If you, or someone you know, has been in a motorcycle accident, it is useful to know the average motorcycle accident settlement in California. Motorcycle crashes can be some of the most deadly kinds of accidents and lead to serious physical and financial impacts. With motorcycles reaching high speeds, being less visible, and providing less protection than a car might, motorcyclists are likely to suffer severe injuries and need to file for personal injury.

How Much Is the Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement in California?

As is true for other personal injury cases, the average motorcycle accident settlement in California depends on the specific circumstances of your case. Settlements will range from the low thousands to millions of dollars. Looking at recent case results from a legal firm can help you understand how much your attorney can potentially win for you.

For example, a whiplash case, which is fairly common, will rarely result in as large a settlement as a more serious injury, such as spinal cord injuries. A motorcycle accident that results in a wrongful death justly deserves higher compensation. There are other factors that determine how a settlement is reached as well, such as financial losses accrued and percentage of fault.

Average Motorcycle Accident Settlement in California

How Settlement Amounts Are Determined

Settlement amounts are situational. There are three main factors that contribute to the damages awarded, including:

  1. The degree of injuries sustained and the resulting medical bills. This could include ambulance fees, hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy, or other costs.
  2. The amount of financial loss due to the accident. This can be due to no longer having the physical capacity to work in the same industry or needing to work part-time during the recovery process.
  3. The party that is found to be at fault in the incident. While damages can still be collected if the blame is shared between the parties, the settlement amount will be greater if the plaintiff is not also found to be at fault.

Common Damages Awarded

Personal injury cases fall under civil law as opposed to criminal law. This means that all damages awarded will be financial. There are no punishments for the defendant beyond financial ones. If you are hoping for penalties, such as jail time, probation, license suspension, or substance education, you will need to look into whether pressing a separate criminal case is possible.

It is also important to note that even if another driver or party was negligent, you do not have a case unless there was actual physical harm caused by the incident. Common damages fall into two distinct categories: compensatory and noneconomic.

Compensatory damages include those that can be concretely quantified into an amount of money. These include:

  • Medical fees, both immediately after the injury and those from the lasting effects of the accident
  • Wages lost due to the injury, depending on your earning capacity and the impact of the accident
  • Property damage, such as repair or replacement fees for your motorcycle, helmet, etc.

Noneconomic damages mostly refer to the pain and suffering caused by the accident. This is inherently difficult to quantify, but an attorney can assist you in evaluating your situation and choosing a reasonable amount of compensation to demand.

How Personal Injury Settlements Are Paid Out in California

Once you reach a settlement amount that you deem fair and reasonable, you will need to sign a settlement release form. This will start the payout of your personal injury settlement.

Often, it is the insurance company that will be sending you a check. This payment typically goes to your legal representative, who deposits it into a specific account and then makes sure that you are paying certain necessities first. These necessities include lawyer fees, other legal fees, medical fees, liens, etc.

Once the necessary amounts have been given to your attorney and the necessary parties, you will receive the remainder of the compensation. Usually, there are two choices for how the remainder is paid out: lump-sum and structured settlement. You should be able to choose whether it makes sense for you to receive the whole amount at one time or if you’d rather receive regular payments until the settlement is entirely paid out.


Q: How Much Is a Whiplash Settlement in California?

A: Whiplash is a very common injury in motorcycle accidents, but the degree of whiplash can range widely. Minor whiplash injuries are likely to reach a settlement in the low thousands, whereas major whiplash injuries can be in the $30,000 range. Having clear documentation of your injuries from a medical professional can help you in getting compensation, so if you are suffering effects, make sure a medical professional is keeping notes on your case.

Q: How Does Being at Fault Impact Your Settlement?

A: In some states, even a small percentage of blame makes it impossible for you to file a claim. However, California’s pure comparative fault laws allow both parties to seek compensation. You will be given a fault percentage in your case, as will the defendant, and your fault percentage will be subtracted from the total settlement. This means that your settlement will be negatively impacted, even if you bear a tiny fraction of responsibility for the accident.

Q: What Happens If a Motorcycle Crash Results in Death?

A: The severity of motorcycle crashes means that there is an increased chance of dying from a motorcycle accident. If you have lost a family member in a motorcycle crash, particularly if you believe that another party was at fault for the crash, then you may have a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases can reach into the millions of dollars, as there is no amount that can compensate for the loss of a loved one. A wrongful death lawyer can help you in seeking justice.

Q: How Much Is the Average Settlement for a Back Injury in California?

A: The average settlement for a back injury will depend on whether it is a permanent condition, such as paralysis, or a temporary and recoverable injury. Spinal injuries that are recoverable range closer to $50,000, whereas paralysis resulting from a motorcycle crash can reach up into the millions.

Contact Easton & Easton

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the extent of the injuries, the long time to recover, the impact on employment, and the crippling medical bills. Since you generally only have two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim and only a few days to be in touch with insurance, it is crucial to take action as soon as possible. If you have further questions or want legal assistance, reach out today.