A young man with a leg injury from a motorcycle accident.

Motorcyclists find riding to be enlivening and freeing. However, riding a motorcycle comes with many risks. Whether riding in the city, suburbs, or rural areas, motorcycle accidents are more common than an accident in a four-wheeled passenger-vehicle. Additionally, because riders have less protection from impact than those in passenger vehicles, an injured motorcyclist may have more extensive medical bills, property damage, and other costs associated with an accident.

If you’re a motorcycle rider who is injured in an accident, you may be curious about the damages available to recover in a lawsuit for injured riders. Those injured by someone else’s negligence may be eligible to recover different types of damages from the responsible party. While, a motorcycle accident lawsuit payout or a payout from an insurance company is highly specific to the facts of each case, TonaLaw has written this article to generally explain the damages available to injured motorcyclists. We also discuss some of the factors affecting the amount of compensation available from a lawsuit or an insurance company claim.

Motorcycle Accident Liability

The most important factor involved in determining a motorcycle accident lawsuit payout, or a motorcycle accident insurance payout, is liability. Liability is the legal determination of who is at fault in an accident.

The Legal Basics

Liability determinations are typically based on the legal standard of negligence. This means that the injured motorcyclist must prove that the person they believe caused the accident was legally negligent. This is typically another driver on the road. To establish negligence, one must prove the following four elements:

  • Duty: The responsible party owes the motorcyclist and all others on the road a duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner including following all laws of the road.
  • Breach of Duty: The responsible party breaches that duty, this may occur when the responsible party switches lanes without looking, speeds, or drives under the influence, for example. This is not a complete list of all possible breaches of duty.
  • Causation: When the responsible party breached their duty, they caused an accident.
  • Damages: The motorcyclist was injured because of the accident.

Generally, if even one of these elements is not proved, there is no way for a motorcyclist to recover under the negligence standard.

What Happens if the Rider is Partially Liable?

Under New York law, if the motorcyclist is partly responsible for the accident, this affects the potential compensation. New York uses comparative negligence to assess how much a party can recover if they’re partially responsible for an accident. This means that the motorcyclist would be assigned a percentage of fault. Then, a court or insurance company would reduce their compensation based on that percentage of fault.

For example, if a motorcyclist is 30% at fault for their accident and injuries, and a car driver is 70% at fault andthe motorcyclist’s damages were calculated at $100,000, then the motorcyclist will only be able to recover $70,000 because their recovery would be reduced by 30%. As you can see, your level of fault will affect your motorcycle accident lawsuit payout or motorcycle accident insurance payout. 

What Compensation Is Available for a Motorcycle Accident Case?

The types of compensation available in each motorcycle case vary based on the specific facts of each case. Generally, injured motorcyclists are eligible to seek economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are the costs arising from the accident that are relatively straightforward and easy to calculate. They include things such as:

  • Medical bills,
  • Hospital costs,
  • Treatment and rehabilitation costs,
  • Property damage to the motorcycle, gear, and helmet,
  • Lost wages from the rider’s missed days at work due to their injuries, and
  • Lost future wages if the injuries are significant, and they’ll be unable to return to work at full capacity.

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify. Non-economic damages are related to the injured party’s intangible losses from the accident. Intangible damages include compensation for things like pain and suffering and emotional distress. Compensation for non-economic damages depends on the individual case. You should discuss your potential motorcycle accident lawsuit payout with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney such as the attorneys at TonaLaw. 

What Is the Average Motorcycle Accident Insurance Payout?

Many people wonder about the “average” motorcycle accident insurance payout or the average motorcycle accident lawsuit payout. However, the factors that go into determining a payout for a motorcycle accident are so case-specific that an average payout is not meaningful for any specific person. Should you talk to an attorney who offers you information about an average payout for a motorcycle accident, the attorneys at TonaLaw would suggest you seek information from another source for the reasons described below.

There Is No Realistic Average

Not all motorcycle accident insurance payouts are published or publicly available. Some motorcycle accident settlements are confidential. This means that the parties involved in the case cannot publicly disclose their settlement amounts. Although many websites state a “motorcycle accident insurance payout average,” these figures cannot take into account confidential or unpublished motorcycle accident settlements.

Factors Involved in a Motorcycle Accident Payout

Each motorcycle accident is unique. This means that each motorcycle accident settlement depends on the case’s specific facts. Multiple factors affect the potential compensation available in a motorcycle accident claim, and these factors are different in every case.

For example, the severity of a rider’s injuries from their accident will affect their potential compensation. If a motorcyclist experiences a severe injury, like a broken back or paralysis, they’ll likely have extensive medical bills. They’ll also likely miss a significant amount of work while they recover from the injury. Perhaps they also have significant emotional trauma due to the accident and the extent of their injuries and must see a therapist. This motorcyclist’s medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress damages would likely be greater than that of a motorcyclist with a light road rash and a broken finger. Additionally, if one of these motorcyclists were partly at fault, their compensation and payout would diminish. Thus, compensation and potential payout amounts vary greatly based on the case’s specific facts.

Anyone curious about the potential motorcycle accident lawsuit payout or motorcycle accident insurance payout should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in their area. A personal injury attorney who has handled motorcycle accident cases will know how to quantify and calculate the potential compensation in your case. 

Time Limit for a Motorcycle Claim

Whether you file a timely claim or lawsuit will impact your ability to get any compensation in a motorcycle accident claim. Every legal claim has a deadline by which you must file a lawsuit. If you don’t file your claim within the proper period, you cannot recover any compensation.

In New York, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a case in court. You may have even less time to file an insurance claim. You should involve an experienced personal injury attorney in your case as soon as possible so that they can do all of the work necessary before you’re up against a critical deadline. 

The TonaLaw Difference in Motorcycle Accident Cases

If you’re on Long Island and have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need an attorney who knows the nuances of New York liability and insurance law when it comes to these accidents. You need an expert attorney who will fight toe-to-toe with large corporations or insurance companies to ensure you get fair compensation. You need the client-centered representation offered by TonaLaw. At TonaLaw, we keep our clients’ needs central to our strategy and representation. Contact us today to see the TonaLaw difference.

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