According to a recent Jury Verdict Research report, plaintiffs on motorcycles receive higher awards for collisions than bicycle plaintiffs. Makes sense. They are driving much faster and frequently roads where speed is more of an issue.
Their analysis, based on plaintiffs’ verdicts rendered from October 1999 to October 2006, examines motorcycle and bicycle categories involving collisions with other vehicles, objects, and pedestrians. The study found that the award median for motorcycle accidents was $73,700 compared to $40,912 for bicycle plaintiffs.
I assume they base the difference in the fact that motorcycles generate greater speeds that lead to more serious accidents. Interestingly, Jury Verdict Research provided average verdicts> with this data, which it rarely does. To underscore the difference between median and average, the average motorcycle accident case was $561,065 and the average bike accident case was $500,353.
Motorcycle and Bike Accident Verdicts and Settlements
- 2022, Oklahoma: $50,000 Settlement. A 30-year-old male, reportedly died when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a pickup truck driven by the defendant who was allegedly negligent. This was probably a policy-limit settlement which explains the low value for a wrongful death case involving such a young decedent.
- 2022, Arkansas: $4,500,000 Verdict: 51-year-old male suffered fatal injuries when the northbound motorcycle he was operating through an intersection collided with a southbound vehicle attempting a left turn. The at-fault driver was driving a company vehicle in the scope of his employment.
- 2021, Washington: $567,582 Verdict: the plaintiff, a 40-year-old male, was ejected from his motorcycle and hit the pavement when a USPS postal truck made a negligent left-hand turn in front of him. The plaintiff suffered numerous soft tissue injury and a serious injury to his right hand which required partial amputation of 2 fingertips.
- 2020, California: $200,000 Settlement. A man was riding his bike on a sidewalk in Los Angeles. His tire became lodged in a crack, causing him to fall and sustain undisclosed injuries. He sued the City of Los Angeles, alleging that they negligently maintained public property. The city denied liability but agreed to settle for $200,000.
- 2020, Massachusetts: $600,000 Settlement. A motorist struck a 33-year-old man’s motorcycle. The man suffered a fractured femur, scrotal edema, and urinary retention. He underwent open reduction internal fixation on his femur. The man claimed that the collision also caused right hip pain, which would need future surgery. He sued the motorist for negligence. The motorist denied liability, arguing that the collision was unavoidable because he could not see him before impact. This case settled for $600,000.
- 2020, Washington: $5,000,000 Settlement. A 56-year-old software engineer suffered fractures to his ankle, arm, and leg after a motorist struck his motorcycle. He spent over three weeks in the hospital. The man claimed his injuries from the collision were permanent. The defendant must have agreed. The case settled for $5,000,000.
- 2020, Massachusetts: $1,700,000 Settlement. A 58-year-old cyclist suffered fatal injuries after his head hit a pickup truck’s rear. Prior to impact, he braked to avoid a collision with the vehicle. As a result, he was thrown off his bike’s handlebars, causing his head to hit the pickup truck’s rear. An ambulance transported him to the hospital, where he died from his injuries. His estate sued the motorist, alleging that they failed to stop before crossing a marked bike trail. The motorist denied liability. This case settled for $1,700,000.
- 2019, New Jersey: $745,000 Settlement. An intoxicated motorcyclist caused a single-vehicle crash, which threw his 27-year-old passenger from the vehicle. The passenger sustained severe head trauma that caused permanent deficits in her concentration and memory. She also suffered multiple fractures to her pelvis, shoulder, and spine. The woman claimed permanent pain and limitations. She sued the motorcyclist for negligence. The woman also sued a tavern for serving him alcohol right before the accident. This case settled for $745,000.
- 2019, Connecticut: $4,600,000 Settlement. A motorist ran a stop sign and struck a 70-year-old motorcyclist. The motorcyclist suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple knee fractures. He underwent brain surgery, which involved the placement of shunts. The man also underwent open reduction and internal fixation surgery for his fractures. He claimed that his injuries were permanent. He sued the motorist and the vehicle’s owner for negligence. This case settled for $4,600,000 before trial.
- 2019, Texas: $50,000 Settlement. A 10-year-old boy suffered multiple pelvis fractures after a pickup truck struck his bike. The pickup truck’s driver died before a lawsuit was filed. The boy’s parents sued his estate, alleging that the deceased’s negligence caused the collision and the boy’s injuries. This case settled for $50,000.
- 2019, Florida: $115,000 Verdict. A woman suffered undisclosed injuries after an uninsured motorist struck her boyfriend’s motorcycle, which she was a passenger in. She filed suit against her boyfriend’s insurer, State Farm, for failing to pay UIM benefits. State Farm contested her claim, arguing that the motorcycle was not listed as a covered vehicle. The court ruled that she was entitled to UIM benefits and awarded her a $115,000 verdict.
- 2019, Maryland: $25,000 Settlement. A motorist struck a cyclist at the intersection of Greenmount Avenue and Madison Street in Baltimore. The cyclist suffered unspecified injuries. He sued the motorist, alleging failure to maintain a proper lookout, failure to properly control his vehicle, and failure to slow down to avoid a collision. The motorist disputed the man’s claims, arguing that the man’s actions contributed to the accident. This case settled for $25,000.
- 2019, Oregon: $350,000 Settlement. A motorist struck a cyclist after he failed to notice a bike lane crossing. The cyclist suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial lacerations, a neck fracture, a tibia fracture, a fibula fracture, an ankle fracture, a pelvic fracture, and multiple rib fractures. He sued the motorist for careless driving and excessive speeding. The man also sued the City of Portland and the State of Oregon for negligently designing and maintaining an unsafe bike lane crossing. This case settled for $350,000.