Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, both physically and financially. In some cases, they can leave the victim with permanent injuries. As you can imagine, it is no wonder people often want to know what is the average payout for a motorcycle accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident, it is essential to understand the potential compensation you may receive after filing a motorcycle injury claim.
What factors determine the value of my motorcycle injury case?
The average payout for a motorcycle accident in Florida can range from several thousand dollars upwards to millions of dollars depending on several factors:
- Type and severity of injuries: More severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment or result in long-term disabilities warrant higher compensation
- Fault and liability: If it can be proven that another party’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident, it strengthens your case and may lead to higher compensation
- Financial and emotional impact over time: This includes current and future lost wages, ongoing medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, therapy fees, as well as any psychological trauma or loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the accident
- Medical expenses: Medical expenses incurred due to hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy sessions, and other necessary treatments will contribute to your claim’s worth
- Lost wages: If you had to miss work for an extended period or have a decreased ability to work due to injuries from the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income and potential future earning capacity
- Property damage: Property damage can be factored into your claim’s value, including repair or replacement of the motorcycle and other personal property
How can insurance limits affect the value of my case?
Insurance limits can also impact payout amounts. The at-fault party’s insurance policy generally covers compensation for damages up to their policy limits, regardless of the actual damages suffered by the victim.
In cases where the negligent party is uninsured or underinsured, you can seek reimbursement for your damages up to your policy limits, as long as you have underinsured/uninsured motorist (UIM/UM) coverage.
What is the process to reach a settlement in a Florida motorcycle injury case?
Settling a Florida motorcycle injury case involves several key steps in the process:
- Seek medical attention: Before seeking a settlement from the negligent party, the first step after being involved in a motorcycle accident is to seek immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained. Your health and well-being should be the top priority.
- Contact an attorney: It is advisable to consult with an experienced Tampa motorcycle injury attorney specializing in motorcycle accidents as soon as possible. They will guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help determine if you have a viable case.
- Investigation and evidence gathering: Your attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident and collect evidence and any other relevant documentation supporting your claim
- Establishing liability: To build a strong case, it is crucial to establish liability or fault. This may require gathering additional evidence or consulting experts if necessary.
- Evaluation of damages: Your attorney will assess all damages resulting from the motorcycle accident — including medical expenses, loss of income and wages, property damage costs, and pain and suffering — to establish an appropriate value for your claim
- Negotiating with insurance companies: Most often, settlements are negotiated with insurance companies representing those at fault for causing your injuries. Your attorney will handle communications with these insurers while advocating for fair compensation on your behalf.
- Mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR): When negotiations stall, or parties disagree on settlement terms, mediation or ADR processes may be pursued as an alternative means to reach a settlement agreement outside of court
- Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, proceeding to trial becomes necessary. Your case will be presented before a judge and jury, who will ultimately make the final determinations regarding compensation.
Throughout this process, your attorney will provide legal guidance, represent your best interests, and support you in making informed decisions.
Taking your case to trial
Taking your Florida motorcycle injury case to trial is possible when a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods. Here is an overview of what you can expect when taking your case to trial:
- Preparing the case: Your Tampa attorney will thoroughly prepare for trial by gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts who can provide testimony supporting your claim
- Jury selection: Both sides will have the opportunity to select jurors who will hear your case. This involves questioning potential jurors to ensure they are unbiased and impartial.
- Opening statements: The trial begins with opening statements from both sides’ attorneys. These statements provide an overview of each party’s arguments and what they intend to prove during the trial.
- Presentation of evidence: Each side presents its evidence, such as witness testimonies, expert opinions, photographs, medical records, and any other relevant documentation that supports their arguments
- Examination and cross-examination: Witnesses called by either side will be examined by the presenting attorney before being cross-examined by the opposing attorney. This allows both parties to challenge credibility and elicit favorable information for their respective cases.
