What types of damages are available after a motorcycle crash in Charleston, SC?
Although motorcycle accidents can be more dangerous than your average car wreck – often resulting in catastrophic injuries or death, the categories of damages that can be recovered are the same as for an auto collision or most other types of personal injury cases.
The types of damages in a motorcycle collision case can include:
- Both economic and non-economic damages,
- Motorcycle repair or replacement and other property damage,
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Pain and suffering,
- Mental anguish,
- Loss of consortium,
- Wrongful death damages, and
- Punitive damages.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
After a motorcycle wreck caused by someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages, or “special” damages, are costs that are easily quantified because you should have a bill, invoice, or estimate that says exactly how much was spent or how much you will have to pay – examples are medical costs, lost wages, and damage to your motorcycle or other property.
Non-economic damages, or “general” damages, are just as important, but they do not ordinarily have documentation on paper. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, or punitive damages.
Although you are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, insurance companies are more likely to attempt to not pay your non-economic damages or to pay less than you are entitled to.
If an insurance adjuster tells you they cannot pay for a loss unless you produce a receipt or invoice, they are lying to you.
Property Damage – Bike Repairs, Diminished Value, and Total Loss
You are entitled to the full value of the cost to repair your bike and the diminution in value of your motorcycle caused by the accident. You may be entitled to the cost of replacement of your bike instead – including any custom work on your motorcycle – when the cost of repairs is greater than the cost of replacement.
You are entitled to recover the full cost of your medical expenses, including future medical costs.
This could include:
- Ambulance and EMS bills,
- Emergency room bills,
- Doctor’s bills,
- Costs of surgeries,
- Medical equipment,
- Future medical costs, and
- Long-term care when needed.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
You are entitled to compensation for all paychecks that you missed after the motorcycle crash because you were in the hospital or recovering from your injuries.
You are also entitled to compensation for any loss of your future earning capacity – if you can no longer bring in the paycheck you used to because your injuries resulted in a partial or total disability, you are entitled to compensation for the difference in your earning potential before and after the crash.
Pain and Suffering
It’s not enough that the negligent driver pays your medical bills – you also suffered because of your injuries.
You are entitled to compensation for the pain and the suffering you experienced during the crash and after as your injuries healed. In some cases, motorcycle crash injuries result in ongoing, long-term pain and suffering, and you are entitled to reasonable compensation for every minute of it.
Mental Anguish and Emotional Distress
For some people, a motorcycle crash causes much more mental anguish than simply the pain and suffering of physical injuries.
In appropriate cases, for example, you may be entitled to compensation after a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, or other mental trauma caused by the motorcycle collision.
Scarring or Disfigurement
If the motorcycle crash results in scarring or disfigurement that cannot be corrected through surgery, you are entitled to compensation for the pain of carrying that scar for the rest of your life or the loss of a limb.
Loss of Consortium and Loss of Companionship
If your spouse was seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim for damages for loss of consortium and loss of companionship.
Wrongful Death Damages
When a motorcycle crash results in the death of a driver or passenger, their family can demand compensation in a wrongful death and survival action for damages including:
- All types of damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived,
- Loss of consortium and loss of companionship,
- Lost wages,
- Burial expenses, and
- Funeral expenses.
You may be entitled to punitive damages after a motorcycle collision when the at-fault driver’s conduct was intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent.
There are no caps on punitive damages when the other driver’s conduct was intended to harm the motorcyclist (road rage), when the other driver was convicted of a felony (felony DUI, for example), or when the other driver was intoxicated (whether or not they were convicted of a crime).
Questions About the Types of Damages Available After a Motorcycle Accident in SC?
The motorcycle accident attorneys at the Boles Law Firm can help you to investigate your crash, gather the evidence you will need in court, negotiate with the insurance companies, and recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries.
Call us at 843-576-5775 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at our North Charleston or Walterboro offices or send us a message through our website.