- What factors tend to drive motorcycle accident settlement values?
- Case 1: Motorcycle hit by car from behind
- Case 2: Rider hit in intersection accident – Massachusetts
- Case 3: Motorcycle accident at intersection – New York
- Case 4: Motorcycle ride cut short
- Case 5: Motorcycle hit by car in illegal U-turn – Connecticut
- Case 6: Driver’s careless action – Connecticut
- Case 7: Motorcycle rider hit by van – New Hampshire
- Case 8: No witnesses to motorcycle accident caused by loose cargo
- Case 9: Motorcycle pushed into stalled car – Massachusetts
- Case 10: Stray dog causes motorcycle accident
- Case 11: War veteran suffers collision on his motorcycle – Massachusetts
- Case 12: Frontal collision between two motorists – Massachusetts
- Case 13: Short-term disability lien invalidated
- Case 14: Yamaha Motorcycle Injury
What factors tend to drive motorcycle accident settlement values?
Valuing settlement offers is difficult even for the most experienced attorneys. While are too many uncontrollable factors to allow anyone to apply scientific principles to settlement evaluation, below please find some factors that play a role in settlement totals.
- Defendant’s negligence – many accidents result in a ticket being If the defendant is cited for a traffic violation, negligence is established. However, in some accidents, no one is found at fault. This does not mean that negligence cannot be established. However, it does make it a little harder.
- The severity of injuries – thankfully, some motorcycle accidents result in minor damages. However, unfortunately, it is common for accidents to result in serious injuries or even death.
- Prognosis – when the injuries of a motorbike accident are serious and require extensive treatment or rehabilitation, an expert report regarding the cost of what will be needed to get the plaintiff back to normal is important. Furthermore, if the plaintiff will never recover from his injuries, like in situations involving permanent paralysis, an expert report regarding the plaintiff’s life expectancy and the costs of necessary caregivers throughout the plaintiff’s life becomes important. Expert reports regarding the estimate of future care can range from a few thousand to several million.
- How any injuries affect one’s life – as you can imagine, some injuries can affect a person’s ability to continue in their line of work or in their ability to care for people who were previously dependant on them. In general, the more a person’s injuries prevent them from returning to the life they once had, the more value the injuries will have in the eyes of a jury.
- Plaintiff’s commitment – a plaintiff who wants money without any effort on their part or a plaintiff that wants to paid ASAP, will not maximize their settlement amount because they do not have the commitment necessary to let the case develop or for negotiations to play out. Moreover, a plaintiff who will fight to the end and is committed to helping his/her attorney with whatever they need, will help maximize their settlement amount.
- Jury verdict research – unfortunately, motorcycle injuries are common, and it is very likely that a jury in your area has heard and decided on a similar case involving similar injuries. These cases provide a framework of what is likely to happen if a case goes to trial. These previous verdicts should be used during any pretrial negotiations.
- Cases involving death – the options when it comes to compensation increase when an accident results in death. For example, the son of a father who broke his leg in a motorcycle accident cannot legally pursue damages against the defendant. However, when that same father dies in that accident, that son, and other family members, can legally seek compensation for the loss of companionship and support.
- Property Damage – generally, the more it costs to replace/fix the motorcycle and/or any other personal property damaged in the accident, the larger the settlement.
- Adjusters – In most motorcycle accidents, the plaintiff will be negotiating (pre-trial) with an insurance adjuster. These adjusters are motivated by one thing – paying as little as possible. Some adjusters are so blinded by this goal that they do not see or acknowledge the facts of the case. However, some adjusters will listen and take everything into consideration. As such, any pretrial settlement talks are highly affected by the willingness of any adjuster to listen.
- Attorneys – Litigation is an adversarial As such, the skill of the attorneys involved will affect settlement talks or jury awards. Generally speaking, the harder a plaintiff attorney works, the higher the settlement.
Case 1: Motorcycle hit by car from behind
Chaz Demarco was riding his motorcycle when he was hit from behind by a driver who was talking on the phone at the time of the accident. However, there is far more to the story. The driver of the car also committed several other negligent acts. According to Connecticut law, Courts take into account the number of different negligent acts that take place at the time of the accident. This can often result in a much higher financial award if brought to the attention of the insurance companies lawyer or a jury.
