One of the first things injured motorcyclists and their families will search for online or ask an attorney is the average payout for a motorcycle accident. The best thing to do is remove that question from your way of thinking. Instead of asking what the average motorcycle accident payout is, you should be wondering, “what can I get for my specific motorcycle accident injuries?”
You can see the difference between those two questions. One focuses on other people and what they recover, while the other centers on your situation. Your experience will dictate the size of your check when you can prove that someone else was responsible for the accident. A determined lawyer can help you maximize that amount.
How Your Motorcycle Accident Compensation Is Determined
We can base motorcycle accident damages on several factors, including:
- The life you had before the accident
- Your experience since the time of the crash
- What your life may be like in the future in light of your prognosis
The above is another way of saying that there is no average payout for your motorcycle accident. You are not the same as everyone else who has suffered an injury. Your life before the accident was most certainly different. Motorcycle accident damages are individualized based on your unique characteristics. You may recover and respond to your accident differently than other people. For example, you may have had a pre-existing condition that made you more susceptible to serious injuries.
Making unique arguments about you (other than your actions in the lead-up to the accident) does not help the defendant. In any motorcycle accident case, the rule is to “take your victim as you find them.” It does not matter whether a driver injured a corporate executive or a worker who makes average pay. They should have thought of their risks before they were negligent and injured someone else.
Do Not Worry About the Average Settlement So Much as Your Damages
We can give you average figures about motorcycle crash payouts and tell you that they average in the six figures, but that will not help you much. Knowing about average payouts will distract you from what should be your goal – getting the maximum payout for your circumstances. Your judgment may be clouded by thinking that you are doing better than average when you are short-changing yourself.
An average number of factors in many different people dealing with different circumstances.
For example, you do not know:
- What other people did for a living before they were hurt
- The severity of their injuries
- The coverage limits the responsible driver’s insurance
- Whether the responsible driver had assets to go after if their policy maximums do not cover the damages
- The amount of underinsured driver coverage that the injured motorcyclist had
- How hard they negotiated with the insurance company before agreeing to a settlement
- Whether the settlement came after they filed a lawsuit and obtained powerful evidence in discovery
You Can Recover the Full Damages for Your Injuries
Just know that you have a legal right to receive compensation for all that you have lost in a motorcycle accident case, and you must fight to enforce that right. There is nothing average about you, your legal rights, and your family’s financial future, and you should not pay attention to what someone else received.
Your motorcycle accident payout should cover both your past and future damages. You can and should receive compensation for the entire experience, and it does not get cut off when you settle a case. The only thing that does cease is your right to get additional compensation, so you must be careful to settle your claim for as much as you can get in damages. Accordingly, you must have some window into your future when you file your claim or lawsuit.
Here are some of the individualized factors in motorcycle accident cases that will determine how much you can receive in a payout:
- Your age
- The psychological effects of your injuries
- What you do for a living
- Your hobbies and life before the accident
Motorcycle Accident Damages
Your economic damages will dictate your entire motorcycle accident payment. The insurance company will use them as a guide for their entire settlement offer, even for the non-economic parts of your case.
There three primary elements of economic damage include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Property damage
Medical bills are a difficult part of your case. Your health insurance company wants to be paid back for the medical expenses they have already covered for your care. They have the right to be paid back first before you can even receive any money yourself. In addition, they will not be responsible for paying your future medical costs relating to your injury. Therefore, you must have a diagnosis and an understanding of what your future medical care needs are.
Medical Costs and Lost Wages Are Not Average
When you think about motorcycle accident payouts in terms of an average, you do not know what other people had left after paying for their medical costs. Many people in this average number may have settled their case for too little and, after expenses, had any money for themselves. In that case, there is nothing left for them to do since they had already signed a release agreement when they settled the case.
Lost wages are another thing that we cannot think of as average. Your motorcycle accident damages are tailored to your situation, no matter what you made before the accident.
You have a legal right to receive compensation for what you will have earned had you had the ability to work uninterrupted. It does not matter what you did for a living before you were hurt. Of course, if you were a highly-paid worker, you may come up against policy maximums and can’t obtain every penny you would have earned had the accident not injured you.
Lost Income Depends on Your Career
What is also not average about lost income is your career. If your career ends because of your injuries, you must recover compensation for what you would have done. Many claimants make the mistake of settling based on their current income instead of fighting to receive the increased earnings and bonuses they would have received.
Workers do not remain in the same professional situation forever. Insurance companies often get one past unsuspecting claimants (those without attorneys) by underestimating one’s future earnings.
Pain and Suffering Depends on Your Injuries and Experience
Pain and suffering is one of the most misunderstood elements of motorcycle accident compensation. Many people do not understand how much they can and should receive for the experience of their accident injuries. Often, this is the largest element of your motorcycle accident compensation.
When you have suffered from the following injuries, it goes without saying that you live with the effects of the accident for a long time:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Road rash
- Internal injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
If accident effects stay with you for any time, you have the right to payment for what you endured, beyond your medical bills. Serious motorcycle injuries will impact your life for a long time, perhaps even permanently. Many people are never the same again after a motorcycle accident.
Elements of Your Pain and Suffering
If you are living with the following due to an accident caused by someone else, you have a legal right to receive compensation for it:
Again, there is nothing average about your own experience. You may have been affected differently than someone else because of the accident. Before the crash, you may have lived a full life that you will struggle to regain. No two people deal with accident injuries in the same way. One method that insurance companies use to reduce your payout is making you average when you are anything but.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help You Maximize Compensation
The best way to increase your chances of obtaining more compensation is to hire an experienced attorney. The number one problem that people who try to represent themselves face is that they do not know how much their claim is worth. Without knowing the value of your claim, you have no idea what to work toward.
You may accept less than you deserve because you do not know what is possible. This situation is what the insurance company wants because it is how they make their money.
When it comes to financial compensation, a motorcycle accident lawyer will do the following for you:
- Study your claim and work with relevant experts to establish how much you deserve in damages
- Devise a negotiating strategy if you intend to file a claim with the insurance company
- Present your claim to an insurance company, explaining your damages figures and the money to which you are entitled
- Assess any settlement offer that you receive and advise you whether to accept the offer
- Make a counteroffer to the insurance company when their settlement offer is too low
- Take your case to court and explain your position to a jury if that is what is necessary
Stand up Against the Insurance Companies When They Try to Cut Your Compensation
Your best chance of improving your legal position is when you stand up for yourself and do not allow the insurance company to arbitrarily reduce the amount of your settlement because they want to save money. Go over each line element of the settlement offer with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that it pays you what you deserve, and say no if the offer does not sufficiently compensate you for your injuries.
You must consider your situation instead of using someone else’s. You only get one chance to settle a motorcycle accident claim, and you do not want to waste it. Otherwise, you can find yourself short of money in the future when you need it.
The insurance company may happily write a check, knowing it is paltry and for far less than you deserve. An experienced lawyer will consider your future needs. Then, they will work to get you as much as you can for your injuries, either through a settlement agreement or a motorcycle accident lawsuit—so hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney today.