What Type of Damages Can I Recover From My Motorcycle Accident?
When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault party. In other words, if someone’s negligence was the cause of your wreck, they can be legally required to pay damages for your medical bills and more.
If you have sustained an injury as the result of someone’s neglect, poor judgment or misbehavior, you may be entitled to:
- Compensatory damages
- Punitive damages
Let’s take a moment to discuss each so you know exactly what you may be awarded.
Compensatory damages are meant to pay you back for monies you have already spent and monies you will payout in the future. Think of these as expenditures you can prove with bills, receipts, and pay stubs.
These awards will cover things like medical bills, therapy costs, and lost wages. You may also be awarded monies to cover household expenses that are incurred due to lost wages and costs associated with any canceled or altered vacation plans. You will have to prove, of course, that these plans were changed as a result of your injuries that are directly related to the motorcycle accident.
Common compensatory damage categories include:
- Emergency medical transport and treatment
- Diagnostic and testing services
- Hospital stays
- Long-term follow-up care and rehabilitation
- Medical equipment, prescriptions, etc.
- Reasonable and necessary costs related to medical treatment or transport to appointments
- Replacement of lost income or lost earning potential
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
These damages all carry a specific price tag and are known as “special damages”.
There is another category of damages referred to as “general damages”. These include non-monetary losses, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, amputation, or disability
- Loss of companionship and consortium
Punitive damages are meant as a “punishment” or deterrent. It is an amount awarded to you that is meant to prevent the at-fault or negligent party from behaving in a similar manner in the future. In some instances, punitive damages are only awarded in the case of gross negligence or reprehensible conduct. Your motorcycle accident lawyer will determine if punitive damages are applicable in your unique case.
When A Loved One Has Been Killed
It is possible for someone to lose their life in the most catastrophic motorcycle accidents. When the most tragic scenario becomes a reality, the family members of the decedent may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If awards are determined to be appropriate, the family may receive payments for:
- Funeral expenses
- Burial expenses
- Emotional distress
- Cost of medical care (prior to death)
- Loss of services
- Loss of support
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
What Needs to Be Proven?
It would be unfair to say the court process is an easy or quick one. It’s not as simple as showing that you’ve been injured. It’s not going to be over in a matter of weeks. If you hope to have a successful case, you will need to prove several elements. These are:
- You were involved in a motorcycle accident
- You suffered injuries as a result of the accident
- You suffered damages as a direct result of those injuries
- A negligent party was the cause of the collision, meaning they had a duty of care that they breached, causing your injury
Without these elements, you don’t have a personal injury case. Our motorcycle injury lawyer will discuss the circumstances of your unique case with you and help determine whether it would be in your best interest to move forward with a legal filing. Your attorney can also help you decide if you should accept a settlement from the other party or their insurance company rather than take your case to court.
Are Damages Easily Collected?
The short answer to this question is: not always. In some cases, the at-fault party’s insurance company will quickly offer a reasonable settlement. In others, the party deemed at fault will be provided with a court order that details the amount that must be paid, and they will pay it. In most cases, however, collecting an award that totals in the thousands or higher may be difficult. It will involve lengthy negotiations with insurance companies to arrive at a settlement, and if no settlement can be reached the case may have to advance to a lawsuit and court trial.
The defendant may not have adequate insurance coverage, either, or may not have the financial means to pay out-of-pocket. In the worst cases, the defendant may not want to pay, period, meaning they must be compelled by court order — sometimes at the conclusion of a lengthy jury trial.
It’s important to keep all of these possibilities in mind. You may reach a settlement or you may win a judgment, but it could take months or years for you to actually collect. This is part of the reason that it is so important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will take care of the fine details and work to collect what you are owed.
You Need An Experienced Legal Advocate
When you or a loved one have been injured in a Tampa motorcycle accident, it is highly advisable that you seek the advice of an experienced, reputable attorney. At Darrigo & Diaz, we have been representing accident victims for years. We understand the nuances of Florida personal injury law and we fight for the rights of the innocent.
A Tampa motorcycle accident lawyer is ready to fight for you and your family. You should not be struggling with bills because of someone’s negligence. You should not be forced to focus on anything but your recovery following your accident. Don’t feel as though you are alone during this stressful time — our team is here!
Call our office at (813) 774-3341 or contact us online. Your first case evaluation is always held at no cost to you or your family.