- Closing arguments: After all evidence has been presented, each side delivers closing arguments summarizing their positions and urging the jury in favor of their client’s interests
- Jury deliberation: The jury then retires to deliberate on a verdict based on the evidence presented during the trial process. Their decision must typically be unanimous, resulting in determining whether the defendant is or is not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
- Verdict and judgment: Once the jury reaches a verdict, it is announced in court — either in favor of the plaintiff or the defendant. If the plaintiff wins their case at trial, they are awarded compensation for damages as decided by the court or jury’s judgment. In some cases, when the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent and reckless, judges can also award punitive damages to make an example of the defendant and to deter others.
It is worth mentioning that settlement negotiations can and often do continue throughout the trial, up until the jury returns with a verdict. If a settlement is reached, then the court is presented with the agreement, and the trial is over.
Settling vs. litigating pros and cons
When it comes to resolving a motorcycle injury case in Florida, there are two main options: settling or litigating. Each approach has its own set of pros and cons to consider.
- Faster resolution: Settling a case typically takes less time than going to trial, allowing you to receive compensation sooner
- Cost savings: Settling avoids the expenses associated with litigation, such as court fees, expert witness fees, and attorney fees for trial preparation and presentation
- Certainty: A settlement agreement provides certainty regarding the outcome of your case since you have control over the negotiated terms
- Potential for lower compensation: Insurance companies or defendants may offer lower settlement amounts compared to what might be awarded in court
- Pressure on the victim: There may be pressure from insurance adjusters or opposing parties to accept a quick settlement that may not adequately cover all damages or future expenses
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA): In some cases, settlements include NDAs preventing victims from discussing details publicly
- Pursuit of maximum compensation: By taking your case to trial, you have an opportunity for a jury or judge decision that could result in higher compensation if successful
- Detailed examination of evidence: Litigation allows for thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and cross-examining witnesses under oath through depositions and other legal processes
- Setting legal precedents/potential policy changes: Filing a lawsuit can lead to setting legal precedents by establishing new principles that benefit future accident victims
- Time-consuming process: Litigation involves multiple stages like discovery (gathering evidence), negotiation attempts, and settlement conferences before proceeding toward active trial proceedings
- Costly procedure: The litigation process incurs significant costs, including attorney’s fees, filing fees, court costs, and expert witness expenses
- No guarantee of winning: Even when it seems like you have a solid case, you are placing the decision into the hands of a judge or jurors, who must determine whether the defendant was negligent
How can an experienced motorcycle injury attorney help you?
An experienced motorcycle injury attorney in Tampa can be an invaluable asset in navigating the legal complexities of your case, advocating for your rights, and helping you as follows:
- Legal expertise: An attorney specializing in motorcycle injury cases has in-depth knowledge of personal injury laws and understands the intricacies of insurance policies, liability determinations, and applicable Florida laws that could impact your case
- Case evaluation: A knowledgeable attorney thoroughly evaluates your case’s strengths and weaknesses and provides an informed opinion on the potential success of pursuing legal action
- Investigation: Your attorney thoroughly investigates to build a strong case for maximum compensation
- Negotiates with insurance companies: Having an experienced attorney by your side ensures negotiations are conducted effectively, and you don’t settle for less than you deserve
- Accurate valuation of damages: Assessing the true value of your damages extends beyond immediate medical expenses or property damage costs. It includes considering future financial, emotional, and medical needs and assessing these factors accurately
- Assertive representation at trial: An experienced motorcycle injury lawyer should represent you aggressively in court proceedings by presenting compelling arguments supported by evidence while cross-examining witnesses skillfully
- Emotional support: Dealing with the aftermath of a motorcycle injury can be emotionally taxing. A compassionate attorney provides emotional support while easing the burden associated with legal processes.
Get help filing your motorcycle injury claim today
To ensure you receive fair compensation for your motorcycle injuries, count on Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, in Tampa. Our experienced and compassionate motorcycle injury team is here to help you navigate the legal complexities and maximize your compensation. Let us deal with insurance companies and represent your interests while you focus on healing.
Civil Liability. (2022).