Compensation for Motorcycle Accidents
Like any other personal injury claim, obtaining compensation for a motorcycle accident requires evidence of liability or fault by another individual or entity and proof that your injuries and damages were caused by that party. You can also offer evidence of pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Liability is the first obstacle in many motorcycle accident cases since many auto liability and other insurers assume that the rider was primarily negligent or contributed to the accident. In many accidents with motor vehicles, the motorist struck the motorcycle at an intersection or turned directly into the path of the rider. Because of the smaller size of motorcycles, it is not uncommon for motorists to either fail to notice a bike or to misjudge its speed or distance.
Liability can be demonstrated by eyewitness testimony, footage from surveillance cameras at intersections, positioning of the vehicles at impact, skid marks and statements of the parties. A rider who failed to wear a helmet might be considered comparatively at fault for his injuries even if the jurisdiction does not require a rider to wear one.
Damages must also be proved by the injured motorcyclist. You are entitled to economic, or special damages, and non-economic losses or general damages.
Evidence of economic loss is supported by medical records and billing statements, paystubs, tax returns, and payments made to vocational rehabilitation specialists. Any medical care and payments must be reasonable. If future medical care is needed, a medical provider needs to estimate the nature of the care and its reasonable cost.
A medical report is also needed to show that you were unable to work for a period of time or that you are unable to return to your normal occupation. An economist is generally required to testify or provide a report on the income you would have earned over your working lifetime or what you will likely earn at a job that pays less.
If you were in school, an injury could delay your entry into the employment marketplace. Again, an economist can offer studies and other documentation of the income you could have earned but are losing because of your delay into the profession or vocation for which you were being trained or educated.
Your economic losses will be for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income losses
- Property damage to motorcycle
Non-economic or general damages are subjective. This can be shown by the severity of your injuries, the pain you suffered or continue to suffer and how your life has been dramatically altered.
Evidence for this category of damages is shown by your own testimony and from medical professionals, friends and family members who can state how your life has changed and that you are no longer able to enjoy the activities you engaged in before your accident. The highest compensation can come from this category of damages. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Diminished quality of life