An enjoyable ride on your motorcycle can quickly take a turn for the worse when a driver in your area makes a mistake. The resulting accident can cause you a serious physical injury that can change the course of your life. Motorcycle accident injuries often result in higher settlements because of their severity.
Before seeking financial compensation, you need to understand the full extent of your injuries and prognosis for the future. You also need to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who can learn the value of your case. Your lawyer will be the one who holds the insurance company accountable during the settlement negotiations by advising you to say no to an inadequate settlement offer.
You should always hire a lawyer early in the motorcycle accident legal process so you are not vulnerable to pressure from insurance companies. They may try to rush you into signing an early settlement that is disadvantageous to you. An experienced San Antonio motorcycle accident attorney will prove liability in your case and fight for you to receive adequate compensation.
Statistics show that most motorcyclists will suffer some damage in an accident, and about one-third will suffer a severe injury, which can lead to permanent consequences.
Broken Bones and Fractures
Being struck by a motorcycle or falling to the ground can cause one or more bones to break, and many fractures require surgery to correct, leading to an extended rehabilitation period. Sometimes, surgery may not be enough to repair a severe fracture fully, and it can even cause damage to surrounding organs and tissue.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue is practically everything other than bone, including:
The physical trauma of a motorcycle accident, or the awkward way in which you land, can cause soft tissue injuries. Ligament damage can result in permanent injury or extensive rehabilitation.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Any trauma to the spinal cord can cause a severe injury. Broken vertebrae surrounding the spinal cord can compress and crush it, causing the impacted area not to receive messages from the brain. This kind of spinal cord injury results in a loss of sensation and movement.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Impact on the head can cause permanent brain damage. The brain is unlike any other body part in that it cannot heal itself, and once brain tissue dies, it cannot regenerate. Traumatic brain injuries can cost you vital body functions, affect speech and movement, and impair cognitive functioning.
If the damage to a particular body part is bad enough, it can cause the tissue to die permanently. The severing of key arteries may cause the need for doctors to amputate the body part because otherwise, it can become infected and life-threatening. It is, unfortunately, far too common for motorcycle accident victims to have their foot or leg amputated.
Your motorcycle accident injuries may not be visible on the outside, but this does not mean that you are uninjured. Blunt trauma can cause blood vessels in the body to be damaged, and you can also suffer organ injuries, such as a ruptured spleen or a collapsed lung. Internal injuries are dangerous because they can grow worse if they are left untreated.
When thrown from your bike, your body may skid across the ground, and the resulting injury can cause a deep abrasion on your skin. Road rashes can become seriously infected days after your accident, resulting in permanent scarring.
Head and Neck Injuries
Being thrown from a motorcycle or being struck by another vehicle can cause your head to snap forward at an unnatural angle, and the result can be damage to the neck.
In addition, the impact of the accident can cause you to suffer a concussion, which can occur when your head jerks forward and your brain hits the base of your skull.
Cuts and Lacerations
Falling to the ground or being struck by a car can cause cuts on your body, and in a worst-case scenario, blood loss can cause permanent brain damage. Cuts and lacerations can also result in permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Compensation for Serious Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle injuries tend to be much more severe, on average, than those sustained in other types of motor vehicle accidents because the motorcyclist has nothing to protect them from impact. Wearing a helmet can reduce damage from an accident but does not eliminate the possibility of a head injury. In addition, safety gear can protect you somewhat, but you can still suffer significant injuries in a motorcycle crash.
Your physical injuries can result in significant financial compensation. First, you are legally entitled to reimbursement for all your past and future medical expenses. In your case, medical costs can include:
- Surgical expenses
- Hospital stays
- Doctor's fees
- Prescription medication
- Medical equipment
You may have had to pay for some of your costs out of your pocket because your medical care may have required cost sharing and deductibles. You will receive reimbursement in a settlement, and your health insurance company will also get compensation for what they have already spent on your care. Finally, doctors may have liens that allow them to receive payment from your settlement proceeds. You need to account for these expenses in a settlement agreement because you must have money left after paying medical bills.
