- The value of motorcycle accident claims is determined based on factors, including past and estimated future medical bills, past and future loss of earnings, permanency of the injuries, and who is totally or mostly at fault.
- If the at-fault driver was drunk, drugged, or otherwise intoxicated or was driving recklessly, the value of a motorcycle accident case often increases due to punitive damages, regardless of the severity of the injuries.
- If an agreement can be made, then the case will usually be settled out of court. Otherwise, the victim’s lawyer may advise filing a lawsuit so a court or jury can decide the case’s value.
Motorcycle crash cases are among the most serious injury cases because motorcycles do not offer the same protections to their drivers as a car or truck. There are no seatbelts, airbags, or other protective devices when a car or truck hits a motorcycle driver. Our experienced Georgia motorcycle and car accident lawyers can help you and your loved ones get the compensation you deserve.
Most Georgia motorcycle accident claims are worth more than car or truck accidents due to the severity of the injuries.
While some bikers escape accidents with only relatively minor injuries, such as a broken arm or road rash, many motorcycle crash cases we’ve handled have, unfortunately, involved catastrophic injuries, involving paralysis, brain injury, amputation, or death.
How Can Insurance Determine the Value of Your Motorcycle Accident Case?
The value of each motorcycle accident case is different. In many cases, the value may be restricted by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits, plus the amount of uninsured or underinsured coverage that you may have.
Georgia’s minimum insurance limits for cars and motorcycle drivers is $25,000. However, some drivers and companies have much larger policies. It is not uncommon for insurance policies to be $100,000, $1 million, or more.
In the event of a very severe injury, your case’s value may depend on the limits of all available insurance policies. For cases involving less serious injuries where there is significant insurance, the value of your case will depend on factors, such as the amount of your medical bills, whether your injury is permanent, and whether the driver who hit you is clearly at fault.
What Happens If the Extent of Injury Is Unknown After a Motorcycle Accident?
It is not always apparent how severe an injury is immediately after a motorcycle accident. For example, our office handled a motorcycle injury claim where the biker seemed fine right after the accident but later began having symptoms, such as dizziness, memory loss, and erratic behavior. After an examination with a neurologist and neuropsychologist, it was discovered that our client suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
TBI may affect a victim’s entire life, meaning that the motorcycle case has a very high value – into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.
How Is the Value of a Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Set?
When a motorcyclist is killed, the case’s value will not only be based on the value of human life – a very high amount – but also the total insurance available.
In Georgia, individual drivers may have insurance policies that range from the minimum $25,000 to, in rare instances, $1 million or more. If the at-fault driver’s vehicle was owned by a business or company that has a commercial liability policy or excess or umbrella coverage, then the value of the claim might be far greater.
Other damages considered in wrongful death motorcycle accident cases can include medical bills, if the victim survived for some time, and funeral expenses. The economic value of the loss of life can encompass the victim’s employment history, job skills, and loss of future earnings potential.
What If the Driver Who Caused a Motorcycle Crash Was Intoxicated or Reckless?
If the at-fault driver was drunk, drugged, or otherwise intoxicated or driving recklessly, the value of a motorcycle accident case often increases, regardless of the severity of the injuries. This is because Georgia law allows the victim of a motorcycle crash to recover punitive damages when the at-fault person or company acted in a particularly dangerous or reckless manner (e.g., DUI, hit-and-run, or reckless driving circumstances).
What Factors Do Georgia Lawyers Use to Value a Motorcycle Injury Case?
There are several other factors that a motorcycle accident lawyer considers when placing value on a motorcycle injury claim.
The first factor that goes into the evaluation is liability. Liability is who was at fault for causing the accident. Did the person who hit you make a mistake that caused the accident? For example, were they negligent by running a red light, driving recklessly, or under the influence? If there is a question about who was at fault, this can diminish the case’s value or may even mean the victim doesn’t have a winnable case.
The next consideration for a motorcycle case’s value is the cautiousness of the motorcycle rider. Was the driver wearing a helmet? Were they driving dangerously, weaving in and out of traffic? This can affect the severity and proximate cause of the injuries suffered. In a motorcycle accident, head injuries are, unfortunately, very common. In the absence of a helmet, the value of a case may be diminished. This is because a court or jury may find the driver failed to protect him- or herself from the risk of injury.
Another factor that is considered in the value of a motorcycle injury case is the defendant’s ability to pay. Unfortunately, most minimally-insured Georgia drivers do not have significant assets to collect. However, if you have been hit by a driver who works for a large business, the amount of insurance may be irrelevant because the company has the means to pay.
In Georgia, What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Motorcycle Wreck Case or Claim?
There are several types of damages available in a motorcycle accident case. One category is economic losses, which include medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost pay. Part, but not all, of the value of a motorcycle accident is the amount of actual losses you suffered. Under Georgia law, if you are not at fault or partly at fault, you have the right to recover all of your out-of-pocket and future financial losses.
Another type of damages you may be entitled to is pain and suffering. In a motorcycle accident, this may include anything from bumps, bruises, and road rash to lost quality of life from a lasting injury, like a herniated disk, torn muscles, broken bones, or brain injury. How fully you recover after your bike wreck will determine how much your pain and suffering claim will be worth.
In certain cases, you may also be eligible for aggravated or punitive damages. These damages are collectible if the other driver displayed a high level of carelessness, such as driving under the influence or leaving the scene of the accident. Punitive damages can add significant value to a motorcycle accident claim.
How Are Damages Calculated in a Motorcycle Injury Case?
Motorcycle accident claims and verdicts are usually calculated through a combination of factors, including the amount of medical bills, total of lost past and future earnings, whether the injury is permanent, and who is totally or mostly at fault.
After an accident, both the victim and the insurance company should review these factors and set a value that both sides can agree upon. If an agreement can be made, the case will usually be settled. If there is no meeting of the minds, the accident victim’s lawyer may advise filing a lawsuit so that a court or jury can decide the case’s value.
Another factor that goes into calculating the settlement value of a motorcycle accident case is the chance of losing the case should it go to trial. If there is a possibility that a jury may find in favor of the other driver or that the case could be dismissed, the settlement value of the case is generally reduced.
Finally, the severity of the injury is also a major factor in determining a settlement or jury verdict value of a motorcycle accident case in Georgia. For example, our office has represented motorcycle accident victims with small medical bills, but a very serious injury, such as vision loss. Even though the medical bills were less than $10,000, the case settled for a high amount because the victim’s quality of life was greatly reduced due to the loss of vision.
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If you would like to receive more insights into how much your motorcycle accident case is worth – please call us. Our attorneys can help further educate you about your case. We also give recommendations at no cost. It’s more than a consultation, its peace of mind.