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Calculating Damages Sustained in a Motorcycle Accident

Motorcycle AccidentCalculating the amount of compensation a motorcyclist receives after he or she is injured in an accident depends largely on the culpability of the parties and the seriousness of the injuries sustained. While it may be impossible to return a victim to his or her prior state of health, obtaining compensation is an important step in helping an injured party on the road to recovery.

Types of Damages

Damages are intended to compensate injured parties for the losses they sustained as a result of an accident caused by another person’s negligence. In California, there are two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages include the costs of losses that are easily and objectively quantifiable. The most common types of economic damages sought in accidents involving motorcycles include:

  • Medical expenses, both past and future;
  • Income, including both lost wages and the loss of future earning capacity;
  • Any burial or funeral costs;
  • Property loss, including any necessary repairs or replacements; and
  • The costs of obtaining alternative domestic services.

While calculating lost benefits and the cost of medical care is relatively simple and only requires adding up those specific amounts, determining the value of non-economic damages experienced by a victim is much more difficult. These types of damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Inconvenience;
  • Mental suffering;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of society and companionship;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Injury to reputation; and
  • Humiliation.
Pain and Suffering

Damages for pain and suffering are the most commonly sought-after type of non-economic damages. However, there are no guidelines for determining the value of a victim’s pain and suffering, and juries are usually instructed to assign a value based on their own experience. Pain and suffering damages fall into one of two categories: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering.

Physical pain and suffering encompasses the actual physical pain experienced by the injured party. This includes the pain endured during and following the accident, as well as any expected future effects that the victim may suffer. Mental pain and suffering is a by-product of the victim’s physical injury and includes problems such as emotional distress, anxiety, shock, and fear. Severe mental pain can include:

  • Depression;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Mood swings;
  • Anger;
  • Sleep loss or disturbances; and
  • Lack of energy.

Victims of particularly painful or traumatic motorcycle accidents may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can significantly affect an injured party’s employment opportunities and personal relationships.

Motorcycle accidents can result in especially severe and traumatic injuries, many of which are permanent or life threatening. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act, retaining the services of an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that you obtain the compensation you deserve. Please contact the San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. to schedule an initial consultation.

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