There are specialized motorcycle accident injury lawyers in San Francisco, California, because if you’ve been hurt in a crash, agreeing on a fair compensation amount and receiving it, can be complex and time-consuming. It requires a hefty process and some expert calculations, and excellent persuasive skills. There is no hard and fast rule to reach a specific monetary value for your motorcycle injuries. However, you can guess an amount based on the criteria of your particular injury claim case through precedents and legal guidelines. It is essential to know all the factors that encompass calculating the total compensation.
How is the Total Settlement Amount Calculated?
Insurance companies have tables, charts, and computer programs to evaluate jury verdicts, average settlements, treatment codes, or specific injuries. However, this is not how a good personal injury lawyer in San Francisco, California, would go about it. Adjusters and insurers base their offers on the range of settlements that these computer programs project. Moving your case along, properly documenting and calculating all the aspects of the motorcycle injury, and getting senior adjusters involved, who have the power and authority to move the standard offer, is necessary to get fair compensation. A personal injury attorney can and does do that for you.
Two different factors must be considered while ascertaining a settlement claim for a motorcycle accident injury, i.e., economic and non-economic aspects. Economic factors or general damages include:
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Ambulance costs
- Physical rehabilitation
- Home accommodations – Includes purchase or renting of medical equipment in case of permanent disability or injury.
- Lost wages
- Counseling costs
- Paid-for medical expenses
- Future medical expenses for long-term recoveries
- Loss of valuables or other property damage
- Loss of capacity to earn
- Job loss
- Motorcycle repair costs, etc.
While the non-economic factors or special damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of hearing or eyesight
- Daily life disruptions
- Physical or emotional distress
- The degree of negligence of the other party
- Permanent injuries or disfigurement, such as loss of mobility, weakness, stiffness, scars, etc.
An expert personal injury lawyer carefully calculates all these aspects and more, collects all the necessary proofs and documents, factors in all the primary and secondary receivables, and makes a case for you to get a good compensation package. Usually, the insurance adjusters move up the chain with their settlement offer as soon as they see you have a credible personal injury attorney by your side and an itemized list of damages. But, if the offer is still not up to the mark, your lawyer will advise you not to accept it and go for the litigation process to make a case in court for a fair amount.
Remember, knowing the factors taken into consideration while calculating a settlement amount is one thing, and evaluating and ascertaining it is another. Personal injury attorneys are trained, specialized, experienced, and expert individuals who know the intricacies and the ins and outs of motorcycle injuries. They can help you make a strong case that demands an excellent monetary value to compensate for your damages. Each case is unique, and missing out on a single detail can make you receive less than what you deserve, and adding something that is not credible can make your case weaker.
How are Injury Claims Calculated?
During motorcycle accidents, the injuries people get inflicted with are most often the most significant component of the total settlement package. With the medical service costs increasing every year, even minor injuries can result in substantial medical bills. The amount of your injury claim pertains to the costs and losses you endured because of the accident. The diagnostic bills, therapies, treatment, medication, loss of wages due to the treatment, long-term recovery costs, etc., and much more are processed to assess the value of an injury claim. The common types of injuries from motorcycle accidents in San Francisco, California are:
- Head injuries
- Bone fractures
- Leg injuries
- Road rash
- Muscle damage
- Biker’s arm
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal injuries
- Lower-extremity injuries
- Thorax injuries, etc.
Driving a car is not as complicated and risky as driving a motorcycle. The body of the individual being exposed makes it more vulnerable to more extensive injuries. There are over 8 million motorcycles registered in the United States, and 975 out of every 100,000 of them are involved in an injury-afflicting accident each year. If you own a motorcycle, you should keep an excellent personal injury attorney’s contact in your phone at all times.
Type of Insurance Coverage I Should Have For My Motorcycle
Some people do not purchase motorcycle insurance, and some buy just enough to comply with the law. However, motorcycle insurance is crucial as it covers both you and your motorcycle in case of an accident. Some people think their auto insurance policy covers their motorcycle accidents as well, which is a misconception. Not having adequate motorcycle insurance can harm your motorcycle injuries claims.
Here are the different types of motorcycle insurance you can purchase:
In San Francisco, California, you are required by law to have at least $15,000 worth of liability insurance if you own a motorcycle. This type of insurance pays for any damage you cause to either public property, persons, or persons’ property. If you skip getting this insurance, you will pay for the damages you cause yourself; you need to know Prop 213 of California law. It states that you forfeit the majority of your claims if you do not have motorcycle insurance. This can have dire and devastating impacts on you and your family in case of a severe accident. Therefore, this insurance is a must-have.
