Here, you’ll see motorcycle accident settlement examples.
What is our average motorcycle settlement amount?
It is $80,000.
Let me explain. First off, I am referring to just the personal injury settlement. Therefore, I am not talking about the settlement for the damage to the motorcycle.
Thus, settlements for property damage to a motorcycle are in addition to the injury settlement.
Will there be enough insurance to pay for the rider’s injuries?
In 70% of our motorcycle accident settlements, there wasn’t enough insurance. Sadly, that’s a huge percentage.
Why wasn’t there enough insurance?
The most common amounts motorcycle accident settlements that we’ve had are for $35,000, and $10,000. Unfortunately, this is because most Florida drivers have low limits of BIL insurance.
What are examples of minor (less) serious motorcycle accidents?
$445K Settlement: Motorcycle Rider Hit by Truck in Hialeah (Broken Leg and Finger)
Here is a short video about this settlement.
A motorcycle rider was cruising down the street in Hialeah, Miami-Dade County. He was riding the motorcycle in the photo below.
A driver of an 18 wheeler (tractor trailer) was heading straight in the opposite direction.
The truck driver made a left turn, and crashed into the motorcyclist.
The driver of the tractor-trailer received a ticket for causing the crash. The citation was for failure to yield right of way.
As a result of the crash impact, the rider was thrown of motorcycle. The police report stated that rider going 5 mph over the speed limit.
Why does this matter?
A jury could find the motorcycle rider at fault for speeding. In turn, the truck driver’s insurance company could reduce its case value accordingly.
This could result in a smaller settlement.
What Injuries Did the Motorcycle Rider Have?
At the hospital, the doctor diagnosed the rider with a broken leg and finger.
Specifically, his leg injury was a fractured tibial plateau. Doctors performed surgery at the hospital.
How does surgery affect the settlement?
In particular, they did an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery on his leg.
A doctor also did ORIF surgery on non-dominant hand ring finger fracture. Hardware was subsequently removed from the distal (end) portion of his ring finger under local anesthesia. He owed medical bills of $52,000.00. Since he was on a motorcycle, he was not entitled to PIP insurance.
In Florida, medical bills are paid differently in car accidents than motorcycle wrecks.
He had surgery on each fracture. Surgery increased the value of a case.
While he was inpatient at Hialeah Hospital, the rider called our motorcycle accident law firm. Within hours of the phone call, Miami motorcycle accident lawyer Justin “JZ” Ziegler drove to meet with the injured rider at the hospital.
In fact, attorney Justin Ziegler took the photo (in the video thumbnail above) of the motorcyclist at that visit.
Although badly injured, the motorcycle rider was smart. He hired us at that hospital visit.
How Much Insurance Did the Truck Have?
Chartis Insurance insured the truck. The police report listed them.
Chartis is now AIG.
The good news?
Since Chartis is now AIG, I’ll call them AIG here.
I wrote a letter to AIG. In that letter, I asked them to tell me the insurance limits in writing. The insurance policy had a $1 million bodily injury liability limit.
Is that a good limit?
Yes. A nice aspect of truck accident cases is that big rigs often carry large insurance policies. In fact, they are required to.
Accident Reconstruct Expert Can Add Value to the Case
Evidence is important in motorcycle accident cases. Therefore, I paid about $2,500 to hire an accident reconstruction expert to inspect the tractor-trailer.
There are many benefits to hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer. One is that the attorney can pay the expert witness. The motorcycle rider doesn’t have to pay $2,500 to hire an expert witness.
If the attorney doesn’t reach a settlement, the injured rider doesn’t owe the attorney money. The same is true if the rider loses his case at trial.
If the attorney gets a settlement, he or she is paid back for the expert witness cost.
I wanted the expert to download the event data recorder from the tractor.
At the inspection, the expert took this photo of the tractor:
Did having an expert help the motorcycle riders’ case?
I think so. AIG knew that we were serious. AIG knew that I was gearing up to sue.
Was the Motorcycle Rider Entitled to Compensation for Being Unable to Work?
The motorcyclist was 33-year-old male, unemployed at time of accident. Prior to date of accident, the motorcyclist had worked various types of manual labor, sales jobs, and truck driving.
