Motorcycle accidents generally involve more serious damages and injuries than car wrecks, and it's no surprise why. Unprotected and at the mercy of larger vehicles all around, if a motorcyclist crashes, they don't have airbags or seatbelts to save them.
If you've been hurt in a Dallas-Fort Worth motorcycle accident that was caused by another driver, you shouldn't have to pay for your damages and injuries. They caused the wreck, so their insurance company is in charge of paying you for all of your medical bills, lost wages from missed work, pain, suffering, damage to your motorcycle and more.
How Much Is My Motorcycle Wreck Case Worth?
Naturally, this answer depends on your case. However, you can roughly estimate the amount of money that will be available to you by looking at the insurance policies involved. In order to make a successful claim, there needs to be sufficient money availible through the involved insurance companies. Answer these questions to learn more:
Is the At-Fault Driver Insured?
When you make a claim against the at-fault driver, you're really making a claim against their insurance company. In Texas, the minimum liability limit for cars is $30,000. That's how much money is available to compensate you for your injuries, assuming the driver is carrying that amount.
Though it's required by law, a whopping one in four drivers aren't carrying car insurance. Yes, that's illegal and yes, it significantly hurts the value of your claim.
Do You Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Personal Injury Protection?
Uninsured motorist coverage can pay out if you were hit by a driver who doesn’t have any insurance or one who had an insufficient amount of insurance (for example, if your medical care cost $100,000 but they only had $50,000 in coverage).
Personal injury protection is insurance purchased for the express purpose of paying your hospital bills if you are ever injured in a motorcycle crash.
Both uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection are optional forms of insurance sold in addition to your standard liability insurance, but both must be offered to you by your insurance company at the time you take out your policy. Many people have both these types of insurance and aren’t even aware of it.
Is There Any Other Insurance that Can Be Used?
Sometimes, an accident is not the fault of a single driver; there can be multiple parties who share the responsibility for an accident. It's the job of your attorney to identify any possible insurance that can be used.
Owning a Motorcycle Doesn't Lower the Value of Your Claim
Despite what the insurance company might make it seem, driving and owning a motorcycle does not give you lesser rights to compensation. You didn't "put yourself in danger" and you don't "deserve" your injuries just because you're a motorcyclist - that's ridiculous.
If the insurance company wants to lower the value of your claim simply because you own a motorcycle, I encourage you to reach out to a personal injury attorney. A lawyer will know when an insurance adjuster is steppingout of bounds, and they'll ensure your wellbeing isn't diminished in the claim.
Damages Motorcyclists Can Claim in Texas
A lot goes into determining the value of a motorcycle case. Things like your medical costs, the damage to your motorcycle and the ways the wreck has affected your quality of life are all taken into consideration. In addition, the relative degree of fault between the motorcyclist and the other driver can change how much money you'll get. Consult the Anderson Law Firm to learn more about the compensation you'll recover in your specific case.
Here's an overview of what you can expect to recover after your accident.
After an accident, medical treatment can be expensive. Certain injuries, like traumatic brain injury. will require an extended hospital stay and long-term rehabilitation, in addition to immediate surgeries, medications and the like.
Unfortunately, just because you have medical insurance doesn't mean you'll be fully covered. Many times medical insurance leaves out coverage for certain procedures, meaning the financial burden is passed to you, the patient. Luckily, that's why your attorney will use their personal injury expertise to pursue a claim against the at-fault party.
When people think about the cost of an accident, they usually focus on
things like hospital bills and surgeries. However, if you're hurt bad enough, it's likely that you'll miss work. For some victims, their injuries leave them with permanent handicaps that stop them from returning to work at all.
In a Texas personal injury claim, victims have the right to recover compensation for their missed work and loss of earning capacity. This means they can be paid for future wages they'll miss out on - wages that will be necessary to pay for everyday things like the electricity bill, groceries and the mortgage.
If there's been a wrongful death (meaning the motorcyclist lost their life in an accident), their families can recover compensation for the lost earning capacity of that family member as well.
If your motorcycle can be fixed, you're allowed compensation for repair costs. If it's totaled, you're entitled to compensation for the motorcycle's full value.
If the insurance company determines that the repair costs total more than 80 percent of the vehicle’s fair market value, then it is highly likely that they'll declare your motorcycle totaled. You do have the option of keeping the motorcycle if it has sentimental value or if you want to get it repaired yourself, but this means that you have to pay more money out of your own pocket. It also means that any settlement you receive from the insurance company will be less any salvage money they might have gotten from selling your totaled bike to a scrap yard.
Beware of the insurance company in these instances - they'll often say that a motorcycle is totaled even when the damage does not appear all that bad. That's because it's more expensive for the insurance company to repair it than to just give you the money for the new one.
For some motorcycle accident victims, this option is fine. For others, this option would make them lose a great deal of money because of the value of their motorcycle. Many motorcycles are customized and upgraded, which would mean that an average price estimate by an insurance company would be way off. Motorcyclists with these customizations can get short-changed by insurance companies because they don't take these pricey alterations into account.
Any accident, motorcycle or not, is traumatic and often life changing. There's more than just physical trauma, and the loss of enjoyment of life that motorcycle accident victims suffer cannot be underestimated. You can be compensated for pain and suffering after your wreck, which will address your intangible damages.
In certain instances, punitive damages can be awarded. This is money given to the victim in order to teach the at-fault party a lesson, and typically is paid when the at-fault driver was doing something extremely reckless to cause the accident.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
In any insurance claim, you'll have to speak to the negligent driver’s insurance company. Under no circumstances should you give them a recorded statement when they ask you to do so. You have absolutely no legal obligation to do this and it can only end up hurting your claim later on.
If you have collision coverage, I recommend that you get your motorcycle repaired on your own insurance. Later, your provider will claim that money back from the negligent driver’s auto insurance on your behalf. If you have to pay a deductible, you will also get that refunded to you.
Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney to Represent You
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Fort Worth motorcycle accident, then it is important that you speak to a board certified personal injury and wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Good evidence makes the claim, so take as many photos as you can of the damage to your motorcycle and any other possessions that were destroyed in the collision. To learn more about building evidence for a motorcycle case, visit our Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyer page.
Mark Anderson and the Fort Worth attorneys at the Anderson Law Firm have helped many injured motorcyclists and their families get their lives back on track after a serious crash. We help wreck victims understand their legal rights and build their cases to ensure they receive full compensation.
For more information, please feel free to download a copy of Mark's book Texas Property Damage Guide.