Comprehensive and Collision Insurance
Collision insurance covers your motorcycle if any accident occurs. It will repair or replace your motorcycle, regardless of whose fault the accident was. However, the deductible amount considers who was at fault, and you can claim that amount if it was the other party.
Comprehensive insurance covers the damages that your motorcycle receives in cases other than accidents, such as natural disasters, vandalism, or theft. It is entirely up to you if you want to purchase these two insurances or not, unless you have financed your bike. In that case, your financing company will most likely require you to buy both comprehensive and collision insurances.
Under insured or Uninsured Coverage
Uninsured or Under insured coverage pays for your damages if the other at-fault party is not or inadequately insured and cannot pay for your claims. Many truck and car drivers in San Francisco, California, are driving around with only the state minimum insurance or no insurance at all. To prevent yourself from getting into a helpless situation after an accident where the other party is at fault, we recommend buying as much uninsured or under insured coverage as you reasonably can.
Going for all the above-stated insurances is wise; going for ‘full coverage’ is not. Suppose you are interested in being fully insured for all aspects and domains. In that case, you might think the full coverage offering of your insurance company takes care of everything, but it does not. You have to sit down and review every coverage with your insurance agent. Full coverage packages of many insurance companies cover far less than you think they do.
So, the minimum amount of liability coverage is required by law. Other than that, you should have uninsured and additional liability coverage for as much as you can afford. You can skip the collision and comprehensive coverage if your motorcycle is not expensive or highly valuable.
What is a Fair Settlement for Pain and Suffering?
A motorcycle accident injury can cause pain and suffering, which is the emotional distress you receive. It can cause expenses in treatments and make you unable and incapable of leading a normal life. Emotional pain and suffering can last very long and can have permanent effects on an individual. They are an essential factor to consider while coming up with the total settlement amount.
There is no set rule or formula for calculating the worth of pain and suffering. To get awarded a settlement that takes the pain and suffering into account, you have to prove that you suffered from some mental distress due to the accident. The factors that make your pain and suffering case stronger are:
- If the physical injury is severe
- The amount of economic losses is high
- The evidence brought forward is strong
- The defendant’s misconduct or recklessness is severe
In San Francisco, California, documented mental health symptoms are not required by law to receive pain and suffering awards. However, your case will be stronger if you are diagnosed with one or more of the following illnesses:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Other symptoms of emotional or mental illness
Should I Accept the First Offer of Compensation?
The most common way to receive compensation is the insurance settlement for a motorcycle accident injury. The insurer of the defendant processes and evaluates the event of the accident and its impacts and tabulates a dollar value, and submits it to you as a settlement offer. However, you are under no obligation to accept it. Most likely, it will not be the maximum amount you can get entitled to as the insurance companies prioritize saving money.
Accepting a settlement offer might be tempting, especially if you need the money. However, we have often seen people regretting their acceptance afterward when they know how much they could have got. Even if you think the settlement offer for your motorcycle accident injury is fair and handsome, you should always consult a personal injury lawyer as they can inform you about the optimum potential financial compensation you can get. They know all the factors that need to be accounted for, like pain and suffering, future medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Once you accept a settlement offer, your case will be closed and cannot be reopened again. You will lose all the money you could have possibly gotten out of the accident. Remember, an insurance company always seeks its own benefits, and you should have a motorcycle accident attorney in San Francisco, California, by your side. Selling yourself short is something you should avoid in such cases, although settling a case out of court is an easy and quick way to settle things.
After you receive the initial compensation offer, you should draft a solid demand letter with the help of your personal injury attorney that demands every penny you deserve against the recklessness, negligence, and carelessness of the defendant. It would be best to back up all your statements with proof to make them more pressing and credible. The evidence may include:
- Estimates from repair facilities
- Accident investigation reports
- Evidence collected at the scene of the accident
- Testimonials from specialists and doctors
- Documentation from your employer
- A list of all your personal belongings that received damages from the accident
Do bear in mind, though, that settling out of court has some benefits as well over getting engaged in the litigation process. You receive compensation sooner; there are fewer chances of legal red tape getting involved, less personal time needs to be invested, and you do not run the risk of losing all the compensation against your motorcycle accident injury.
As stated earlier, there are several factors involved in motorcycle accidents and their injury claims. Your best bet is always an excellent personal injury attorney in San Francisco, California, who is an expert on these cases and will serve you according to the specific nature of your motorcycle accident injury case. Your injury claim might be worth much more than what you are being offered.
If you have questions about your motorcycle accident in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Phoong Law for a free consultation to evaluate your case. It’s always best to speak with the San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Phoong Law for advice on your case and how you should proceed.