Motorcycle crashes can be some of the most devastating crashes that we see. The damages that flow from a person being hit on a motorcycle are tremendous. Let’s talk about what are those damages allowable under Florida law if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident; and in particular, if the motorcycle accident is someone else’s fault, at least 50% someone else’s fault.
Circumstances following a motorcycle accident, most of the time people aren’t thinking about the motorcycle itself, but damage to the motorcycle, usually its total, is a damage that is recoverable against the person who’s at fault and that includes accessories to the motorcycle. For example, you may have fancy saddle bags on the motorcycle, you may have upgrades and things of that nature, that’s what we call property damage that is recoverable. Compensation for property that is on you or on the motorcycle itself, you can also get compensated. So, for example, your cell phone is in a holder and the cell phone is destroyed in the motorcycle accident. That is property. It’s not the motorcycle itself, but compensation for either repair or replacement of the motorcycle is something you can pursue. On your own person, maybe have a backpack or a fancy purse or designer jeans; we’ve had that where they’re expensive. Those are considered property and those can be recovered also, for damages.
Now, if your motorcycle is being repaired, you may have loss of use of the motorcycle. That’s your mode of transportation and while it’s being repaired, you have no vehicle to drive, and that’s all because of the negligence of someone else. So, you may get loss of use. You may also get what we call diminution or depletion of value. If your motorcycle was damaged but repaired; you know, if you went to buy a motorcycle and there were two of them there, they were exactly the same, except for one had been in an accident and repaired, you would choose the one that wasn’t in the accident if you were paying the same amount of money. The value of your motorcycle having been in an accident is decreased, so that’s the damage that oftentimes you can recover. There’s a lot of circumstances and insurance questions that play into whether you can actually get money for these things but, the law does provide the ability to seek compensation for those. Towing would be another example of damages that you can get, storage of the motorcycle.
Now let’s talk about for you, individually, if you’re killed, that’ll be the subject of another video and the damages that flow from a wrongful death. Today I want to talk about injury. So, you have hospital bills, ambulance bills in a motorcycle crash; oftentimes air flight, helicopter airlift bills, which are outrageous and something that you should not have to shoulder yourself, then you have medical bills. Those are all damages that you can seek compensation for and not just your immediate medical bills to the emergency room and your hospital admission, but your follow-up doctors, surgeons, therapists, chiropractors, and medications. All of those are fall under the medical bills category and are compensable or you can recover money to pay those, so you are not ultimately responsible. You missed time from work, you can’t work, that’s typically the case following a motorcycle accident, so you lose wages. That is something that you can seek compensation for.
Maybe your injuries from the motorcycle accident have affected your ability to work in the future. These injuries, say you can’t work as hard as and as long as you used to, or you would have been expected to; you know, you get arthritis and you’re going to have to retire at an earlier age because of the effects of the injuries you suffer. So, the loss of future earning capacity is an element of damages that you can seek compensation for. You can seek damages for your pain, for your suffering, for your disability, inconvenience, aggravation of any pre-existing conditions that you had and for the impairment of your enjoyment of life. And those you can seek all the way back to the time of the accident. So, if you were laying in the road in excruciating pain, you’re laying in the hospital thinking you’re going to die, to you’re out of the hospital and you’re having to ask friends, neighbors, and coworkers to assist you in life’s chores; those are all damages that there’s no exact formula that is used to calculate what those damages are, you just have to go through your particular circumstances, outlining what they are. Those are typically just lumped into pain and suffering, but they are more involved than that and they include all those other aspects that I’ve discussed.