The Haymond Law Firm established that she was speeding and was following too closely. In addition, the driver claimed that her visibility was poor due to the fact that she was driving eastbound just after sunrise. We proved that this condition should have been taken into account before she got in her car.
Additionally, the circumstances of the case were exacerbated by the fact that the female driver was making an illegal turn at the time of the accident. The turn was illegal for two reasons: she both failed to signal before making the turn and she attempted to accelerate through a yellow light at the intersection where Chaz was parked.
The motorcycle with less than 300 miles and only three months, was totaled and Chaz was put in the hospital for three weeks as the result of a fractured leg and ligament damage in his wrist that required two operations to repair.
Due to our ability to establish fault on several levels and complete disregard for Chaz, we were able to recover funds for his pain and suffering and our property damage expert also got him complete reimbursement for the damage to his bike. Chaz was thrilled with the recovery as it was far more than he ever expected to receive. All of his medical bills were paid for as was the damage to his motorcycle.
Case 2: Rider hit in intersection accident – Massachusetts
During the summer of 2013, our client was enjoying a casual motorcycle ride in a suburban area. He approached an intersection at the correct speed, intending to cross through the intersection. At the same time, a driver in a sedan pulled up to the intersection to make a left-hand turn.
Accident reports indicate the sedan driver was required to make a full stop, as indicated by a stop sign. Our client had no stop sign, and thus had the right-of-way at the intersection. A report filed by police officers cited the sedan driver with failure to yield and a rolling stop, but also noted that the sedan driver indicated yard debris piled at the curb by a homeowner made it impossible to see the approaching motorcycle.
Our client suffered injuries that required hospitalization. He also missed several weeks of work during recovery and required physical therapy to rehab injuries to his shoulder.
The other driver’s insurance originally denied the full claim for property damage and medical coverage, citing the negligence of the homeowner in blocking visibility at the intersection. We filed a lawsuit on behalf of our client seeking damages for loss of property, loss of wages, and medical expenses. The suit named both the homeowner and the sedan driver as defendants.
The suit was settled out of court with both parties. Insurance companies for both defendants made compensation payments to our client which covered his out-of-pocket medical costs, lost wages, and some amount for pain and suffering.
In all, the case took approximately six months from the initial complaint to final mediation. A settlement may have been further expedited if our client had sought legal assistance immediately, but he first attempted to seek claims payments from the other driver’s insurance company on his own.
Case 3: Motorcycle accident at intersection – New York
In August of 2013, our client was driving to work on her customized motorcycle in a city, in New York. As she approached an intersection with a green light, she was struck by an oncoming vehicle that was making a left turn.
Our client sustained minor injuries that required treatment at the local hospital. Her customized bike; however, was damaged severely, resulting in a total loss.
The police report cited the driver making the left with 100% fault for failure to yield the right of way. The driver claimed that he did not see our client, nor her motorcycle. The police report indicated that motorcycles head lamp was still illuminated. The both insurance companies involved, our clients and the at-fault driver’s insurance company, wanted to settle the case for $28,700. Which breaks down to $11,000 for the motorcycle, and $17,700 for medical bills, and suffering. The rationale was that the value of the motorcycle was only $11,000 despite the fact that it had been customized.
Our firm filed a lawsuit, in which we named both insurance companies, and the at fault driver. Our client was able to produce receipts for all of the customized work that had been done to the motorcycle. The total value of the receipts totaled $78,349.98. The total for medical bills was $16,879. We added into the lawsuit the amount of income that our client lost due to the accident, pain and suffering, even though our client’s injuries were minor, and we asked for ongoing medical coverage for ten years.
The case was settled out of court in just over four months. Our client was able to return to her regular life. She was able to begin the process of customizing another bike to replace the one that had been lost in the accident. She was thankful for our help because, without us, her losses would have been significant. The money awarded was a long way from the $28,700 originally offered by the involved insurance companies.
Case 4: Motorcycle ride cut short
On a sunny August day, Mike L. set a course of for the open road on his prized motorcycle. But his fun run was cut drastically short when he was struck by an erratic driver operating a vehicle in reverse.
