Motorcycle accidents are common events on the U.S. highway system. While motorcycle use does increase during the summer and fall season in all states, they are continuous throughout all seasons in certain locations.
Victims of motorcycle accidents are also often seriously injured. Their injury claims can be very high in some situations because a motorcycle accident can be a life-changing event.
Even when victims survive, their injuries can last the remainder of their life. This means that specific damages will not be the only claims, but general damages are commonly demanded as well.
Economic Compensatory Damages
Compensatory damages are specific damage financial awards for the primary elements of an accident claim. This is often explained when a claim is evaluated in a free consultation from a motorcycle accident lawyer, but not always in detail.
They include exact amounts for billed expenses and lost finances as a result of the accident. These elements of a motorcycle injury claim are also termed “special” damages in some court systems, and common examples include:
- Physical property damage recovery
- Medical bill recovery
- Lost wage recovery
Special Damage Calculation
Special damages are calculated by combining all elements of a claim expressed in exact numbers, including lost wages when they apply. Lost wages can only be claimed by an employed motorcycle accident victim who cannot work during the time of rehabilitation.
If the accident leaves a victim disabled, the lost future earnings become part of the general damages claim. This amount is critical in most cases because it can be used later to determine general damages and potential punitive damages if a case goes to trial.
Non-Economic Compensatory Damages
The next class of compensatory damages is general damages. These financial recovery awards are not associated with any specific billing amount but are focused on general problems the victim will face in the future. General damages are considered non-economic because they can vary greatly based on certain material case factors. They typically include:
- Pain and suffering allowances
- Additional necessary expenses
- Mental anguish
General Damage Calculation
General damages are usually calculated using either the per diem method or the multiplier method. The total special compensatory damage amount is the amount to be multiplied. Attorneys for each party can agree upon a multiplication factor in a case negotiation, or the court may determine it in a trial or hearing.
The ongoing living problems victims will experience in dealing with the accident injuries are central in determining the appropriate multiplier used, including whether they can return to work in any capacity.
Lost future wages are estimated in this amount when disability is an issue. The award can include lost wages from a reduction in earning power for high-wage earners who must change jobs when able.
A major hurdle that motorcycle accident victims face is an assessment of personal contribution to causing the accident. This is termed comparative negligence in the insurance system. Negligence laws differ between states, consult your lawyer to learn more about the laws that apply to your case.
Some states employ a pure comparative negligence rule, according to which victims may recover damages even if they are 99% at fault for the motorcycle accident.
Most states use modified comparative negligence at the 50% or 51% negligence bar rate or pure comparative negligence that allows for any accident victim to be compensated for their damages unless they are totally at fault for the accident.
A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help You Recover Compensation
The primary problem that motorcycle operators face when their injury case goes to court is avoiding the stereotypes associated with motorcyclists as being dangerous vehicle operators who disregard the law.
This means that the personal injury attorney must serve as a defense attorney, as well, in many situations, and they must know the specific issues that relate to motorcycle accident cases that often do not apply in standard car accidents.
Irma C. Dengler
With a BA in communications and paralegal experience, Irma C. Dengler decided to make the best of her writing skills. She decided to turn complicated legal matters into something more
palatable for the masses. Therefore, Irma became a law communicator who writes about everyday problems so everyone can understand them and take the appropriate action. She specialized in personal injury cases, as they are more common than anyone thinks, but her areas of expertise also include civil law, criminal law, insurance-related issues, and more.