Ever since renegade actors used motorcycles to rebel against the previous generations, they have had the allure of danger and excitement. They attract those with adventure on their mind, and sometimes they get more than they bargained for.
However, as gas prices rise higher and higher and more people flock to urban environments, motorcycles and mopeds have also gotten the attention of more conservative-minded commuters. They represent a more accessible and more economical way of getting around town. Unfortunately, bikes are also involved in some of the most shocking accidents across all kinds of vehicles.
If you are hurt in a motorcycle accident, your first reaction might be to sue. However, after that instinct subsides, your mind wonder if the all the trouble and effort is worth a lawsuit if you were only marginally injured. So, you will probably at some point want to ask a lawyer, "What is my motorcycle case worth?"
There are some factors to consider while making this calculation: what you need to be doing to preserve any recovery, the particular laws surrounding motorcycle accidents, the specific facts of your case, and others. Of course, every lawsuit is decided on its own merits, but you need a starting point. So, set forth below, we have summaries of other cases that are broken down by injury type to give you a sense of comparable awards as well as some general information you need to know if you are injured in an Illinois motorcycle accident.
Please review the pages below for information on specific cases and injuries:
- How Much are Motorcycle Accident Soft Tissue Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Motorcycle Accident Bone Fracture Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Motorcycle Accident Back and Neck Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Motorcycle Accident Brain Injury Cases Worth?
- How Much are Motorcycle Accident Fatality Cases Worth?
Past Illinois Motorcycle Accident Awards
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and are considering legal action, more often than not, your main concern is how much you could possibly recover at trial or settlement. Lawsuits are not about fun; they are arduous and time-consuming processes meant to compensate victims for legally recognizable wrongs. To gain a sense of what you could recover, we have summarized some motorcycle accident cases and organized them by injury.
How Much are Motorcycle Accident Soft Tissue Injury Cases Worth?
They can return as much as tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The key areas to focus on are your expenses, pain, and disability if any. Read these summaries to learn more your potential recovery.
DADDIO VS. OGUNBEKUN; 1996; COOK COUNTY; $78,000 JURY AWARD:
An unemployed man was cruising around on his motorcycle when a car suddenly turned into him. Apparently, the car driver tried to turn left into the motorcyclist's lane but hit him instead. After he fell off his bike, he suffered soft tissue injuries and a broken wrist. He sued the car driver for negligence and claimed the defendant caused those injuries as well as a 35% in his hand and arthritis.
The defendant countered that the plaintiff was drag racing with other motorcyclists and, thus, his contributory negligence barred him from recovering. The jury found that the plaintiff should be 30% responsible for the crash. Since this was less than 51%, he was still able to recover, but his $78,000 award was reduced to $54,600.
ROBERTS VS. ROBERTSON; 1997; MADISON COUNTY; $6,415,000 JURY AWARD
This motorcycle accident involved several parties. A man and a woman were riding peacefully on a motorcycle when a truck towing a boat changed lanes and obstructed their passage. The result was a serious collision because the bikers could not stop fast enough to avoid a crash. The woman suffered a leg injury, and the man suffered soft tissue damage to his back.
The two motorcyclists sued the truck driver and argued that he negligently changed lanes and should have been more cautious in doing so. The defendant flatly denied that he was at fault and so the matter went to trial. The jury returned an exorbitant award of $6,415,000 for the following damages:
- Medical: $172,000
- Lost Wages: $526,000
- Pain and Suffering: $2,717,000
- Punitive: $3,000,000
- Total: $6,415,000
ROBINSON VS. BROCK; 1996; MADISON COUNTY; $30,000 JURY AWARD:
A young man in his mid-twenties was waiting on a motorcycle at a red light when a car rear-ended him. He suffered extraordinary pain and soft tissue damage in his lower back. He sued the car driver for these injuries and also for the inability to begin a full-time job he was supposed to start not long after the incident. The defendant admitted to causing the accident and the plaintiff's injuries. She even admitted that her car's faulty brakes were the reason for her inability to stop to avoid the collision.
