If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering how much compensation you can recover. Every case varies in value based on its own unique circumstances, but there are some common factors that can impact your accident’s worth.
If another party is 100% to blame for your motorcycle accident and there is evidence to prove it, you will be awarded more compensation. However, if liability is unclear or you were also partially to blame (e.g., not wearing a helmet, speeding, etc.), then California’s rule of pure comparative negligence will apply. Under this law, an insurance company or jury will assign each party a percentage of fault that reduces the amount of compensation they can recover.
For example, if a victim is awarded $100,000 for a motorcycle accident claim but is found 40% responsible, they will only recover 60% of their award or $60,000. Because of this rule, many insurance adjusters will engage in bad faith tactics in an attempt to avoid liability and place the blame on you.
Damages is the legal term for the compensation awarded to compensate victims for all the ways the accident has impacted their lives. Damages directly affect how much a motorcycle accident claim is worth. When awarding damages, the court will consider:
The more severe your injuries, the impact on your life, and the financial losses resulting from the accident, the more valuable your claim.
Unless you can prove legal causation, you cannot hold a party financially liable for damages. Causation means there is a direct link between the at-fault party’s negligence (causing the crash) and your injuries. In other words, had it not been for the actions of the other motorist, the motorcycle accident would not have occurred, and had the collision not happened, you would not have sustained your injuries.
As long as you sought medical treatment immediately after the accident, proving causation can be pretty straightforward. For example, in cases that involve broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, or other catastrophic injuries, there is an x-ray or an MRI that conclusively establishes a new injury resulting from substantial trauma. However, causation can be far more challenging to establish in certain cases. For instance, if you have pre-existing conditions that were made worse, you have had previous surgery on the affected area of the body, have received treatment for chronic pain, etc.
Research shows that injury victims who hire an attorney recover three and a half times more in compensation than those that don’t. You may not need an attorney if the opposing party’s insurance company offers you a settlement, but it is still in your best interests to consult one before you accept. Insurers are motivated to settle quickly and for as little money as possible. The first settlement offer will likely be much lower than your case’s worth. By hiring legal representation, the insurer will know there is a threat of a lawsuit, motivating them to settle for a fair amount.
To discuss your legal options and the potential value of your motorcycle accident claim, contact our motorcycle accident lawyers in San Diego for a free consultation.