Two wheeled riders are more vulnerable to injuries than other vehicle drivers due to a lack of crumple zones and protection from their vehicle, meaning that the full force of the impact is passed directly to the rider. There are typical patterns of injuries in motorcycle accidents and 50% of all injuries are to the legs. The next most common area of injury is to the arms.
For minor injuries you may not have bothered going to hospital or your GP. You can still claim, but may have to rely on friends and family to give supporting evidence of the injury. Common sense usually prevails. Fall off your motorcycle and most people will accept that an injury is pretty much inevitable. Where you have seen your GP or gone to hospital a brief letter or a copy of your medical records may be sufficient. Alternatively, photos on your phone or a camera may suffice.
More serious cases must be backed up by medical evidence, usually obtained from an independent expert. Reports can be expensive, but the cost of most are now governed by guidelines.
The injury and its effects must have been caused by the accident. Victims usually have a simple logic that if they were fine before the accident and are not fine now then all the problems must be related to the accident. But it is not what you know, but what you can prove.
The aim of any award is to compensate for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity (how the injury has affected your life) caused by the injuries. This includes both the physical and psychological effects. Not all losses can be measured in monetary terms; but money is all the law has to offer.
The Calculation Process
The starting point is the "Judicial College Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases". This sets out in tabular form brackets for different types and severity of injury. You assess which bracket the injury falls within and then where in the bracket. You fine-tune the figure using relevant case law.
What Can Be Claimed?
Pain, suffering and loss of amenity are usually quantified together and a single award made. Emotional shock, fear, anxiety and embarrassment are included in this award. A person who suffers only emotional distress that is not connected to physical or psychiatric injury does not have a claim unless it is serious enough to amount to a recognised psychological condition.
Extreme examples of loss of amenity include loss of brain function, loss of any of the five senses, loss of sex-life, loss of ability to form relationships and loss of ability to care for children. In addition cases which involve complicated pain issues can be particularly demanding. Any claim needs to be backed by evidence, including medical evidence, and more complicated cases often require experts from a number of disciplines. It is worth keeping a diary (including a pain diary) in complicated cases to enable you to remember and compare the effects the injuries have had on you over time.
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