The average payout for a motorcycle accident in FL | BC Law
Were you or someone you care about involved in a motorcycle accident along the Treasure Coast, Port St. Lucie, or anywhere else in Florida? If you have been injured or some of your personal property has been damaged in the accident, you can be eligible for compensation for your losses.
In Florida, there are thousands of accidents involving motorcycles every year. This guide will let you know about the things you need to do after the accident, how payouts are calculated by the court, and other important information that will help in your unique case.
Things you need to do after the accident
Motorcycle accidents can cause severe and sometimes catastrophic injuries. Immediately after the incident, here are the things you should do:
Check your body for injuries and get to a safe place
Getting in an accident can be terrifying. Your mind can be in a jumble, and you may want to exit your vehicle quickly, however, doing so without thinking can cause you more pain in the process.
After the crash, take a few minutes to assess your body. Do you see obvious wounds or cuts in your skin? Is there anything holding your body back or trapping you in your vehicle? If you have company, are they responsive?
If you are able to move, exit your vehicle and go to a safe place. There are some instances where a vehicle could combust after the incident, so put a safe distance between you and the crash. You should not be on the road either, but stay near to the scene so that the authorities will find and assist you once they arrive.
Call the authorities
After making sure that you and the other parties are safe, call 911 immediately. The medical representatives will be there to perform preliminary aid, while the police will assist and investigate the scene and prepare a report.
Asking for the police report will be a great help in your claim in the future. Since it details the cause of the accident and the damages in the crash, you should never try and settle with the other party in fear of the authorities. They are there to help.
Exchange contact information
If you are able to walk around, talk to the other party and ask for their contact details. This will include their name, contact information, address, and other important data such as their insurance provider and policy number.
Take photos and videos of the scene from different angles. This will help your claim in the future and will ensure that you will get the fair compensation you need. If there are any damages to your personal property such as your motorcycle, make sure to include clear pictures which you can show to your insurance provider or the court later.
Prioritize your health
It may be tempting to just go home after the accident, but this could be the worst mistake you will do. Make sure to get a comprehensive medical checkup after the incident to see underlying injuries you may not know about.
What if you sustained a serious back injury that will take a lot of money to treat? What if there is a head injury you will feel after a few days? If you don’t have a medical report in your hands, your insurance company may not believe that the injury was caused by the accident itself.
Call a motorcycle accident lawyer
After getting the essential treatment for your injuries, schedule an appointment with a local motorcycle accident attorney. They will help you gather evidence and act as your legal representative when filing a case.
What is the average payout for motorcycle accidents?
What amount is fair for a settlement in a motorcycle accident? Settlement amounts vary highly on a case-to-case basis. Since there are a lot of things to consider that will determine your payout, knowing the different factors as to how it is calculated may help you know what to expect in the process.
Not all claims and lawsuits are the same. Since it varies depending on the type of accident you had and your losses in the process, the settlement amount may be $10,000 or $150,000.
If you want to have a general idea as to how much will be the fair settlement for your case, a personal injury lawyer may help you calculate the costs according to several pieces of information at their disposal.
Factors that affect the payout
How much can you get in your settlement claim? Since most insurance companies prefer to settle rather than letting the case go to court, you may get an offer to compensate for your unfortunate experience in the accident.
Here are some of the things that will affect your payout:
Your Insurance Policy
What does your insurance policy cover? What are the inclusions to your insurance? Depending on your insurance company and the laws in your state, they will be a major factor in how much your payout will be. In the situation where your insurance provider is not willing to give you fair compensation, your attorney could take the case to the court.
The liable party’s insurance policy
There are many technicalities you will need to consider when it comes to the liable party’s insurance provider. Since there may be limits to their policy, not all of your damages may be recovered, which would mean that the payout may not be sufficient for your needs. In this case, your attorney will take your claim to court to protect your right to fair compensation.
Your medical bills and treatment
The more serious your injuries are, the higher your compensation will likely be. This is to ensure that you’re not on the losing end with medical bills, this is especially true if you need years of rehabilitation to heal.
Damages to property
In instances where your vehicle and belongings were damaged in the accident, you should also be compensated for the loss you incurred.
Lost wages and benefits
In the situation where you may not be able to earn your wage due to the injuries you were subjected to in the accident, you should be compensated for your loss of livelihood.
Pain and suffering
Are you suffering from depression or trauma after the accident? Are there any losses that have changed the way you enjoy life? When proven, your payout should also include compensation for non-economic losses.
In the event that the motorcycle accident has taken the life of your loved one, you should be compensated for the funeral expenses and loss of consortium. Learn more about Wrongful Death.
How the court calculates the payout you will receive
The damages you will be awarded are usually determined by two categories, which we will call economic and non-economic.
What are economic damages?
Economic damages, also known as general damages, are the losses you have incurred that have an actual remuneration or value. This includes the medical costs, treatment fees, lost income, property damage, household expenses, and other fees that have a set value.
Economic damages are awarded as they are the compensation you need after suffering an accident. Since they are easy to calculate, the process to determine how much you will receive may be fast. As long as you can prove that the other party is liable for your losses, showing records and receipts of your expenses will be necessary for the court to accept your claim.
What are non-economic damages?
Non-economic damages are the losses you incurred after the accident that do not have a set price or remuneration. Even if they are difficult to put a value on, you can still ask for compensation as the court will be there to make an educated guess about the value of your pain and suffering.
What do non-economic damages entail? Non-economic damages include the psychological effects of the accident, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, extreme stress or anguish, loss of enjoyment, and more. As long as you can prove that the incident has highly affected your day-to-day life, your claim will be justified.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents in Florida
Being in an accident can be terrifying. There are many reasons why motorcycle accidents happen. Sadly, the cause may have actually been preventable if the parties are actually responsible for their driving privileges.
