A motorcycle accident can be devastating. Cycle riders don’t have the protection of a car or truck body in a crash, and even the best motorcycle riding gear can only do so much. If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone else, you may have a lot of medical and personal expenses that aren’t getting covered. What’s your motorcycle accident injury claim worth?
The big three considerations
In Australian courts and insurance claims, three crucial factors will determine how much your motorcycle accident injury claim is worth. These are:
- Your personal life and employment circumstances
- The exact circumstances surrounding the accident
- The experience and knowledge your lawyer brings to the table
When figuring what your claim is worth, insurers, and courts will consider your age, occupation, health at the time of the accident, pre-injury lifestyle, and the extent of your injury. In general, the more the injury has damaged your future and disrupted your lifestyle, the more you’re entitled to claim.
Another crucial factor is proving exactly what happened in the accident. Your claim will be worth less if you were partly at fault for the accident, if you were breaking any laws at the time, or you failed to take a reasonable duty of care even if you weren’t technically at fault.
You wouldn’t want a doctor without lots of experience to operate on you, and you shouldn’t want someone working on your legal claim unless they know exactly what they’re doing. Your choice of lawyer can have a profound effect on your motorbike accident compensation, so choose a team with knowledge and experience.
What can I make a claim for?
The next step in considering what your claim is worth is tallying up everything the accident has cost you. This will include:
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Loss of wages (past and future)
- Property damage (to your motorcycle and other goods)
- Non-monetary damages
You’ll also need all the relevant documents to fill in your form and make your claim. Medical claims are generally easiest to verify. You’ll need a medical report and receipts for all medical treatment you’ve received. You’ll also need a doctor to sign off on an estimate for your future treatment costs.
You should also gather financial proof of your work earnings before the accident to show what you’ve lost and what you stand to lose in the future. You’ll also need an insurance assessment for any valuable property you want to claim compensation for.
Non-monetary damages are the trickiest. They include things such as damage to your mental health, loss of companionship if you’ve been abandoned because of your accident or its consequences, and simple pain and suffering. Your lawyer can help you understand what this might be worth and your chances of success in claiming non-monetary damages.
Is there a time limit on making my claim?
Australia does have time limits on personal injury claims. These vary from state to state and from case to case. For example, in Queensland, the Limitation of Actions Act 1974 sets different time limits for different personal injury cases.
You generally have just 9 months from the date of the motorbike accident or the time you notice an injury to make your claim. If you miss the window, you’ll only be able to make a claim if you have a good reason to proceed.
The smart move is always to start your claim as soon after the accident as you’re able. If you’re not sure where you stand, you should always seek legal help. A lawyer can help you know for certain if you have a claim, figure its worth, and may even be able to help if you’ve waited past the time limit to file.