However, she still denied the extent of the damages claimed and stated this did not prevent the plaintiff from beginning his job. The jury returned a verdict for the young man for $30,000 in the following fashion (giving him some credit for lost income):
- Medical: $5,500
- Pain and Suffering: $6,900
- Lost Wages: $17,600
- Total: $30,000
BRYANT VS. WILLIAMS; 1995; ST. CLAIR COUNTY; $28,000 JURY AWARD:
A motorcyclist was driving down a highway when a car coming from the opposite direction turned left right in front of him. They could not avoid colliding, and the motorcyclist suffered soft tissue injuries to his legs and feet. Also, a scar even developed on his right leg. The victim sued the car driver and alleged that he should have been more alert and cautious while turning.
The defendant driver admitted fault but denied that the plaintiff's injuries were as severe as he claimed. Failing to find a compromise, the dispute went to trial on the sole issue of damages where the jury found that the appropriate amount was $28,000.
TYK VS. GRAF; 2007; COOK COUNTY; $14,000 JURY AWARD:
A man in his mid-forties was riding his motorcycle between two cars when the one behind him rear-ended him and sent his bike right into the car at the front of the pack.
Due to the incident, the motorcyclist sustained suffered many injuries including soft tissue damage throughout his body. He sued the driver who initiated the chain-reaction crash. The defendant admitted to starting the collision but denied that the plaintiff's injuries were caused by the incident and even pointed to the plaintiff's expert testimony regarding the motorcyclist's pre-existing injuries. Despite the evidence of the plaintiff's prior pains, the jury still returned a $14,000 verdict for the man ($12,000 for medical costs and $2,000 for pain and suffering).
How Much are Motorcycle Accident Bone Fracture Injury Cases Worth?
Typically, truck accident victims with broken bones recover the value they spent on medical bills, lost due to missed work, and amounts they had to fork over for their car damage. However, specific amounts can vary and depend on your actual damages. Consult these case summaries for more guidance.
GRADY VS. VENUGOPAL; COOK COUNTY; $495,000 JURY AWARD
The plaintiff in this case, Mr. Grady, was driving his motorcycle around a small town in northern Cook County when a truck driver immediately and unexpectedly turned into his lane and caused a collision. Grady had just entered a left-turn lane and was about to turn when the truck merged into the same path without signaling, without yielding, and while on his cellular phone. The crash caused significant breaks and tears in Grady's knees, wrists, hands, and shoulders.
He sued the driver and the driver's employer; however, because the conduct of the driver was deemed to be wanton and willful (talking on the phone while driving), it was not within the course of his employment and the employer was dismissed as a defendant. The jury returned a $495,000 verdict for Grady.
MILLER VS. COTTON; WILL COUNTY; $50,000 JURY AWARD
Ms. Miller was riding her motorcycle on a busy road in Bolingbrook when she noticed a car closely tailing her. The car drove right up to the rear of her bike then tried to go around her. However, in the process, the car clipped her motorcycle and caused an accident. The incident left Miller with a fractured clavicle as well as other various injuries all over her body.
Both sides claimed that the other driver was at fault, failed to slow down, failed to keep a proper lookout, and was otherwise negligent. They jury believed Miller and awarded her a $50,000 verdict but also saddled her 45% of the responsibility for the crash that almost cut that figure completely in half.
PAUL VS. SOULIDES; KANE COUNTY; $100,000 SETTLEMENT
Both drivers in this incident were driving down a busy road, Route 64, in Kane County. Soulides turned left to enter a Dairy Queen and cut off Paul. They crashed right into each other and Paul suffered a broken bone and other injuries. Paul and his wife brought a negligence action against Soulides claiming damages related to loss of income, medical bills, and related items. They settled out of court for the insurance policy maximum of $100,000.
MURAWSKI VS. LIANG; COOK COUNTY; $250,000 SETTLEMENT
This case involved a head-on collision. The plaintiff, Mr. Murawski, was riding his motorcycle down a state highway when the defendant's car crossed the median line and ran smack into him. Among various injuries that he sustained, Murawski also broke his leg and that condition eventually deteriorated to the point where he needed an amputation.
Naturally, Murawski sued the other driver for negligence. While the defendant did proffer a defense, it did not last long possibly because of the clear nature of who was at fault in this case. Thus, both sides quickly settled for the insurance policy maximum amount of $250,000.
