There’s no simple average settlement amount for a motorcycle accident, as they can cover a wide range of circumstances and severity. Most motorcycle accidents will result in far more severe injuries than those involving only full-sized vehicles, which definitely increases the average settlement. While injuries are just one part of the damages involved in calculating a settlement, a University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) study revealed that the average hospital bill alone of a motorcyclist in an accident is more than $47,000.
Much more than just your hospital bill goes into calculating a settlement amount, however. Often settlements are determined in a negotiation process between you and your attorney and the opposing party. A fair settlement should cover all hardships you faced and will continue to face as a direct result of the accident.
What Can Affect Your Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
There are a number of factors that go into settlement negotiations. Often there are back and forth offers and complex calculations about the costs of the accident. You and your attorney should have a good idea of what you can deem a fair settlement before the process even begins, just based on what you’re likely to pay over your lifetime that directly results from your accident.
Your injuries are often the most significant factor when determining a settlement amount. Any settlement offer should obviously pay for all your medical treatment, in addition to all the medical treatment you will need in the future due to your injuries. Your compensation should also account for any decreased earning power throughout the rest of your life resulting from your injuries, or likely complications in the future.
Who Was Responsible for the Accident
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 64% of accidents involving motorcycles and another vehicle were caused by errors or negligence by the driver of the other vehicle. While drivers of full-sized vehicles can commonly overlook motorcycles, that is not a legal defense for causing an accident if you were driving legally and had right of way.
There are occasions where poor decisions on the part of more than one driver contribute to an accident, however. In these cases, Florida abides by the doctrine of comparative fault. This means that each party is typically assigned a percentage responsibility for the accident.
Under comparative fault, if you were responsible for 25% of the negligence that led to the accident, then your award in court would be reduced by 25%. This is also usually taken into account when negotiating a settlement.
Property damage should also be included in your settlement. You shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of repairing your bike if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence and bad choices. This would also include any transportation costs you may have incurred while your motorcycle was out of commission.
Not all damages are monetary, and that’s where non-economic damages can come into play in a settlement. If you’ve been seriously injured in your accident, you suffer a lot more than what your bills and bank account show. These damages can often be significant, as they often cover priceless matters, including:
- Decreased potential lifespan as a result of injuries
- Pain, suffering, and trauma
- Decreased quality of life
- Permanent disfigurement
- Physical disability
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What Is the Difference Between a Settlement and a Judgment?
While a judgment refers to court-awarded compensation, a settlement is often an agreement between both parties to resolve the suit out of court. This is also the case when insurance companies preemptively offer a settlement for an accident. In many cases, this first offer is as low as they hope they can get away with rather than a fair amount.
The reason why people are often in a rush to settle rather than fight it out in court is easy to see. In a settlement, there’s a conversation where both parties have some control over the results rather than staking their fortunes on the decision of a judge. Court proceedings can also take a long time which results in increased lawyer fees and administrative fees, with a settlement you can resolve things quickly and efficiently.
How Does a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Help Increase Your Settlement?
A motorcycle accident attorney helps in a few key ways to make sure that your settlement is as high as you deserve and covers all the damages that you incurred from the accident.
Context and Experience
An experienced attorney knows the tricks that insurance companies and opposing lawyers will try to pull in the settlement process, and they can offer insight into what is and isn’t a fair offer in the context of your specific case.
Whether in the courtroom or at the negotiating table, your interests will be taken a lot more seriously with an attorney representing you in the room. Their knowledge of procedure and their experience with the tactics commonly used by defendants in the settlement process give them key insights that can help maximize your settlement.
After you’ve been in an accident, you need time to rest and recover. An attorney can take a huge burden off your shoulders by handling a lot of the settlement process, and ensuring that you are zealously represented from beginning to end.
Eltringham Law Group Can Help You Get the Settlement You Deserve
If you’ve been the victim of a motorcycle accident in Florida, you deserve a settlement that covers all the damages the accident caused. Don’t let insurance companies lowball you with a settlement that hardly covers your bills right now, let alone all the other hardships of your injuries.
Here at Eltringham Law, our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys serve the entire state of Florida. If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, our team can help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.