Settling a motorcycle accident case means resolving it without going to court. You file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer, which offers you a specific amount of money for your damages:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If you accept that offer, the settlement is legally binding and you forfeit your right to a trial. You may never ask for more money, no matter what happens in the future.
Because bike crash injuries can lead to long-term health issues, it’s important to be sure you have the best offer you can get in a motorcycle accident case before you settle. Only an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can evaluate your case and consider all the factors that go into a fair settlement.
Factors That Affect Your Settlement
Your lawyer will consider several factors to determine the value of your case and decide whether to accept a settlement offer or go to trial:
- Evidence. If you have solid proof of the defendant’s negligence/liability, your case is strong and you can demand a better settlement. If your evidence of fault is weak, you might lose in court, so you’re likely to get a lower out-of-court settlement offer from the insurer.
- Severity of injuries. Serious injuries that require long recovery time/disability care mean more pain and suffering and usually result in a larger award.
- Insurance/coverage limits. If the defendant has only the minimum required coverage limits, that might be all you can get. A jury could award you more, but you can’t necessarily collect what the defendant doesn’t have, so the time and expense of a trial might not worthwhile.
- Biker bias. Insurance adjusters know that some jury members could be guilty of “biker bias,” which is a presumption that bikers are all reckless, dangerous, and responsible for their own accidents. Even though this is far from true, biker bias among a jury might reduce the amount you’re awarded in court, so a settlement could be a better choice than a trial.
- Lifestyle/age. A younger, formerly active person who’s left unable to engage in normal activities is likely to get a higher award. If you’re older and/or were inactive before the wreck, your settlement is likely to be less.
Have You Been Injured in a South Dakota Motorcycle Crash?
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can advise you on whether to settle or go to court. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 605-306-4100 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.