Motorcycle accidents tend to be quite damaging. Since motorcycles afford their riders virtually no physical protection from crash forces, motorcyclists involved in serious accidents tend to suffer catastrophic injuries. If you have recently experienced a motorcycle accident in the Huntington Beach area, it’s a good idea to understand your rights when it comes to seeking compensation for your damages.
A Huntington Beach motorcycle accident attorney is a great resource and asset for anyone facing a motorcycle accident lawsuit in the near future. Your legal representative can help you determine liability for your damages and build your case while you focus on your recovery.
In a personal injury claim, “compensatory damages” are the damages in the claim that can be accurately counted, such as medical bills for necessary treatments after an accident and long-term medical care required for rehabilitation. Other compensatory damages might include property damages like the costs of repairing or replacing a motorcycle after an accident. The victim may have also missed time at work due to their injury, and they have the opportunity to claim lost wages as well.
Compensatory damages are generally paid 1:1 in personal injury claims. The plaintiff’s attorney must prove the full extent of those damages and prove that they resulted from the defendant’s actions and not some other cause. Plaintiffs can also claim compensation for the physical pain and psychological distress they experienced from their accidents. While it may seem difficult to assign a dollar value to this kind of thing, every court has a different system for determining an appropriate amount of pain and suffering compensation. It’s usually awarded in proportion to the plaintiff’s other claimed damages.
Wrongful Death Damages
Motorcycle accidents, especially those that involve driving under the influence and considerable speed, have a greater tendency to result in fatalities than typical passenger vehicle accidents. When a motorcyclist dies due to the actions of a negligent driver, their surviving loved ones or anyone with a claim on their estate may file a wrongful death claim instead of a personal injury claim. This type of claim functions the same way as a personal injury claim, but it is filed on behalf of the person who died. California state law also dictates different rules for the types of damages available from wrongful death claims.
If a defendant was intentionally harmful, egregiously negligent, or willfully reckless, it’s quite possible for the judge overseeing the case to impose punitive damages as a way to punish the defendant. Civil claims strive to compensate victims for their losses, and the punishment of wrongdoing falls to criminal court. However, defendants in civil cases still face the possibility of owing punitive damages to plaintiffs if the judges in their cases deem it appropriate.
In California, there is no limit as to how much a plaintiff may receive in punitive damages. The amount a defendant pays in punitive damage typically hinges on their personal level of wealth and the severity of their behavior. Extreme behavior may also enter the purview of the criminal court, and a defendant in a personal injury claim may face prosecution from the state in addition to their civil liabilities.
Understanding Medical Expense and Lost Income Damages
Any plaintiff in a personal injury case needs to understand their rights when it comes to claiming compensation for medical expenses. A plaintiff in a California personal injury lawsuit has the right to claim compensation for all medical expenses resulting from negligence, including both current and future medical expenses.
This means a plaintiff can claim their immediate medical costs like hospital bills, surgery fees, and prescription medication costs. They can also claim future medical expenses resulting from a motorcycle accident. For example, if a plaintiff requires months of physical therapy, they can claim the cost of this treatment in their lawsuit.
This forward-thinking approach to damages in personal injury cases extends to lost income as well. If an accident permanently diminishes a plaintiff’s earning potential, they can claim the amount of future income they would have reasonably expected to earn had the accident not happened.
Hire a Reliable Attorney
A motorcycle accident claim may have complex questions of liability, and the full scope of a plaintiff’s damages may not be immediately clear. One of the most important steps to take when you are facing a motorcycle accident lawsuit is to seek legal representation from a reliable and experienced personal injury attorney.
If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, the team at Easton & Easton can help you determine which damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. If you are ready to discuss your legal options, contact Easton & Easton today to schedule a case review with an experienced Huntington Beach motorcycle accident attorney.