To no one’s surprise, Indiana’s motorcyclists face a greater risk of traumatic and life-altering injuries when involved in an accident.
Knowing that the injuries related to a motorcycle accident can often mean extensive medical bills, hospitalization(s), and therapy, most victims of these accidents will eventually ask themselves, “How much is my motorcycle injury case worth?”
For more than 20 years, attorney Matt Boulton has been helping Indiana motorcyclists and their families determine the value of their motorcycle accident case.
In fact, the majority of Boulton Law Group’s motorcycle clients have sustained a combination of injuries that often include broken bones and/or a head injury, and depending on the liability factors and amount of available insurance coverage, these cases can prove to have a significant value.
That said, no one can give you a specific dollar amount for your motorcycle injury claim unless a proper case evaluation has been performed by an experienced Indianapolis motorcycle injury attorney. (If you talk to someone who claims otherwise, run!)
This blog takes a closer look at the unique factors that can greatly affect the value of your motorcycle injury claim. We also discuss a number of tips to help ensure that you avoid making a mistake that could potentially cost you compensation.
Your motorcycle accident case has a unique value
One of the most important facts we want every injured motorcyclist to understand is that your case will have an individual value that will be determined by your personal experience and unique story.
We often hear two myths about the value of a motorcycle accident case:
- The value of motorcycle accident cases is pre-determined by the insurance company.
- Motorcyclists with similar injuries will always have the same case values.
Neither is true.
First, never let an insurance company tell you that your motorcycle accident claim is worth a pre-determined amount, or that there is no room to negotiate the value of the claim.
Second, do not let anyone convince you that your case is worth a specific amount based on a similar case that they or someone they know had in the past.
Boulton Law Group has reviewed several Indiana accident reports involving motorcyclists, and no matter how similar they seem, including the liability factors, insurance companies, and injury types, each case can differ greatly in their overall value. Why is this?
Put simply, the answer lies in the details, including five main factors that can dramatically affect the value of your motorcycle claim.
Five factors that will affect the value of your motorcycle injury claim
During an initial consultation with an injured biker and/or their family, attorney Boulton will ask a number of questions to help lay the foundation for determining the value of the case.
Additionally, he will advise on the things you should and should not do to help ensure your case achieves maximum value.
However, there will be 5 main factors that we must examine during the consultation to help assign a value to your case, and they include:
1.) Injury type(s)
Having a detailed understanding of your various injury types will be paramount to ensuring you receive fair compensation for your motorcycle accident case.
This is why it is important to tell your doctor(s) and attorney about every ache, pain, or new symptom you are experiencing. Insurance companies will not compensate you for undocumented injuries.
And we want to again stress the fact that injury types, no matter how similar, can have drastically different values.
For example, two motorcyclists involved in separate accidents could both sustain a broken left arm, yet because one of the bikers is left-hand dominant, this could potentially mean that their case will be worth more.
Also, no one should ever assign a value to an injury because it sounds more significant than another. It is possible for a motorcyclist that suffers a broken hand to receive far less than a biker who sustained a soft-tissue injury.
The value of a case will ultimately be determined by a number of other factors, such as how well the victim heals and whether or not there are any long-term consequences to their health.
It is not uncommon for bikers to face more complex and long-term sources of treatment due to the injuries they sustain. The more significant the treatment plan, the bigger the impact it can have on the case’s value.
Of course, this also largely relies on the injured motorcyclist’s willingness to keep all of their doctor’s appointments and follow the prescribed treatment and therapy orders.
If an injured motorcyclist misses appointments or fails to follow orders, the insurance company and/or a jury will assume the injuries are not severe. Failing to follow treatment orders can significantly damage the value of a motorcycle case.
3.) Pre-existing medical conditions
Injured motorcyclists with pre-existing conditions can expect the insurance company to give their case a more critical review. Ultimately, they will try to tie past medical conditions to your present injuries, thus insinuating that your case is worth less.
An experienced Indianapolis motorcycle injury attorney is critical to cases that involve pre-existing conditions. Quite simply, you will need someone advocating on your behalf and providing medical documentation that attempts to refute the insurance company’s assertions.
Under state law, Indiana’s motorcyclists can seek compensation for their injuries if they are not more than 50% at fault for the accident.
The value of your motorcycle case will be reduced by the percent of fault that was placed on you.
For example, if you have a case that is worth $100,000, but the insurance company has determined that you are 20% at fault for the accident, the value of your motorcycle case would be reduced by 20%, leaving you with $80,000.
Having worked a number of motorcycle cases, Boulton Law Group has also had to overcome liability that was erroneously assigned to our clients.
For example, we recently worked a case where a witness stated that the motorcyclist was speeding, however, after interviewing the witness we learned that they had only “heard” the accident and did not actually see it happen.
Further, the witness stated that they just “assumed” the motorcyclist was speeding. Without an attorney to object to this type of bias, the value of this particular motorcycle injury case would have been negatively affected.
5.) Insurance policies
At a minimum, Indiana requires that every automobile driver and motorcyclist carry the following liability limits:
- Uninsured Motorists (UM) Bodily Injury Coverage: $25,000/person & $50,000/accident
- Underinsured Motorists (UIM) Bodily Injury Coverage: $50,000
- Property Damage: $10,000
Because motorcyclists often suffer severe injuries, if both parties involved are carrying State minimum policies, there is a chance that the limits can easily be exceeded.
Having an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney on your side will help to ensure that all policies and sources of compensation are located.
Types of compensation for injured bikers
Under Indiana law, injured motorcyclists may seek compensation for one or more of the following, assuming you are not found to be at fault for the accident:
Present and future medical bills – The bills associated with an injured motorcyclist’s case can be significant, so it is important that all bills are accounted for before making a demand to the insurance company.
If a biker’s injuries require long-term or specialized care, Boulton Law Group may also request compensation for future medical bills.
Pain and suffering – This is typically the most significant factor that determines the value of a motorcycle injury claim. This is the piece that is unique to you, specifically with regard to how you were affected physically and emotionally.
In addition to medical records and doctor’s notes, Boulton Law Group also advises our motorcycle clients to keep a journal of your experience post-accident. The experiences and details in a journal can be valuable when seeking compensation from the insurance company.
Lost wages – If your doctor has excused you from work based on injuries and/or symptoms related to the accident, the hours lost can be included in your final demand for compensation.
How much is your Indiana motorcycle injury case worth?
Before speaking to the insurance company, or taking the advice of a non-attorney, we strongly encourage you to contact an experienced Indianapolis motorcycle injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.
In addition to answering your immediate questions, we can discuss with you the factors unique to your case that will affect the value of your claim.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning Indiana personal injury attorney that has helped Hoosier motorcyclists to learn the value of their case for more than 20 years. His experience with motorcycle accidents has continually proven to be an asset to victims and their families who are unsure of their next steps.
If you want to learn more about the value of your motorcycle accident claim, Boulton Law Group offers a Zero Fee Guarantee.
This means that you will never pay a consultation fee and the only way the firm receives money for its services is if we win your case.
To speak with attorney Boulton today, please call 317-350-2680. If you prefer to write to us, you may use our confidential contact form.
We look forward to learning more about your story and going to work for you!
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.