When considering whether you should file a claim, you should know the damages you can expect to receive in your settlement, so you know if it is worth it to pursue your claim. While there is no precise answer to how much you can settle your case for, understanding the factors that can affect the value of your claim can give you an idea of what to expect. In addition, you should consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer who will go up against the insurance company so that you receive all the compensation you deserve under California law.
Factors That May Affect the Value of Your California Motorcycle Collision Case
Every motorcycle crash claim is unique, which is why a knowledgeable motorcycle crash attorney cannot tell you precisely how much money you will receive in your settlement. However, several common factors impact the value of a victim’s case in Southern California and San Diego. Here are the leading ones that could affect how much you receive in your settlement.
Liability of the Parties Involved in the Collision
One factor that might significantly impact the value of your case is whether the other motorist was 100 percent at fault in causing your motorcycle accident or whether you were partially to blame for it. California follows the pure comparative negligence law. It provides that a party’s compensation in a motorcycle crash would be reduced by their percentage of fault in causing the wreck.
If you were partially at fault in the collision, this would reduce the value of your claim. However, you could still be entitled to a substantial settlement.
The insurance coverage available will also influence the value of your claim. The negligent driver’s insurance company is only responsible for compensating you up to their insured’s policy limits.
If you purchased underinsured motorist coverage, you could also file a claim with your insurance company if the other motorist’s coverage was insufficient to compensate you fully. However, your insurance company would also only be required to pay you up to your insurance coverage limits.
Severity of Your Injuries
The type of injuries you suffer and their severity will also greatly impact the value of your claim. You are entitled to your past and future medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering damages in California. If you suffered a long-term injury, like a traumatic brain or spinal injury, you could need medical treatment for the rest of your life. You also may have to make a career change at reduced pay or become permanently disabled. The value of your claim will be higher if your injuries are permanent or long-term.
Bias Against Motorcycle Riders
Unfortunately, prejudices or preconceived ideas about motorcycle riders can affect the value of your claim. Insurance adjusters, attorneys, and jurors may have a bias against bikers, making it hard to receive all the damages you are entitled to. Some of these beliefs about riders include:
- They are reckless drivers.
- They do not obey safety laws.
- They speed excessively.
- They are members of gangs.
Your Actions After the Motorcycle Crash
The actions you take after your motorcycle collision will directly impact the value of your case. If you make mistakes, you will weaken your claim. The insurance adjuster could use your errors as ammunition to deny your claim or try to force you to take less money in your settlement. Common mistakes that motorcycle accident victims make to avoid include the following:
- Not getting prompt medical care
- Not contacting the police at the crash scene
- Not preserving evidence that can help prove your case
- Making statements that the insurance company can construe as an admission of fault
- Agreeing to give a recorded statement
- Accepting a quick settlement of your claim
- Not retaining a skilled lawyer soon after your motorcycle crash