Motorcycle Accident Settlements: Factors And Examples (2024)

Sarah Edwards


Reviewed By Adam Ramirez, J.D.


Read in 4 mins

Motorcycle riders have a high risk of injury or death compared to automobile occupants. Specifically, motorcycle riders are 24 times more likely to die and four times more likely to suffer an injury in an accident than automobile drivers and passengers.

The injuries that result from these crashes can profoundly affect your life. They can threaten your physical health and financial well-being. Fortunately, the law allows you to pursue injury claims against a driver who negligently crashes into you.

Factors That Affect Motorcycle Accident Settlements

Many factors affect the motorcycle crash settlement you can obtain. Some of the more significant factors include:

Severity of the Injuries

The injuries you suffer will play the largest role in determining your settlement. Your economic losses include the financial costs that arise from your injuries. Serious injuries require more expensive medical treatment. They may also interfere with your ability to work. You can seek compensation for these losses in your claim.

Your non-economic losses include all the ways your injuries affect your quality of life. Severe injuries will often cause greater pain. They will cause more worries about your long-term health and financial situation. Serious injuries can also force you to make greater changes in your life due to disabilities. You can include all of these non-economic losses in your injury claim.

Evidence of Negligence

A majority of states use comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, the victim can share in the blame for an accident. Their compensation gets reduced in proportion to the percentage of the fault. For example, if a motorcyclist gets 25% of the blame for a crash, they can only recover compensation for 75% of their losses.

A minority of states use contributory negligence. This doctrine cuts off a victim’s compensation entirely, even if the victim was only 1% at fault.

In either case, the stronger your case is against the driver who hit you, the better your negotiating position. Similarly, a case where you bear no blame will get you a better settlement than a case where you share the blame.

Insurance Policy Limits

Your case will start with an insurance claim. Liability insurers will pay claims up to a fixed policy limit. Once the insurer hits the limit, it will not pay any more money, and you will need to seek compensation from another source, such as the at-fault driver’s personal assets.

Insurers are usually easier to collect from than individual drivers. As a result, the money you get from the insurer might be the only money you ever see. Thus, the policy limits often set a soft cap on the size of your settlement after a motorcycle crash, contributing to the statistics of motorcycle deaths each year.

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Motorcycle Crash Settlement Examples

The best way to understand motorcycle crash settlements is with examples. The severity of your injuries will likely have the greatest influence over the settlement you can get. If you suffer minor injuries, the insurance policy limits will never come into play.

For example, suppose that you suffered road rash but no other injuries in a motorcycle accident. The driver was clearly at fault because they turned left across your path when you had the right of way.

In this case, everything favors your case. You have strong evidence of negligence and your losses probably fall under the policy limits. But because your injuries are relatively minor, you will probably receive a settlement in the thousands of dollars.

Conversely, you could change a few facts and get a very different outcome. Suppose the other driver still turned left across your path, but you were speeding when you went through the intersection. As a result of the greater crash energy, the car crushed your leg instead of simply knocking your motorcycle over.

The value of this claim might be significantly larger even though you might share in the blame for your injuries. A crushed leg bone will require expensive reconstructive surgery. The screws and plates in your leg might cause chronic pain and limit your flexibility or strength.

If the surgery cost $25,000 and you missed two weeks of work recovering from it, your economic losses would equal your lost wages plus $25,000. With solid legal representation, the insurance adjuster might eventually offer a few thousand to cover your non-economic losses.

Learn More About Motorcycle Accident Compensation

The injuries you suffer in a motorcycle crash can cause permanent injuries to the head, neck, and limbs. As a result, you could suffer significant financial losses and diminishment in your quality of life.

ConsumerShield educates and supports accident victims. Our resources help you understand your legal rights and options for pursuing personal injury compensation. Most importantly, we connect you with lawyers who can help you seek the motorcycle accident settlements the law entitles you to. Fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation and to learn how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • There is no average motorcycle accident settlement. However, all motorcycle crash settlements are based on the same principles. You should fight to recover a settlement that covers at least your financial losses. You can calculate these losses by adding up all the expenses associated with your injuries.

  • A good settlement will cover your financial costs plus your non-economic losses. These losses encompass the erosion in your quality of life due to your injuries. When you receive compensation for all your economic losses plus something extra for non-economic losses, you have a good settlement.

  • You must stop at the accident scene, exchange information with the other driver, and report the accident to the police. You should ask for paramedics or, if you can leave the accident scene without help, seek medical attention promptly. Follow the doctor’s instructions. Finally, consider contacting a motorcycle crash lawyer.

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