What damages can be claimed in a motorcycle accident lawsuit?

Nihar Patel | The Carolina Law Group
Nihar Patel | The Carolina Law Group

If you were involved in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina that wasn’t your fault, you may choose to bring a lawsuit against the party or parties at fault to recover damages. But what damages are available after a motorcycle accident? And does it differ from a car accident?

Damages Available After a Motorcycle Accident in South Carolina

The types of damages available to you after a motorcycle accident are the same as with a car accident or a tractor-trailer accident. Depending on the particulars of the accident, here are what damages can be claimed in a motorcycle accident lawsuit:

         Economic damages.

Economic damages compensate you for losses relating to the accident that have a clear dollar amount attached to them. These are known as “compensatory damages” and are intended to help “make the plaintiff whole.” Economic damages include medical expenses and medical care, rehabilitation services, loss of earnings and earning capacity, loss of use of property, and more.

If, for example, you were left hospitalized and unable to work for several weeks after your accident, you could sue for damages to cover your medical bills, any rehab after, lost wages, and property damage sustained to your motorcycle.

         Noneconomic damages.

Noneconomic damages are another kind of compensatory damages. They compensate you for losses and hardships relating to the accident that aren’t defined by a dollar amount. It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on these types of damages because they’re all about your subjective experience after the accident.

The most well-known kind is pain and suffering, but other types of noneconomic damages are mental anguish, emotional distress, physical impairment, humiliation, and more.

         Punitive damages.

Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages aren’t intended to help “make the plaintiff whole” but to punish the party at fault for their negligence or misconduct.

Some headline-grabbing cases feature payouts to plaintiffs in the millions of dollars in punitive damages, but the reality is each case is unique and should be viewed on its particular set of facts as well as the venue for trial. In order to have a chance to get punitive damages, you must request them in the initial complaint, then the court may or may not award them depending on the particular circumstances of your case.

How Motorcycle Accidents Are Different from Car Accidents

Though the damages available in motorcycle and car accidents are the same, there are some differences between the two. For one, motorcycle accidents can lead to bodily injuries that are more severe than in car accidents. Also jurors may be biased against motorcycle riders or not understand how to ride a motorcycle safely. That is why it is important to have an attorney prepared to address these issues and educate the jury what is unique about operating a motorcycle and why drivers of larger vehicles often disregard or fail to perceive motorcycles on the road. 

Read more about how motorcycle accidents differ from car accidents.

Work with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at The Carolina Law Group. They are experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases and understand how to build a strong case that will give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve after your accident. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation by calling one of the numbers below today.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience including: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorney’s. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience.

Greenville Office
icon-phone 864.312.4444
910 E Washington St
Greenville, SC 29601
Greer Office
icon-phone 864.757.5555
210 W. Poinsett St.
Greer, SC 29650
Spartanburg Office
icon-phone 864.312.4444
1190 Asheville Hwy
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Columbia Office
icon-phone 803.881.1110
824 Meeting St
West Columbia, SC 29619


Mr. Patel worked for the Greenville County Public Defender’s Office in 2005 after graduating from law school. While there, Mr. Patel handled thousands of cases ranging from low-level misdemeanors to high-profile murders. In March 2011, Mr. Patel and Mr. Desai formed The Carolina Law Group. Mr. Patel practices in the areas of criminal defense, family law, and personal injury. In 2011, Mr. Patel was elected as the President of the Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (GACDL).

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