If you’re hurt on a motorcycle, while either operating the bike or riding as a passenger, you may have a right to seek compensation for your losses, including lost earnings, unreimbursed medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship/consortium. How do you know what to expect as far as compensation is concerned? What factors will the court consider when calculating your losses?
Most personal injury claims are based on allegations of negligence. To successfully prove negligence in a court of law, you need to show first that the defendant (the person you’re asking to pay for your losses) failed to act reasonably under the circumstances. With respect to a motorcycle accident, that may involve showing that:
Once you successfully demonstrate that the defendant’s behavior was unreasonable, you must then show a causal relationship between that behavior and the accident that caused your injuries. You must show that the motorcycle accident would not have happened if the defendant had acted reasonably. You also must show that the accident, and the injuries you suffered, were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the defendant’s careless act.
You must show that you sustained actual losses as a result of the accident. Those losses, also referred to as damages, fall into two categories—economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that are capable of precise calculation, such as lost wages, medical expenses, and the cost to repair damage to your motorcycle. Non-economic damages are less tangible and include compensation for physical pain and suffering, loss of the ability to participate in activities that you love, and loss of the ability to have intimate contact or close companionship with others.
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