The orthopedic surgeon performed surgery on my client’s knee at the hospital, my client treated with him for a short period of time. I called the doctor’s office. The office manager told me that my client’s injuries were not permanent.
My client chose to switch his orthopedic surgeon to Jorge Cabrera, MD.
Doctor Cabrera was one of the many orthopedic doctors in Florida who would treat people who are injured in accidents. I spoke with Dr. Cabrera. I then sent him a questionnaire that had my questions and his answers.
Dr. Cabrera said that the rider would will need a knee replacement within the next 20 years.
Note: Some attorneys believe that a knee replacement is needed in 5-10 years. The orthopedic surgeon did not agree with this in this case.
The orthopedic surgeon said that the distal fracture of my client’s finger was not uniting (a non-union); however this did not really present a problem for the claimant.
Because the motorcycle rider was a “on again off again trucker and employee.”
I consulted with an independent orthopedic surgeon that I personally know. Fortunately, he didn’t charge me.
That doctor said:
he would anticipate him to have a good result with minimal limitation in activities and only a small, if any, permanent impairment. There may be further improvement in months to come.
As you can see, doctors can have a totally different opinion about the severity of someone’s injuries. Sometimes one doctor thinks an injury is permanent. Conversely, another doctor may think there is no need for future medical treatment.
How Much of the Settlement Was for Pain and Suffering?
The motorcycle rider’s medical expenses that he owed were about $52,000.00. Therefore, I assume that the insurance claims adjuster was paying $393,000.00 for pain and suffering.
If I’m correct, about 88% of the settlement was for pain and suffering. This makes sense. Pain and suffering is of often the largest part of a motorcycle accident settlement.
Future Medical expenses: The adjuster stated that he was not offering any money for future medical bills unless the motorcyclist was examined by a doctor chosen by their insurance company.
I argued that there was a lost wage claim and loss of future earning capacity claim. However, AIG rejected my argument.
It was my position that the truck driver was liable for violating the motorcyclist’s right of way.
AIG’s insurance adjuster argued that motorcyclist was also at fault. His basis was that the police report. Again, it said he was going 35 mph when the speed limit was 30 mph.
The case settled for $445,000 before a lawsuit. We settled about 3 months after the motorcycle rider was at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). This case settled quickly.
All things, equal motorcycle accident settlements tend to be higher than car accident cases.
Because the injuries tend to be bigger. This case is the perfect example. Most car accidents don’t result in two surgeries.
Motorcycle Rider Gets $100K Settlement for Herniated Disc and ED
Our client was a young man who was riding a motorcycle in Wynwood, Miami-Dade County, Florida. Wynwood is North of Overtown and Downtown Miami, and South of Little Haiti.
A driver of a car crashed into him. The driver received a ticket for careless driving.
$87.5K Settlement For Motorcyclist’s Collarbone Fracture Caused by Construction Debris
A motorcyclist lost control of his bike as he rode over debris which was left in the rode by a construction company in Miami. He fractured his clavicle, and had surgery to fix it.
We were co-counsel on this case.
Scooter Rider Gets $52K Settlement after Truck Hits Him (Eye Injury)
Below is a photo of the intersection where the crash happened.
A man driving a pickup truck hit a man riding a scooter. The scooter had a large horsepower.
In Florida, this scooter is considered a motorcycle. The crash happened in North Miami Beach, Florida.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue treated the rider on the scene.
The scooter rider injured his eye. He got physical therapy for his soft tissue injuries.
The scooter rider had slight patella tracking, but did not have a knee fracture. We settled for $52,000. I represented the motorcycle/scooter rider.
$50K Settlement for Motorcycle Rider Hit By Car (Broken Collarbone)
See a $50,000 settlement where a motorcyclist was forced to lay his motorcycle down when a car turned into his direct path. Here is the settlement check.
Travelers Insurance Company paid the settlement. The accident happened in Land O Lakes, Pasco County, Florida.
I represented the motorcycle rider.
$35K Settlement for Motorcycle Rider Hit by Car (Shoulder Injury)
He ultimately had shoulder surgery. The crash happened in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.
The motorcycle rider didn’t have uninsured motorist coverage available.
$35K Motorcycle Accident Settlement in Miami Lakes (Broken Leg)
The injured rider was on a big scooter, which is legally treated like a motorcycle. He didn’t qualify for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) since the scooter was so large.