Mike was sent tumbling to across pavement. His body was marked by road rash, lacerations, and contusions to his foot, shoulder and elbow. His ride was over and the customized motorcycle he so cherished appeared badly mangled.
Mike declined the recommended ambulance transport from the scene. He was more distraught over the loss of his motorcycle than the pain that racked his body. His father took him to an emergency room to be examined by a doctor. He followed that up with an Urgent Care visit to have the wounds cleaned, bandages changed and made sure to see his primary care physician, who knows his medical history best.
Our client incurred very little in medical bills as the worst thing for him was that he no longer had a bike. It was totaled by the negligent driver. The Haymond Law Firm went to right to work and demanded Geico pay the $20,000 policy. Geico countered with a $7,000 offer, claiming that ML suffered only minimal soft tissue injuries with extremely limited medical treatment.
Haymond Law Firm attorney Albert D’Antonio was livid by the insurance giant’s attempt to lowball his client and not make him whole for his pain, suffering, medical bills and loss of property. Mr. D’Antonio instructed his legal assistant, Julie Moquete, to let that insurance company know they would file an immediate lawsuit on their client’s behalf. The papers were at the courthouse within three days and the Haymond Law Firm kept the pressure on Geico until the policy limit of $20,000 was paid in full.
In addition, The Haymond Law Firm has a property damage specialist on staff. He has been with our Law Firm well over 20 years and knows all the property adjusters personally and knows all the ins and outs of resolving property damage claims to the complete satisfaction of our clients. Our specialist calculated the value of the wrecked bike, the customized parts as well as the custom and irreplaceable paint work on the destroyed bike. Mike was also totally compensated for the loss of his bike as well as all the customized accessories and paint work.
Case 5: Motorcycle hit by car in illegal U-turn – Connecticut
In April 2014, Linda was involved in a motor vehicle accident when the driver in front of her made a sudden and illegal U-turn. Prior to the accident that seriously impacted her life, Linda was an avid motorcycle enthusiast and a veterinarian’s assistant. On the afternoon of the collision, she was driving her motorcycle on a busy road in Hartford County on her way to work.
The other driver veered to the shoulder, Linda moved into the oncoming lane of traffic and began making a lawful attempt to pass the other driver’s vehicle. Just as she began passing the other car, the driver made an abrupt U-Turn to the left, thereby causing her motorcycle to crash into the back end of the other driver’s car.
The police came to the scene after the accident but Linda was unable to speak to the Officer as she was rushed to the hospital. The other driver claimed that Linda was at fault for attempting to pass her as she was making a left turn. As a result, Linda was issued a ticket for passing in a no passing lane.
Linda spent several days at the hospital recovering from her injuries. She hired the Haymond Law Firm to represent her in a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Linda met with John Haymond in her hospital room and she told him what had really happened. Fortunately for Linda, John Haymond knew from his many years on 2 wheels as well has his many years representing motorcyclists that this type of accident takes place far too often. An accident reconstruction expert was immediately retained to attempt to determine the “how and why” this accident took place. The specialist was able to prove through a detailed analysis that the other motorist was making an improper left-hand turn. Haymond Law continued to work tirelessly on Linda’s behalf.
Our team at Haymond Law put together a compelling video which highlighted the negligence of the driver as well as the severity of the change in the quality of Linda’s life after the accident. Without any meaningful negotiation taking place prior to our video and investigation, we were prepared to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and the other driver. The insurance company chose to settle in advance of the case going to court.
Haymond Law recovered a $250,000 compensation payout for Linda which covered all the lost wages incurred as well as an unexpected and very large nest egg for her children’ college education.
Case 6: Driver’s careless action – Connecticut
A motorcycle rider was commuting to work on a clear morning in Early December 2015 when he got into an accident on I-84 in East Hartford, Connecticut. The driver of a 2010 Honda Civic, which is a coupe, ran a red light and collided with the motorcycle at about 65 mph. Due to the impact from the sudden collision, the rider was thrown off the motorcycle, only to land on the side of the road a few feet away from the wreckage.
