If you are injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle and decide to pursue legal action against the party you believe caused the accident, be prepared for a bit of distrust by members of the jury handling your case. Preconceived perceptions of the actions of motorcyclists is not uncommon. Many people do not like motorcyclists and that bias tends to show itself in the size of settlements in the courtroom. Insurance adjusters are well aware of this and usually adjust the amount of the settlement offer to reflect the prejudice of the court. For these reasons it is critical for the motorcyclist to engage an attorney with extensive experience handling these types of cases.
When determining the amount of the damages, personal injury damages such as wages lost and medical bills are easy to calculate because these charges can be quantified as evidenced by the actual bills or pay stubs. On the other hand, pain and suffering damages are more subjective and are sometimes based on past awards for similar accidents. Of course every accident is unique as is the jury so one can only use a broad range to estimate the amount of pain and suffering damages.
In addition, the condition of the plaintiff prior to the accident may be a consideration when awarding damages. If the quality of life for the plaintiff has obviously been diminished permanently because of injuries sustained in the accident (i.e. a permanent limp or no use of an arm), higher damages may be awarded than to someone who was somewhat inactive prior to the accident. If the injuries from the accident leaves the plaintiff unable to work, the plaintiff will likely be awarded damages for their earning potential which is now lost.
The motorcyclist must also be sure that the defendant can be found liable at the trial for the accident. If there is very little or no evidence at all proving the accident was the defendant’s fault and he is responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, the case has very little value.
A defendant is less apt to agree to a settlement and more willing to risk a trial if fault cannot be clearly proven. Conversely, the plaintiff will probably accept a lower settlement because by going to trial he takes the risk of coming away with nothing.
Historically, jurors look unfavorably at motorcyclists. This does not necessarily mean that the court will always find in the favor of the defendant. It simply means if the fault of the accident is not clearly the defendants, the odds are in favor of the defendant to win the case.
If you have been in an accident involving your motorcycle that involves personal injury to yourself and you feel you have not been compensated justly because the accident was not your fault, consult with a motorcycle accident lawyer DC trusts to set up a consultation to discuss your case.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their knowledge about personal injury and motorcycle accidents.