Placing a Value on your Motorcycle Personal Injury Claim
By: Dan Baldyga
Your Medical Doctor has released you from treatment for your motorcycle accident
and enough time has passed so you’re about to position yourself to sit
down with Adjuster Henry Hard-Nose. His employer is Rock Solid Insurance, the
company who insures Fred Fuddle, the person who smashed into which was responsible
for your injuries plus the “Pain and Suffering”
you’ve had to endure.
To be adequately compensated for what you’ve gone through you must have
accumulated what’s identified in the world of insurance claims as “Special
Damages”. Those are your medical bills, your lost wages plus
every dollar paid out to help with your recovery. When building the value of
a personal injury claim there are several key elements you should be aware of:
LIABILITY: Final Statistics prove that in 83% of all accident’s
that took place in 2004 it’s clear who was at fault !
The very doubtful liability case has little, if any, settlement value. If that’s
the situation you should obtain the services of the local Legal Beagle who does
a good job of that, Attorney I.M. Greedy. But, if you do, be very careful when
you sign Greedy’s “Contingency Fee Agreement”. Read it closely.
Don’t sign anything that will let him charge you one penny, other than
his normal fee. Do not -- in any way whatsoever -- allow him to chisel
any money from you, for his out-of-pocket expenses. All Greedy should
be compensated for (if he’s successful at busting loose some bucks from
Rock Solid) is his fee.
TYPE OF INJURY: If there are severe injuries
you should obtain the services of a lawyer. But, if you’ve had minor injuries
(and it's clear you're not at fault) you can handle and settle the claim yourself.
TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE: Rate yourself and be brutally honest. You’re
most likely an average motorcycle owner/driver, living a normal life. But, if
you’ve spent some time behind bars, have a criminal record, or a history
of character defects that often get your butt in a jam with the local cops (and
this is well-known) you’re gonna have to take those facts into consideration
when forming expectations regarding what your case is worth.
THE TYPE OF PERSON FRED FUDDLE IS: The better Fred Fuddle looks, or the better
the "entity" “(Fuddle’s business or company, etc.) appears,
the better for Rock Solid. But, if Fuddle is a known bookie or drug dealer,
they’re in deep “stuff“. On the other hand, if Fuddle is a
well-loved philanthropist, that can be a plus for Rock Solid Insurance. Or if
the vehicle that struck you was a van driven by Pastor Frederick Fuddle, and
the named insured is The Fuddle Camp For Lost Souls, that can be a plus for
But, if the “entity” that hit you was a dilapidated junk pile on
wheels operated by Fred “Goof-Ball” Fuddle, and the named insured
is The Fuddle Rotted Cow Manure Corporation, that will not be favorable for
DAMAGES: There are “Medical Special Damage” Expenses, “Non-Medical
Special Damages” Expenses, and/or your “Property Damage” Expenses.
MEDICAL SPECIAL DAMAGE EXPENSES These typically include Cost of Ambulance,
Emergency Room, Hospital and/or Clinic Charges, Chiropractor, and/or Dentist,
Over-The-Counter Drugs and/or Prescription Medications, Laboratory Fees and
Services, Diagnostic Tests: X-Rays and (CT) Scan, Prosthetic Appliances or Surgical
Apparatus, (Cranes & Crutches), Physical Therapy, Registered and/or Practical
Nurse Fees, Ace Bandages, Gauze and Tape, Heating Pads, Creams, Lotions, Ointments,
Balms and Salves.
When it comes to listing your Medical Special Damage “expenses”
don’t overlook one single dollar because, when it comes time to settle
your claim, that dollar can increase the value of your payment for “Pain
and Suffering” by a multiplier of four or even five!.
NON-MEDICAL SPECIAL DAMAGES: These typically include Lost Wages and Earnings,
Lost Vacation time and/or Sick Leave, Travel Expenses (car rentals, public transportation,
expenses incurred getting to and from your doctor and/or physical therapy “treatment”
of some sort) Household Help during disability or Child Care.
Be sure to obtain written proof of such "Non Medical"
LOST WAGES: The income you lost, because you were unable to work, is an area
where adjusters take terrible advantage of the typical claimant because they
know so little about it.
