How Settlement Money is Divided in a Motorcycle Accident Case
Motorcycle injury cases in Texas are handled like other personal injury claims. If there were two riders involved in an accident, the settlement money is usually divided based upon the severity of the injury and other damages and other factors.
There is no set formula for dividing damages between motorcycle truck crash victims. The money can be but is not always divided based upon the “specials,” which are the economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages. However, the more important consideration is the severity of the injury.
Two people on a bike or hit from the rear while stopped at a stop sign. Liability by the other driver is clear, and there is no contributory negligence by the driver of the motorcycle. Both motorcycle riders sustain similar injuries and had similar treatment; most likely, the division would be 50-50.
Two people were in the same situation as above, but one victim lost two fingers. The other had a whiplash injury. Both went to the emergency room and had emergency room billing. The whiplash victim got chiropractic treatment and healed in three months. The person who lost two fingers did not have any ongoing medical after the amputation. The whiplash victims had higher medical bills but less severe injuries. In this situation, the likely division would favor the person who lost two fingers.
Each person’s claim is separate.
While the above examples should give an overview of factors considered, each person’s claim is separate. One person may agree to a settlement while another decline. The insurance company for the negligent party will make its determination of what they feel each party’s case is worth. And the motorcycle accident attorney you choose should have substantial experience and be able to advise everyone as to his opinion of values.
Everyone does not need the same attorney
If you are riding on a motorcycle with another person and involved in an accident, you do not have to choose the same attorney that your friend chose. Sometimes, particularly when there are no contributory fault allegations, having the same attorney can make sense in saving case expenses.
Other times, if the fault is an issue or if the insurance company is trying to blame the driver of the motorcycle, separate attorneys may be best.
How being partly at fault can impact damages
Texas is a “comparative fault” state. If someone were more than 50% at fault for causing an accident, they would be barred from getting damages for a personal injury accident. If their responsibility is less than 51%, their damages are reduced by the percentage of fault.
John was riding his motorcycle when a pickup turned in front of John, and he struck the side of the pickup. The pickup driver was found at fault for failing to yield the right-of-way. But witnesses to the crash testified that John was traveling way over the speed limit and passed them like they were standing still. If a jury determined John to be 1/3 at fault for the accident, John would receive 2/3 of his damages (or the amount of damages less 1/3 for his fault).
In the same example as above, if the jury found John to be 60% at fault, John would not get money for his injuries.
Insurance factors in Texas
Texas vehicle insurance, which includes motorcycles, is written at a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 in total. If there were two people injured by the negligence of another driver, the maximum amount that any one person could receive would be $30,000. Of course, many people have much higher liability policy limits.
One of the first things your personal injury attorney will do is determine how much insurance is available from the defendant.
If you have Under-Insured (UIM) coverage
If you have UIM coverage under your policy or that on the motorcycle, underinsured motorist policies may provide benefits, if your damages are above the other drives policy limits. In Texas that UIM benefits are stacked on top of the liability coverage for the negligent driver up to the amount of your damages.
Hospital liens and health insurance payback
If you were treated at a hospital and did not have health insurance for the hospital did not take your health insurance, there is a good chance that you may have a “hospital lien” that attaches to any settlement. Insurance companies will not pay liability coverage without addressing a hospital lien that is filed on your case.
If you use your health insurance for your medical treatment, your health insurance company may seek to be entitled to be paid back from settlement proceeds. This payback is called “subrogation”. Our motorcycle accident lawyers are skilled in negotiating reduced payments to hospitals and health insurance companies.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer
If you have questions about the vision of settlement proceeds between personal injury claimants, how to proceed in a click case against the other driver or your own insurance company Collis for a no-obligation consultation. 281-587-1111.