RANKIN VS. WILLIAMS; WILL COUNTY; $50,000 SETTLEMENT
Mr. Rankin attempted to drive his motorcycle through an intersection when he was hit broadside by another vehicle that was attempting to turn left. Among other bruises all over his body, he also sustained a serious leg fracture.
At trial, both parties contended that the other was driving too fast and not keeping a proper lookout. Possibly because of the ambiguous circumstances of fault in this particular incident, the parties decided to settle for $50,000 rather than risk losing even more in court.
KARAS VS. YOUNG; COOK COUNTY; $159,000 JURY AWARD
Karas was riding a motorcycle around Blue Island, Illinois, when a truck veered into his lane and collided with him. He reportedly suffered various injuries including broken bones; therefore, he decided to sue the truck driver and the driver's employer under a respondeat superior theory of vicarious liability.
His suit alleged that the truck driver was driving too fast, turned without signaling, and turned without determining if there was anyone in the other lane. The defendants said much of the same things about Karas. Unfortunately, in these circumstances, often times the jury sides with the aggrieved and they did so here as well-finding for the plaintiff, Karas for $159,000.
How Much are Motorcycle Accident Back and Neck Injury Cases Worth?
The value of your back or neck injury claim will largely be based on your hospital bills including surgery, pain and disability, and ability to work again. To understand this issue in greater detail, read these back and neck injury case summaries.
Ross vs. City Of Chicago; Cook County; $3,317,000 Jury Award
The motorcyclist here, Mr. Ross, was driving down Lake Shore Drive near downtown Chicago a little bit after midnight. Unknown to him, there was a cop car watching traffic in a hidden location in the vicinity. Without signaling or using his lights, the cop turned into traffic and collided with Ross.
The incident left Ross with extraordinary neck and head injuries. Not soon after he decided to sue the cop and the police department. He claimed the cop negligently turned into traffic and failed to avoid the crash; additionally, the suit alleged that the department failed to adequately supervise and monitor its employees.
Both defendants shot back that Ross was driving too fast, should have kept better watch of the road, and was the real culprit in the accident. The jury found for the plaintiff in the amount of $3,317,000 for damages related to medical bills, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. However, the jury also found that Ross was 10% responsible for the incident; thus, his recovery was lowered by the same amount.
Chilton vs. Uhlir; Lake County; $53,000 Jury Award
Peter Chilton was riding his motorcycle around a town in northern Illinois when a car from behind clipped him, causing him to fall forward and injure his back and neck.
He sued the driver, Joshua Uhlir, for negligence and sought damages for his medical bills and associated injuries. Uhlir agreed that he was negligent but denied that he caused Chilton's injuries. The jury did not buy this paradox and returned a $53,000 verdict for the plaintiff.
Lally vs. Arrp Paving; Cook County; $35,000 Jury Award
The plaintiff in this case, Ivan Lally, was driving his motorcycle down the highway when a tractor-trailer rear-ended him. The force of the crash sent him flying nearly a hundred feet down the road and gave him serious neck and other injuries.
Lally claimed that he needed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to medically repair these injuries and sought over $1 million at trial from the other driver.
In response, the defendant claimed that most of the plaintiff's harms came from injuries he received while working as a cop the year before the incident. Also, he claimed the plaintiff was contributorily negligent by swerving into his lane right before the crash such that the defendant could not avoid the incident. The strong arguments offered by the defense might explain why jury only returned a verdict of $35,000 in the face of the plaintiff's large demand and steep medical bills following the crash.
Reed vs. St. Louis Cab Company; St. Clair County; $63,000 Jury Award
Steven Reed was riding his motorcycle down a quiet road in southern Illinois when a cab changed lanes right in front of him. He was left hardily any time to slow down and he collided with the cab suffering extensive injuries to the neck, back, and pelvis.
He sued the cab driver as well as the cab company but only the former was still remaining at trial. He argued in court that the defendant should have signaled his turn, changed lanes at a slower speed and checked before turning, among other things.
For his part, the defendant retorted that Reed was driving too fast and should have kept a better lookout to avoid the crash. In typical fashion, the jury gave a sizeable verdict to the plaintiff but almost half of the responsibility as well and that cut the award by nearly 50%. In this way, juries typically seem to compromise.
