What Types of Compensation Could I Receive After A Motorcycle Accident?
If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may have suffered multiple personal injuries. Your motorcycle may be damaged either slightly or completely destroyed. Having to deal with the costs and emotions after the accident can be even more stressful. Individuals who feel that they are not receiving a fair settlement offer from their insurance company often seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney who deals with motorcycle accidents. One of the most important questions concerns what types of compensation the injured motorcyclist is entitled to receive as a result of the motorcycle accident.
As a useful starting point, an individual is likely to be awarded more compensation where they have suffered more injuries and have more ascertainable property damages. On the other hand, if the injuries are only minor (e.g., scrapes, bruises) and the property damage is minimal, the possible compensation award will be significantly less. In these latter cases, it may be better to negotiate a settlement offer with your insurance company so as to avoid the costs, time, and hassles of litigation. However, in those other cases where your injuries and property damage are extensive and your insurance company is not negotiating in good faith, it is useful to take note of the possible compensation types that are available from litigation.
Compensation is generally separated into two categories: (1) ascertainable damages capable of precise determination and (2) non-ascertainable damages not capable of precise determination. Examples of ascertainable damages include loss of wages from one’s employment due to inability to work, medical bills, and future expenses. Examples of non-ascertainable damages include emotional pain and suffering and loss of consortium. Below is a breakdown of these categories. The below list represents the various types of compensation that can be awarded to you as a result of a motorcycle accident:
- Medical bills and expenses. Injured individuals will likely have multiple hospital bills, medical expenses, and other costs. The court may award compensation to cover these costs as well as the expected costs to be incurred in the future. Examples of these future medical costs include scheduled medical tests, rehabilitation, physical therapy, etc.
- Property damage. If the motorcycle was damaged as a result of the accident, the court may award compensation to take care of the repairs that need to be done to the motorcycle. In instances where the motorcycle was destroyed beyond repair, the fair market value of the motorcycle may be awarded.
- Loss of income. Many individuals who have been injured from motorcycle accidents are unable to return to work immediately and, therefore, suffer massive losses of income. The court is able to award the injured individual for their past and current loss of income as well as their expected loss of income from their inability to work in the future.
- Emotional pain and suffering. In some instances, the court may award the injured individual compensation for their emotional pain and suffering. For instance, the accident itself or the physical injuries that result from the accident could lead to emotional harm. The individual may experience anxiety, fear, depression, headaches, loss of sleep, or other disorders—all of which severely detract from the individual’s quality of life. A claim for this type of damages is not often awarded due to the difficulty in proving emotional pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium. Some severe accidents leave one individual with injuries that prevent that individual from having a full relationship with their spouse. This is caused loss of consortium and can negatively impact the couple’s relationship and quality of life. Courts may be willing to award damages to compensate the injured individual for loss of consortium in some cases.
Remember, the objective of compensation in personal injury lawsuits is to make the injured parties whole again. However, some claims go beyond compensatory damages. For instance, in cases where the defendant acted recklessly or egregiously in causing the motorcycle accident, the injured individual may be awarded punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages awarded.