How Much Is a Rear-End Motorcycle Accident Worth?

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A rear-end motorcycle accident can have devastating consequences on your health, finances and overall quality of life. The law recognizes this and entitles accident victims such as yourself to compensation. The purpose of compensation is to help cover the cost of any damages you sustain because of the accident. Types of damages include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering. The costs associated with your losses can quickly add up, which may lead you to wonder how much your rear-end motorcycle accident claim is worth.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an “average” personal injury settlement, especially for claims that stem from motorcycle accidents. The damages that stem from a motorcycle accident vary considerably from situation to situation and are wholly dependent upon the unique circumstances of each case. That said, though you cannot know for sure how much your claim is worth until you begin negotiations, you can get a rough estimate by consulting with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

Calculating Your Damages After a Rear-End Motorcycle Accident Collision: What Insurers Consider

The exact value of your motorcycle accident depends on the unique details of your accident and the extent of damages you face now and will encounter in the future. While fault will play a role in your claim outcome, the deciding parties will ultimately consider all the ways your crash has affected your health and quality of life. Some of the most common hardships individuals face after an accident are as follows.

Medical Expenses

Rear-end accidents are the most common type of car accident that occurs in the United States. Fortunately, many of these accidents occur at low speeds and when the involved vehicles are moving slowly. As a result, rear-end collisions are often less severe than other types of accidents. That said, they still account for approximately 29% of all traffic accidents that result in serious injury each year.

Though rear-end accidents can be less serious for occupants of passenger vehicles, the same is not necessarily true for motorcycle operators and passengers. Because of the size discrepancy between a motorcycle and passenger vehicle — which is anywhere from a 2- to 2.5-ton difference — a rear-end collision can be catastrophic for a motorcyclist regardless of how slow the trailing vehicle was traveling at the time of impact. If you were on the wrong end of a rear-end crash involving a passenger vehicle or truck and a motorcycle, you may have sustained severe and possibly life-threatening injuries. Among others, those include the following:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury: TBIs range in severity, from mild to severe. In moderate to severe cases, TBIs can have debilitating effects that last for your lifetime, including behavioral changes, chronic headaches, tinnitus, sleep disturbances, memory and concentration problems, sensitivity and seizures.

The five-year outcomes of TBI are dismal, with 30% of cases growing worse and 22% becoming fatal. Motorcycle crashes are among the leading cases of TBI in young males. In fact, 20% of motorcycle crashes result in TBI for the rider, a figure that triples if the rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of impact. The lifetime costs of TBI can range from $85,000 to $3 million. These figures do not consider the fact that TBI drastically increases a person’s risk for becoming homeless.

  • Spinal Cord Injuries: In approximately 10% of motorcycle accidents that occurred over an 18-year study period, riders sustained spinal cord injuries. In approximately 75% of the accidents analyzed, riders suffered multiple injuries. Nearly 20% of riders who sustained a spinal cord injury went on to live with permanent complications, and another 10% died from their injuries.

The cost of a spinal cord injury is enormous, ranging from approximately $350,000 to over $1 million in the first year alone. The estimated lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury is between $1.5 million and $4.7 million.

  • Severed Limbs: Though a small study, one study shows that approximately 9% of motorcycle accident victims suffer amputation. Reconstructive or reattachment surgery costs, on average, up to $91,000, while the lifetime costs of amputation can be as great as $510,000.
  • Breaks and Fractures: Though breaks and fractures are far less severe than the other injuries on this list, they can still require extensive medical care and put you out of work for several months or years.
  • Burns: Burns are another common motorcycle accident injury. Depending on the severity of the burn, treatment may cost anywhere from $200,000 to $1.7 million — and that is if complications do not arise.

Regardless of the type or severity of injury you sustain, medical expenses — both past and future — are likely to add up to become your most significant loss following your motorcycle accident.

Lost Income

Following your medical expenses, lost income is likely to be your second greatest loss. The law entitles you to pursue compensation for every day you miss work because of your motorcycle accident injuries. To ensure you recover the total amount of money you did not make because of your accident, start keeping a record of the days you miss immediately after the crash. You should also gather documentation that proves how much you earned pre-accident, as well as documents that provide proof of benefits, promotions and bonuses that you stood to receive but did not because of your injuries.

If you can work after your accident but are unable to meet the demands of your former position, you may have to take on a less-demanding, lesser-paying job. If this is the case, you can also claim damages for loss of earning capacity.

Non-Economic Losses

The law entitles victims of negligence to recover compensation for things like pain and suffering, emotional duress, and loss of enjoyment of life following an accident. The law refers to these damages as “non-economic damages.” If you develop non-economic losses for which you want compensation, you must quantify those losses via one of two means:

  • The Multiplier Method: This is the most common and easiest approach, as it requires the deciding parties to assign a “multiplier” based on the severity of your injuries and the egregiousness of the at-fault party’s conduct. The multiplier is typically 1.5 through 5, though it can be greater if your losses are substantial. They will then multiply the total of your economic damages by the multiplier to come up with a monetary value for your emotional losses.
  • The Per Diem Method: With the per diem method, you would select a reasonable daily rate and multiply it by the number of days you have suffered since your accident. If your rate is not reasonable, the other party will likely deny it.

Property Damage

Finally, the deciding parties will consider the cost of your property damages. You would typically file a claim for damages via an auto insurance claim, but if you plan to file a personal injury lawsuit, you can include a claim for these types of damages within it.

We Can Help Value Your Case

Our team at Mike Morse Law Firm has extensive experience handling motorcycle accident cases. As a result, we are intimately familiar with the factors that affect monetary determinations. If you want to get an idea of how much your case is worth, or if you are ready to file a claim, call us now to schedule your free initial consultation.

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