How Much are Motorcycle Accident Brain Injury Cases Worth?
On average, these cases can return hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is due to the devastating impact brain injuries have on victims' physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial lives. These brain injury case summaries reflect that fact.
Butler vs. Beegle; Jo Daviess County; $500,000 Settlement:
The plaintiff was on his motorcycle riding along a country road. He came upon a group of livestock. Unfortunately, he could not avoid colliding into some of the animals. The force of the crash sent him off his bike.
He sustained injuries to his brain and spine. They eventually resulted in paraplegia. He sued the owner of the animals for negligence. The suit cited a failure to control his livestock and prevent the accident. The owner shot back that the plaintiff exaggerated his injuries. He said the motorcyclist was responsible for the crash in the first place. Eventually, both sides decided to settle for $500,000.
Shreve vs. Swalec; Cook County; $3,209,000 Jury Award:
A motorcyclist, Larry Shreve, was driving down a road. A Verizon truck attempted to turn left into a driveway right in front of Shreve. Unfortunately, before that happened, both crashed into each other.
The incident left Shreve with significant brain damage. He sued the truck driver as well as the driver's employer, Verizon North Incorporated. Interestingly, the defendants both agreed the truck driver was negligent. They said his negligence caused the plaintiff's injuries. They both denied the extent of the plaintiff's claimed injuries.
However, their arguments in court were not effective. The jury returned a $3,209,000 award for Shreve for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, medical bills, and loss of normal life.
Bidinger vs. Collins; Kane County; $100,000 Settlement:
A motorcycle collided with a car. The car attempted to make a left turn into the lane of the motorcycle. He did not leave enough time for the latter to pass before hitting it.
The plaintiff was a passenger on the motorcycle. She was thrown off the bike and into a metal sign. She claimed she suffered a closed head injury as a result. She sued both drivers as well as the owner of the sign.
Her lawsuit contended that the drivers were negligent in not slowing down and staying alert. Also, it argued that the sign owner created a dangerous condition by not removing it at the urging of the local authorities. This case did not last long in court. All sides agreed to short-circuit the litigation. The woman got a $100,000 settlement.
Hill vs. J.M. Irrigations Inc.; Cook County; $5,750,000 Settlement:
The defendant motorcyclist turned left into the plaintiff. The crash left the victim with a serious head injury and other harms.
He sued the driver as well as the driver's employer under vicarious liability theory. At trial, he claimed damages of medical bills, pain and suffering, and reduced quality of life. He also claimed lost wages.
He brought expert economic testimony to project his loss in earnings due to the incident. After this strong showing, the defendants offered to settle at $5,750,000.
Mccloud vs. Goodyear; Cook County; $15,000,000 Jury Award:
In this products liability case, a motorcyclist sued the manufacturer of the tires on her bike. They gave out and the malfunction led to her harms. She was thrown to the ground on an interstate highway. The force of the fall gave her an extreme head injury. She required constant medical attention for the rest of her life.
In her suit, she claimed the tires were not fit for their intended use as made and distributed. The defendant countered that the tires were fine but that the plaintiff did not properly fill them with air prior to departing. As such, they refused any liability. The jury disagreed. They awarded her $15,000,000 for pain, suffering, and other damages.
Vitha vs. Staples; Mchenry County; $151,000 Jury Award:
The plaintiff got hit head-on as he drove his motorcycle down a busy public street. The defendant's vehicle tried to make a left turn through his lane and hit him.
He claimed the incident left him with significant head and lumbar pains. The defendant denied this and claimed that the plaintiff exaggerated his injuries. The jury returned a $151,000 award for the plaintiff. The money was for medical bills, pain, and suffering.
How Much are Motorcycle Accident Wrongful Death Cases Worth?
Truck accident wrongful death cases may be worth much more than other types because loved ones often will bring their own claims for support or companionship in addition to the decedent's claims. This can double or even triple what you might ordinarily expect from a physical injury lawsuit. The following case summaries illustrate this pattern.
