What Happens When the Insurance Company Totals Your Motorcycle?

What Happens When the Insurance Company Totals Your Motorcycle?

When an insurance company totals your motorcycle after an accident, it means they’ve determined that the cost of repairing the damages exceeds the actual cash value (ACV) of the motorcycle. In this situation, the insurance company typically offers a settlement based upon the motorcycle’s ACV – minus any deductible you may have.

You then have the option to accept the settlement and surrender the motorcycle to the insurance company or negotiate for a higher settlement if you believe the ACV assessment is too low. If you accept the settlement, the insurance company will take possession of the motorcycle, and you’ll receive payment for the agreed-upon amount, which you can use to repair or replace your motorcycle.

A knowledgeable motorcycle accident lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept the insurance company’s settlement offer for property damage. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney can also pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf and recover additional compensation.

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Types of Crashes that Result in a Totaled Motorcycle

Several types of accidents can result in a motorcycle being totaled, meaning the cost of repairs exceeds its actual cash value. Here are some common scenarios:

  • Collisions – Motorcycle collisions with other vehicles are a leading cause of totaled bikes. Whether it’s a rear-end collision, a side-impact crash, or a head-on collision, the force of impact can cause extensive damage to the motorcycle, including bent frames, cracked engine cases, and destroyed fairings.
  • Hit-and-Run AccidentsHit-and-run accidents, where the at-fault driver flees the scene, can leave a motorcycle totaled and the rider with no recourse for compensation. Without identifying the responsible party, the victim’s only option may be to rely on their own insurance coverage for repairs or replacement.
  • Vehicle Defects – Sometimes, motorcycle accidents occur due to defects in the vehicle itself, such as faulty brakes, defective tires, or malfunctioning components. In such cases, the motorcycle manufacturer or distributor may be held liable for the damages, and the motorcycle may be declared totaled if the cost of repairs exceeds its value.

In any of these cases where a motorcycle is deemed totaled, the owner may need to file a claim with their own insurance provider (or with the at-fault party’s provider) to seek compensation for their loss.

Negotiating for a Higher Settlement if the Insurance Company Totals Your Motorcycle

If the insurance company totals your motorcycle and offers a settlement that you believe is too low, you have the right to negotiate for a higher amount. Here are some steps you can take to negotiate for a better settlement offer:

Negotiating Settlement with Insurance Company
  • Gather Evidence – Start by gathering evidence to support your case for a higher settlement offer. This may include documentation of the motorcycle’s condition before the accident, repair estimates from reputable mechanics or dealerships, receipts for recent upgrades or modifications, and any other relevant information that demonstrates the motorcycle’s value.
  • Get Multiple Estimates – Obtain repair estimates from multiple sources to provide a range of costs for repairing the motorcycle. This can help substantiate your claim that the insurance company’s settlement offer is insufficient to cover the necessary repairs.
  • Document Property Damage – Take detailed photographs of the damage to your motorcycle from multiple angles. Highlight any areas of significant damage or areas where repairs may be more costly than the insurance company’s estimate suggests.
  • Research Comparable Vehicles – Research the market value of comparable motorcycles in your area to determine a fair value for your totaled bike. Look for motorcycles of the same make, model, year, and condition to establish a baseline for negotiation.
  • Highlight Upgrades and Modifications – If your motorcycle has upgrades or modifications that increase its value, make sure to provide documentation (including receipts) for any aftermarket parts or accessories that you’ve added.
  • Prepare a Counteroffer – Once you’ve gathered all of the necessary evidence and information, prepare a counteroffer to present to the insurance company. Clearly outline why you believe their initial settlement offer is inadequate and provide supporting documentation to justify your request for a higher amount.
  • Seek Legal Assistance – Never hesitate to seek legal assistance from an experienced motorcycle accident attorney for your negotiations. An attorney can gather evidence and valuations for you, negotiating for the full amount you deserve.

By following these steps – including retaining experienced legal counsel – you can increase your chances of securing fair compensation for your totaled motorcycle.

Common Injuries that May Occur in Motorcycle Crashes

Forceful motorcycle accidents can result in a variety of injuries, some of which are more serious than others. Here are some of the most common injuries that occur in motorcycle crashes:

