If you happen to be in a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim, you will be thinking about the value of your cases. In the case of motorcycle accidents, there are several factors to consider before arriving at an average sum. It is advisable to consult a motorcycle accident attorney in California in the event of such an accident. Below is a discussion on the factors involved while calculating the settlement amount in motorcycle accidents.
Overcoming Bias and Prejudice against Motorcyclists
Personal judgment or preconceived bias should not play a part in compensating the damages caused by a motorcycle collision. However, due to human nature and a general dislike prevailing in the society motorcyclists, even the jury is sometimes biased towards making decisions against motorcyclists. As a result, the jury may not award big compensations to motorcyclist victims, when compared to the driver or the passenger of the car. Insurance adjusters, being aware of this, may bring down their settlement offer. This makes it more important to present the case with the help of accident injury lawyers in California.
How Parties Value Potential Cases
Valuing a case involves the best estimate of the possible compensation amount that would be awarded by the jury to the plaintiff. This also includes arriving at a possible value that the defendant will be ready to pay. It also means finding the reason which motivates the plaintiff to accept a settlement before the trial. The two important factors in valuing the case are the degree of the plaintiff’s damages and the possibility of the jury finding the defendant liable.
The Plaintiff’s Damages
Making a calculation of the possible outcome in a motorcycle accident case is difficult mainly because it is usually the jury that decides the amount of money that the defendant is responsible to pay the motorcyclist.
Personal injury damages including lost wages and medical bills are easier to calculate. This is because these rates are fixed and are based on what the plaintiff is able to prove in front of the jury. In the case of subjective damages like pain and suffering, the estimates are only educated guesses. Every case is different and is calculated by a different jury. The pain and suffering damages can, therefore, be predicted within a broad range.
The way a motorcycle accident impacts a plaintiff also plays an important role in determining the value of damages. For instance, if the accident leaves the person with a permanent limp, and if the person used to be very active in sports, they would be eligible for higher compensation concerning ‘loss of quality of life’. If the victim’s livelihood is not affected in a major way even if they are permanently disabled, their damages for loss of earning potential would be much lower.
Possibility of the Defendant Being Found Liable
The chances of the defendant being found liable for a case is also important in determining the value of the case. If the plaintiff does not have sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant was at fault for the motorcycle accident injuries of the plaintiff, the value of the case comes down on a big scale.
Hence, the defendant would be trying to go to trial and be unwilling to settle if their fault is under doubt. Further, the plaintiff would be more interested to make the settlement than go to trial because they risk getting no grants at all during the trial.
Yet another important factor that impacts the prediction of finding the defendant liable is the fact that the juries are usually not in favor of the motorcycle riders. This does not mean that the jury will straightaway rule against the motorcycle riders. However, it reduces the odds of the plaintiff if there is a possibility of fluctuation in the defendant’s liability.
Amount and Availability of Insurance
If the defendant has more assets, the settlement will not be higher than the liability limits set by the auto insurance of the defendant. Jury verdicts do have a possibility of exceeding the insurance liability limit. This, however, does not mean that the plaintiff can collect the entire amount of the verdict. In case the plaintiff is left with no alternative to collect the amount, they could accept a settlement amount that is equal to the coverage limits of the insurance. This is possible even if the real damages are easier to prove and are higher.
Motorcycle Verdicts and Settlements
Below is a discussion on the median “average” of motorcycle injuries and the concerned verdicts.
- Based on Jury Verdict Research, the median motorcycle injury verdict based on a personal injury trial was around $73,700, for 1999 to 2006
- The amount of settlement was $1,600,000 for nerve damage and crushed vertebrae after sliding on loose gravel.
Above are some of the key factors in determining the average settlement amount for motorcycle accident cases. It is recommended to consult a motorcycle accident attorney in California if you happen to be in a motorcycle accident.