The average settlement for a motorcycle accident can vary drastically from case to case. However, the recoverable damages are often substantial, given the rider’s vulnerability and the serious nature of the injuries typically sustained. The complexity of these personal injury claims depends on several factors.
If you suffered injuries or lost someone you love in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else, our team of Fort Lauderdale motorcycle accident lawyers at Eltringham Law Group can help you build a case for compensation and hold the at-fault party responsible for their actions.
What Is the Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement in Florida?
The amount recovered in a typical Florida motorcycle accident settlement largely depends on the seriousness of the injuries sustained and the amount of available insurance coverage through the at-fault parties.
For example, if the party responsible for your accident and liable for damages has available policy limits of $100,000, that could be all you can receive. This is because it is extremely difficult (but not impossible) in Florida to recover additional money beyond whatever the at-fault driver’s policy limits happen to be. However, if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, you could potentially recover additional compensation through your own motorcycle policy.
What Are the Damages Available to Injured Motorcyclists?
The value of your settlement depends mainly on the amount and type of losses you suffered. The law defines these losses as compensatory damages and divides them into economic and non-economic losses. In rare cases, you may also have access to punitive damages.
Economic, or specific, damages reflect how the accident and your injuries impacted you financially:
- Medical expenses: The cost of emergency services, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medications, surgeries, medical devices and ongoing care, such as rehabilitation. You’re also entitled to recover for any future medical expenses to the extent that your doctors determine that care is medically necessary.
- Lost income: The wages lost during your recovery and the loss of earning capacity if you suffered a permanent disability
- Damaged property: The cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle
- Replacement services: Transportation to and from treatment; the cost of household help or childcare services
Proving these losses can be tedious. You must provide sufficient evidence for each, such as medical bills, repair estimates, pay stubs, and tax returns. Our attorneys will help.
Non-economic damages (A.K.A. pain & suffering) address the mental and emotional impact of your case. For example, you can claim the physical pain and suffering caused by your injuries and necessary medical treatment. Given the severity of a motorcycle accident, you may suffer anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress in the aftermath, and you can claim those losses.
The court even recognizes the loss of enjoyment you can experience due to your injuries.
Our legal team will help you identify recoverable non-economic damages while investigating your claim. We will explain the process of assigning value to these non-monetary losses and ensure your demands are fair.
The average settlement for a motorcycle accident does not include an award for punitive damages. The court reserves these for cases where the at fault driver’s actions exhibited gross negligence or malicious intention. For example, if the driver who hit you or your loved one was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was driving at reckless speeds with no regard for others, that may constitute an award for punitive damages.
The purpose is not to compensate you for any loss associated with your accident and injuries. Instead, the court uses punitive damages to further punish the defendant at-fault driver for their illegal actions.
Wrongful death damages
If you lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may have the right to recover specific damages related to that loss. In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can pursue a wrongful death claim and distribute any damages recovered to the surviving beneficiaries. Possible damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of income and benefits your loved one provided
- The loss of inheritance
- The loss of love, nurturance, and guidance
- The pain and suffering you endured because of your loss
There is no way for the court to compensate for the untimely death of a loved one fully. However, it can relieve the financial struggle that may follow.
What Factors Influence a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
Rather than questioning the average motorcycle accident settlement, a better way to assess your potential compensation is to consider the factors that can impact your final award.
For example, the motorcyclist’s age can significantly affect their claim if their injuries become a permanent disability. In that case, someone younger would incur considerably more financial damages than someone older.
Other factors include:
- The severity of the accident and your injuries
- How the accident impacted your mental and emotional health
- The amount of financial loss associated with your accident
- Who is liable for the accident
Fault determination is a critical step in the civil process. When you file a claim against the other party, they may respond by blaming you for causing or contributing in part to the accident.
Especially in cases where there are no independent witnesses. If you are found partially liable for the accident, it can negatively impact the compensation you can recover.
The modified comparative negligence rule
Florida law applies the modified comparative rule in motorcycle accident cases involving shared fault. In the rare event that your case goes to trial, the jury will determine the total dollar amount of damages available to you and the percentages of fault for each party. If you are less than 50% responsible for the accident, you can recover some of the total damages. However, due to recent changes in the law, if you are 50% or greater at fault for causing the accident, you will be barred from making any recovery.
For example, if the court finds you or your loved one 20% at fault for $500,000 in damages, you can still recover $400,000. That is 80% of your total losses, which equals the other party’s portion of fault. But if you or your loved one is found to be 50% at fault, then your recovery will be zero. This is one of the many reasons that it is super important to hire an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer if you get into any type of accident while riding.
Like most auto accident cases, motorcycle collision claims typically settle before ever reaching the trial phase. However, the question of fault will still arise, and the insurance company will likely use shared responsibility to justify a lower settlement offer. One benefit of hiring our attorneys to handle your case is that we fight to protect your right to fair compensation.
How Can Our Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Help Your Case?
Our legal team can help you build a solid case against the at-fault driver. Our duties vary from case to case, depending on the client’s needs. However, there are some fundamental elements of our job as legal representatives:
- Handling all communication with the insurance company so you can focus on healing rather than dealing with a combative adjuster
- Investigating the accident, often with the help of an accident reconstruction expert, to find evidence of fault
- Identifying all recoverable damages and establishing the worth of your non-economic losses
- Doing all the administrative work, including completing and filing the paperwork for a lawsuit
- Preparing your case for trial, should the insurance company fail to offer fair compensation for your loss
We understand the devastation these accidents can have on victims and their loved ones and offer compassionate support and aggressive protection as you navigate the aftermath. Our commitment is to guide you through the legal process, offering advice.
Work With Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Fort Lauderdale
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, our experienced attorneys at Eltringham Law Group in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida can help. We’ll make sure you understand the civil legal process and fight for every dollar you deserve.
The average settlement for a motorcycle accident can vary significantly. However, solid legal representation can increase your chances of recovering adequate compensation. Contact Eltringham Law Group to schedule your free consultation today.