$30K Motorcycle Accident Settlement (Herniated Disc and Soft Tissue Injuries)
Mercury Insurance insured the car’s driver. We worked with attorneys from a different law firm on this case.
$25K Motorcycle Accident Settlement (Arm Injury)
For a Miami Beach, Florida scooter/moped rider who was cut off by a taxi. Our client, the scooter rider, had an injury to his shoulder. The insurance company offered $18,000.
I filed a lawsuit and quickly settled the case for $25,000. I was able to reduce my clients hospital bill by 30% or so. The taxi was insured by Ascendant Insurance Company which is located in Hialeah, Florida.
$10,000 Settlement After Car Hit Moped Rider, Causing Injuries
A man was riding his moped in Miami Beach. A car ran the red light and forced him off of his scooter. He was rushed to the emergency room in Miami Beach, Florida.
The ER diagnosis was a separated shoulder, neck pain, back pain, and abrasions (scrapes) throughout his body. United Automobile Insurance Company insured car driver.
Click here to see our request for his health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, to waive the lien that they alleged that they had a right of subrogation for.
Unfortunately, our client did not have uninsured motorist coverage which would have allowed us to make a claim against his own insurance for an amount above $10,000.
Motorcycle Rider Hit By Car Gets $10K Settlement (Broken Leg)
A man was riding a motorcycle in Allapattah, Miami-Dade County, Florida. (Allapattah is to the North of Little Havana.)
A driver of car was heading in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the car made a left hand turn in front of the motorcycle rider.
An ambulance took the rider to the hospital. While at the hospital, doctors performed surgery on him. Specifically, they put a rod into his leg.
He had a several day hospital stay. Unfortunately, the at fault driver only had $10,000 in bodily injury insurance. Our client did not have uninsured/undersinsured motorist insurance. Thus, his recovery was limited to the careless driver’s $10,000 settlement.
Which Injuries Pay the Most for Motorcycle Accident Settlements?
Historically, certain injuries get higher verdicts than others. This rule applies to motorcycle accident cases.
Again, I am referring to the pain and suffering part of the claim.
Thus, motorcycle accident settlements for these injuries are higher. At least most of the time.
Typically, the highest motorcycle accident settlements are for surgery on:
- Lower leg (tibia) fracture
- Tibial plateau fracture
- Shoulder joint tear (labrum tear)
- Broken wrist (distal radius fracture)
- Rotator cuff tear
- Fracture of a bone in your face
- Herniated disc
- Thumb fracture
- Broken upper leg bone (femur) or hip fracture
How Will Uber or Lyft Handle a Motorcycle Accident Claim with One of The Above Injuries?
Let’s assume the following:
An Uber or Lyft driver had the app on. However, he or she wasn’t engaged in a ride. In other words, the Uber or Lyft driver hadn’t yet accepted a ride.
In this case, Uber and Lyft have a $50,000 bodily injury liability insurance policy.
Assume that the Uber or Lyft driver was 100% at fault for hitting the motorcycle rider. In this case, Uber or Lyft’s insurance company should pay the $50,000 limits if the injured person has one of the above injuries. Again, this assumes that the motorcycle rider had surgery.
Uber or Lyft’s insurer may even pay the $50,000 per person limits for a lower leg bone (tibia or fibula) fracture without surgery.
How Do I Know?
All things equal, motorcycle accident settlements arising from Uber and Lyft accidents will be higher.
This is due to one reason.
Uber and Lyft usually have much higher insurance limits than other cars on the road.
Family of Motorcyclist Killed in Crash With Lyft Driver Reach Settlement
This isn’t my case. I’ve created a diagram based on my understanding of this accident and settlement after reading the court file.
A lawsuit claimed that on October 31, 2015 at 5:43 p.m., a Lyft driver was attempting to make a left hand turn from NE 1st Avenue onto NE 36th Street. A motorcycle was heading west on NE 36 Street.
The lawsuit claimed that they crashed. The motorcycle rider suffered blunt trauma to his head and torso (upper body). He was not wearing a helmet.
He was hit with such force that he was ejected from his motorcycle. The motorcyclist was declared dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center.
The motorcyclist was survived by his wife, Poliana, who was 8 months pregnant with their first child at the time of the crash. On November 16, 2015, his wife, as personal representative of his estate sued Lyft and the Lyft driver.
