Pain and suffering in a motorcycle accident case is calculated using either the multiplier method or per diem method. The multiplier method bases your awards on the severity of your injuries, while the per diem (“per day”) method figures compensation based on the length of your recovery.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, 1,818 motorcyclists suffered a non-fatal crash injury in Indiana in 2019. Another 112 motorcycle riders sustained a fatal injury. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident, a personal injury lawyer with our firm can help you seek a fair settlement or verdict for your pain and suffering. We can also help you pursue awards for other accident-related damages.
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages?
Pain and suffering damages, also called noneconomic damages, awards victims for the physical, mental, and emotional toll of their accident and injuries on their lives. If your accident was due to another party’s negligence, you can seek pain and suffering awards and compensation for your other losses with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
You can seek pain and suffering damages for:
- Physical pain
- Loss of a limb or body part
- Loss of a bodily function
- Paralysis or loss of mobility
- Post-traumatic stress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of ability to enjoy hobbies and activities
- Mental anguish
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Insurance agents primarily use two methods to determine pain and suffering damages:
- The multiplier method – Used most often, this method takes the value of your calculable losses (medical bills, lost wages, and more) and multiplies them by a number from 1.5 to 5. Factors that can affect your multiplier include the severity of your injuries, whether or not you suffered a permanent injury, and the strength of your evidence proving your pain and suffering.
- The per diem method – With this method, you receive a set dollar amount for every day you live with pain and suffering from your accident. Usually, the insurance company figures the amount based on your current daily wage. This method generally does not work well for cases involving a permanent injury.
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What Other Damages Can You Seek for Your Indiana Motorcycle Accident?
You can also seek compensation for your concrete losses, known as economic damages. These are your actual, out-of-pocket costs, including:
- Emergency transportation and treatment
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Physical and cognitive rehabilitation
- Medications, mobility aids, and medical devices
- Long-term and in-home nursing services
- Vehicle and personal property damages
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential if you cannot return to your job
- Household services, including transportation, childcare, and housekeeping fees
Our attorneys can help you calculate these losses using your bills and receipts. We can also consult with medical experts to determine a fair sum for your future accident-related medical needs.
Can You Seek Pain and Suffering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
If your loved one suffered a fatal motorcycle accident injury, a representative of their estate can seek compensation on their behalf. The estate can recover awards for medical care, funeral and burial expenses, and lost earnings, according to IC § 34-23-1-1.
The law does not permit damages for the deceased’s pain and suffering. However, according to IC § 34-23-1-2, the deceased’s surviving spouse and dependents can seek noneconomic compensation for the loss of their family member’s love, support, and companionship.
How Much Is Your Motorcycle Accident Case Worth?
The value of your case will depend on your expenses, your injuries, and other factors unique to you, including your age and your wages at the time of your accident. We can help you build a case proving another driver is at fault for your crash and show that your compensation should include pain and suffering damages. We will:
- Interview eyewitnesses
- Work with crash reconstruction experts
- Collect available photographs and cell phone, surveillance, or dashcam video of your accident
- Obtain official accident reports
- Use your medical records and expert medical opinions to prove your injuries cause you pain and suffering
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What If Your Case Goes to Trial?
Our team only handles personal injury cases. If we cannot achieve a satisfactory settlement with an insurance claim, we can represent you in civil court. Judges do not provide juries with specific instructions on how to figure pain and suffering compensation, though they often employ the multiplier method. However, if your case goes to trial, you need to be aware of:
Indiana’s Contributory Fault Law
According to IC § 34-51-2-5, if your degree of fault for your accident exceeds the defendant’s, you will not receive compensation. Any degree of responsibility under 51 diminishes your awards by that percentage.
So, say your motorcycle accident occurred when a drunk driver pulled out in front of you, but you were speeding. The court may assign you 20 percent fault, meaning if the jury awards you $100,000, you collect $80,000. On the other hand, if the jury decides you are 55 percent at fault, you receive nothing.
Indiana’s Statute of Limitations
According to IC § 34-11-2-4, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The clock starts at the time your motorcycle accident injuries occurred. Under IC § 34-23-2-1, you have two years from your loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death action. While the statute of limitations does not apply to insurance claims, an expired time limit could negatively affect you during negotiations.
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Contact Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. for Help with Your Case
Our attorneys and staff want to help you get the most for your pain and suffering damages and other losses. Our firm’s founder, Randall “Randy” Sevenish, is the attorney who rides. As a motorcycle enthusiast, he knows best how to represent motorcycle accident clients.
Helping personal injury victims is all our firm does. We focus on helping those harmed by another’s negligence or wrongdoing to get back on their feet. We can take your case on contingency, meaning you owe us nothing up front or out of pocket. To learn more, call our offices at (317) 636-7777 for a free consultation.