If you have been involved in a car accident, you are probably wondering how much your case is worth. In this article, we will study this topic.
Looking at liability
There are two factors to consider when assessing the value of a motorcycle accident, or any other vehicle accident. The first one is liability. This is the at-fault factor. If you don't know who was at fault, then there is no way for you to know who is going to pay. Tort law, or personal injury law, places the burden of paying upon whoever was caused the accident, or whoever was negligent. If you ran a red light and hit someone, you were negligent. No matter how severely your back hurts, your case is not worth very much because you are the one who caused the accident. The plaintiff always has the burden of proving the defendant was negligent. The defendant does not have to prove he was not negligent. Therefore, if you caused the accident, then the other driver doesn't owe you anything.
The other factor that will be considered is the damages factor. As implied by the name, the term refers to how much you have suffered in damages. There are medical bills that will be significant, and there are other losses, like loss of income and loss of your vehicle. Pain and suffering is another type of damage. However, it is more difficult to put a number to that because it is not a monetary damage. In the next paragraph, we will take a look at some examples.
Let's say you were standing behind a red light and waiting for it to turn green. Someone who was drunk hit you from behind. There was no damage to your motorcycle, and you and you passengers are all fine. The person that hit you was at fault, but because you did not suffer any damages in terms of property damage or physical injury, then you would not have a good case. The value of your case would be nearly zero. You might qualify for a small amount for your troubles, but we can say with a lot of certainty that no competent attorney would waste his time pursuing such cases. Now we will look at the opposite scenario. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and you suffered severe damages, but the other driver was not at fault, then your case will not be worth much. If the other driver is not found negligent, then the other driver or his insurance carrier have no obligation to pay you.
There are two main categories of damages. Special damages are the plaintiff's financial losses. For example, the plaintiff's loss of income, property damage, medical bills, loss of employment benefits, and loss due to renting a car. Special damages are easy to calculate and they are usually assigned an exact amount. General damages, on the other hand, are not so easy. There are no charts that you can look at and determine how much someone's pain and suffering is worth. Any personal injury lawyer like this car accident lawyer in LA (Los Angeles) can give you an estimate.
Now, let's say you want to calculate your lost income. You would look at how much you could have made during the time that you did not work due to injuries. So let's say you were out for two months, and you made $1000 a month. You lost $2000 in income due to the injuries.
Calculating future lost earnings is not so easy. But we will give you an example anyway. Let's say that, before accident, you made $50,000 a year. After the accident, you were disabled and you could no longer hold the job that you had before. You can now only make $30,000 a year. Based on statistics, you are expected to work for another 10 years. Therefore, you are losing $20,000 a year and you multiply that by 10 years, which gives you a lost future income of $200,000. However, that doesn't take into account inflation, and an economist would have to be hired to determine how much this figure will be worth in the future. Such professionals will look at statistical data and determine your expectancy based on your specific circumstances. This is not a topic that we will discuss here because it is beyond the scope of our discussion.