After being injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to understand the value of your injury claim. There are typically two types of damages available after a motorcycle accident: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering for example, are not as easy to calculate.
In order to secure the full value of the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your motorcycle accident, it is important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. This article will discuss how pain and suffering damages are calculated in motorcycle accident cases and what you can do to maximize your recovery.
At Kiley Law Group, we have over 40 years of experience handling Massachusetts motorcycle accident cases and have helped our clients recover over $500 million in damages over the decades. Call 888-437-2584 24/7 to schedule a free case review with a trusted member of our legal team.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in Motorcycle Accident Cases?
Pain and suffering is a legal term used to describe the physical and emotional trauma endured as a result of the accident. A person is only eligible to recover damages for pain and suffering if he or she has sustained physical injury in the accident.
Examples of damages that fall under the category of pain and suffering include:
- Physical pain
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Tragically, some motorcycle accidents result in a fatality. In these situations, pain and suffering may involve a wrongful death case.
Pain and suffering damages in the case of wrongful death may include:
- Loss of companionship
- Depression and anxiety
- Emotional distress
How Do You Prove Pain and Suffering?
It can be challenging to prove the full extent of pain and suffering in a motorcycle accident claim. Thorough investigation and solid evidence are necessary. For this reason, it is essential to work with a motorcycle accident lawyer who has the knowledge and resources needed to build a solid case on your behalf.
Documents and evidence gathered to prove pain and suffering commonly include:
- Testimony from expert witnesses
- Psychological evaluations
- Photo and video surveillance footage of the accident
- Medical documentation showing treatment for depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders
- Expressions from the victims about how the motorcycle accident has affected them physically and emotionally
- Statements from family members and friends about how the accident has affected the victim’s daily life
Your Massachusetts motorcycle accident lawyer will need to demonstrate how the injuries you sustained have impacted your normal day-to-day activities. When you choose Kiley Law Group to represent you, you can be confident that we will develop a legal strategy tailored to your individual circumstances.
How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?
The two methods commonly used by insurance companies to calculate pain and suffering damages are the per diem and multiplier methods.
Per diem method
“Per diem” is a Latin phrase that, translated into English, means “per day.” Using the per diem method, motorcycle accident victims are able to recover money for each day of their recovery period.
Typically, the amount of money a person made before the accident is multiplied by the number of days he or she will need to recover. For example, if you made $200 a day and your doctor says you will not be able to return to work for 60 days, your payout could be $12,000.
The per diem method is not preferred in cases involving long-term injuries. Why? Because it is more difficult to calculate an accurate settlement amount for an extended period using this method, which brings us to the multiplier method.
Another common method used to calculate pain and suffering damages is the multiplier method. With this technique, the economic damages (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are first added up, and then the total is multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5.
Factors that the multiplier itself include:
- The severity of the injuries
- Length of recovery time/ permanency of injuries
- The age of the victim
- Disruption to daily life
- Potential for future medical issues
- Diagnosis and treatment by medical professionals
- Liability for the motorcycle accident
- Whether or not the accident resulted in the death of a loved one
One common complaint about the multiplier method is that it does not consider that various people with the same injuries may experience pain differently.
Other methods used by insurance companies
In some situations, the insurance company will not use the per diem or multiplier method to calculate pain and suffering. They might simply input information using an online program or a damages calculator.
Some insurance companies will arrive at a value of your pain and suffering based on models from their previous claim history. However, this is often unfair since each person and every motorcycle accident case is unique.
Tips for Strengthening Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
There are some things that you can do to strengthen your motorcycle accident claim and ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your losses.
Immediately seek medical treatment
It is essential to your physical health as well as to your legal claim that you seek medical attention as soon as possible following any personal injury. Motorcycle accidents can especially leave victims suffering obvious and severe harm, but adrenaline can mask symptoms of pain and injury. So it is strongly recommended to seek an immediate medical assessment – even if you feel fine after your accident.
You will have a much stronger case if it is on file that you sought medical care immediately after the crash, and if your symptoms are assessed and recorded by a doctor. Be sure to follow the recommendations for treatment and let your doctor know when there are any changes to your health during your follow-up appointments.
Keep a record of your symptoms
It may be helpful to keep a journal of the pain and suffering you have experienced since the motorcycle accident. Record the date and time of each entry and openly express how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally.
You may want to write down how your injuries are affecting your daily routine, such as being unable to return to work or engage in previously enjoyed hobbies. It is also a good idea to keep notes about your doctor’s visits and how your recovery is progressing.
Keeping a journal of your experiences since the accident may seem like a waste of time and effort. However, a written record makes your feelings and challenges clear and can serve as a timeline of events that will strengthen your case.
Get legal advice
Calculating pain and suffering is a complicated process that requires extensive legal knowledge and experience. Keep in mind that the insurance company wants you to settle for as low of an amount as possible. Your lawyer will be able to calculate the true value of your claim and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
When selecting a personal injury lawyer, choose one who has successfully handled numerous motorcycle accident cases. With a skilled motorcycle accident attorney on your side, you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are getting the full amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.
The Statute of Limitations on Motorcycle Accident Cases
While motorcycle accident victims are allowed to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, they must do so within the time frame the statute of limitations allows. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for motorcycle accident cases is usually 3 years from the date the accident occurred.
While 3 years may seem like a long time, it is vital to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. This will enable your legal team to build a solid case for you before valuable evidence has been lost or destroyed.
In most situations, if your motorcycle accident claim is not filed within the 3-year statute of limitations, you will completely lose your right to compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Kiley Law Group Today
Kiley Law Group fights aggressively to protect the rights and interests of injured riders. Our compassionate attorneys, many of whom are riders themselves, will understand your needs. We know how a serious motorcycle accident can affect your physical health, emotional well-being, and financial security.
So come to us to find the know-how, advice, and understanding that you need. While pain and suffering damages can be difficult to calculate and prove, our legal team will be there for you every step of the way, providing regular updates and guidance to ease your mind.
Some hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer, concerned about the expense. Our law firm, though, believes that everyone has the right to excellent legal representation, regardless of his or her current financial situation. For this reason, we take clients on a contingency fee basis. This means that unless we win your case and you get paid, you do not owe us anything.
To take your first steps toward recovering compensation for your pain and suffering, contact us today to schedule your free case review. Contact our law office today at 888-437-2584 or fill out the online evaluation form to schedule your free consultation, with no obligation or any fees until we win your case.