With this in mind, insurance companies may give you a ‘low ball’ offer, that does not accurately represent your claim. As such, it is important that you do not jump at the first offer sent your way. Once you settle, you can’t ask for more money later. A great motorcycle accident lawyer will take the time necessary to evaluate the severity and impact of the injuries – and support the claim with expert evidence.
Factors to Consider When Settling Motorcycle Accident Claims
With that in mind, some factors to consider in determining your ‘right’ settlement amount are:
– Current and past medical expenses related to your treatment
– Whether or not your injuries will heal
– Future medical expenses for your injuries
– Anticipated loss of earnings due to your motorcycle accident injuries
– Pain and suffering to compensate for the physical and emotional pain that you suffered.
– The impact that these injuries have had on your work (past, present and future)
– Loss of valuable services
Other Factors to Consider
On top of these factors, there are two very important questions you must ask yourself to help determine whether a settlement offer is the right one for your claim.
First, what is the likelihood of trial success?
Your answer to this question will have a big impact on the approach you should take when discussing a settlement. High likelihood of trial success means that you should only accept a higher settlement.
However, a low chance of winning at trial means you should be open to lower settlement offers. Remember, if you go to trial and lose, you may get nothing.
Second, how much may the jury award in damages? This will largely depend on the above factors. However, there are caps on damages awards that can arise.
For example, in 1992, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Smith v Stubbert created a range of general damages that are available for injuries that are persistently troubling, but not totally disabling. When considering inflation, this limit is roughly in the range of $32,000 to $65,000.
For more information on Smith v Stubbert, check out this article.
A second example comes for injuries that are ‘totally disabling’. Falling outside the Smith v Stubbert range, these are governed by Andrews v Grand & Toy. When considering inflation, the limit on these injuries is roughly $400,000. These injuries include quadriplegia and severe brain injuries. Most injuries fall below this top amount as the top award is for the most severe of cases.
A further consideration in determining a ‘good’ settlement amount is whether you will be partially responsible for the accident, known as contributory negligence. In many situations, while you are rewarded damages for your injuries, you can be seen as contributing to the cause of the accident. This happens for many reasons and it reduces the amount of damages you will receive. Due to this, your damages are reduced by the percentage you are responsible for the accident.
For example, say you were riding your motorcycle on the highway at a speed above the speed limit. While doing this, someone turns into your lane, causing an accident. While the other person is primarily responsible, your excessive speed will likely be a contributing factor. As such, a judge may assign 25% (or more/less) of the fault to you. In this situation, if you are awarded $100,000.00 in damages, it will be reduced to $75,000.00. This reduction is due to your role in partially causing the accident.
A Nova Scotian Example
For an example of the factors at play, consider Tibbetts v Murphy. Here, a motorcycle accident occurred when a motorcyclist and a truck driver collided on a roadway, going opposite ways. As a result, the motorcyclist sustained several severe injuries. This caused the motorcyclist many limitations for the months following the accident. Further, the motorcyclist continued to experience ongoing symptoms and limitations. At trial, the judge awarded Tibbetts $30,000 in general damages, $40,000 in loss of future earning capacity and $10,000 in loss of housekeeping capacity. However, a further factor in this case was that Tibbetts was 2/3 responsible for the accident. As a result, there was a 2/3 reduction in Tibbetts damage award.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
As you can see, there are many different factors at play in a motorcycle accident claim. Depending on your situation, your motorcycle accident may have all of the factors discussed above. It may simply have a few of these factors. Or, the factors affecting your motorcycle accident may go beyond what is discussed.
To guarantee you get the most out of your settlement, it is best to consider all aspects of your claim. That being said, there is no better way to do this than by contacting a proven motorcycle accident lawyer. We handle cases like this all the time and we know how to build successful claims from day 1.
By taking advantage of NOVA Injury Law’s free case review, you will leave knowing how to properly assess your claim, whether a personal injury lawyer will add value to your claim and whether NOVA Injury Law is the right firm for your case. Remember, there is no obligation or risk associated with this consultation.
At the end of the day, you want to be in the best settlement position for your claim. Doing this will allow you to focus on healing. Here at NOVA Injury Law, we take the weight of legal concerns off your back so you can focus on recovery.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call the motorcycle accident lawyers at NOVA Injury Law now.
If you’re interested in more information on motorcycle accident claims, check out this page.