Witnesses called the police and paramedics to the scene. Within about 15 minutes, the victim was rushed to the hospital to treat his injuries. While the motorcycle rider suffered several serious fractures and broken bones, the doctors deemed he was in stable condition just a few hours after his admittance to the hospital. Over the course of his stay at the hospital, the victim received treatment for his burn and open wounds. Thanks to the helmet the motorcycle rider wore at the time of the accident, he sustained no major injuries to the head and neck.
Police officers charged the driver of the 2010 Honda Civic with running a red light at the scene. According to a police officer, the driver had recently received several citations for running red lights. At one point, the driver had his license suspended for reckless driving and running several red lights. Several witnesses at the scene reported that they spotted the driver running red lights and speeding right before the accident.
Thanks to the help and guidance of Attorney John Haymond, the victim received the justice he deserved after enjoying a fairly smooth recovery from his injuries. Attorney Haymond met with the client and his family after the accident. The client sought out compensation for his medical bills as well as for the destruction of his motorcycle. The case was settled before it could be taken to court. The victim and his family recovered about $250,000 after the case was settled.
Case 7: Motorcycle rider hit by van – New Hampshire
Last autumn, a motorcyclist was driving on Route 16 through the Great North Woods in New Hampshire. A commercial van had been tailgating the motorcycle rider for several miles. The driver of the van attempted to pass the motorcycle in a no passing zone, then quickly cut back into the left lane due to an oncoming vehicle. As the driver of the van cut back over, the van clipped the rear tire of the motorcycle. The impact knocked the motorcycle out from under the rider, sending the bike over the guard rail and into a ravine. The rider slammed into the shoulder of the road, sliding several feet. Eyewitnesses reported that the driver of the van stopped briefly about a hundred yards ahead, then sped off.
A motorist who had witnessed part of the incident stopped to assist the victim and called 911. The victim was airlifted to the nearest hospital, where he was treated for a concussion, broken ribs and a fractured pelvis. His injuries prevented him from being able to return to work at his manufacturing job for three months as medical bills mounted. The custom motorcycle was removed from the ravine by a towing company but it was completely destroyed. The victim continues to suffer from migraines due to the head trauma.
The victim was referred to the Haymond Law Firm by another motorcycle rider who had previously been assisted by Attorney John Haymond. The Haymond Law Firm used all the resources at its disposal, including a private investigator, to locate the company and driver of the commercial van. Haymond’s investigator took photographs and used sophisticated equipment to prove speed and reckless driving. In addition, the investigator immediately took sworn statements from all witness within 2 days of the accident. At John Haymond ‘s Law Firm, we prepare every case and assume it will be going to trial.
The witness statements can be used at trial even if the witness doesn’t want to appear in Court. The case was settled, and the victim was compensated for his medical expenses, the value of his motorcycle and personal effects destroyed in the crash, and for lost wages. John Haymond was able to assist the victim in recovering more than $500,000 in damages.
Case 8: No witnesses to motorcycle accident caused by loose cargo
When it comes to accidents, there are many different options when it comes to defending one self. Last year John Andrus was involved in a motorcycle accident in Southern Connecticut as the result of loose cargo on a tractor trailer. Tractor trailer drivers are required by law to secure their cargo to protect not only the investment of the company they are driving for, but also for the safety of other operators on the road.
Though it may seem as though these tractor trailer drivers always work to help keep their goods secure, sometimes trailers slip by. The tractor trailer driver denied the fact that the cargo was from his truck and claimed that he was not at fault. John Andrus, the driver of the motorcycle was struck by this cargo which caused him to wreck.
Following the accident, Mr. Andrus was subjected to numerous medical treatments, doctor’s visits, and lost wages, Haymond Law helped Mr. Andrus get the money he deserved on his road to recovery.
While big business and the tractor-trailer driver will argue that it is not the fault of the company but rather a freak accident, Haymond Law disputed this claim and argued his case successfully.
Haymond Law worked to gather all the information, expert testimony, and facts that were needed to prove that Mr. Andrus was not at fault even though no eyewitnesses remained at the scene of the accident. With extensive research, dedication, and man hours spent, Haymond Law was able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the trucking company was at fault due to poorly maintained and secured equipment. With perseverance and hard work, Haymond Law was able to get Mr. Andrus the financial award that he needed to pay his medical bills and get back on his feet after the accident as well as a significant sum of money for his pain and suffering.
