Riding on a motorcycle is much more dangerous than traveling in a traditional vehicle. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle deaths occurred nearly 24 times more often than in cars per mile traveled in 2021.
Even when a death doesn’t occur, the injuries to the motorcyclist are often very serious when an accident happens. Bikers who get thrown off their motorcycles can experience life-altering injuries and substantial losses. For that reason, the average settlement for a motorcycle accident is usually fairly significant.
If you or a loved one recently experienced an Atlanta motorbike accident, then you’re likely interested in finding out how much a claim could be worth. Find out more about motorcycle accident claims, the compensation you can file for, and how to get started on your claim below.
The Basics of Motorcycle Accident Settlements
After a motorcycle accident in Atlanta, Georgia’s laws require the at-fault party to pay for the losses associated with the crash. The injured party doesn’t need to file a claim with their own insurance. Instead, they need to determine who was at fault and pursue compensation from that party’s insurance. Georgia’s laws require every motorist to have car insurance.
Factors Influencing Motorcycle Accident Settlement Amounts
The average settlement for a motorcycle accident is typically fairly high because the losses associated with these types of accidents are usually substantial. That said, several factors could influence your overall settlement amount.
For one, your settlement award should accurately reflect your losses. In most cases, you will not be able to pursue more compensation than what you actually lost as a result of the crash. There are rare circumstances where you can seek additional damages in the form of punitive damages, but we’ll go over exactly what that is below.
Another factor that could influence your accident settlement is your respective percentage of fault. If multiple parties were all liable, then you’ll only be able to seek compensation if you were less than 50% at fault for the crash.
Economic or Special Damages
The number one factor that will influence your overall settlement amount will be the value of your economic or special damages. Special damages are made up of the financial losses you suffer that are easy to calculate, prove, and value. For instance, the costs of your medical care will be clear based on the bills you receive. The property damage you sustain can be calculated by getting a repair estimate. You can prove how much you lost in income by showing your average earnings and how much time you missed from work.
General damages are another form of compensation you can seek out after a motorcycle accident. Unlike special damages, general damages are difficult to place a monetary value on. For instance, if you got hurt in a motorcycle accident and struggled with traumatic flashbacks and PTSD, then you can pursue damages in the form of pain and suffering. It won’t be easy to value pain and suffering, though. General damages can include damages like a loss of consortium, a loss of quality of life, and emotional distress. If you develop a mental condition after your accident, then it’s worth investigating whether you can pursue general damages for your losses.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to reimburse the injured party, punitive damages are designed to punish the person responsible for the accident. Punitive damages aren’t awarded that often. Courtrooms will only issue punitive damages when the guilty party’s recklessness is extreme, or they believe that a significant financial penalty will deter the party from acting similarly in the future. For instance, a courtroom might award punitive damages when a driver intentionally hits a motorcycle rider or is excessively speeding.
Determination of Fault
One of the biggest factors that will influence your motorcycle accident claim is the determination of fault. Georgia’s laws work on a fault-based system. Whichever party is considered to be at fault will be considered legally and financially responsible for the losses associated with the accident.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there could be multiple parties at fault. This could include the motorcycle rider, the driver of the vehicle, or a third party. Third parties who had a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of the biker and failed to uphold it could be liable. For instance, when a defective part is considered to be the cause of the accident, the part manufacturer could be held responsible for the accident.
Insurance Considerations in Motorcycle Accident Settlements
Insurance companies operate on an at-fault system, so the injured party will need to seek compensation from the responsible party’s insurance provider. Typically, it’s best to consult with an attorney before speaking to any insurance representative. Insurance adjusters have an incentive to minimize your claim, but a lawyer can help you uphold your rights throughout the process.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Georgia law does require every motorist to take out a car insurance policy, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is compliant. If you get into a motorcycle accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, then that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. It might be possible to seek coverage from your own insurance company if you have an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy.
Policy Limits and Coverage Restrictions
If an insurance provider does agree to pay you for your injuries, then they will only give compensation up to the policy limit. They also won’t be able to provide coverage if the insured party doesn’t have the right policy in place. If you run into these types of issues, then it’s important to get in touch with an attorney to learn more about your options.
Atlanta’s Contributory Negligence Laws
When laws consider fault a determining factor in who is responsible for the accident, it’s common for both parties to attempt to assign fault to the other. Georgia’s courtrooms operate on a contributory negligence standard. Under these rules, an injured party can pursue compensation even if they are found to be partially at fault for the accident. Their compensation award will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. That said, if the injured party was 50% or more at fault for the accident, then they would not be able to seek out any compensation.
Legal Representation and Settlement Negotiation
Since the average settlement for a motorcycle accident requires careful consideration of a host of losses, it’s best to consult with a legal representative before you begin negotiating. Your lawyer will help you fully value the extent of your losses and help you secure the right evidence to back up your claims, too. Building up this strong case from the beginning will help your negotiation process go smoothly.
Proving Fault and Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
Proving fault and liability can be difficult in a motorcycle accident depending on the types of evidence you have available. When possible, you’ll want to collect photographs of the accident scene, video footage, eyewitness testimony, or any physical evidence that can help prove fault. You should also use the initial police report and any findings from independent investigations.
How Much Can You Sue for a Motorcycle Accident?
In general, you can sue for a settlement award that accurately reflects the extent of your losses. To determine what that number could be, you’ll want to add up all of your economic losses. From there, you’ll want to consider your non-economic damages. Courtrooms will typically determine the value of these losses based on a multiplier amount ranging from 1.5 to 5.
They multiply that number by the sum of your economic losses. Then, that number is added to your economic losses. This number should provide you with a good estimate of how much you can sue for in your case. If you need more help, then consider reaching out to an attorney.
How Long Does a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit Take?
A motorcycle lawsuit can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years. In general, simple claims with fewer long-term losses resolve faster. A more complicated case with permanent injuries can take a long time to litigate. When you hire a quality lawyer, it also helps your case get negotiated faster.
How Our Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Can Help You Recover Compensation
When you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, taking care of your physical health should be your top priority. Let the authorities handle the initial crash investigation, and try not to stress over your losses. Once you are in a position to do so, you can hire an attorney who can help you go over your losses and determine your best source of recourse.
Typically, the average settlement for a motorcycle accident is substantial. Your lawyer will help you consider losses like your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and more. They’ll go over the specific circumstances of your accident to help you identify who could potentially be liable. From there, your attorney will help you file all the proper paperwork and negotiate with the appropriate parties. If necessary, then your lawyer should be willing to take your claim to trial.
At Singleton Law Firm, our Atlanta motorcycle accident attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the complexities of your case. Are you ready to seek justice? Get started on getting the compensation you need to move forward from your crash.