Types of Damages in A Motorcycle Accident
There are many different types of damages that can happen in a motorcycle accident, ranging from property damage to personal injury, which can include medical bills, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffer, and mental anguish. Another category to consider is punitive damages as well.
Motorcycle Repairs and Total Loss
The first category that you might look at is property damage. That's going to be the repairs to the motorcycle or for a total loss. If the cost of the repairs exceeds the value of the motorcycle, then the insurance companies will typically declare it a total loss, which means they'll pay you the fair market value of the bike. You will want to get an estimate from a shop as to the cost of those repairs.
Medical bills are probably fairly self-explanatory, but you can recover both your medical expenses incurred in the past and in the future. Any of the medical bills that you suffer or incur as a result of your injuries can be claimed in your case. Additionally, if the doctors tell you that you're likely to need treatment in the future, you can claim the cost of that medical treatment as well. This has to be more than something that's just speculative or a possibility; it has to be something that's likely to occur.
Loss of Earning Capacity
Most people just think about this as lost wages. What you're looking at is your loss of earning capacity in both the past and the future. That past and future date typically becomes your trial date or at whatever time you're mediating. It's a step that obviously in the past, things that have already occurred, and in the future, things that haven't. In some cases, it may just be the money that you missed from not going to work, but some people suffer injuries of such a degree that they're unable to do the job that they did before. They may be able to work a different job, so they don't necessarily have lost wages per se, but now that they're making less money, they have a lower earning capacity than they had before. They would have a loss of earning capacity in both the past and the future, assuming that that would continue on for the rest of their life or for some longer period.
Pain and Suffering and Mental Anguish
This is the pain that you go through on a daily basis, throughout the day as you do certain tasks. There is also mental anguish, which has to do with the mental pain and trauma that you experience in dealing with these accidents. Sometimes it's just there may be certain mental grief associated with having to deal with your injuries or maybe missing out on important family events or unable to participate in certain activities. Also, for things that you can't do any longer there's another type of damage called impairment that can be claimed as well. For instance, maybe you participate in an adult soccer league and can no longer do that, or really enjoy golfing and can't golf anymore, or carry your baby around the house. Things of that nature would fall into an impairment claim.
Punitive damages are damages awarded for punishment, for certain conduct that's such a degree that it merits some sort of punishment above and beyond the recovery solely for the damages caused in the accident. A good example of when this can possibly occur is with a DWI situation. A driver who is almost to the degree of being reckless or intentional, intentionally disregarding the safety of others and getting intoxicated and choosing to go drive on the road with other motorists and causing injury can be punished, because the conduct is of a degree that can allow punitive damages. One of the reasons the law allows these is to deter conduct. It's especially useful in cases where maybe the injuries weren't that bad but could have been. Say you got really lucky or you were driving a very safe car and your injuries were fairly minor, the individual may have just as easily killed someone else. That's why the law allows us to pursue these sorts of damages to deter that conduct even where the damages aren't actually as bad.
A famous case some people are familiar with where these came into play was the Ford Pinto case. In addition to other damages awarded, the punitive damages here were large. When you've got somebody as large as Ford Motors, you have to send a fairly large verdict to get the message across.
In the tragic event that a motorcycle accident results in the death of the driver or passenger, compensation may be sought from any and all negligent parties.
This past weekend, the world learned the sad news that 36-year-old Cedric Benson, former Longhorn and NFL veteran running back, was killed in a catastrophic crash between his motorcycle and a minivan. The tragedy is a sobering reminder how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call us or fill out our Case Evaluation Form online. Our attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help seek maximum recovery. Zinda Law Group - No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call us today at (800) 853-5312.
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