Schaafsma vs. Gonzalez; Will County; $1,050,000 Jury Award
A 53-year-old man was riding his motorcycle when he was unexpectedly hit by a truck at an intersection. The motorcyclist was driving east, and the truck was driving south. However, as the former entered the intersection, the latter refused to yield to him, and the two collided into each other.
The man died from injuries related to the crash. Representatives for the motorcyclist later brought action against the truck driver for negligence because they claimed he should have slowed down and yielded to the other driver.
They also sued the truck driver's employer under vicarious liability because he was working at the time of the incident. Both defendants denied that they were at fault and argued that the motorcyclist was driving too fast. The opposing sides could not reach an agreement. Thus, the case went to trial where the jury awarded the plaintiff $1,050,000 for wrongful death damages.
Pieczkowski vs. Rietveld; Will County; $200,000 Settlement
A motorcycle driver tried turning left through a lane to enter another when he was hit on his broadside by a truck, sending him to the ground. Complications from the incident would later lead to his death.
He was survived only by his sister, and she eventually brought a wrongful death action on his behalf against the truck driver who hit him. The suit alleged, among other things, that the defendant was driving too fast and should have yielded to the motorcyclist.
The defendant denied any liability, but we cannot judge with what voracity he would have rebuffed the plaintiff because they settled out of court after the filing of the lawsuit for $200,000.
Donahue vs. Hilt; Lake County; $1,040,000 Settlement
In this incident, a truck driver left the bar and grill he worked at with the company's truck. According to allegations later made at trial, this driver was intoxicated as he left.
While driving, he made a left turn into the plaintiff's lane and hit him head-on. The plaintiff soon died from the impact of the crash. In the wrongful death action that followed, the next-of-kin to the decedent claimed that the driver was driving drunk and was negligent by turning into the plaintiff's path.
The plaintiff also instituted a dram shop action against the bar and grill as the driver's employer and server. The defendant driver actually defaulted in this case and could not be found but the company settled with the plaintiff for $1,040,000.
Shirkey vs. Flad; Dupage County; $1,350,000 Settlement
The defendant, in this case, was hopping around bars in DuPage County before he decided to head home. When he did, he came upon a motorcycle driver and tried to go around him. While doing so, he clipped the back of the motorcycle and sent the other driver into a tailspin.
The motorcyclist later died from complications related to the accident. His representatives brought a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence and the two bars he had visited prior to the crash under dram shop laws.
All sides reached an agreement at $1,035,000 for medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of consortium under the Funeral Expense Act and Survivor Act.
Mcchrystal vs. Morgenthaler; Cook County; $1,060,000 Jury Award
The victim, in this case, was only 21 years old. He was struck and killed when a motorist travelling in the opposite direction tried to execute a left-hand turnthrough his land but, instead, ran right into his broadside.
He died immediately upon impact. In the subsequent lawsuit, representatives of the decedent alleged that the other driver was negligent in failing to yield to the plaintiff and failing to adequately control his vehicle to avoid the crash.
The defendant quickly responded that the motorcyclist was the party at fault with very similar allegations as the plaintiff. The jury awarded the plaintiff with approximately $60,000 in damages for medical bills and $1,000,000 for pain and suffering.
Mercier vs. Corranza; Lake County; $380,000 Settlement
In this gruesome accident, a woman was riding on the back of a motorcycle when another vehicle crashed right into it as the car attempted to make a left-hand turn through the motorcycle's lane. She was actually thrown off the bike and dragged by the car in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Naturally, she was seriously injured and she actually died from these same injuries.
Next of kin for the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the drivers of the motorcycle and the car. It claimed both were negligent in driving too fast, failing to keep a proper lookout, and not yielding to each other. Obviously, neither defendant had a leg to stand in countering any of these charges, so both looked to settle fast.
The final agreement forced the car driver to pay $360,000 and the motorcycle driver to pay $20,000. More was apportioned to the former probably because he initiated the crash and was probably more at fault by not yielding to the other driver.
Need Legal Help With an Illinois Motorcycle Accident Case?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to protecting the rights of motorcyclists injured on Illinois roads and highways. Our attorneys have successfully prosecuted cases on behalf go injured motorcyclists in all areas of Illinois. We invite you to discuss your case without any cost or obligation with an attorney who has experience winning these cases.