impairment.
Experienced motorcycle accident attorneys know how to overcome these defenses. They know how to keep the focus on the other driver’s negligence and your losses. Do not let insurers use unfair tactics to deny compensation.
You Deserve a Fair Chance at Your Settlement
The details of each motorcycle accident settlement vary widely based on the unique circumstances of the case. Most motorcycle claims can result in high payouts when given the proper evidence. It is important not to try and navigate this type of case on your own.
An attorney can help determine liability, negotiate the highest possible settlement, and take your case to trial if needed. Do not take any shortcuts with your recovery. Protect your rights by starting with a free consultation.