Possible Damages That Could Be Awarded to You After a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accidents are serious events. After the accident itself happens, the chaos of dealing with it. Cyclists are left wondering how to pick themselves up and keep driving forward in life - asking questions like "how do I navigate this claim process" and "is this a medical expense insurance would cover"? It's hard to see down the road and know what a claim might look like and what life might look like after an accident. Because of that dynamic, it's often important to understand what damages can be awarded after a motorcycle accident - so that you make solid decisions based on what that eventual figure can look like. These are the types of damages available, as well as a discussion about some issues that arise in cases with them.
What Are the Major Types of Damages:
While state law can vary on the nuances, several categories of damages are generally available in a case. Consulting a personal injury and property damage attorney to help you navigate your damages and the complexities of the case. These are the main areas a person can recover damages in:
- Medical damages: cyclists can be awarded compensation for their current and future medical expenses. When pursuing a legal claim, it can often become critical to structure the award or settlement cover future medical care. Your attorney may need to present specific evidence of your need for future damages and show that care stemmed from the accident. Injuries don't always manifest or become apparent immediately, so it's important to work with an experienced firm that proactively asks these questions and builds the case from the beginning to include those - but who also understands how to fight for them.
- Property damages: during an accident, the damage to your motorcycle can be pretty extensive. While the replacement value can be reasonably straightforward to calculate, you will want to work with an experienced property damage lawyer who can advocate for you and protect you from low claims estimates.
- Lost wages: lost wages are relatively easy to quantify but require meticulous documentation and must be presented to the court properly. Unfortunately, as well, not all injuries resolve and allow someone to work again or work again at the same level. If your future income will be diminished or erased, it is crucial to have strong, expert witnesses and evidence to give a foundation for that claim. Working with an expert long-term disability lawyer who understands complex financial projections and loss of capacity will pay significant dividends. This is an area where, quite literally, you cannot afford to take any risks.
General damages relate to items that cannot be tied to a specific economic value. They tend to involve things like pain, suffering, and emotional distress. If you can provide evidence of these items, it's possible to secure them. Georgia's statute does have a cap on these damages, but the jury, or judge, will ultimately base the damages on the evidence in front of them. Therefore, it is highly advisable to work with an attorney who can craft the right story around your pain and suffering to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Punitive damages: Punitive damages are different than the compensatory damages discussed above. Punitive damages are a particular type of award that is meant to punish the defendant in a case and to serve as a warning to the public at large. These damages punish particularly egregious forms of behavior - such as drunk driving, extreme speeding, and recklessly using phones. These damages are available in addition to compensatory damages and can be considerable. Punitive damages are meant to serve a specific purpose and are less common - nonetheless, that prospect should be discussed with an attorney.
The Issue of Comparative Negligence:
Comparative negligence: While a case is pending - or at trial - the defendant, and insurance company, are sure to raise the issue of comparative fault in the process. This is a system by which the legal system attempts to attribute blame between parties. For instance, if you pulled out slightly early or were not wearing a helmet, the judge or jury might find that your behavior should reduce the award amount. It is essential to consult an experienced attorney about these issues and understand the potential mitigation of your award and how to minimize the chances of the other party making a solid argument for reducing your award - for example, by avoiding discussing the case on social media.
Personal injury lawsuits can quickly become challenging to navigate. The issues stipulated above represent a critical but small part of the unique injury process. The road to get there is complex and can be exhausting for clients dealing with financial, physical, and mental turmoil. Contacting an experienced firm to handle your motorcycle accident claim can make all the difference in securing the best possible award for you and your family.