Motorcyclist Learns Meaning of “Pain and Suffering” from a Motorcycle Accident

August 6, 2012

Auto Accidents

Motorcycle AccidentsDwight is a single man in his sixties who is retired.  He spent much of his leisure time touring the countryside on his motorcycles.  One day as he was  going through town, another motorist driving a car suddenly changed lanes and collided with Dwight.  He was thrown from his motorcycle, and landed on the pavement unconscious.

Dwight spent two weeks in intensive care and a month in rehab. He was forced to live with his younger brother and his family for another month.  Originally, he was charged in the accident, but an investigation by his personal injury lawyer, who interviewed witnesses to the crash, resulted in the police dropping the charges against Dwight and citing the other driver.

In some respects, Dwight was one of the lucky ones.  He had no head injuries and all of his limbs were intact after the motorcycle accident.  However, he came away from the wreckage with a permanent back injury, loss of property and an even greater loss- the emotional inability to ever again ride one of his motorcycles.

Obviously, Dwight had a personal injury, but what is the full extent of the injuries and damages Dwight suffered in his motorcycle accident and how can he be compensated for his losses?

Certainly, he has claims for medical expenses and the costs of replacing his motorcycle.  But isn’t he also entitled to make a personal injury claim for Pain and Suffering?

The term Pain and Suffering is part of compensatory damages (compensation) paid to a victim of an accident when he or she claims losses that are non-economic.

Compensatory damages include both Special Damages—out-of-pocket expenses like medical bills and loss of property which are usually easier to assign a dollar value to—and General Damages, the category to which Pain and Suffering belongs.

Pain and Suffering can range from physical pain to the mental strain and emotional trauma of dealing with that pain by going through surgery or by avoiding activities that one used to do before the injury, like Dwight riding his motorcycles.  Pain and suffering can also mean the potential shortening of life.

Because Pain and Suffering involves a less tangible type of injury, and the term itself is very subjective, it can be difficult to prove to insurance adjusters or to juries.  In addition, the plaintiff (the victim) must first prove he or she has suffered some amount of economic loss which in Dwight’s case was not difficult.

personal injury lawyer who is experienced with different types of accidents can interpret and review important factors about a case such as:

  • the strength of lay witness testimony
  • the potential expert testimony will be needed
  • the likelihood you will experience permanent limitations and resulting medical expenses
  • the impact on future earning capacity, if any
  • activities you no longer can do–such as household tasks, sports and hobbies—or activities you no longer enjoy or don’t enjoy as much

You should still contact a lawyer even if you believe you are partially at fault in the accident.  Ohio has comparative liability laws which may enable a party to recover even if their actions contributed to the injuries.  Sometimes the court will also award punitive damages which function as a punishment to the wrongdoer, over and above the actual value of the loss incurred.

The Ohio Legislature has set “caps” on pain and suffering awards at between $350,000 per plaintiff and $500,000 per occurrence for less severe injuries.  This may or may not affect your case.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident or other type of accident, please contact the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or send us a Blog Message briefly describing your injury and the Pain and Suffering which resulted.

To learn more about accidents and personal injury claims, please visit slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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