Motorcycle accidents can result in serious or life-threatening injuries, creating a significant financial burden. However, if your accident was caused by another party's negligence, you may be able recover some of your accident-related expenses by filing a personal injury claim.
Medical expenses from a motorcycle accident include all of the care involved in treating your injuries, including:
- Ambulance transportation
- Emergency room visit
- Diagnostic tests such as X-rays and MRIs
- Crutches or other assistive devices
- Physical therapy
- Follow-up care
Medical expenses can be documented by providing copies of billing statements received from the hospital or your insurance company.
Estimated Future Medical Needs
If the motorcycle accident has left you with a permanent disability, you may be facing substantial future medical costs. The estimated cost of your care, as documented by your doctor and other relevant experts, can be included in your claim.
Lost income includes all of the time you were unable to work during your recovery. Time missed after you returned to work to attend follow-up doctor visits can also be included. You can document this loss by showing pay stubs or proof of sick leave or vacation pay used during this time period.
If your injuries have left you unable to return to work, working only part-time, or working in a lower paying occupation, you can seek damages for loss of future earning potential. Since it's difficult to calculate the loss of hypothetical future wages, you'll need an economic loss or vocational expert to testify on your behalf.
When you're self-employed, lost income includes lost earnings from the time you were unable to work as well as lost profit, loss of future business opportunities, and loss of goodwill. Your attorney will advise you on the best way to document these losses.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering compensation is intended to compensate you for both the physical pain and emotional trauma associated with your injuries. This includes symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and flashbacks—which may be associated with PTSD related to your accident.
Since pain and suffering doesn't have a readily associated dollar value, it's most often calculated using a multiplier of your medical expenses. Exact procedures vary, but it's typical to use a multiplier between 1 and 5—with permanently disabling injuries receiving the highest multipliers.
Punitive damages are intended solely to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are relatively rare in personal injury claims but can be an option to pursue when the at-fault driver was particularly reckless in causing an accident that resulted in very serious injury.
There's a common misperception that bikers are careless with their own personal safety, but studies indicate motorists are actually responsible for the majority of collisions. When your injuries are caused by someone who doesn't respect the rights of bikers on the road, punitive damages may be appropriate. For example, a drunk driver or overly aggressive motorist might be held liable for punitive damages if the accident resulted in lifelong disability for the motorcyclist.
Fault and Your Eligibility for Compensation
If you were determined to be partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, this does not prohibit you from filing a personal injury claim. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
The best way to protect your right to compensation following a serious motorcycle accident is to retain an experienced personal injury attorney. Insurance companies place top priority on protecting their bottom line, which means they're reluctant to settle claims for what they're truly worth.
Your attorney can maximize the size of your settlement by handling communication with the other driver's insurance company, collecting documentation to support the extent of your injuries, and contacting any applicable expert witnesses to testify on your behalf.
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team has extensive experience helping Louisiana residents who've suffered serious motorcycle accident injuries receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.541.8188 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.