There is no set value for a motorcycle accident claim. Several factors can affect how much a settlement for a motorcycle accident is worth.
Factors That Affect a Motorcycle Accident Settlement’s Worth
How much a settlement for a motorcycle accident is worth depends on:
The Severity of Your Injuries
The more severe your injuries, the higher your settlement. For example, you will likely be entitled to more compensation for a traumatic brain injury than you would be for a broken arm and leg.
How Long They Affect You
The longer your injuries affect you, the more compensation you may be eligible to recover. For example, you will be entitled to higher amounts of compensation for an injury that affects you for your life than one that affects you for eight months.
Whether They Keep You Out Of Work
If your injuries keep you out of work, you can recover compensation for the wages you lost. If your injuries cause you to take a lesser-paying job or retire, you can also recover compensation for those losses.
Whether You Contributed to the Accident
Per Georgia’s comparative negligence law, any liability on your part will decrease your settlement. Say you were traveling through an intersection when a car turned left in front of you. The investigation found the driver 90 percent liable for the accident. However, the investigation determined you were speeding, so you received 10 percent of the blame. You would be eligible to recover 90 percent of your demand (e.g., $45,000 of $50,000).
Recoverable Compensation in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Potential damages recoverable in a motorcycle accident claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Compensation for pain and suffering
Medical expenses include both current and future medical expenses. You can also recover the costs of medication and rehabilitation.
You can recover compensation for the wages you lost while recovering. This can also include any time you needed to take off to attend doctor’s appointments.
Compensation for Lost Earning Capacity
If your injuries caused you to take a lesser-paying job, work fewer hours, or retire, you can recover compensation for the wages you should be earning. We can work with economists to determine what you should currently be earning.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
You may be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering. You can recover compensation for both physical and mental pain, such as fear, worry, the loss of enjoyment of life, and post-traumatic stress disorder from your motorcycle accident. You can help your case by keeping a diary of the duration or frequency of your pain.
There Are Different Ways to Calculate Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering can be difficult to value as there are no receipts to reference; however, it can be the largest portion of your settlement. As such, it is important to know the different methods used to calculate the value:
Some attorneys who represent clients injured in a motorcycle accident use the multiplier method to place a value on pain and suffering. The attorney multiplies the injured person's economic damages—medical bills and lost wages—by a number between one and five depending on the severity of the injury.
For example, you suffered a traumatic brain injury that will cause you pain for the rest of your life. The attorney uses a 4.5 multiplier. Your economic damages total $150,000. Your pain and suffering is worth $675,000.
Per Diem Method
Other attorneys use a per diem (or per day) approach. The attorney assigns a dollar amount (typically your daily wages) and then multiplies it by the number of days you had to deal with the pain and inconvenience of your accident.
For example, you make $400 a day. You are in pain for 90 days. You are entitled to $36,000 in pain and suffering.
Insurance Companies Can Value Pain and Suffering Differently
Insurance companies are not required to use the multiplier method or the per diem method. Some insurance companies use a computer program to place a value on pain and suffering. The program takes into account the type of injury, the type of medical treatment the injured person sought, and the duration of the treatment.
Do Not Accept the First Settlement Without Running It By a Lawyer
An insurance company may offer a settlement shortly after an accident. Accepting a settlement too quickly could spell trouble. Settlements are usually binding. Some injuries, like post-traumatic stress disorder, do not surface immediately. An injury lawyer can look over a settlement before you sign, discuss the pros and cons, and negotiate with the insurance company for a higher amount.