couple riding motorcycle

How Much Is My Motorcycle Accident Claim Worth?

Someone may be liable for your motorcycle accident. If you were recently involved in a crash as a motorcyclist or passenger, a civil claim could yield financial compensation. South Carolina’s civil laws enable motorcycle accident victims to pursue monetary damages from one or more at-fault parties. South Carolina is a tort liability state, meaning the party at-fault for your collision could owe you financial compensation. Work with a Greenville motorcycle attorney to get the most out of your motorcycle accident claim.

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Catastrophic Injuries

A serious or catastrophic injury claim could be worth a significant amount in the civil courts. An insurance company, judge or jury may look at these injuries and measure them based on how much they impacted your life. Suffering a traumatic brain injury, scarring road rash, broken bones or another life-changing injury could make you eligible for a large sum. The compensation award you receive from an insurance settlement or judgment award could cover all major related expenses for the rest of your life. Find out from an attorney if your motorcycle accident injuries qualify as catastrophic.

Economic or Out-of-Pocket Costs

A major compensation category in a motorcycle accident claim is economic, or special, damages. Economic damages include the costs of motorcycle repairs, medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses and legal fees. Any money you spend because of your motorcycle accident could become part of an economic damage claim. The more serious your accident and injuries, the more your economic damages are generally worth.

Calculate your economic damages by adding up all your accident-related bills. Then add your foreseeable economic costs for expenses such as continuing medical care, disability expenses, home or vehicle accommodations, live-in health care, a new motorcycle and/or lost future earnings from the inability to return to your job. A lawyer can help you project future economic losses based on your condition and prognosis.

Intangible Losses

Intangible losses make up the other portion of a motorcycle accident settlement or judgment award. Although not all motorcycle accident plaintiffs will be eligible for noneconomic damages, most serious cases involve this damage type. Intangible damages are the personal losses you suffered during and after the accident. They are general losses most victims in your situation would reasonably experience.

  • Physical pain or disabilities
  • Scarring, loss of limb or disfigurement
  • Lost self-esteem or self-worth
  • Lost quality of life
  • Diminished enjoyment of life
  • Emotional suffering or anguish
  • Psychological trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

If it was your family member involved in a motorcycle accident and your family is filing for wrongful death, you may also qualify for grief, mental anguish, and loss of consortium damages. Loss of consortium can refer to the loss of a family member’s household services, parental guidance, spousal love, companionship, care, ideas, etc. Calculating the value of your intangible losses will most likely involve one of two main equations: per diem or multiplier.

The per diem method calculates a daily value for your noneconomic losses. A jury deciding a noneconomic damage award would calculate it as a similar amount to your daily gross wages for the number of days a physician estimates your condition will last. The multiplier method takes your economic damage award and multiplies it by a number proportionate to your degree of suffering. Catastrophic injuries typically receive higher multipliers and higher awards.

Punitive Damages

Some motorcycle accident claims in South Carolina receive punitive damages on top of compensatory ones. A punitive damage award penalizes the at-fault driver or another defendant for his or her act of negligence. A judge typically reserves punitive awards for cases involving maliciousness, intent to harm, extreme recklessness or gross negligence. South Carolina places a cap of $500,000 or three times your actual damages (whichever is greater) on punitive damage awards. A consultation with an attorney is the best way to receive an accurate appraisal of your motorcycle accident case.

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