  • Road RashRoad rash is a common injury in motorcycle collisions where the rider is thrown from their bike and slides across the pavement. It occurs when the skin rubs against the road surface, causing abrasions, lacerations, and contusions. Road rash can vary in severity depending on the speed of the accident and the type of protective gear that the rider is wearing.
  • Fractures and Broken Bones – Motorcycle accidents often result in fractures and broken bones due to the force of impact on the ground or other objects. Common fractures include broken arms, legs, wrists, and collarbones. In severe cases, multiple fractures or compound fractures may occur, requiring surgery and long-term rehabilitation.
  • Head Injuries – Head injuries are a significant concern in motorcycle accidents, as riders are at risk of hitting the ground or other vehicles. Head injuries can range from minor concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can have long-term effects on cognitive function, memory, and motor skills. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injuries in motorcycle accidents, but these injuries can still occur in some circumstances.
  • Spinal Cord InjuriesSpinal cord injuries can occur when the spine is subjected to extreme force or trauma in a motorcycle accident. These injuries can result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and impaired motor function below the level of injury. Spinal cord injuries are often permanent and can have a profound effect on the victim’s quality of life.
  • Internal Injuries – Forceful motorcycle accidents can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage, internal bleeding, and punctured lungs. These injuries may not be immediately apparent and can worsen over time if left untreated. Prompt medical attention is essential to diagnose and treat internal injuries effectively.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and tears, are also common in motorcycle accidents due to the sudden and forceful movements of the body during a crash. These injuries can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues, causing pain, swelling, and limited mobility.

If you suffered any of these injuries in a forceful motorcycle crash, an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can handle the legal components of your case while you attend medical visits and focus on making a full recovery.

Filing a Motorcycle Accident Claim or Lawsuit for Personal Injuries

Filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit arising from physical injuries in a motorcycle accident involves several steps to seek compensation for damages. Here’s an overview of the process:

  • Consult an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorney – Consider consulting an attorney who regularly handles motorcycle accident cases as a significant part of their practice. An attorney can assess the merits of your case, explain your legal rights, and guide you throughout the claims process. They can also handle negotiations with insurance companies and represent you in court if necessary.
  • File a Personal Injury Claim – If you decide to pursue compensation, your attorney can file a personal injury claim on your behalf with the at-fault party’s insurance company. The claim will outline the details of the accident, the extent of your injuries, and the damages you are seeking.
  • Negotiate a Settlement – The insurance company may offer a settlement to resolve the claim. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to secure a fair settlement that reasonably compensates you for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other related damages. You should let your attorney handle all communications with insurance company representatives – including settlement adjusters – throughout the process. If the insurance company makes a low initial settlement offer, your lawyer can present a counteroffer that seeks a larger amount of money.
  • Litigation, if Necessary – If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit and pursuing litigation in the state court system. This involves presenting your case in court before a judge and jury, who will determine liability and damages based on the evidence presented.
  • Pursue Various Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Options – Instead of taking your motorcycle accident case to a courtroom trial, your lawyer may pursue one or more ADR options in your case. These options offer an alternative to trial and, in some instances, a swifter resolution. At a mediation hearing, for example, a neutral mediator helps the parties narrow their settlement discussions, while at binding arbitration, the parties present their case out of court to a neutral arbitrator who issues a binding decision (within certain pre-set numerical parameters).

An experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in your area can help you decide which option is best for your case and circumstances.

Recovering Compensation for Personal Injuries in a Motorcycle Crash

Motorcycle Insurance Claim

In a personal injury claim arising from a motorcycle accident, victims may be eligible to recover various types of compensation. Here are the main types of compensation available:

  • Medical Expenses – Motorcycle accident victims may be entitled to compensation for all medical expenses related to their injuries, including hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgery costs, prescription medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation services. This compensation covers both past and future medical treatment necessary for the victim’s recovery.
  • Lost Earnings – If the motorcycle accident prevents the victim from working, they may be eligible to recover compensation for lost income. This includes wages lost due to attending medical appointments, as well as loss of future earning capacity in the case of permanent or disabling injuries. 
  • Pain and Suffering – Motorcycle accident victims may also receive compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the accident and resulting injuries. This type of compensation is subjective and varies based on the overall severity and effect of the injuries on the victim’s life.
  • Emotional Distress – In addition to pain and suffering, motorcycle accident victims may be eligible to recover compensation for emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychological injuries resulting from their accident. This compensation acknowledges the emotional toll that the accident has taken on the victim’s mental well-being.
  • Loss of Consortium – If the motorcycle accident results in the loss of companionship, affection, support, or intimacy with a spouse or partner, the injured victim or their spouse may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium. This type of compensation aims to address the negative effects that the injuries have on the victim’s personal relationships and quality of life.

In cases where the at-fault party (usually another driver) behaved in a particularly wrongful or egregious manner, such as by engaging in drunk driving, the motorcycle accident victim may be eligible for punitive damages beyond their compensatory damages. The main purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party and prevent similar incidents in the future, but the victim has the legal burden of proving these damages.

Overall, the types of compensation available in a personal injury claim arising from a motorcycle accident aim to fully compensate the victim for their financial, physical, and emotional losses. Each case is unique, and the amount of compensation awarded will depend upon the specific circumstances of the accident, the extent of the injuries, and the effects on the victim’s life and livelihood.

Speak with an Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Right Away

If your motorcycle was damaged in a recent collision, an experienced personal injury attorney in your area can pursue the compensation you need. Additionally, if you suffered physical injuries in a motorcycle crash, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf and work to maximize your overall compensation award.


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