Within 1 year and a half of the lawsuit being filed, the family settled with Lyft and the Lyft driver.
66.6% of the Death Settlement Goes to Wife (33.3% Goes to Son)
Two-thirds of the settlement went to the surviving wife, and one-third went for the son.
The court said that the minor’s settlement proceeds must be used to buy the Florida Pre-Paid College Plan (4 year University Plan). Below is a portion of the order that says this.
If you look online, the 4 year Florida prepaid college funds costs about $19,000 for a lump sum payment for a 1 year child. So we can assume that the minor’s portion of the wrongful death settlement was at least $19,000.
Parents Can’t Touch Child’s Settlement (If It’s Big)
The court also said that the remaining portion of the minor’ settlement money must be used to purchase a structured settlement, which shall be paid for directly by Lyft and the Lyft driver and/or their insurers.
A structured settlement is a negotiated financial or insurance arrangement through which a claimant agrees to resolve a personal injury tort claim by receiving part or all of a settlement in the form of periodic payments on an agreed schedule, rather than as a lump sum.
The amount of the settlement was confidential. I think that this was likely a very large settlement. My reasoning is because this accident caused a relatively young person’s death, and he was survived by a minor child and young wife.
Motorcycle Rider’s Family Likely Received a Large Settlement
No amount of money will bring a family member back. However, jury verdicts (and thus settlements) for a minor child mental pain and suffering and loss of guidance can be over $1 million dollars. Moreover, Florida appeals courts have approved mental pain and suffering awards for over $1 million dollars for minor children who’ve lost a parent due to an accident.
Similarly, juries have awarded over $1 million dollars for a spouse’s mental pain and suffering after a spouse is killed as a result of an accident. Moreover, Florida appeals courts have approved mental pain and suffering verdicts of over $1 million dollars for someone whose spouse is killed due to an accident.
Thus, in this claim, the full value of family’s mental pain and suffering claim was large.
In the lawsuit, one of Lyft’s many defenses was that the motorcyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet.
At the time of the accident the Lyft driver was carrying passengers. Thus, Lyft’s insurance likely at most would pay up to $1 million dollars per accident. This is because Lyft’s insurance policy has a $1 million dollar liability limit.
This is true regardless of the number of people injured.
This was a tragic accident.
Most Motorcycle Accident Settlements for Wrongful Death Will Be for Less Than Fair Value
Most family members of a motorcyclist who is killed in a crash will not be able to get fair value for the case. This is because so many cars in Florida are uninsured or underinsured.
Thus, there often is not enough insurance to pay for the value of a death case. In addition, most motorcyclist riders don’t carry uninsured motorist insurance.
However, things were likely different in this case. Here, the Lyft vehicle was likely covered with a $1 million dollar liability insurance policy. My guess is that Lyft’s insurer paid the $1 million liability limit to the motorcyclist’s family.
Zurich American Insurance Company currently insures Lyft vehicles. York Risk Services Group handles Lyft auto accident claims.
If an Uber driver would’ve hit the motorcyclist, Uber’s insurance company (Progressive) would’ve likely handled it similarly. That said, Progressive is cheaper than Zurich.
Can an Unlicensed Motorcycle Rider Get a Settlement from an Accident?
Yes, however the motorcycle rider’s injury case may be tougher. It may be tougher if the motorcycle rider was responsible (to any degree) for causing the crash.
In this instance, the motorcycle rider’s case value may be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
It gets worse…
The jury may get to hear that the motorcycle rider didn’t have a license at the time of the crash.
What is the problem with a jury hearing that the motorcycle rider was unlicensed?
The jury placing more blame on the rider for causing the crash. This may further lower the rider’s injury verdict.
The case that dealt with this issue is Stewart v. Draleaus, 226 So. 3d 990 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017). In Stewart, the motorcycle rider (Reagle) had a temporary motorcycle license. It didn’t allow to carry passengers.
However, there has been a change in the law. I will quickly address the change in the law. Then, I’ll discuss the Stewart case.
Does Florida Require Motorcycle Riders to Have a Motorcycle Endorsement (License)?
Yes. As of July 1, 2008 there will be no temporary permits issued for motorcycle operation by the State of Florida.
