What Is The Average Settlement For A Motorcycle Injury Claim In Florida?
Florida’s weather and geography provide a haven for motorcycle riding. No wonder the sunshine state has the second highest number of registered motorcyclists in the country at 645,012 as of 2021. Sadly, more motorcycle riders on the roads means more motorcycle collisions, making Florida among the states with the highest number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 8,638 motorcycle crashes that resulted in 593 fatalities in 2021 alone.
If you or someone you love sustained serious injuries in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you have a right to pursue maximum compensation for the costs and suffering you incurred via a personal injury claim. But what does “maximum compensation” look like – what is the average settlement for a motorcycle injury claim in Florida, and how will your case compare? Let’s take a closer look.
Factors Affecting How Much You Can Recover In A Motorcycle Accident Injury Settlement
It’s important for you to know that there is no simple, universal formula for calculating the value of a motorcycle accident. It’s common to find certain figures online, such as the $73,700 median settlement amount per Jury Research Institute, but most settlements – almost all of them, in fact – are private record. Also, every motorcycle accident is different. How much you can win in a motorcycle injury claim depends on the specifics aspect of your case, including:
The Extent of Your Damages
Motorcycle accidents tend to result in catastrophic injuries because riders are unprotected. The more severe your injuries are, the more costly they will be to treat, the more pain they will cause you, and the longer they will take to heal. This means that you will be entitled to more compensation than if you just sustained minor injuries. For example, if your accident gave you a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is likely to give you lifelong complications, or if it left you with road burns that disfigured your appearance, or if you had to have a limb amputated, your settlement should reflect the seriousness of your injuries and the struggle you will ensure for the rest of your life as a result.
After a motorcycle accident, it’s crucial you visit a qualified medical professional as soon as possible to undergo and document a thorough medical examination that determines the extent of your injuries. Doctors can provide a detailed medical report that can significantly affect how much you can receive in a settlement for a motorcycle injury claim.
Your Employment Status
In cases where your injuries will affect your ability to work, both immediately after the accident and in the future, your lost wages and future earning potential should be factored into your settlement. Your employment status, occupation, and career prospects are major determinants of how much you will receive. For example, a surgeon whose hands are permanently injured in a motorcycle crash, rendering them unable to perform surgery again, will receive a much higher amount in compensation than a minimum wage worker who will be able to return to work after a few months.
Your Age at the Time of the Accident
Because lost wages and future earning potential is considered, younger riders who sustain severe or permanent injuries (such as spinal cord injuries or TBIs) are more likely to receive higher compensation compared to older riders, especially who are in their 60s or 70s and who may already have more fragile health.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations restricts the timeline for filing a personal injury claim. In Florida, you have four years from the date the accident occurred to bring legal action against the negligent party. You lose the right to compensation and damage recovery if this period lapses; how soon you file a claim directly impacts how much you can recover (and if you can at all).
Florida’s Pure Comparative Fault Statute
Another factor that influences how high your settlement for a motorcycle injury claim will be is what percentage of responsibility you shared (if any) for the crash. Florida law acknowledges pure comparative negligence, which allows you to only recover damages proportional to your degree of fault in the accident.
For example, say you were sideswiped by a driver who was texting and wasn’t paying attention. However, an investigation determines that you were speeding, which lowered the time they had to react. The investigation may find that you were legally 20% at fault for the crash, and you may only be able to recover 80% of the costs you incurred.
Comparative fault is a nuanced aspect of your claim that can be argued by an experienced motorcycle injury attorney, which is why it is so important to have one on your side if you are pursuing damages!
What Damages Can You Be Compensated For?
What damages you incur will directly affect how much compensation you can receive. Florida law allows you to recover various types of damages, including:
These are tangible damages that have a monetary value and that can be easily calculated. The most common economic damages include:
- Current and future medical bills, including any long-term rehabilitation or therapeutic care
- Loss of income and earning capacity
- Physical damage to your property
- Equipment or technology you need to assist you, such as modern wheelchairs
- Assisted or home-based care, if you cannot perform specific duties on your own
The greater the amount of economic damages you can prove, the higher your settlement will likely be.
Non-economic or General Damages
These are intangible damages that don’t have a monetary value attached. They can be challenging to determine, but can be calculated with the help of a motorcycle accident attorney. The most common include:
- Pain and suffering caused by physical trauma
- Emotional and psychological challenges, such as fear, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and behavioral changes
- Loss of consortium and relationships
- Loss of protection, love, support, and parental guidance
- Loss of enjoyment
- and more
These are damages awarded by a judge that are designed to punish the negligent party and deter other road users from repeating similar negligent actions. The Florida punitive damage law caps punitive damage at three times your compensation or $50,000, or whichever figure is higher. Note that you will not receive punitive damages if you settle your case out of court.
Calculating Pain And Suffering Damages In A Settlement For A Motorcycle Injury Claim in Florida
There isn’t a universal formula for the average settlement in motorcycle accident cases, but there IS a formula for calculating pain and suffering damages (non-economic damages) – actually, there are two. Which one your lawyer will use depends on your specific situation.
Multiplier method – Your attorney assigns a value to your pain on a scale of 1.5 – 5, with 5 being the most severe pain. They’ll then multiply this figure by the total economic damages, such as your hospital bills, to arrive at an accurate compensation amount. The multiplying value varies depending on the extent of your injuries, recovery period, and any aggravating circumstances. For example, if your injuries left you in constant pain that can be rated as a 4 on the scale, and your out-of-pocket costs for the accident were $50,000 after insurance, your lawyer can pursue $200,000 in pain and suffering damages.
Per-diem method – This method assigns a monetary value to every day that your injuries cause you suffering. Your lawyer will consider the number of days you experience pain due to your accident injuries and multiply this figure by a base value. For instance, your lawyer can use your daily income as the base number and multiply by the days your injuries prevented or will prevent you from working on getting compensation. If the pain from your injuries prevents you from working for 90 days, and you make $88 per day, your lawyer can pursue $7,920 in pain and suffering damages.
The figures from these methods may not reflect the amount you end up settling for, but they provide a solid starting point for negotiations.
Maximize Your Motorcycle Injury Claim Settlement
Because every case is different, the biggest factor that will determine how high your settlement for a motorcycle injury claim is is whether or not you have an attorney on your side. Working with the right law firm can make a difference in the amount of compensation you are able to recover.
To date, The Florida Law Group has won over $1 billion for our clients. Call us to schedule a free consultation! We can give you an accurate estimate of how much you may be able to recover based on your specific circumstances, and you never have to pay our legal fees until we recover a settlement for you.