Day 11: Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages: What Can You Claim?


When it comes to motorcycle accidents, the damages sustained can be both tangible and intangible. Understanding the difference between economic and non-economic damages is crucial for victims seeking compensation. This article will delve into these two categories of damages, providing insights into what can be claimed in the aftermath of a motorcycle accident.

  1. Economic Damages
  • Medical Expenses: This includes the cost of immediate medical care, ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and any future medical expenses related to the accident.
  • Lost Wages: If the accident results in time off work, you can claim compensation for lost wages. This also includes loss of earning capacity if you’re unable to return to your previous job.
  • Property Damage: This covers the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.
  1. Non-Economic Damages
  • Pain and Suffering: This is compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced due to the accident.
  • Emotional Distress: This includes compensation for anxiety, depression, and other emotional traumas resulting from the accident.
  • Loss of Consortium: This refers to the impact of the accident on your relationship with your spouse, including loss of companionship and sexual relations. These damages are assessed for the spouse of the injured party.
  1. Calculating Economic Damages
  • Documentation: Keep all bills, invoices, and receipts related to medical expenses, property damage, and other economic losses.
  • Expert Testimony: In some cases, experts like medical professionals or vocational rehabilitation specialists may be consulted to estimate future economic damages.
  1. Calculating Non-Economic Damages
  • Subjective Nature: Non-economic damages are subjective and harder to quantify. Factors like the severity of the injury, the impact on quality of life, and emotional trauma are considered.
  • Multiplier Method: One method used to calculate non-economic damages is the multiplier method, where the economic damages are multiplied by a certain number (usually between 1.5 and 5, and normally 2-3 times the economic damages for settlement) based on the severity of the non-economic damages.
  1. Punitive Damages
  • What Are They: Punitive damages are not tied to the victim’s losses but are meant to punish the at-fault party for particularly reckless or negligent behavior.
  • State Regulations: The availability and limitations of punitive damages vary by state. In South Carolina, punitive damages are allowed but generally capped by a reasonable multiplier of the non-punitive damages, and can be contested on Constitutional grounds.
  1. Legal Assistance in Claiming Damages
  • Role of a Lawyer: An experienced attorney can help you accurately calculate both economic and non-economic damages, ensuring you claim the full compensation you’re entitled to.
  • Negotiations and Litigation: A lawyer can also negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and represent you in court if necessary.


Understanding the difference between economic and non-economic damages is crucial for anyone involved in a motorcycle accident. Being well-informed and consulting with legal professionals can significantly impact the amount of compensation you can claim.

Note: This article provides a general overview of economic vs. non-economic damages in motorcycle accidents. Laws and regulations can change, and it’s always advisable to consult with a legal professional for the most up-to-date and personalized information.