Permits that were issued prior to July 1, 2008 will be valid for the allotted 90 day period however they will not be renewable.
People who wish to operate any two or three wheel motorcycle, whose engine size is more than 50 cc, must have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license. Or they can hold a ‘Motorcycle Only’ license. Anyone driving a motorcycle without an endorsement is violating the law.
New motorcyclists must take and pass the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) or Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu) through a FRTP authorized Sponsor before they can have the motorcycle endorsement added to their license, per section 322.12(5)(a), Florida Statutes.
No one under 16 years of age may legally operate or be licensed to operate any of the following two or three-wheel motor vehicles on Florida roads, streets or highways: motorcycles, mopeds, motor-driven cycles, motorized scooters or electric helper-motor bicycles as defined in s. 316.003(2) F.S.
If you are coming from another state and your license is endorsed for motorcycle operation, Florida will reciprocate the endorsement.
In this instance, the motorcycle course will not be required, except Alabama. Alabama licenses with a motorcycle endorsement included will be reciprocated only if a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) completion card is presented with it.
Rider May Get Smaller Settlement for Not Having Motorcycle License
In the case of Stewart v. Draleaus, 226 So. 3d 990 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017), on the evening of the motorcycle accident, which occurred in 2006, Stewart was driving a Chevrolet Camaro.
This isn’t my case. Draleaus and Reagle were each driving a motorcycle and Vincent was Reagle’s passenger.
Vincent was Reagle’s passenger. At that time, Reagle had a temporary motorcycle license that did not allow him to carry a passenger. Even though the rider had a temporary motorcycle license, the result would be similar if he didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement at all.
Stewart was also on a motorcycle. According to Reagle, Stewart revved his engine and tried to race Reagle. Reagle claimed that after pacing the motorcycles for a distance and swerving into Reagle’s lane twice, Stewart hit Reagle’s motorcycle (upon which Vincent was a passenger).
Reagle’s motorcycle then ran into Draleaus’ motorcycle. Stewart drove away.
Reagle survived the accident. However, he had medical treatment for serious injuries.
Reagle and others sued Stewart for negligent causing their injuries. They sued for pain and suffering, and other compensation.
In the lawsuit, Stewart argued that he wasn’t liable. Additionally, Stewart said that if he was liable, Reagle was also liable.
Accident Settlement May Be Smaller if Motorcycle Rider Had Passengers
At the time of the accident, Reagle had not taken the required examination and thus possessed only a temporary motorcycle license that did not allow him to carry passengers.
The appeals court said that a jury must hear that Reagle’s temporary license didn’t allow him to carry passengers.
Reagle admitted that carrying a passenger can change the unique dynamics of a motorcycle. For example, the manner in which the motorcycle is operated.
The court said that relevancy is usually shown when the traffic law which was violated concerns the manner in which an automobile was operated.
Thus, the appeals court found that —in this particular situation— the motorcycle license violation was relevant to the case.
The evidence should have been told to the jury for a determination of whether the violation proximately caused any of the Reagle’s injuries.
If an Unlicensed Motorcycle Rider is Carrying a Passenger, Does This Hurt Settlement?
Yes, if the other driver was 100% at fault.
In my opinion, the fact that a jury gets to hear that Reagle wasn’t licensed to carry a passenger decreases the full value of Reagle’s case for settlement purposes.
This is because a jury may think that perhaps Reagle lost control of the motorcycle because their was a passenger on it. The jury may also lose trust in Reagle since he knowingly broke the law. They may be less likely to believe his testimony about how the accident happened.
I expect that Stewart’s insurance company lowers any offer based on the fact that the jury gets to hear that Riegel was violating his temporary motorcycle license.
This assumes that Stewart had BIL insurance.
The bad news?
Florida doesn’t require BIL insurance on motorcycles.
In the above example, Riegel had a temporary license that didn’t allow him to carry passengers on his motorcycle. I think the result would be the same if he didn’t have a motorcycle license at all.
If a Motorcycle Rider Has a Passenger and Causes a Crash, Does the Injured Person Have a Better Case?
Maybe, if the motorcycle driver didn’t have a motorcycle endorsement. A jury may place more blame on the motorcycle rider for breaking the law. This may result in a bigger settlement for the injured person.
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