Auto accidents on the roadways are a major problem, with millions of injuries and deaths on the roadways every year. When one of the parties involved is a motorcyclist, the problem gets worse. Without four walls and a roof to offer protection, the damage suffered by bikers tends to be far more catastrophic than those in a car.
But how much is your case worth, and how do you determine what kinds of compensation you can get from your accident? Learn how accident injury claims are valued, what your accident might be worth, and why you could benefit from the help of a motorcycle accident attorney.
Proving Negligence in an Accident
The first step in getting compensated for your motorcycle accident is to prove negligence on the part of the other driver. The more fault you can place on the other driver in Florida, the more you will be entitled to claim. This is because Florida uses what is known as pure comparative negligence in accident and injury cases.
Thus, if your accident is worth $100,000, but it comes out that you bear 15 percent responsibility for the accident, you can only collect $85,000 of that award. To prove negligence you'll need to demonstrate that the other driver violated a basic duty of care to other drivers on the road, to operate responsibly and not put them in danger, and that this violation resulted in the accident in which you were injured.
Valuing the Damages
There are two basic types of damages in injury cases: special and general damages. Special damages are those that are very easy to value. These include your medical bills from the accident, both those that you've accrued already and those you're expected to accrue in the future, from doctor's visits to major procedures to medication and even medical transport. They also include lost wages and compensation, as well as potential future compensation.
The other level of damages are general damages. These are harder to value as they're more subjective, and cover things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost companionship, damage to your quality of life, and even in very severe cases, punitive damages.
To value general damages, each side in the case will apply what is known as a “damages and compensation formula” to the specific damages. This formula is a variable multiplier, usually between 1.5 and 5, and will be based on the severity of the injuries. Neither side will reveal how they come to this formula, and it will form the basis of what you ask and what the defendant is willing to pay.
Working with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
After you value your damages, negotiation can be a complex process. You'll need help from a qualified motorcycle accident attorney to challenge the insurance companies' efforts to avoid paying your claim, and the defense team's efforts to increase the responsibility you are seen to hold.
If you live in the Gainesville area and need help with your accident case, call the attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices for help today.