- Motorcycle accident claim amounts are usually calculated through a combination of factors that include the amount of past and estimated future medical bills, past and future loss of earnings, whether your injury is permanent, 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 is often increased, regardless of the severity of the injuries due to punitive damages.
- If both sides of an accident case can reach an agreement, then it will usually be settled out of court. Otherwise, the victim’s lawyer may advise filing a lawsuit so that a court or jury can decide the case’s value.
We are often asked, how much is a motorcycle accident injury case valued in the State of Georgia? Motorcycle crash cases are often among the most serious injury cases because motorcycle riders are not protected in the same way that you are in a car or truck wreck. There is no seatbelt, no airbag, or anything else to protect you from the car or truck that hit you.
Why are Georgia Motorcycle Accident Cases Usually Worth More Than Car Accidents?
Many of the motorcycle crash cases we have handled have involved catastrophic injuries involving paralysis, brain injury, amputation or death. However, some other bikers have, fortunately, escaped with only relatively minor injuries such as a broken arm or road rash. In any case, most Georgia motorcycle accident claims are worth more than car or truck accidents.
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 of the case may be limited by the amount of the insurance policy of the at-fault driver, plus the amount of un-insured or under-insured coverage that you have. Georgia’s minimum insurance limits for drivers of cars and motorcycles is $25,000.00. But, some drivers and companies have much larger policies. It is not uncommon for insurance policies to be $100,000.00 or $1,000,000 or more. In the event of a very serious injury, the value of your case may depend on the limits of all available insurance policies.
In cases involving less serious injuries, usually meaning less than catastrophic injuries, and where there is a large amount of insurance, the value of your case will depend on factors that include 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?
In some cases, the amount of injury is not immediately known. Our office has handled motorcycle injury claims where the biker seemed fine just after the accident, but later began having symptoms such as dizziness, memory loss, and erratic behavior. It was then discovered, after an examination with a neurologist or neuropsychologist, that our client had a traumatic brain injury or TBI. In a case like this, a TBI may affect the victim for the rest of his or her life, meaning that the motorcycle case has a very large value – into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
How is the Value of a Wrongful Death Motorcycle Accident Set?
In cases where the motorcyclist was killed, the value of the case will not only be based on the value of a human life – a very high amount – but may also depend on the amount of insurance available. In Georgia, individual drivers may have insurance policies that range from the minimum twenty-five thousand dollars up to, in rare instances, one-million or more. If the at-fault vehicle was owned by a business or company, the value of the claim may be greater as there is often a commercial liability policy and there is more likely to be excess or umbrella coverage.
Other damages that are included with 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 include the victim’s employment history, job skills and 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 if he or she was driving recklessly, the value of a motorcycle accident case is often increased, regardless of the severity of the injuries. This is because Georgia law allows the victim of a motorcycle crash to recover punitive damages if the at-fault person or company acted in a particularly dangerous or reckless manner, such as being DUI, hit-and-run or driving recklessly.
What Factors Does a Georgia Lawyer Use to Value a Motorcycle Injury Case?
There are several other factors that a motorcycle accident lawyer looks at when putting a value on a motorcycle injury claim. The first is liability, which means who was at fault. Did the person that hit you make a mistake, causing the accident? That is, were they negligent such as running a red light or reckless, such as driving under the influence? This is the first thing that goes into an analysis of what the case is worth. If there is a question about who was at fault, this can diminish the value of the case, or may even mean that the victim has no winnable case.
Other things to be considered are how careful was the motorcycle rider. Was he or she wearing a helmet or was the motorcyclist 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 because of the risk that a Court or Jury could reduce the amount of an injury verdict due to the rider’s failure to protect him or herself.
Another factor that goes into the value of a motorcycle injury case is, other than insurance, is the ability of the defendant to pay. Unfortunately, most minimally insured Georgia drivers do not have significant assets to collect. However, if you have been hit by a driver working for a large business, the amount of insurance may be irrelevant because the company has an ability 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 that 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 actual 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, up to and including lost quality of life from a lasting injury such as a herniated disk, torn muscles, broken bones or a brain injury. How fully you recover after your bike wreck will determine how much your pain and suffering claim is worth.
Other damages can include aggravated or punitive damages if the other driver had a high degree of carelessness, such as driving under the influence or leaving the scene of the accident. Punitive damages can add large 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, that include the amount of medical bills and lost past and future pay and earnings, the amount of the medical bills, whether your injury is permanent, and who is totally or mostly at fault. After an accident, both the victim and the insurance company should look at these factors and set a value that both can agree upon. If both sides can reach an agreement, the case can 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 chance 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 setting a settlement or jury verdict value of a motorcycle accident case in Georgia. For example, our office has represented motorcycle accident victims who had small medical bills, but a very serious injury such as vision loss. Even though the medical bills were less than $10,000.00, the case settled for a high amount because the motorcycle rider victim’s quality of life was greatly reduced the loss of vision.