Whether you are getting a fair motorcycle accident settlement depends on many different factors. There is no set dollar amount that defines a fair settlement. The same dollar amount might be a fair result in one claim but a gross miscarriage of justice in another. So how can you tell if you are getting the right compensation for your injuries?
Consider these four things to ensure you are getting a fair settlement for your motorcycle accident:
Account for long-term damages.
In addition to your immediate and short-term losses, many motorcycle accidents have a long-term impact on your life. So, in addition to the medical expenses you incurred at the time of the crash, you may have to face not being able to work the same job you did before the wreck. You may have to work a job that pays less, which will result in long-term loss of earning capacity. In some cases, you might have to retire altogether.
Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, your future might involve in-home health care or a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation center. You might also have to deal with long-term cognitive impairment if you sustained a head injury.
These are but a few of the possible long-term damages you can experience after a motorcycle accident. It is vital that you not settle your claim until you are confident about what your future will be. When you do settle, be sure to include all the long-term changes to your life.
Do not let the insurer deny your claim because you were not wearing a helmet.
Although Washington State law requires everyone who operates or rides on a motorcycle, moped, or motor-driven cycle to wear a motorcycle helmet when on a state highway, county road, or city street, not wearing a helmet does not bar you from recovering compensation for your injuries. However, if your failure to wear a helmet contributed to your injuries, you will be at fault for that contribution.
This liability for the contribution is called comparative negligence. Under this legal theory, you are responsible for your negligence.
Consider the following: a car driver ran a red light and crashed into an unhelmeted motorcyclist. The biker suffered a broken leg and a concussion. Helmet use had no effect on the leg injury, so he will be able to get his full damages for that injury. However, if the car driver can prove that the concussion would not have happened if the motorcyclist had been wearing a helmet, the biker will be liable for his head injury.
Beware of biker bias.
Some people stereotype motorcycle riders in a negative light. They assume that whenever a motorcycle accident occurs, the biker must be at fault. The law does not see things this way. You can only be liable for an accident if you were at fault in causing the accident, or if you were negligent in some other way. Merely riding your chopper does not make you the bad guy. Do not let the other side paint you as such.
Do not forget about pain and suffering.
Injuries are more than just medical bills. Having endured pain is a loss that deserves compensation under the law. If this were not the case, people could get away with hurting people with little regard for the consequences, and only reimburse the out-of-pocket costs.
Several types of losses are not measurable by medical bills. After your motorcycle accident, you may fall victim to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You may have personality changes and be more prone to anger. And not being able to take your Harley out for a ride can also lead to a loss of enjoyment of life. All of these are real damages for which you can — and should — receive compensation.
Motorcycle accidents often involve catastrophic injuries. You do not want to face this situation alone. Let Kirkland motorcycle accident attorney Max Meyers help you navigate the complicated process of pursuing your injury claim. We will take the time to sit down with you and evaluate your damages and will work hard to make sure you get a fair motorcycle accident settlement.
Call us at any time. There is no obligation, and we do not charge to evaluate your case. Call 425-399-7000 today to set up your free consultation.