What should your personal injury attorney consider when strategizing your motorcycle accident claim? These 4 factors for sure. Find out what they are.
You don’t hear about motorcycle accidents and lawsuits as much as you do about car accidents.
Can you remember the last one you heard about that hit local headlines?
In Texas, we have around 3,200 traffic fatalities per year, with roughly 350 or so occurring on motorcycles. We’re always one of the leading states in the nation when it comes to deaths per 100,000 miles. A significant number of motorcycle accidents occur every single day in Texas.
If you are in a motorcycle accident what factors are usually considered when deciding what compensation you should receive?
Here are a few:
- Jury Prejudice
Yes, juror prejudice is real. If all factors are the same, a motorcyclist in an accident will usually get less compensation than the driver of a car. That’s because jurors tend to see motorcyclists as risk-taking individuals unafraid to break the law and drive at high speeds without helmets or any other safety gear. Insurance companies know of this juror bias and often use that bias to minimize or deny a motorcycle claim entirely.
No formal or legal mechanism for minimizing juror prejudice exists. However, your personal injury lawyer must be aware of it and have a plan for overcoming it.
- Amount of Evidence
The more evidence you have supporting your claim, the easier it is to prove. And of course, it follows that your odds of winning significant monetary damages will increase as well.
A Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report (police report) that is 100% in your favor greatly increases your odds of winning a motorcycle accident case – especially if the officer’s finding is based on objective evidence at the scene of the collision or if one or more independent witnesses observed the wreck and who was at fault.
- Amount of Insurance and Personal Assets
This one’s highly specific to the at-fault motorist responsible for your injuries. After all, you can be awarded a large verdict but only recover a small portion of it. After all, insurance policies only cover the at-fault motorist up to their limits of coverage. You could suffer two broken arms in an accident and only recover $30,000.00 if the at-fault motorist only had a minimum limits policy. That’s why it is so important that all motorists have uninsured / underinsured motorist protection on their own car insurance policy.
You can always file a lawsuit and try to recover additional funds from a Defendant if they don’t have sufficient insurance limits but if the Defendant doesn’t have significant personal assets your odds of actually recovering those additional funds are slim. A personal injury lawyer can run an asset search on at-fault motorists to determine if they have recoverable assets or if they are “judgment proof”.
- Valuation of Your Claim
Of course, the Defendant’s lawyer / insurance carrier will come up with a far different figure than your personal injury attorney as to the value of your claim. With motorcycle accidents, broad ranges can be calculated.
Expenses like medical bills and lost time and wages at work are easily calculated. However, if damages for “pain and suffering” come up, arguments can get fairly elaborate.
In most cases, it’s helpful to use the settlement amounts calculated in similar cases in the past for like and similar injuries.
Those are 4 of the top factors needed to value your motorcycle accident claim. Make sure the personal injury attorney you choose has a plan for addressing all of them.