Getting involved in a motorcycle accident is an incredibly terrifying experience for those involved. Motorcyclists have very little protection from the force of a vehicle slamming into them, and it is not uncommon for them to sustain severe injuries in these cases. However, it can be confusing to understand how much a motorcycle accident claim is worth. Here, we want to review the factors that go into determining how much an injured motorcyclist may receive after being involved in an accident.
Determining the Value of Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
The reality is that no two motorcycle accident cases are exactly alike. During the latest reporting year across the Commonwealth, there were nearly 3,000 total motorcycle accidents, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Out of these incidents, there were 2,860 total injuries. In addition to the injuries sustained by motorcyclists, we also know that these individuals also have to deal with property damage following the accident.
When working to determine the total value of a motorcycle accident, there are various factors that will have to be taken into consideration. This includes the severity of the injuries, the level of property damage, whether or not there was any shared liability, and more. Motorcycle accident victims and their attorney will typically work to obtain both economic and non-economic damages.
- Economic damages. This is also referred to as special damages and deals with the types of losses that are relatively easy to calculate. An accident victim and their attorney will gather up bills, receipts, pay stubs, and more in order to determine the value of the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- General out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage expenses
- Non-economic damages. This Is also referred to as general damages and deals with the types of losses that are more difficult to calculate. There are no bills or receipts that can be added up to determine the value of these losses, though there are other methods of calculating these non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of quality of life damages
- Loss of consortium for spouse
- Scarring and disfigurement losses
In general, we will see that motorcyclists who sustained more severe injuries will typically receive more economic and non- economic damages as a result of their claim.
Full Tort or Limited Tort?
Another factor that could affect how much compensation a person receives in these incidents is whether or not they have “full tort” or “limited tort” insurance. Pennsylvania operates under a hybrid type of insurance system. In many cases, drivers follow the “no-fault” insurance system, or limited tort. If a driver has limited tort insurance, this means that they will turn to their own insurance carrier for coverage and will not be allowed to file a lawsuit to recover additional types of compensation, including pain and suffering losses, unless the injuries are particularly severe.
If a driver in Pennsylvania chooses to opt-out of the limited tort situation and instead chooses to carry full tort insurance, then any accident will be handled in a traditional fault-based way. Injured riders will pursue compensation from the at-fault driver and will be able to file a personal injury lawsuit if one is necessary.