Motorcycle Injury Settlement Amounts in Florida: How Much Can You Expect to Receive for Your Claim?Trusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. December 14, 2021
How much can you reasonably expect to recover after a motorcycle accident?
When you get injured in a motorcycle accident, recovering just compensation can be crucial for your long-term health and financial stability. It is imperative to make sure you seek the maximum compensation available.
For many motorcycle riders, recovering from an accident involves much more than getting their bike repaired so they can get back on the road. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe traumatic injuries, and some riders experience a lifetime of medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. When this happens, securing just compensation is critical for moving on, and riders must be prepared to do everything they can to recover their short-term and long-term losses.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, there is a lot you need to know in order to give yourself the best chance of recovering maximum compensation. This article provides an overview of the key factors that impact motorcycle injury settlement amounts in Florida.
We Work on YOUR Behalf
The Insurance Companies Fight Hard to Pay Injured Motorcycle Riders as Little as Possible
One of the first things you need to know is that you cannot expect the insurance companies to treat you fairly. In fact, if anything, you should expect the opposite.
The insurance companies will fight to pay you as little as possible. They will require extensive proof of both the cause and extent of your injuries, and there is a good chance that they will try to blame you for the accident. We have seen this happen time and time again, and we have been privileged to help injured riders overcome the insurance companies’ defense tactics in many cases.
Recent Case Example
Here is an example of a recent case in which we were able to secure a settlement that was nearly 10 times the insurance company’s initial offer:
This tragic accident occurred at the intersection of 10th Street and Cocoanut Ave. in Sarasota, just east of Waterfront Park. Our client, a 56-year-old caretaker and carpenter, was riding north on Cocoanut Ave. when a driver traveling southbound turned left directly into his path, violating his right of way. The force of the collision ejected our client from his motorcycle, and he landed on the pavement in the middle of the intersection.
It was immediately obvious that our client had suffered serious injuries. He was rushed to the emergency room at Sarasota Memorial Hospital where he was admitted and diagnosed with a compound fracture to both bones in his forearm as well as fractures to the hip, knee, and foot. Doctors had to perform multiple surgeries to repair the fractures. Our client suffered a nerve injury in his arm and shoulder that required surgery as well.
The driver’s insurance company initially tried to claim that our client was partially responsible for the accident. It offered an initial settlement of $115,000.00—an amount that didn’t even pay our client’s medical bills, let alone compensate him for his pain, suffering, and lost wages. As a result, we filed a lawsuit on our client’s behalf and aggressively prosecuted the case. We attended multiple traffic court hearings; and, after the court was made aware of the facts we had discovered during our investigation, the judge found that the driver was guilty of failing to yield the right of way. We subsequently took the driver’s deposition and were able to firmly establish that the accident was entirely his fault.
After the driver’s insurance company hired new lawyers, the case proceeded to mediation. During the settlement conference, we were able to convince the insurance company to pay the driver’s $1,000,000.00 policy limit. This was a terrific result for our client, and he was extremely pleased with the outcome.
What Factors Affect the Value of a Motorcycle Accident Settlement?
Several factors will affect the value of a motorcycle accident settlement. As a result, while many people have questions about “average motorcycle injury settlements,” the reality is that every case is unique. Even if two accidents happen in a similar fashion and result in similar injuries, the outcomes could still be very different based on the riders’ personal circumstances (and other relevant factors).
So, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, what do you need to know in order to determine the value of your claim? Some of the key factors for determining motorcycle injury settlement amounts in Florida include:
Recovering financial compensation for a motorcycle accident requires proof of fault. If someone else (i.e., a negligent driver) was 100% at fault in your accident, then you are entitled to recover all of your accident-related losses. But, if you were partially at fault, then you may be entitled to less than a 100% recovery.
This is based on Florida’s law of “comparative fault.” This law states that an injured rider’s financial recovery must be reduced in proportion to his or her percentage of fault in the accident. So, for example, if you are deemed to be 25% at fault for something like exceeding the speed limit or not wearing a helmet, then you would only be entitled to recover 75% of your losses.
Of course, 75% of your losses could still be a significant amount. Additionally, as the case above shows, you cannot trust the insurance companies to accurately determine your percentage of fault. Instead, you need to rely on the advice and representation of an attorney who has your best interests in mind.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Auto and motorcycle insurance companies frequently try to deny coverage by claiming that riders’ injuries are attributable to pre-existing conditions. However, while a rider with a pre-existing injury may not be entitled to coverage for the pre-existing condition itself, the costs of any additional injuries or complications should generally be covered.
Age at the Time of the Accident
When a motorcycle accident has permanent consequences, the longer the rider lives, the more financial and financial costs he or she will incur. As a result, all else being equal, younger riders will have the opportunity to recover more compensation in some cases. However, as this list shows, age is far from the only factor, and we have helped many senior older riders secure seven-figure significant settlements and verdicts.
Employment Status and Occupation
Florida law entitles injured riders to just compensation for their lost wages and their lost future earning capacity. As a result, the more you earn (and the more you have the capacity to earn), the more you will generally be entitled to recover. When motorcycle accidents leave riders with permanent disabilities, these riders must rely on their attorneys to calculate how much they would have earned through the age of retirement taking into account raises, bonuses, commissions, benefits, and other forms of compensation.
Diagnosis and Prognosis
The severity and extent of a rider’s injuries are key factors for determining an appropriate settlement value. As a result, a thorough diagnosis is critical, and riders must ensure that they have a clear and comprehensive understanding of their long-term medical needs. If a rider’s injuries will result in permanent disabilities or shorten the rider’s life expectancy, these factors will also increase the amount the rider is entitled to recover.
Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Trauma
Florida law entitles injured motorcycle riders to just compensation for various forms of “non-financial” harm. These include riders’ pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. To place a dollar amount on these losses, the insurance companies and courts consider both the severity of these physical and psychological effects and the duration for which they will be endured. Rather than trusting the insurance companies (which is a mistake), injured riders must work closely with their attorneys to identify and quantify their non-financial losses.
Family circumstances can impact the amount injured riders are entitled to recover for certain types of non-financial harm. For example, if a rider is married or has minor children (or both), any impairment of the rider’s relationship with his or her spouse or children is also considered a compensable form of non-financial harm under Florida law.
Available Insurance Coverage
Finally, in some cases, the insurance coverage will be a limiting factor. If an at-fault driver only has $1,000,000 in insurance coverage, this may be the maximum amount an injured rider can expect to receive. But, sometimes it is possible to go beyond at-fault drivers’ policy limit, and riders who have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance can use this insurance to help maximize their financial recoveries as well.
How Much May You Be Able to Obtain in a Motorcycle Injury Settlement?
When you need to seek financial compensation for a motorcycle accident, your choice of legal representation is also extremely important. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have been representing Florida riders and their families for more than 30 years. If you’ve been injured and need to know how much you are entitled to recover, we strongly encourage you to call (800) 538-4878 or contact us online for a free consultation.