What Damages Can I Recover for a Motorcycle Accident in South Carolina?
Motorcycles are incredibly fun vehicles to ride, but when another driver fails to take proper care on the road, it can lead to dangerous situations. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina that wasn’t your fault, contact John Robert Peace, PA. We can help you decide if you should bring a lawsuit against the at-fault party to recover damages. But what would be the damages in a motorcycle accident injury claim?
Recoverable Damages in a Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycle accident damages compensate you for losses caused by your injury. When you bring a motorcycle accident claim, you can pursue both economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are quantifiable monetary losses related to your accident. For example, the money you have to pay to repair your damaged motorcycle would fall under economic damages. Generally, when the amount of money required to make repairs to a vehicle after an accident exceeds the vehicle’s true worth, the vehicle is deemed a total loss. The amount of this loss would be considered in a damages calculation. Economic damages also include losses related to the following:
- Medical bills,
- Future health care costs,
- Lost income from missed work,
- Lost future earnings, and
- Property damage or loss.
When building a motorcycle accident claim, it is important to consider the current and expected medical costs you face due to the crash. When fighting a personal injury claim, an attorney will document your past, present, and future expenses and pursue compensation accordingly.
Noneconomic damages compensate you for the emotional and mental suffering caused by your accident. Some of the most typical categories of noneconomic damages claimed by personal injury plaintiffs involve the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional trauma and distress,
- Permanent disfigurement,
- Loss of companionship or consortium,
- Loss of ability to enjoy life, and
- Exacerbation of existing injuries.
The phrase “pain and suffering” is a legal term that describes both the physical and emotional injuries suffered by a victim following an accident. Any substantial physical or mental anguish you suffer following an accident could qualify as pain and suffering for settlement purposes.
Compensation will also be higher if, for example, your injury will cause long-term or life-long impairment, such as limited mobility.
Emotional distress in a personal injury case includes any non-physical damage caused by your accident or injury. Emotional distress is a subjective type of harm that can differ from person to person. Some types of emotional distress include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Generally, you will need a diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist to substantiate this type of harm.
Other forms of compensation could apply in your case. Calculating the “average” compensation from a motorcycle accident is impossible because each collision is unique. Different injuries can occur that could qualify the victim for compensation.
What Do I Have to Prove to Get Compensation for My Damages?
Before calculating damages and your potential recovery, you must establish who is liable for your losses. You cannot automatically sue the other driver for the motorcycle accident because car drivers are not always fully at fault in these collisions. To prove that someone is liable, you must prove that their negligence caused your accident and injury. To show negligence, you have to prove all four of these elements:
- The person who caused the accident had a duty to operate their vehicle safely;
- The person who caused the accident breached this duty by engaging in unsafe behavior;
- The unsafe behavior caused the rider’s injury or death; and
- The rider suffered damages because of their injury.
In a motorcycle accident, common examples of a breach of duty or unsafe behavior on the part of the negligent party can include the following:
- Distracted driving,
- Drowsy driving,
- Aggressive driving, and
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
On the other hand, motorcyclists can also engage in unsafe behavior that could impact their ability to recover compensation, including riding in blind spots of other vehicles, abruptly changing lanes, or failing to signal before changing lanes. South Carolina follows the modified comparative fault rule, which means that if you were 51% or more at fault, you would not get any compensation from the other parties. However, as long as you were less than 51% to blame, you could qualify for monetary damages.
A common question related to motorcycle accidents is whether or not wearing a helmet might contribute to the motorcycle rider’s level of fault. South Carolina law only requires motorcyclists under 21 to wear helmets. Thus, not wearing a helmet cannot impact your fault percentage unless you are under 21.
John Peace founded the Peace Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2002. He doesn’t represent insurance companies or employers but is passionate about representing individuals like you. He has well over 20 years of experience relating to personal injury claims. To request a consultation, please call 864-298-0500.