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How Much is Your Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?

How much is your motorcycle accident case worth?


There are several factors to consider in assessing the value of a motorcycle accident claim. Particularly if you suffered a severe or lasting injury, you need to be sure your claim is evaluated properly so you can recover the correct amount of compensation.

Any motorcycle accident, car accident, or other type of accident that leads to an injury could make you eligible for a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit.

The basis for personal injury law is that a plaintiff (the injured person) deserves to be made whole. That means they can and should be compensated for their financial losses so that they are restored to the financial condition they would be in if the accident hadn’t happened.

Unfortunately, there is nothing the law can do to restore you to physical wellness or heal your injuries. But what the law does is to allow you to recover costs so that you’re not paying out-of-pocket for medical treatments, lost wages, and related expenses that were someone else’s fault.

Sometimes, we hear news stories about accident victims who recover millions of dollars from a lawsuit—and while that’s true, it’s not as though these people had a sudden windfall like winning the lottery. Rather, it’s because a lifetime of medical treatment, lost wages and disabilities adds up to a large sum of money.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a legal team that will evaluate not just the costs you’ve already incurred from your accident, but what you’re likely to spend in the future.

Your lawyer will work with medical experts, financial experts, actuaries and other relevant professionals to determine the exact amount you should recover from your motorcycle accident.

Determining the costs of your motorcycle accident

There are several factors that influence how much you can recover from a California motorcycle accident.

1. The severity of your injury

This is the first factor that the insurance company or court will consider. Certainly, a minor injury that requires short-term treatment and leads to a full recovery would cost less than severe injuries that leave a motorcyclist disabled or requiring future related medical care.

2. Effect on personal life

This is harder to quantify, but equally important. There’s more to a person than their physical condition. Courts can award damages to compensate a plaintiff for the loss of enjoyment of parts of their lives.

For instance, if the motorcyclist was a musician who lost the use of a hand in the accident, causing them to be unable to ever play an instrument again, the court would take that into consideration as part of the judgment—compensating them for the loss of something they loved.

3. Liability

The court will also consider the circumstances of the accident. Even if the other driver caused the accident, there could be evidence that you somehow contributed to or failed to prevent your own injury. For example, if you were not wearing a helmet (which is required under California law) and medical experts testify that you would have not suffered a brain injury if you were wearing one, you might not recover as much in damages.

That’s because California follows a pure comparative negligence rule. That means if a plaintiff is found to have contributed to the accident in any way, their damages would be reduced according to the percent by which they were at fault. Part of what your lawyer will do is to argue to minimize your liability for the accident.

4. General and special damages

The insurance company will look at what’s called general and special damages.

Special damages are the costs of medical expenses, lost property, wage loss, and whatever else has a specific dollar amount.

General damages are losses that don’t have a specific cost attached.

California allows lawyers to select one of these methods for calculating the general damages for a claim:

Multiplier formula: This method uses a number between 1.5 and 4 (or higher, in an extreme case) to multiply by the cost of your medical bills. You’re assigned a number based on the severity of your injury. A minor injury might be a 1.5, while a very severe injury with lasting effects could be a 4. That would be multiplied by your special damages in order to arrive at the amount you’re owed for pain and suffering.

Per diem formula: This method would be used to calculate pain and suffering based on how much you suffer each day. For example, you might get a rate of $50 per day for your pain and suffering, and then it would be multiplied by the number of days it’s expected that you’ll experience the pain and suffering.

Should you use an online claim calculator?

Online calculators can be great tools for things like figuring out mortgage payments, for example. But that’s a very different situation—when you calculate a mortgage payment, you know exactly how much the home is going to cost and how much you can make as a down payment, and what you might pay in interest. Although each of these figures could be variable, you know that increasing one would decrease the other and can toggle your numbers realistically.

But a damage award for a serious injury is a very different story. Because of the factors outlined above, it’s hard to calculate some of the “invisible” things a jury might consider. How much value would they put on never being able to play an instrument again? We don’t know.

It’s the lawyer’s job to convince a jury that these factors are important, why, and by how much.

That’s why you need to rely on professionals like MVP Accident Attorneys to help you reach the maximum compensation possible for your motorcycle accident.


brett sachs2
Brett Sachs

Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.

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