In Florida, here are the most common causes behind the accidents:
Not following speed limits, being aggressive on the road, and not wearing safety gear can easily be the root cause of a motorcycle accident. It is important to remember that being a driver is a responsibility. If you are not careful, many lives can be affected in the aftermath of an unfortunate incident.
Driving under the influence
Driving while drunk or under the influence of prohibited drugs is illegal for a reason. Since they affect us physically and even mentally, driving while intoxicated is the most irresponsible thing a motorist will do.
Poor road conditions
Potholes, cracked and slippery roads, insufficient road signs, and other defects can cause accidents to drivers and pedestrians. Since they can be tricky to spot, motorcyclists can also be the victims of these defects, leading them to crash without any warning.
Poor climate and weather
When the weather is poor, the visibility of the riders is also affected. At times, the roads are also slippery so it is easy to lose control when driving. According to the data collected by Ride Smart Florida, most “motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries tended to occur with the greatest frequency during the spring and fall.” (1) Because of this, drivers must be alert and drive according to the recommended speed to avoid accidents.
What are the most common injuries in a motorcycle accident?
Motorcycle accidents can lead to minor and serious injuries. Depending on how severe the crash was, it can even cause the untimely demise of the parties involved.
Some examples of the injuries one can get are:
a) Cuts, bruises, and soft tissue injury
This includes any injury to the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the body. It can be a contusion, a muscle strain, or a sprained body part/s.
b) Finger, hand, wrist, and arm injury
This includes any injury to the mentioned body parts that may have been twisted, punctured, bent, broken, pulled, crushed, dislocated, or severed.
c) Toe, foot, knee, ankle, and leg injury
This includes any injury to the mentioned body parts that may have been twisted, punctured, bent, broken, pulled, crushed, dislocated, or severed.
d) Head, neck, spinal cord, back, and thorax injury
This includes any injury that has an effect on the mentioned body parts that causes pain, stiffness, spasms, numbness, and difficulty in functioning to the involved party. As an example, whiplash is a common injury that occurs when the neck is jerked suddenly in an accident. A herniated disc is also a usual effect that can cause extreme pain to many individuals.
e) Burn injury
This includes road burn or road rash, burns from a gas spill or combusted vehicle, and more.
Ways to determine liability in a motorcycle accident
Finding who is actually at fault in a motorcycle accident can be very tricky. After all, the motorcycle rider or the car or truck driver may be the one who is liable.
Since there are many reasons why an accident took place, there is a legal process used to see which party should be liable for the event. This may be a lengthy process that will include showing pieces of evidence, witness statements, CCTV footage, and more to point out who the negligent party is.
What does negligence mean?
Riding a motorcycle is dangerous. However, this does not always mean that the motorcyclist is the one in the wrong. Hence, proving who committed a negligent act, or the behavior that is reckless, irresponsible, or thoughtless that caused the accident is crucial in a lawsuit.
To determine who the negligent party is, the plaintiff should prove that:
a) There was a duty of care
Motorists have the obligation to drive responsibly. When they are given the privilege to drive, they must act in a way that a responsible individual would do. For example, a responsible motorist would not drive under the influence because it is an illegal act that may cause an unfortunate accident.
b) There was a breach of duty
The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant has breached the duty of care. Based on the example above, if the driver has consumed a lot of alcohol that impaired his vision and caused the accident, then it is clear that they have breached their duty.
c) There is causation
Next, the plaintiff must also prove that the breach has directly caused the accident. This would mean that reckless acts of the defendant caused the plaintiff harm and suffering.
d) There were damages or losses due to the breach of care
Finally, there should be evidence that the plaintiff has actually suffered in the accident. This can be economic and non-economic damages that can be proved through medical bills, treatment fees, and more.
Do you really need to hire an attorney?
Hiring an attorney just to file a claim is not really a requirement in many states. However, there are many reasons why a representative can be helpful in your ordeal. Remember at BC Law, you only pay when you win.
A motorcycle accident attorney is essential as:
They will handle the long and tiring legal process
An attorney performs many duties. When you have been in an accident that is not your fault, the attorney will be there to assist you when it comes to the investigation of the event that caused the accident. Since they have years of training and experience, they know where to look for and gather pieces of evidence that will be helpful in your motorcycle injury claim.
Also, your attorney and their law firm will take care of the legal paperwork. You no longer have to spend your time learning how to do them yourself, and you will also avoid the mistakes when filing that can cost you thousands of dollars in the long run.
They will make sure that your rights are protected
The attorney’s main role is to be your legal representative. As such, you can be sure that you will know what your rights are and be able to protect your interests.
When you are on your own, you may be tempted to accept the first settlement amount they offer you. But what happens when you accept a figure that will not be enough for your medical bills and treatment? When an insurance company is being a pain or trying to settle with an amount that is insufficient for your needs, your attorney will be there to be your counsel.
In the situation where you will be required to go to court, your attorney will represent you and ensure that you will not go over the statute of limitations.
They will help you maximize your compensation
Attorneys are experts when it comes to negotiations. They will make sure to calculate your losses effectively, whether it is economic or non-economic damage.
A motorcycle accident attorney will gather receipts, fees, and even compute how the accident has affected your way of living. Because of this, you will have a bigger chance of getting a settlement amount that is extremely fair for your needs and what you have been put through.
Get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida today
“In order to establish peace, you must have fair justice for everyone.” - Al Sharpton
Motorcycle incidents in Florida can cause catastrophic injuries to all the parties involved. If you or someone you care about has been in one, you should always remember that there is a time limit to your claim.
For more information and advice, hiring a legal professional to represent you will be the best decision you can make to protect your rights. Contact BC Law for legal help and rest assured that you will be in good hands.
Crashes over time | Ride Smart Florida