Many people want to know how much their motorcycle crash claim is worth. The simple answer is that Tennessee injury laws allow victims to recover most of their monetary losses and out-of-pocket costs (called damages). However, the long answer is a bit more complicated, and it depends on the specific factors in your case.
Getting the Full Amount of Economic Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Case
The legal term for expenses you have incurred because of your injury is economic damages. Under state law, anyone who is hurt in an accident that is not their fault is entitled to the full amount of their economic damages. There is no cap on the amount of economic damages in Tennessee—so, for example, if your actual losses are $2 million and you win your case, you are entitled to $2 million.
There are many kinds of damages you could collect after a Tennessee motorcycle crash, such as:
- Medical expenses. Bikers often suffer severe injuries in a collision and may not leave the hospital for weeks after they first arrive in the emergency room. These victims may need ongoing outpatient care, assistive devices (such as wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs), surgeries, physical therapy appointments, or even home nursing care.
- Lost employment wages. You are entitled to receive the full amount of wages you lost as a result of missed work due to the crash, including full days off, showing up late, or leaving work early for hospital visits. This includes payment for any sick leave or vacation hours you used as paid time off and any employment benefits lost as a result of your injury.
- Lost earning capacity. You aren’t just owed the income you have lost. You are also entitled to any earnings you may lose in the future. For example, imagine a biker working as an accountant earning $200,000 per year. After the crash, the biker is unable to sit for long periods and can only perform part-time work at around $100,000 per year. The biker may collect lost future earnings of $100,000 per year for the rest of their working life—and even more after taxes and inflation are factored in.
- Lost self-employment income. If you’re self-employed, it may be much more difficult to estimate your income and prove the extent of your losses in court. It will take a careful examination of your tax returns or testimony from a financial advisor to calculate the amount of your lost profits, lost networking connections, and lost business opportunities.
- Property damage. A severe crash may cause extensive damage to your motorcycle, and you have the right to have your bike restored to a pre-loss state. If you have spent a significant amount on your bike, gear, and riding upgrades, you have the right to the full replacement cost of each item.
You May Be Owed Non-Economic Damages After a Motorcycle Crash
Pain and suffering is the common term for non-economic damages or the non-monetary consequences of your injury. Non-economic damages are awarded in addition to your out-of-pocket costs, and the amount is decided by a jury for a specific hardship that has not already been considered in your injury total.
Since the jury is asked to place a financial value on something that cannot easily be valued—such as the loss of the ability to have children—the amount of pain and suffering varies from case to case. For example, a biker whose arm was amputated due to the accident will suffer income and medical losses, but they may also suffer the inability to do certain hobbies (such as playing the piano), lost parenting abilities, depression, disfigurement, or lost enjoyment of life.
Tennessee laws place a limit on how much a victim can receive in pain and suffering damages. In most circumstances, non-economic damages in personal injury cases are capped at $750,000. However, this cap can be overcome if the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or has been convicted of a felony connected to the incident.
If you have been hurt in a motorcycle crash, the legal team at GriffithLaw can help get you the compensation you deserve—and you won’t have to pay anything until your case is won. Get in touch with us today using our online form, or give us a call to schedule your free case evaluation.