Accurately predicting the value of a motorcycle crash claim can be difficult, but there are some core considerations that can shape a settlement offer.
Motorcyclists are sometimes behind the eight ball from the outset. Studies have shown that many people have an unfavorable view of motorcyclists, including jurors. Jury awards are generally lower for motorcyclists than passenger-car claimants, a fact that hasn’t escaped the attention of insurance adjusters, who may low-ball settlement offers.
Obviously, the extent of damages and injuries influences the amount of a case settlement. Another key component is determining how likely it is that the defendant will be found liable. If liability is questionable the defendant may roll the dice in court. If they win, the plaintiff gets nothing. Therefore, a settlement offer will be lower. If the plaintiff’s case is solid, a defendant might not risk going to trial, where, if the defendant loses, the plaintiff’s award will be greater. This leverage will likely result in a higher settlement offer.
A plaintiff who was physically active prior to a crash—and whose “quality of life” has been curtailed by his/her permanent injuries—will generally have a higher case valuation than someone who was not as active. In addition, if a person’s permanent disability does not affect their livelihood, their lost earnings award will be diminished.
If a defendant has few assets, the plaintiff will likely only receive the limits of the defendant’s auto insurance policy—in a settlement or verdict. In some cases that will fall short of the total damages.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle crash you probably should consult an attorney experienced in these type of cases.