What Damages Can I Collect for a Motorcycle Accident?

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What Damages Can I Collect for a Motorcycle Accident

Following a motorcycle accident, you may have legal grounds to recover compensation for damages you suffered. Damages refer to the economic and non-economic losses you sustained because of the motorcycle crash. Every state has different laws governing damages you can collect for a personal injury lawsuit.

Understanding what damages you can collect for a motorcycle accident can help you recover the full amount you deserve after a crash caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions.

Damages You Can Collect for a Motorcycle Accident

Damages from a motorcycle accident include tangible economic losses, such as lost income and medical bills. They also include non-economic losses such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses for a motorcycle accident can often be devastating. Since a motorcycle accident is more likely to cause catastrophic injury and death, the associated medical expenses are often much higher. Types of medical costs you could recover following a motorcycle accident include:

  • Hospital stays and inpatient procedures
  • Emergency assistance and critical care
  • Surgical intervention
  • Recovery and rehabilitation
  • Drugs, medical devices, and equipment
  • In-home nursing assistance
  • Domestic help

You may also be able to claim the cost of renovations or modifications to your home or vehicle for disability accommodations. Overall, any health-related expenses that arise from your motorcycle accident could be part of the damages you recover.

Lost Income

A personal injury lawsuit lets you recover past and future income you lose due to the motorcycle accident. Income loss includes:

  • Lost work hours
  • Lost salary
  • Lost benefits
  • Reduced income
  • Lower income potential
  • Loss of career
  • Loss of business

For extreme injuries, you may be unable to return to your job or career. Some states allow you to seek financial compensation for career rehabilitation, such as education and training you need to move to a different career field.

Non-Economic Damages

State laws differ when it comes to non-economic damages you can claim following a motorcycle accident. Unlike economic damages like medical bills and income, non-economic losses are not easily calculated using documentation. Their intangible nature makes them more difficult to quantify, but motorcycle accident lawyers have experience establishing such values.

Examples of non-economic damages in a motorcycle accident include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Compromised quality of life
  • Loss of consortium

Wrongful Death Damages

If a close family member passed away because of a motorcycle crash, you may have grounds to collect wrongful death damages. Although no financial award can make up for the loss of a loved one, a wrongful death claim can help you regain financial stability. Losses you can pursue in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Medical costs accrued by your loved one before their death
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Pain and suffering your loved one experienced before their demise
  • Mental and emotional distress you experienced due to your loved one’s passing
  • Lost income if your deceased loved one contributed to household expenses
  • Loss of companionship, love, and advice

Factors That Affect Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case

The type and value of damages varies widely based on the state where the accident occurred and the case details. The following factors can affect the value of your damage settlement or verdict in a motorcycle accident case.

Comparative Fault

Some states have comparative fault laws that limit the amount you can pursue if you share liability for the crash. Comparative fault can be complicated to calculate. In pure comparative fault states, your damages are calculated based on the percentage of your liability for the accident.

Modified comparative fault states, on the other hand, may only allow you to pursue damages if you are less than 50% responsible for the accident. Still other states operate on a contributory negligence policy, which means that you cannot pursue damages if you are even 1% responsible for the motorcycle crash.

Michigan is an example of a modified comparative negligence state. Per Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.2959, anyone over 50% liable for their accident will have reduced economic compensation, and they may receive no non-economic damages. You should always seek the help of a motorcycle accident attorney to help determine if you have a case.

Injury Severity

Typically, more serious injuries result in higher damage settlements. A motorcycle accident that causes surface abrasions and bruises will likely have a lower settlement value than a motorcycle crash that resulted in traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord damage, or other catastrophic injury.

Statute of Limitations

Every state places a limit on the amount of time you have to file a motorcycle accident lawsuit. If you miss the statute of limitations, you could lose your chance to recover compensation for damages. In Michigan, for example, you usually have three years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. However, time frames differ based on your accident’s circumstances, so you benefit from speaking with a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the crash.

Ways to Maximize Your Damage Recovery After a Motorcycle Accident

While there is no guarantee about the value or outcome of your motorcycle collision claim or lawsuit, here are some tips to help fight for a fair settlement and protect your right to compensation.

Avoid Accepting the First Settlement

A settlement agreement with the at-fault party or their insurance company is often the ideal way to recover your losses. However, insurance companies are notorious for offering lowball claims. Even when the insurance adjuster seems helpful, the company profits from paying out as little as possible, so they are motivated to save money.

Initial settlement offers from insurance companies are almost always too low. Once you accept an offer, you are usually barred from pursuing any additional compensation for that accident. If the settlement does not cover your total losses, you may end up paying out of pocket for expenses related to an accident that was not your fault.

Document Everything

Take photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. Keep a logbook or journal detailing the ways your motorcycle accident affected your life. For instance, days you missed work or could not perform regular chores or activities due to your motorcycle accident injuries. All this evidence, including your medical records, will serve as evidence to support your claim for more damages.

Seek Medical Attention Right Away

Even if you don’t feel your injuries right away, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Adrenaline can mask injuries hours or even days after your accident. However, if you tell the insurance adjuster or police officer that you have no injuries, it can be hard to add them to a claim when they present later. Instead, go to your doctor or emergency room within 24-48 hours of your accident to have them check for injuries.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Once your injuries are diagnosed, follow your doctor’s treatment plan to the letter. Use any assistive devices prescribed and attend all your doctor’s appointments. Do not skip rehabilitation appointments or physical therapy, even if you are starting to feel better. The insurance company or opposing counsel could use it as an excuse to deny all or part of your medical expenses.

Hire an Attorney As Soon As Possible

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine which damages you can pursue after a motorcycle accident. By hiring a lawyer immediately after you accident, you give them time to gather fresh evidence and build a solid claim on your behalf. While you focus on recovering from your losses, a lawyer can handle negotiations, submit legal filings, and represent your interests in hearings and other court proceedings.

Contact Christensen Law to Learn More About Damages You Can Collect for a Motorcycle Accident

At Christensen Law, we are committed to seeking maximum compensation for motorcycle accident victims all over Michigan. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation and find out which damages you could collect for your motorcycle injury claim.