Florida has nearly four times the amount of motorcycle fatalities than other states. Florida sees about 400 fatal motorcycle accidents a year. That doesn’t even include the thousands of injuries people sustain from motorcycle accidents. The worst part is motorcycle accidents often leave people scrambling to pay for medical bills while missing work from injuries. In the most severe cases, the motorcycle victim may not even be able to get up and walk away, or die.
Those who are lucky enough to walk about from a motorcycle accident will likely prioritize their health and safety. Once you get treatment and have had time to come down from the initial trauma and shock of the accident, you may be wondering how much your accident claim is worth.
If so, you are not alone. No two Florida motorcycle accident attorneys will give you the same answer. That’s because an attorney needs to conduct an in-depth investigation into your accident and get all the facts. Once they have the facts and evidence and supporting documents, they can make an assessment for your motorcycle accident claim.
A lawyer will on your behalf to determine a fair settlement amount by considering several crucial factors like:
- How serious your injuries are
- What type of other damages you suffered
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- If you face long-term consequences, permanent disability, scarring, or disfiguration
- How you life has been affected by the accident
- If you are able to work again or return to the same job
- If you require long-term care
- And many more questions.
Types of Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Claim in Tampa
There are two types of damages you can recover in your Tampa motorcycle accident claim. First, we have economic damages. Economic damages include medical bills, lost income, and any other monetary loss that has a fixed value.
Then we have non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are those which are more subjective and challenging to assign value. Examples of non-economic damages would be pain and suffering and emotional anguish. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages are calculated in a special way. Luckily, you can have a Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer help you calculate your non-economic losses.
What Is “Pain and Suffering” in a Florida Motorcycle Accident Claim?
In legal terms, pain and suffering refers to the physical and emotional injuries you’ve suffered from the accident. Any way the accident and injuries have impacted your life negatively is considered pain and suffering. Examples of pain and suffering damages include, but are not limited to:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Fear or uncontrollable anxiety
- Embarrassment from you injury
- Sleep disturbances
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Excessive fear or worry
In most accident cases, injury victims are able to recover pain and suffering damages. However, emotional pain and scarring don’t have a fixed dollar amount. Don’t get discouraged though; a knowledgeable Florida motorcycle accident lawyer who is familiar with these cases knows how to determine a fair and accurate value for such damages.
Economic damages will help you with the financial burdens that resulted from the accident. The legal system can make your injuries and suffering go away, but it can give you financial compensation to help recover.
Understanding Economic Damages vs. Non-economic Damages (And How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You Get Them)
There’s no formula or textbook with directions for calculating pain and suffering damages. Pain and suffering are general damages called “non-economic damages”. Since general damages vary in price and have subjective values, it’s best to have your attorney help you compute them. By getting legal help to calculate an equitable value for general damages, you can ask for a fair settlement value.
Calculating economic damages, on the other hand, is less ambiguous. To calculate economic damages, you need to keep diligent records of all invoices, receipts, and bills related to the accident. Then your attorney will help you tally up all the bad accident-related expenses.
How to Tampa Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Calculate Pain and Suffering?
Sometimes, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the insurance adjuster to get perspective on how they come up with a settlement offer. There are usually two methods used for calculating pain and suffering value: the multiplier and the per diem methods.
Attorneys often use these two methods to calculate damages, but insurance companies may use other methods. For example, they may have computerized programs with algorithms to get basic numbers. Unfortunately these figures are always much less than what accident victims deserve.
Insurance companies also investigate the details of your treatment (e.g., how long and what type of treatment you received). They are checking to ensure your treatment details match up with your alleged injuries. If they find the slightest questionable discrepancy, they will try to reduce your payment. You can usually avoid insurance companies’ seedy tactics by hiring a reputable attorney.
The Multiplier Method
With the multiplier method, an attorney might calculate economic damages by totaling up all expenses and multiplying it by a certain number. The number is higher for more severe injuries and lower for less severe injuries. For example, they might multiply your total damages by 1.5 for a less severe injury.