Case 9: Motorcycle pushed into stalled car – Massachusetts
Any day riding is a good day for most motorcycle enthusiasts, and that was the case for Cynthia Jones. At least it was until one day last year when a relaxing afternoon ride down a tree-lined secondary highway set her on course for a long and painful recovery.
Just a few miles out of Springfield, Cynthia became aware of a car following her much too closely. This stretch of highway usually had little traffic during the early afternoon hours, and there were many places where it could pass safely, but still it persisted. Becoming more cautious, Cynthia slowed and hugged the right side of the roadway, giving the car ample opportunity to get by, but still the driver refused and instead inched his car even closer to her.
As the vehicles rounded a curve, a stalled car loomed in their path, causing Cynthia to apply her brakes. The tailgating driver was far too close to her to stop and instead slammed into her motorcycle, pushing it forward, into the stalled car. Cynthia then catapulted into the air, over the stalled vehicle and slammed into the pavement beyond. Then, shockingly, the driver who had hit her and caused the accident, simply backed up, and drove away.
Luckily, the driver of the stalled car had witnessed the entire accident, and was able to call for help and give a description of the vehicle and its driver to the authorities. By the time Cynthia was en route to the hospital, a nearby patrol car had already apprehended the fleeing driver, and placed him under arrest.
Cynthia was a mess, literally. A broken pelvis, cracked ribs, and severely damaged knees and wrists would mean months of recovery and mountains of bills, as well as lost time at work and tremendous emotional and financial damage. Thankfully, she took her mom’s advice and called The Haymond Law Firm for a free consultation.
The driver who followed too closely had a history of traffic violations and driving under the influence, and would be facing serious criminal charges for his actions. Although his attorney tried hard to get Cynthia to settle out of court for just the cost of her lost wages, we knew that was not a fair payout.
Fully prepared to go to trial, we moved ahead. Shortly thereafter, Cynthia received a half-million dollar offer to settle, which she rejected, countering at one million dollars. On the eve of the trial, the call came in with an offer which was accepted. With money to live comfortably while recuperating, rebuild her nest egg and repair her beloved motorcycle, life is looking much brighter for Cynthia Jones these days.
Case 10: Stray dog causes motorcycle accident
It was a rare warm day in early November in New England. Neil had just gotten his Goldwing back from the shop with a new exhaust and front rim and was testing it out through the neighbor hood before he headed out for the annual toy run. Everything was running smoothly. However, smoothing caught his attention from the corner of his eye. A big German Shepherd was racing across the front yard and was on a direct course to collide with the motorcycle.
The dog was quicker than Neil had thought and before he could react the canine was directly in front of his bike. Not wanting to hit the creature, the rider laid the bike down in order to steer clear of a direct collision with the animal.
While he was able to avoid the dog, the motorcyclist suffered severe injuries to his wrist and arm. Neil’s attempts to collect from the dog’s owners and their insurance company were futile. That’s when he called John Haymond and the Haymond Law Firm.
Returning his call the same day, the firm wasted no time in contacting witnesses, securing reports and investigating the scene of the accident. After seeing the evidence compiled the firm and its hired experts the insurance company accepted liability and agreed to a large compensation.
Case 11: War veteran suffers collision on his motorcycle – Massachusetts
Barry L., a 29-year-old combat veteran fresh off his last tour of duty in Iraq, was involved in an accident near Worcester, Massachusetts in early June of 2012. He was riding his motorcycle when a driver pulled out in front of him from a side street. It was a horrible collision.
Barry had a variety of injuries including 7 fractured ribs, a fractured sternum, and a collapsed lung. If these injuries were not bad enough, he sustained a very unusual fractured scapula.
Barry had seen active combat during the war and was looking forward to a simple life with his young family. We developed a personal relationship with Barry and observed that he seemed to live in a fog for a long, long time. His doctor knew he needed more surgery and connected him with a surgeon in Minnesota; a leading expert on performing complete scapula reconstructions.
Throughout this time, we were able to provide Barry with all the guidance and our legal skills to get him on Medicare. We also set up and coordinated the care in Minnesota such that Medicare would cover it. This allowed him to get the best medical treatment and not have to pay over $100,000 from his settlement for the cost of the out-of-state surgeon and after care.