When negotiating, you must know your future medical expenses because your settlement will also cover your medical needs for the rest of your life. If you do not get enough money to pay your medical costs, you may have inadequate funds for other critical things.
Other Aspects of Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Physical pain is just part of how your injuries are affecting you. Along with physical discomfort, you will also experience mental health issues from the accident. Living with physical pain can cause you to become depressed, especially in light of your overall situation, and the aftermath of a traumatic experience can bring about anxiety.
You need to work to get documentation of your mental health issues that result from the accident because insurance companies will constantly challenge your injuries and will never take your word for anything. You should seek treatment from a mental health professional who will make treatment notes that you can use to document your depression and anxiety when you file a claim. Without these records, you may find it difficult to get adequate compensation for the effects on your mental health.
Your accident injuries can also keep you from enjoying the life that you did before the accident. You may have had hobbies and other things you liked to do with your time, and the responsible party must pay you for that as part of your pain and suffering. For example, if you enjoy hunting but can no longer engage in that activity, you can be compensated for it.
Other aspects of pain and suffering damages can entitle you to compensation, including:
- Embarrassment and humiliation
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
Insurance Companies Will Undervalue Your Pain and Suffering
The big question is whether the insurance company will fairly value how the accident has affected your life so you can receive full financial reimbursement. Insurance companies are well known for trying to undervalue your pain and suffering damages and are counting on the fact that you may not know exactly how much money you can get. When you hire a lawyer, there is less chance of this happening.
If you have suffered severe motorcycle accident injuries, the insurance company is likely going to use the multiplier method to calculate your pain and suffering damages. The multiplier method assigns a number to multiply your medical expenses, where the usual multiplier is between one and five. Severe injuries, like those to the brain and spinal cord, may have a multiplier of five. Fractures and lacerations may lead to a multiplier of one, even though you may have suffered far more than the insurance company will accept.
The Multiplier Methods Does Not Fully Pay You
On paper, the multiplier method is a clean method to come up with your damages - at least according to the insurance company. However, there are two significant problems:
- Using any "objective" formula eliminates any type of subjectivity from calculating damages.
- The insurance company may use a too-low multiplier to pay you for serious injuries.
If your injuries are not permanent, the insurance company may try to use the per diem method to pay you pain and suffering. This method assigns a daily dollar value to your damages based on the severity of your injuries, and again, the insurance company may use a far too low valuation.
Insurance companies do not get to dictate your pain and suffering damages, but they can attempt to settle your case. You have a say in what you will accept and should only sign once there is a fair offer.
You Do Not Have to Accept What the Insurance Company Is Offering
Suppose the insurance company is not offering you enough money in pain and suffering damages. In that case, you can reject the offer and make a counteroffer with your proposal to settle the case. Rejecting and negotiating can get you more money in a settlement. If the insurance company still does not offer you enough money, you can file a lawsuit and let the jury decide the case. A lawsuit may up the ante, forcing the insurance company to try to settle the case on more favorable terms to you.
Filing a Lawsuit if You Do Not Receive a Fair Offer for Your Motorcycle Injuries
When you file a lawsuit for your motorcycle injuries, it sends a clear message to the insurance company that you are serious about your claim. This can often lead to more substantial settlement offers during the negotiation process. By taking legal action, you demonstrate that you are ready to go to court if necessary, which puts pressure on the insurance company to offer a fair settlement.
Additionally, filing a lawsuit allows you to take advantage of the legal process to gather evidence and build a strong case. This includes collecting medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and expert opinions, all of which can be instrumental in proving the extent of your injuries and establishing liability.
Filing a lawsuit does not necessarily mean you will have to go through a trial. Many personal injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiations before reaching the courtroom. However, having an attorney with courtroom experience is important in case you still do not receive a fair offer in pretrial negotiations.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Near You
Hiring a lawyer allows you to know exactly how much you can get in damages for your motorcycle injuries. You might be dealing with severe and life-changing injuries, but your personal injury lawyer in San Antonio will prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of you in this vulnerable and stressed state.
Once you seek a consultation, you can focus on your medical care and physical recovery without concern about the legal process.