If you’ve been in a serious motorcycle accident and are thinking about pursuing a settlement, you may wonder how much you might receive. When you contact a motorcycle accident attorney, they will take a look at your case and try to estimate your potential settlement. These professionals have handled many of these cases in the past, and they have a solid sense of the type of settlement you might receive. To determine potential settlements, lawyers use a range of different methods.
The Multiplier Method
Many insurance companies as well as lawyers use the multiplier method when evaluating pain and suffering. To estimate settlements using the multiplier method, you add up all your special damages. These are the direct economic losses you suffered as a result of the accident, and as a general rule of thumb, the person responsible for the accident has to pay those costs. Then, you multiply that by a factor ranging from 1.5 to 5.
For instance, if someone was in a motorcycle accident and they incurred $100,000 in medical bills and related costs, their attorney may argue that they deserve double that amount to account for pain and suffering, so their settlement might increase to $200,000. To determine which factor to use, lawyers take into account:
- The seriousness of your injury
- Your likelihood of recovering completely
- How your injuries affect your daily life
- The impact of your injuries on your future earnings
- Your comparative liability
- Additional factors depending on your case
The Per Diem Method
With the per diem method, your motorcycle accident attorney essentially demands a certain amount of money for every day that you are in pain. Of course, this is hard to put a number on, and many lawyers simply use your wages to calculate this value. The idea behind this concept is that being in pain takes at least as much energy as going to work.
The most popular way to calculate a per diem pain rate is to take your total income and divide it by the 250 working days in a year. For instance, if you earn $100,000 per year, your per diem may be $400. Then, your lawyer multiples that by the number of days you have been in pain and uses that number to negotiate your settlement. To continue with this example, if you were in pain for three months, your lawyer may multiple $400 by 90 and request a settlement of $36,000.
Unfortunately, this method becomes ineffective when permanent or long-term injuries are involved. For that kind of settlement, your lawyer may rely on the settlements and verdicts of similar accidents in your area.
Using Both Options
Many motorcycle accident attorneys use both methods to estimate your settlement. They often calculate your potential settlement using both metrics, and then they narrow in on a settlement amount that is between the calculated range. Ultimately, it boils down to working with a quality attorney and ensuring that your special damages have been assessed correctly.
When determining a settlement, comparative liability also comes into play. If you are deemed to be partially responsible for the accident, your settlement is reduced. For instance, if you are 10% responsible, your settlement is reduced by 10%. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, you cannot get a settlement if you are 51% or more responsible.
Sadly, there is a lot of bias against motorcycle riders, and this can make some juries more likely to assign blame or comparative negligence, even if it’s not warranted. To protect yourself, you need an experienced motorcycle attorney who knows how to fight against that bias.
Identifying a fair financial settlement is not a science. Rather, it is a delicate dance that requires finesse and experience. To get the compensation and justice you deserve, you need to work with a quality motorcycle attorney. To learn more or to set up a free case consultation, contact us today. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we have the experience you need to get a fair settlement for your injuries.