Fair Settlement Amount for Kansas City Motorcycle Accidents

As a Kansas City motorcycle accident lawyer, I often am asked by clients what to expect regarding in terms of settlement value and compensation. This question becomes particularly critical when a client has suffered serious injuries that results in costly medical care and lost wages. 

The bottom-line is that every motorcycle accident is different. While there is no simple formula you can you use to calculate the value of a motorcycle accident case. However, there are certain factors an experienced motorcycle accident attorney should consider to evaluate the potential settlement value.

For example, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Kansas City, your motorcycle accident attorney will need to consider two types of damages in evaluating your claim: “special” and “pain and suffering” damages.  

In addition, other significant factors to consider include whether you contributed to causing the accident, whether is settled prior to trial or proceeds through jury trial, and the impact of any bias toward motorcyclists from the jury.

Special Damages for Kansas City Motorcycle Accidents

settlement value kansas city motorcycle accident lawyer.jpgYour special damages are all damages that you can calculate precisely, such as the cost of medical treatment, lost wages and any other reasonably related financial losses. Special damages may also include amounts for future medical treatment or household care if you have suffered a permanent injury or disability and future lost earnings capacity if your injury will impact your ability to work in the future.

While it is possible to determine the value of these damages, this does not mean doing so is an easy or straightforward process. Indeed, calculating losses such as future earning capacity is so complicated that it usually requires the aid of professional economists to do it accurately.  Nevertheless, it is important to define these losses from the outset for the insurance company to establish a baseline for potential claim value.  

Pain and Suffering from Kansas City Motorcycle Accidents

As you might expect, the process of calculating the monetary value of your pain and suffering is far less straightforward than special damages. There is no objective criteria for determining the monetary value of pain and suffering in Kansas or Missouri law.

Instead, judges will often simply direct jurors to draw on their own judgment and personal experience to decide what they consider a fair valuation. This subjective element of the valuation process brings us to the other factors to consider when evaluating a motorcycle accident claim value: liability of the parties, the potential valuation by a jury, and jury bias against motorcyclists.

Liability Under Missouri & Kansas Law

The potential to prove a defendant’s liability for personal injury incurred in a motorcycle accident is easily the biggest factor in deciding whether to settle or go to trial, and it has further implications for damage valuation.

For starters, it is important to remember that in any personal injury case in Kansas and Missouri, the burden of proof lies solely with the plaintiff, never the defendant. At trial, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant really is liable—that is, at fault for the accident due to their own negligence—for any damages incurred from the accident.

Lacking a strong case to prove the defendant’s negligence has two effects: one, it will likely dissuade the plaintiff from going to trial for a case she is unlikely to win, and two, it often leads to lesser settlement payouts to the plaintiff. 

On that note, it would be helpful now to consider the difference between settling and going to trial.

Settling vs. Going to Trial for Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Claims

There are two outcomes that can arise from a potential motorcycle accident case in Kansas City or anywhere in Kansas or Missouri: settlement and going to trial. Simply put, a settlement is an agreement between the two parties for the defendant to pay monetary compensation to the plaintiff to avoid trying the case in court. 

But what is the monetary difference between the two? And in what circumstances would a defendant or a plaintiff choose to pursue one over the other?

Trial Value for a Motorcycle Accident 

A case’s trial value simply refers to the amount of monetary compensation the plaintiff can reasonably expect to receive if he wins at trial. While that easy to understand, settlement value is a bit more complicated.

Settlement Value for a Motorcycle Accident 

Obviously, a case’s settlement value is the amount of monetary compensation the plaintiff can except to receive from an out-of-court settlement. What is less obvious, however, is how the respective parties determine settlement value. 

To keep things simple, it is generally true that you can estimate the settlement value of a case by multiplying the predicted trial value by an estimate of the plaintiff’s chances of winning at an actual trial and then subtracting a little from that result. 

So, for instance, if a plaintiff’s estimated damages come to $300,000, and her estimated chances of winning the trial are about 40%, then you could expect the settlement value to be a bit less than $120,000. The settlement value is slightly less than the full 40% to offset the risk of the plaintiff losing at trial.

Jury Bias & the Need for a Kansas City Motorcycle Attorney

Jury bias against motorcycles might seem less intuitive, but it is an important piece of the puzzle when estimating potential personal injury damages from motorcycle accidents in Kansas City and elsewhere. 

The unfortunate reality is that many jurors harbor either explicit or implicit biases against motorcycles. For whatever reasons, juries are often prone to award less-than-generous verdicts to motorcyclists in personal injury lawsuits. 

If you are a motorcyclist that has been involved in an accident, it is crucial to employ an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Our Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney, and our skilled legal team, will promptly investigate and gather any evidence necessary to prepare your case for trial. In doing so, we are mindful of any potential bias against motorcyclists and will attempt to rebut that bias with available evidence.

Contact Our Kansas City Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

As discussed above, there is no simple answer to the question: what is a fair settlement for a Kansas City motorcycle accident? The “fairness” of a motorcycle injury settlement is determined many interrelated factors that will vary depending on the facts of your case.  If you have a specific question about your motorcycle accident case or a potential settlement, the best thing you can do is to call our law firm at 816-203-0143

Our motorcycle accident lawyer would be happy to provide a free, no-obligation consultation and answer any questions you may have about your particular case. Contact us today at 816-203-0143 or by filling out the form below. 

Our experienced personal injury legal team has helped countless accident victims throughout Missouri and Kansas, and we would be honored to guide you through the process and help you determine the next steps to consider for your claim.

Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS
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