How are damages calculated after a motorcycle wreck?

South Florida is a haven for motorcycle enthusiasts because they are able to ride all 12 months of the year. Inevitably, however, some of those rides will result in accidents caused by another driver’s inattention or negligence. One former insurance adjuster and trial assistant offers some tips for injured riders trying to put a dollar value onto their injuries.

Personal injury cases can be divided into four value categories of low, middle, mean and premium. Variables surrounding the circumstances of the motorcycle crash as well as those regarding the injured rider and the driver who hit him or her all factor in to either raise or lower the value amount.

Variables can include the serious nature of the injuries suffered. Were bones broken? What about head injuries with lasting complications from traumatic brain injuries? These would raise the value much higher than a few bumps and bruises and some road rash. There are also intangible factors at play, such as the character of both the injured motorcyclist and the driver. A drunken driver with a lengthy rap sheet who strikes a preacher out for a Sunday ride after church would up the ante considerably. Reverse the circumstances, and the value drops.

Certain elements are crucial to a personal injury case, and they are:

  • Facts of the accident. These are indisputable, such as the time of day, weather, etc.
  • Evidence. Without evidence to support a claim of injuries, it can be difficult to seek a higher-end value. Photographs of injuries are invaluable as evidence.
  • Laws. A police report will state who was at fault in the wreck and can either bolster or detract from the value of a case.
  • Injury documentation. Medical records must substantiate claims of injuries. Other factors include the victim’s age, length of recovery period and loss of work time.
  • Other intangible elements. These can include the victim’s economic status, reputation and the perception of the “sympathy value” the injuries generate, in front of a jury.

Because calculating potential damage awards is both an art and a science, better results are usually obtained when a personal injury attorney is retained by the injured rider.

Source: whybike.com, “BASE – The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation Formula,” Dan Baldyga, accessed April. 01, 2015