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California Motorcycle Accidents and Compensation

What Compensation Are You Entitled to for a Motorcycle Accident?

Determining the value of a motorcycle accident claim can be very complex and there is no clear cut answer as each claim is different. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a motorcycle crash in California, our personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to answer any questions you may have about accident claims and available damages. To learn more about how settlements are calculated, please read below.

Liability and Damages

Average Settlement for Motorcycle Accident

Liability is the most crucial element in a motorcycle accident claim. This basically means: Who is responsible for the crash? There must be a certain individual who contributed to the incident, which resulted in injuries and property damage, otherwise there will not be much of a claim. You will be expected to show proof of how the other individual was at-fault for the motorcycle accident to be able to determine the specific amount of compensation you may be granted by the insurance company.

For example, you were stopped at a red light and got hit from behind by another vehicle. You did not suffer any property damage nor did you sustain an injury. Under this type of circumstance, it is not likely that you will recover many damages. Even though the driver was at-fault for the impact, you did not get harmed nor did you endure any property loss, which is why the damages will not be worth the trouble fighting over. On the other hand, if your motorcycle was damaged and you were seriously hurt, then the available damages would be much greater.

Settlement Value or Trial Value

There is a settlement value and there is a trial value. A settlement value is what you would accept after a motorcycle accident. This amount is lower than the trial value and reflects the amount you would hope to recover. The trial value is what you can expect to recover after your trial and is much more than the settlement value.

Damages After a Motorcycle Accident Claim

A motorcyclist is more susceptible to serious bodily injuries than an individual who drives a car due to the lack of protection a motorcycle provides. This is primarily why it is common for a motorcyclist to deal with expensive medical bills, broken bones, and road rash. They may also endure mental injuries, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It goes without saying that recovering from a motorcycle accident is a lengthy process.

Once it has been proven that another individual is at-fault for causing a motorcycle crash, the motorcyclist will be offered compensation to cover for their injuries and property damage. However, the motorcyclist could also have compensation reduced if they committed any negligent act during the accident. Since California is a comparative liability state, the defendant may raise a partial defense by indicating that the plaintiff was partially at-fault for the collision, as well. For example, was the motorcyclist wearing a helmet? Were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident happened? These considerations may limit the injured individual’s opportunities to receive a substantial amount of compensation.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages

The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Contact West Coast Trial Lawyers to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a motorcycle accident, our experienced personal injury attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, which include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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