Although safety statistics for cars and trucks have improved significantly in recent years, the fatality rate for motorcycle wrecks has unfortunately gotten worse. Motorcycle riders are six times more likely than drivers of passenger vehicles to die on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some states have responded to these statistics by raising premiums and levels of coverage required for motorcycle insurance.
This response might be considered an example of biker bias, which is the assumption that motorcyclists are reckless and cause a lot of accidents. In fact, the opposite is true. In most cases, a South Dakota motorcycle accident involving another vehicle is caused by the other vehicle.
Potential Damages After a Motorcycle Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle crash, it’s probable that you were the victim of an at-fault driver who was reckless, impaired, in violation of traffic laws, or otherwise negligent. South Dakota law allows you to file a claim against that driver’s insurance company for your economic and non-economic damages.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency room visit
- Physical therapy
- X-rays, MRIs, and other diagnostic tests
- Crutches, wheelchairs, or other assistive equipment
- Psychological/emotional treatment
- Follow-up care
- Long-term disability care
- Lost wages, both past and future, including bonuses, commissions, sick days, vacation time, and lost earning capacity due to disability
- Property damage, including reimbursement for repair or replacement of your motorcycle and other property damaged in the accident
- Punitive damages, which might be awarded to punish an at-fault driver whose behavior was excessively negligent, reckless, or in violation of the law at the time of the accident
- Pain and suffering in the past and future
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment
- Mental anguish
- Disfigurement and its psychological impact
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship, services, and consortium
- Other non-economic losses
Calculating pain and suffering compensation usually means multiplying your medical expenses by a factor between one and five, depending on the severity of your injuries. Your lawyer can put a reasonable dollar amount on your physical and mental pain and suffering to get you a fair award.
Serious Injuries Mean Larger Settlements in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Because a motorcycle is the smallest legal form of transportation on the road, it can be hard to see, especially at night or in bad weather, so you’re at a higher risk of collision on a bike than you are in a car. If there is a collision, a motorcyclist has no protection beyond clothing and a helmet, so the injuries suffered in a motorcycle wreck with a larger vehicle can be catastrophic or fatal:
- Nerve damage
- Road rash
- Concussions and brain damage
- Broken bones and joints
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial disfigurement
One or more such injuries can lead to huge medical bills, a long recovery, years of lost wages, disability requiring lifelong care, and/or extreme pain and suffering. For these reasons, settlements for motorcycle accident victims can cost insurance companies a lot of money. Their adjusters are paid to devalue your claim and offer you the lowest possible award.
The Role of Your Lawyer After a Motorcycle Accident
If you’re hospitalized or undergoing medical treatment, it will be very hard for you to fight the insurance company on your own for the settlement you deserve. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help by doing all of the following while you recover from your injuries:
- Thoroughly investigate your accident to prove the fault of the negligent driver
- Determine how much you should claim for medical bills, lost wages, and property damage
- Put a dollar amount on your physical and mental pain and suffering
- Recognize an unacceptably low offer and negotiate to get you a fair award
- Fight for you in court if your case goes to trial
- Help you overcome any biker bias on the part of a judge or jury
Have You Been Injured in a South Dakota Motorcycle Accident? Contact Our Sioux Falls Accident Attorneys Today!
Take the first step toward fair compensation for your damages by consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 605-644-5003 to schedule a free consultation. We accept cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we win your case.