Commissions and overtime can make a huge difference in your lost earnings.
Be sure to get a letter from your employer, on their official letterhead, explaining
that in detail. Or, if you’re self-employed, get this information stated
on your accountants letterhead.
The time you miss from work (thus the money you may have lost) is calculated
and this element constitutes what is known as “Lost Wages”
or “Lost Time Verification”.
In most situations you’re entitled to compensation for lost time
and earnings, even if you have no actual loss of money! Such as, for
example, when your salary is paid by your company insurance coverage, or by
taking sick leave, or some similar arrangement.
Even if you’re salaried you should obtain a "Lost Earnings",
or "Time Lost Verification", in writing on your employer’s letterhead.
IF YOU’RE SELF-EMPLOYED: To prove your lost earnings you’ll probably
have to assemble some inside information for Hard-Nose. If you don’t like
the idea of submitting private documents to him, in the privacy of your home
or office, just think how you’d feel about producing them in the non-private
environment of a courtroom. When a case goes to trial, and if you want to prove
your damages so as to collect adequate compensation, that’s your only
TWO CRITICAL AREAS REGARDING LOST WAGES: Did the injury necessitate a change
of job or employment at a lesser rate? Or, did the injury allow your going to
work but only on a part-time basis? If the answer to either question is “Yes”,
it would be wise to ask your employer to document these facts on their letterhead.
PROPERTY DAMAGE EXPENSES: These typically include Motorcycle Repair, Damaged
Clothing, Broken Glasses, the possible cost of Car Rentals. Make copies of all
bills relating to any of your property damage expenses. Keep the originals.
Be sure to have these in your possession when you and Hard-Nose plunk yourselves
down to "Talk Turkey". Photocopies are sufficient to give him.
YOUR AGE: Those in their teens, and into their late
50’s, fall into a fairly normal category because they’re generally
considered to be at the height of their physical stamina. Those in their late
60’s, and over, usually fare extremely well; primarily
due to the sympathy that’s often invoked, from a judge or jury, because
of general attitudes regarding frailty and the elderly.
MOST IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER:The information Hard-Nose
places into your file plays a major role in the ultimate value of your claim.
Never underestimate the importance of his impressions and conclusions!
Should, one day, your case ends up in front of a judge, or jury, what Hard-Nose
feels, observes and then reports into your file at Rock Solid about you, his
insured Fred Fuddle, and/or possible witnesses, etc., (in addition to the information
you’ve documented for him) could have massive influence
on the value of your claim - - especially if Fuddle is a loser and he’s
absolutely in the wrong. At that point the only thing stalling a settlement
is the amount of money it’s going cost to get rid of you.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Your out-of-pocket expenses correctly recorded and presented,
your injury information properly documented and your lost wages clearly established
will seriously increase the dollar value of your personal injury claim.
QUESTION: How does Dan know this to be true? ANSWER: “Because for 38
years Dan was right there, where he saw and done that".
Copyright (c) 2005 by Daniel G. Baldyga. All Rights Reserved
DISCLAIMER: The only purpose of this "How To" Insurance Claim Article
PLACING A VALUE ON YOUR MOTORCYCLE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM is to help people understand
the motorcycle accident claim process. Neither Dan Baldyga, James Allgood nor
WHY BIKE.com make any guarantee of any kind whatsoever, NOR do they purport
to engage in rendering any professional or legal service, NOR to substitute
for a lawyer, an insurance adjuster, or claims consultant, or the like. Where
such professional help is desired it is the INDIVIDUAL’S RESPONSIBILITY
to obtain said services.
All of the information necessary for you to deal with and handle the above
issues are spelled out within the contents of AUTO ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY
INSURANCE CLAIM (How To Evaluate And Settle Your Loss) found on the internet
This book also contains BASE (The Baldyga Auto Accident Settlement Evaluation
Formula). THE BASE FORMULA will tell you exactly how many dollars the "Pain
and Suffering" you endured are worth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: For over 30 years Dan Baldyga was a Claims Adjuster, Supervisor,
Manager and Trial Assistant. He is now retired and spends his time attempting
to assist those involved in motorcycle accident claims so they will not be taken
advantage of. firstname.lastname@example.org
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