If someone else was at fault for a motorcycle accident, claim damages can be substantial. In some cases it can be confusing to determine if damages are available under certain circumstances, such as when the motorcyclist was partially at fault or if the injured rider wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Partial Fault and Motorcycle Accident Damages
There can be many factors considered in a motorcycle accident case. It is much easier to determine one’s right to compensation when someone else was clearly at fault for the crash. But the ability to file a claim could be challenged by myriad issues.
One is when a motorcyclist was partially responsible for the crash. This could result in either a reduction in recoverable damages or no recoverable damages at all. This depends on the negligence system implemented in the state where the accident occurred.
In New York, anyone who has been injured in a crash and is found to be partially responsible can recover damages. Even if the motorcyclist was mostly at fault, say 99 percent, compensation would still be available (one percent). Of course, the degree of fault assigned to the person will impact how much can be recovered.
So in a case where damages are valued at $100,000, if the motorcyclist was 99 percent at fault, it would only allow for recovery of $1,000. Therefore, in cases where both parties are at fault, it’s important to have an attorney who can work to properly establish the other party’s liability.
Helmet Use and Accident Claim Damages
Another issue that can be factored into the value of a claim is helmet usage or lack thereof. This can be a challenge to any case when state laws require the use of a helmet and the rider neglected to wear one.
New York does mandate a helmet be worn, so the insurance company for the other side may try to argue against paying for damages when there are injuries to the head and/or neck. Even if state law doesn’t require a helmet, the insurance company may argue that the rider was partially to blame for the severity of head injuries by not wearing a helmet.
Let’s say the motorcyclist suffered road rash and broken bones. Helmet use may not be much of an issue in this case because a helmet probably wouldn’t have protected the rider from these injuries. But it can certainly create challenges when it’s argued that a helmet may have prevented head injuries or at least lessened the severity of such injuries.
What types of damages could be available in a motorcycle claim?
The aforementioned are just some of the factors that can determine one’s ability to recover compensation and the amount that could be recovered.
The type of damages that could be recovered will depend on the extent of one’s:
- emotional; and
- financial damages.
Physical injuries can lead to compensation that covers medical expenses, including future ones that will be incurred. Initially a motorcyclist might have required ambulatory services, an emergency surgery and several days in the hospital. But if the injuries require ongoing treatment, such as an additional surgery, pain medication or physical therapy, all of these costs would be considered.
Damages can also address the income an injured person is without during his/her recovery time. These are generally available from the date of the injury until the individual can return to work.
In cases where the motorcyclist is permanently disabled and unable to continue gainful employment, it may be possible to recover wages that would have been earned in the future. Compensation for emotional damages can sometimes be greater than for the physical harm suffered.
Examples of emotional damages include:
- mental anguish;
- pain and suffering;
- loss of enjoyment of life; and
- reduced quality of life.
Of course, the cost to repair the motorcycle or replace it is another form of compensation that may be recoverable. Or if there was a loss of life, surviving family members may be entitled to wrongful death benefits such as loss of consortium, grief and more.
Contact Gacovino, Lake & Associates to learn more about one’s right to file a claim after a motorcycle accident. An attorney can also explain the types of accident damages that may be sought by an injured victim or a family who has lost a loved one, and how circumstances of the accident impact recovery.