Settlement Factors in a Motorcycle Accident Case

by Staff Blogger | January 9th, 2023

When you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident, you may want to seek compensation for your medical bills and other financial losses. The events leading to the accident, the insurance policies, and whether an at-fault driver can pay for the damages can all affect your compensation.

Read on to learn what factors into a settlement in a motorcycle case and how our professional California motorcycle accident attorneys can help you determine what your case is worth and advocate for maximum compensation.

What Is a Settlement in a Motorcycle Accident Case?

A settlement is when two parties agree on an amount the plaintiff receives for the case without going to trial. Both parties give up their right to a future court case when they agree on a settlement amount.

For instance, say you sustain severe injuries after an accident with a car while riding your motorcycle. You required months of physical therapy after the accident and lost wages due to your inability to work. You want $50,000 as compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. The case would settle if both sides were willing to compromise and agree to the compensation.

How Much Are Most Motorcycle Accident Settlements?

The average motorcycle settlement depends on the severity of your injuries. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that motorcycle crashes resulted in a total $16 billion in direct costs nationally. Around 18% of direct motorcycle accident costs are medical expenses, second to 44% in lost wages.

Those who ride motorcycles are at a greater risk of sustaining severe injuries than passengers in other vehicles, with older riders suffering more serious injuries than younger riders. On average, the cost of nonfatal crashes ranged from $2,500 for minor injuries to $1.4 million for severe injuries. Motorcycle accident victims who suffer severe brain injuries may not be able to work and may require ongoing care, increasing their medical expenses.

Motorcycle Accidents and California Law

Since California is a fault-based auto insurance state, the state considers the at-fault party responsible for damages incurred to the rider. The state also considers comparative negligence when more than one party is liable for the motorcycle crash. 

According to California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 406, there must be a 100% allocation of liability among all parties involved in the motorcycle collision. You may face liability in the collision if your actions partially caused your injuries. For example, if you weren’t wearing a helmet per California law.

If your lawyer persuades the jury that the other driver was also negligent, you will receive compensation, although the award damages are reduced according to your own percentage of fault. Your lawyer can use evidence from the accident to help prove the other driver’s negligence and calculate a fair settlement amount.

Major Factors in Motorcycle Accident Settlements

Many factors affect how much you can receive in your motorcycle accident case. When you file a compensation claim with the other driver’s insurance, the company will examine all aspects of the case to determine a settlement amount. These factors include the following:

Financial Damages

Specific financial damages form the basis of your settlement, such as your medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. The value of your compensation also includes intangible losses, such as emotional pain and suffering that you and your family members suffer due to your changed quality of life.

The Driver’s Actions

Photos, dashcam videos, and smartphone footage can demonstrate whether the driver of the other vehicle was negligent in causing the motorcycle accident. These negligent actions can include:

  • Speeding and racing
  • Aggressive driving, such as illegal passing and running red lights
  • Distracted driving, like texting and eating snacks

These may prove the driver violated traffic laws and caused the crash. Lawyers can also use your medical bills and records to connect your injuries to the crash.

Availability of Witnesses

If you have witnesses who saw your accident, they can provide details about what transpired before, during, and after it. This information can help determine fault and provide insight into what took place.

Other Things to Consider

A driver’s auto liability insurance policy may limit what they pay for injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents. The minimum auto insurance limits are $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage.

If your medical expenses exceed $15,000, you may not receive the full compensation for your injuries. You may instead need to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit to recover the full extent of your damages.

The party’s ability to pay also factors into your motorcycle accident settlement. For example, if the other driver doesn’t carry the required minimum liability insurance or any insurance, you may have trouble obtaining compensation. You can file for compensation against your own insurance if you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance.

If you don’t have this coverage, you can seek damages from the driver in a personal injury lawsuit; however, damages would come from their personal assets, which means you may not see compensation.

Is it Better to Settle Your Motorcycle Accident Claim or Go to Trial?

You and your lawyer can accept or reject any settlement offer during the settlement process. You can also negotiate a better deal for future medical expenses and motorcycle replacement parts.

You can take your case to court if the insurance company refuses to negotiate further. You may feel more satisfied with justice when the negligent parties are found guilty of causing the accident, and the jury may award you the maximum amount.

It is best to explore your legal options with the motorcycle accident attorneys at Berg Injury Lawyers, who can help you maximize your compensation in a motorcycle accident case.

Contact a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

An experienced personal injury lawyer at Berg Injury Lawyers can determine whether a settlement offer is fair based on the factors that apply to your accident. Our attorneys can discuss your options if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident.

Contact our law office today to discuss your case with a skilled lawyer in a free, no-obligation consultation.