If you were involved in a motorcycle accident (as a passenger or a rider), you have the right to collect the claim. But, will the claim be as large as the one you can get from an auto accident? The best thing to do in this situation is to consult a Hickory motorcycle accident injury attorney.
Liability and Damages in a Hickory Motorcycle Accident
When valuing a motorcycle accident, you have to consider the damages and liability.
Liability or the fault for the accident should be determined; if the fault cannot be determined because it is hard to prove (the rider was negligent, the passenger was negligent), then your case will not worth a lot. The plaintiff must always prove that the defendant was negligent. If the rider was negligent, they owe you compensation.
Next, you should determine the damages (injuries and other losses) that happened because of the accident. Severe injuries bring higher claims.
So, if a motorcycle hit you but did not cause any damage, you will not have a case. There is nothing to collect here, so it would be smarter not to begin the process. You and the defendant can settle it before it even gets to court; usually, the amounts in such settlings are quite low.
If there was an injury and the other side was negligent, then you have a case. In case it was your fault, and you were still severely injured, you can get a settlement, but it won’t be anything significant. If the defendant was not liable, their insurers don’t have an obligation to pay you anything.
Settlement Value and Trial Value
There are two types of valuing a motorcycle injury claim: settlement value and trial value.
The settlement value is what most people hope they will settle their case for. It can be quite lower than the trial value. The case is settled because you want to avoid taking it to the trial and lose.
The trial value is what you expect to win when your case gets to trial.
For example, you have valued your injuries and damage, and you believe that if your case gets to trial and you win, the jury will give you a significant amount of $100 000. But your chance of winning is only 20%.
In such cases, it would be smarter to settle your case for an amount that is 20% of the expected trial value (in this case, it would about $20 000). Sure, the amount is far lower than what you could get in the trial, but keep in mind that you have high chances to lose your case and go home with nothing.
How to Calculate the Hickory Motorcycle Accident Case?
Personal injury damages are classified into two groups:
- Damages capable of exact calculation (special damages)
- Damages not capable of precise calculation (pain and suffering)
In the first group (special damages) are the plaintiff’s past, present and future lost wages and lost earning capacity (medical bills, financial losses, employment benefits). They are called exact calculation because they are calculated to the dollar.
The second group (pain and suffering) cannot be accurately calculated. There is no way you can determine the value of pain and suffering someone goes through after an accident. The jury cannot just calculate it and decide to award the plaintiff with a specific amount.
For this reason, judges generally direct juries to use their good sense, background, and expertise in determining pain and suffering.
How to Calculate Lost Earnings and Future Lost Capacity
Calculating past lost earnings is done by calculating the earnings and employment benefits that you lost from being out of work.
On the other hand, calculating future lost earning capacity is much more complicated, and requires a lawyer or an economic expert. They will show your potential lost future earning capacity to the jury because it involves the concept of present value.
So, if you were earning about $50 000 per year before the motorcycle accident after you return to work (part-time) you could downgrade to making half of it. Your lost earning capacity is $25 000 per year for the rest of your work-life expectancy. Work-life expectancy is a statistical criterion based on federal government statistics of how many more years you are logically expected to work based on your age, sex, and race.
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, call our office and schedule your initial consultation today. Let our Hickory motorcycle accident law firm ease your process and help you get your deserved claim.