If you were involved in a motorcycle accident, the aftermath might leave you with serious injuries, psychological trauma, and financial hardship.
If a negligent party caused your injuries, you have a right to seek monetary compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
You may be wondering how to calculate a motorcycle settlement amount in California. Multiple factors affect a fair settlement for a motorcycle accident.
A qualified California motorcycle accident attorney can review and assess the circumstances surrounding your case to help you calculate a fair settlement.
Factors Impacting a Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amount in California
Anyone suffering an injury has a right to pursue compensation for their losses against the negligent party. However, various factors affect your motorcycle accident settlement amount in California.
Motorcycle accidents often result in substantial injuries based on the inequity between a motorcycle and a vehicle.
Significant injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury, may result in more significant motorcycle accident insurance settlements because these injuries result in high medical bills.
Medical care is costly, and how much is a good settlement for a motorcycle accident cannot always be assessed immediately.
It’s best to wait until an observing doctor determines that a victim has reached maximum medical improvement—that is, that they have either recovered from their injury or recovered as much as they can be expected to.
Long Recovery Period
Longer time away from work increases an average motorcycle accident settlement. Recovery for some accidents may take months or even years.
A long recovery period may require physical therapy and multiple medical appointments. Not to mention that you will likely incur significant lost wages and benefits.
Insurance Policy Limits
California law requires drivers to hold minimum amounts of liability insurance.
According to California Insurance Code Section 11580.1b, drivers must carry the following insurance:
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person,
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and
- $5,000 for property damage.
If the driver’s policy limits are less than the damages you have incurred, it may be difficult to obtain full compensation for your injuries.
While you may be able to sue the driver personally for additional damages, it can be difficult to collect compensation from an underinsured driver who does not have many assets.
Nevertheless, your attorney may be able to help you identify other sources of compensation, such as your own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
In California, if a court or insurance company believes you are partially responsible for an accident, this may negatively affect your overall settlement value. California is a comparative negligence state.
Comparative negligence means that injured parties may collect damages even if they are 99% at fault for their accident. However, your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
An insurance company will try to use comparative negligence principles to deny or reduce your claim. For this reason, you need a personal injury attorney to negotiate a just settlement on your behalf.
What Is the Average Payout for a Motorcycle Accident?
Many people want to know the value of their motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit.
However, motorcycle accidents vary from case to case based on the multiple factors particular to each case. For this reason, most personal injury attorneys do not provide an average payout for a motorcycle accident.
Instead, after assessing the facts of your individual case, your personal injury attorney can provide a range of values they think your case might be worth.
Your attorney can help you determine whether a settlement offer from the insurance company is reasonable or whether you should hold out for a higher settlement or take your claim to trial.
What Damages Make up a Fair Settlement for a Motorcycle Accident?
Damages are monetary awards intended to help compensate a car accident victim or make them “whole” after suffering injuries and other losses. Compensatory damages are broken into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages represent tangible and financial losses typically associated with out-of-pocket expenses, including:
- Medical expenses,
- Past and future lost wages, and
- Property damage.
It’s essential to maintain all receipts and copies of expenses incurred after a motorcycle accident. A personal injury attorney uses this evidence to negotiate a fair settlement for a motorcycle accident on their client’s behalf.
Failure to retain all records detrimentally affects a compensatory award, as an award may not include some out-of-pocket expenses without evidence to support those losses.
Non-economic damages represent intangible and subjective losses.
Non-economic damages include a variety of things that are not easily calculable, including:
- Emotional distress,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
Non-economic damages are difficult to calculate because tangible evidence, like invoices, bills, and pay stubs, does not assist in calculations.
These damages comprise an important aspect of motorcycle accident insurance settlements but may be excluded from the insurance company offers. Insurance companies often use a motorcycle accident compensation calculator that does not adequately account for non-economic damages.
However, it’s essential to include non-economic damages in any settlement agreement, as these damages may amount to an even greater sum than an economic damage award.
Your attorney can help you estimate the value of your non-economic damages and ensure that they are included in your settlement.
The Wakeford Law Firm helps people suffering personal injuries due to the negligence acts of others, including motorcycle accidents. We provide high-quality and aggressive representation on behalf of our clients and prepare all cases for the courtroom.
We have a team of medical and other experts ready to assist in your case. Our fully equipped team sends a strong message to insurance companies that Wakeford Law Firm isn’t afraid to go to trial.
Most importantly, we provide clients with focused attention and compassion. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial stresses you may be facing as you attempt to move forward after a devastating motorcycle accident.
Contact us today to discuss your case with a free, no-obligation consultation.