But if they have a very severe injury, they may multiply the expenses by 5. In this scenario, if your total accident damages cost $10,000, and your multiplier is 5, your pain and suffering value would be $50,000.
The Per Diem Method
The other method for calculating pain and suffering damages is the “per diem” method. Per diem assigns a fixed dollar value to each day until you fully recover. The severity of your injuries will dictate the “per diem” amount. Sometimes, attorneys use your income before the accident as the basis for a per diem value.
What Is the Average Time It Takes to Settle a Tampa Motorcycle Accident Case?
A typical motorcycle claim can take six months to a year from start to finish. However, every case is different, and it could take longer depending on your circumstances. They usually don’t take more than a couple of months but if you need to go to court it could take longer.
How to Prove Damages After a Tampa Motorcycle Accident
If your accident was caused by another negligent motorist, you may have a right to compensation for damages. To do so, you need proof of damages. In a motorcycle accident case, the more evidence you have, the better.
To prove medical costs and lost wages, you simply need to get copies of invoices, paystubs, or tax returns. However, proving pain and suffering requires a little more work. To prove pain and suffering damages, your attorney might need:
- A personal diary with a daily account of how you feel
- Including your physical pain
- And emotional distress
- And how it has affected your family
- Expert testimony from a mental health professional for any mental health issues caused by the accident (examples: anxiety, depression, PTSD)
- Friends and Family member testimonials about how you are different after the accident
Keep Diligent Records of Your Pain and Suffering]
Journaling will help you cope with your emotions and also create evidence that can strengthen your claim. Here are some tips to keep a journal that can help you in many ways.:
- Be sure to mark the date of each entry so create a timeline and connect your suffering to the accident
- Be very blunt about how you feel both physically and psychologically. Just be honest and don’t exaggerate or downplay any feelings.
- Express the day-to-day challenges you face due to your injuries. Are you unable to bathe yourself? Or make yourself meals?
- If you’re missing work, you’re probably also running out of money and stressed about that. If it’s long-term, you might start to feel a lost sense of purpose or feeling depressed about being unable to provide for your family.
- Write about any doctor’s visits, medical treatments, and recovery or progress.
- Also mark any details about how our family members are affected by your injury and your new circumstances. Are you unable to play with your kids? Or enjoy activities with your partner you previously liked?
Journaling will create clear evidence of your experiences. But it’s not just for evidence; there is scientific research that supports the benefits of journaling for mental health.
Don’t Get Discouraged by Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are notorious for playing hardball and undercutting injury victims. They often try to downplay your injuries or claim that you’re exaggerating. But the reality is motorcycle accidents cause disastrous injuries and often have life-changing consequences for injury victims.
Before you accept any offers or sign any documents, speak with a motorcycle accident lawyer. Insurance companies want to make a profit and don’t really care about giving you a fair payment. Instead, they want to settle for as little as possible and as soon as possible.
With strong legal counsel, you don’t have to get bullied or cornered into accepting an unfair offer. Additionally, a lawyer will help you get your claim filed on time so you don’t violate the statute of limitations.
Additional Non-Economic Damages You Might Qualify For
In very severe motorcycle accidents, you may need to amputate a limb or have a permanent disability. If so, you can seek additional financial compensation for such extensive damages.
Or maybe your loved one died. If so, you can file a wrongful death claim and pursue additional damages like funeral costs, loss of consortium, and lost benefits. Your attorney can discuss these details with you.
Contact A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today
A motorcycle accident is a devastating and preventable tragedy that no one deserves to handle alone. Since motorcyclists don’t have a protective barrier like other motor vehicles, their injuries are often far worse than occupants of a car. And when you’re dealing with tumultuous injuries, the last thing you want to worry about is a legal battle.
That’s why our Florida motorcycle accident lawyers are here to handle your case. We will help you establish liability, prove negligence, and all damages you suffered. And we will communicate with you every step of the way.
This is when you need support the most. Our attorneys treat all clients with respect and compassion because we know how difficult these times are. Call us today to see how we can help you get the maximum compensation possible.
We offer a free initial consultation so you have nothing to lose by contacting us now.