In the weeks after your motorcycle crash, there was no doubt in your mind that you would take the driver who hit you to court. He came barreling at you down the ramp on the I-435 and I-70 interchange, and several witnesses have told the police that you were not the one at fault. Now that you are leaving the hospital, you are ready to take action—the question is, how can you know how much you should ask for in your lawsuit?
How Much Is Your Motorcycle Injury Case Really Worth?
Many motorcycle victims know that they can sue for the amount they have paid in medical bills and damage to their bikes, but they’re not sure what else to include in their losses. Here are a few things to consider when calculating the value of your motorcycle injury case:
- Lost income. Any wages from work that you missed as a result of the accident, whether it was on the day of the crash or hospitalization for the weeks after, should be included in your losses. You can also include any follow-up visits during work hours, such as prosthetic appointments or outpatient care. Be sure to include any vacation time or sick leave you used during that time, as well as any employment benefits you were not entitled to as a result of your injury.
- Lost self-employment wages. Victims who are self-employed may have more trouble proving the extent of their losses in court. One way to estimate your lost income is to provide several years’ worth of your tax returns, or find a financial advisor who can estimate your income for you. You should also consider any economic losses, such as lost profits, lost business connections, and lost opportunities for growth.
- Lost earning capacity. Once you have determined how much money you have lost in the past, you should consider how much you may lose in the future. For example, imagine you were working at a highly physical job before the crash, earning $50,000 per year. After the accident, you can only perform sedentary work that pays about $35,000. This is a loss of $15,000 per year for the rest of your working life. However, the figures don’t stop there—you will need to show how the loss of your income will affect your future, as well as the projected future value of the income you have lost.
- Pain and suffering. You may be awarded an additional amount based on the pain and suffering you have suffered as a result of the accident. In most cases, pain and suffering is awarded by the jury, and the amount is based on specific hardship that has not already been considered in your injury total. For example, a victim who lost a leg in the accident may suffer loss of enjoyment of life, inability to perform previous sporting or recreational activities, sexual side effects, depression, and other conditions as a result of the crash.
Even after you have tallied up everything you have lost, getting the compensation you deserve will likely be an uphill battle. To find out some of the problems you could face in court, click the link on this page to read through a copy of attorney James Roswold’s book, The Devil’s Advocate: a Biker’s Guide to Accidents & Injuries.