Being injured in a motorcycle accident can cause significant disruption to your life and daily routine. At the very least, an accident usually causes significant damage to a motorcycle, requiring extensive repairs and leaving you without transportation. You may have also suffered bodily injuries requiring medical treatment, and you may have been forced to take time off from work.
If you are making an insurance claim, it is natural to wonder about the amount of money you might receive via settlement. Will the amount cover your medical expenses? What about your lost income?
There is no set rule or formula that determines the amount of your settlement. As with any kind of personal injury case, the value of a motorcycle accident claim depends on a variety of factors that are unique to your individual situation.
Claim values are affected not only by the individual circumstances of each accident and the persons involved, but also by locale. The laws governing compensation for victims of motorcycle accidents vary from state to state, and some states even have limits on the different types of damages that can be recovered. However, there are basic aspects in evaluating a motorcycle accident claim that are common to most of the jurisdictions across the country. We'll look at those in the sections that follow.
Generally speaking, you may claim compensation for the following types of losses following a motorcycle accident:
Compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage are intended to reimburse you for your out-of-pocket expenses. General damages are designed to compensate you for your intangible losses, such as the pain and suffering associated with bodily injury.
Let's take a closer look at these different categories of damages.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident you will often need to seek medical treatment for those injuries. Depending on the nature of your injuries, the treatment may be provided by a hospital emergency room, urgent care clinic, or your doctor's office. The medical expenses you incur as a result of the accident can be submitted as part of your insurance claim. This also applies to future medical expenses as well. For example, if you are in the process of settling your claim with the insurance company, and the doctor has said that you will still need to have more treatment in the future, such as physical therapy, you can submit documentation to the insurance company indicating the doctor's referral for that future treatment.
Injuries from a motorcycle accident, even of a minor nature, might also cause you to miss time from work. Often injuries of a more serious nature lead to more extended time lost from your job. Many people do not get paid if they cannot show up for work. If you work for an employer where sick leave is available, you might not miss a paycheck, but you might still have to use sick day benefits that otherwise would not have been used were it not for the accident. Proof of missed paychecks or documentation that you've otherwise missed time from work can be submitted as part of your motorcycle claim.
Of course, your ability to claim lost wages assumes those losses are directly related to the accident, and are not for some other reason. For example, if you had been laid off from your job a month before the motorcycle accident, you will have difficulty claiming lost wages. Just because you did not receive a paycheck following your motorcycle accident does not mean that the accident was the cause of the lost wages.
In an accident, motorcycles are easily susceptible to damage. Any impact to a motorcycle often damages very expensive components and systems. The cost for repairing this type of damage to your motorcycle can be submitted as part of any insurance claim and included in your settlement. Additionally, if you are forced to obtain alternate transportation on a temporary basis, such as a rental vehicle while your motorcycle is being repaired, your settlement can reimburse you for that expense as well.
Any settlement amount intended to compensate you for your pain and suffering is much more difficult to calculate than ordinary out-of-pocket expenses. The amount of compensation for pain and suffering will largely depend not only on the type of injuries, but also the nature and extent of any resulting medical treatment. Generally speaking, an insurance company will not be willing to pay general damages as part of any settlement unless you can provide medical records showing the nature of your injuries and medical treatment.
Learn more about Pain and Suffering in a Vehicle Accident Case.
You can probably handle a simple motorcycle accident claim on your own, if the other side is accepting liability and your damages weren't all that significant. But if you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident or the other side is refusing to offer a fair settlement, it may be time to discuss your options with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.