On top of these injuries, Barry had seen active combat during the war and suffered from PTSD and depression. We at the Haymond Law Firm take a lot of pride in the fact that we helped counsel him not just on the case but also worked with him to improve his life situation as well. By the end, he was stronger, mentally and physically, and ready to get back on his feet. He was even able to take care of his son and was granted custody from the mother. He was just so much more put together by the end of the case.
Case 12: Frontal collision between two motorists – Massachusetts
Paul was cruising the country roads of the Berkshire mountains on his Harley. The day was clear and crisp that fall afternoon. As he approached a diner, a motorist traveling opposite him ended the tranquil setting when she turned left and caused a collision. Paul was briefly knocked out, but came to at the scene.
Paul considered himself very lucky. In spite of the impact, he suffered no broken bones or anything considered medically serious. He went to the ER the day of the accident and was examined, given X rays and told to go home and rest. Paul was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He was able to go back to work immediately after the accident.
Unfortunately, he began to suffer short term memory loss, poor concentration and was unable to focus and play his guitar. Worse yet, he was unable to help his wife care for their two disabled children. Paul was skeptical as to what a lawyer could do for him as his medical expenses were minimal and he had no lost wages from his regular job. He talked about his problems with other motorcyclists who had retained the Haymond Law Firm and he decided to call.
The strain at home was difficult, but Paul slowly began to improve. Fortunately, he fully recovered from his concussion and associated problems. However, over the course of months The Haymond team kept in constant contact with Paul. They knew the difficulties Paul had endured. The lawyers at Haymond Law were able to show Paul’s issues as a result of the accident beyond pages of the doctor’s notes.
Case 13: Short-term disability lien invalidated
Chris D. was thrown off his motorcycle 20 feet through the air when the defendant failed to obey a stop sign and crashed into his motorcycle. The injury to Chris’s knee prevented him from working for 13 weeks so he used his short-term disability benefits through his job.
His employer then put a lien on Chris’s injury claim for the $8,000 which the employer had paid out in short term disability benefits. The defendant only had a $22,000 policy and after attorney fees, medical bills and the payback to the short-term disability plan, Chris would be left with only $2,000 in his pocket which clearly would have been insufficient to adequately compensate him for his losses. Then the John Haymond team reviewed the file and went into action challenging the legal structure of the disability plan on legal technical grounds.
John Haymond determined that the lien was totally invalid as it was a “payroll practice” and not a true self-funded ERISA plan. We didn’t legally have to pay the medical provider a penny and he received thousands of dollars more in his pocket. Chris was thrilled as he could now upgrade to a new motorcycle. He’d been looking for this new bike for some time.
Case 14: Yamaha Motorcycle Injury
Rodney Smith and Jack Sear, Connecticut residents, were avid motorcyclists and looked forward each spring to their annual ride in Upstate New York with their fellow motorcyclists. In 2019, both were riding on the back of their friend’s Yamaha FJR 1300, they were enjoying the sunshine and fresh air of a beautiful Spring day. As they made their way along the empty state highways of Columbia County, they slowed to enter the Town of New Lebanon, where they hoped to take a break and have lunch outside.
As they entered the Town, Rodney, as a cautious driver, saw a car stopped at a stop sign to his right. He slowed to see what the car would do, and as he did so, the car started up from the stop sign, leaving him no room to maneuver or to avoid a collision. The impact occurred on the driver’s side of the car and his passenger Jack was ejected from the motorcycle. Given that they were in a small town, Jack was transported by ambulance to Albany where a diagnosis concerning his shoulder was made. He then returned to CT where he saw an orthopedist who treated him at a local hospital. The injury required a surgical repair and as a result, had a complete and full recovery.
Rodney and Jack decided to call the Motorcycle Attorneys at The Haymond Law Firm and Attorney Keyes was assigned to the case, given the NY insurance and liability issues. Attorney Keyes was able to negotiate a settlement of the limits of the car’s insurance policy within 2 months. Investigator Steve Elinsky was able to recover 100% of the value of the client’s property which had been damaged. Rodney and Jack were sure that they had made the right choice for representation!