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What can I recover for my motorcycle accident case?

One of the most common questions we hear when we meet and work with victims of motorcycle accidents in Illinois is what can I recover?  For an overview of the amount of recovery possible, click here to see how we breakdown past awards.  However, this does not get at exactly where and for what plaintiffs can be compensated.  Thus, we are going to breakdown the major categories of damages that Illinois motorcycle victims typically receive.


What can I recover for my motorcycle accident case?Economic damages in motorcycle accident cases are the tangible or distinct injuries that a victim has suffered because of the accident.  However, it does not have to be the motorcyclists-it can be their insurance company, relative, or any other financially interested party.  Generally, these are expenses or costs that plaintiffs had to pay for or will have to pay for because of the incident.  These are the things you can point to and specifically delineate as being different than from before the crash.  Here are some examples of economic damages:

  • Ambulance bills for transportation from the scene of the accident to the hospital.
  • Emergency medical care.
  • Rehabilitative medical care.
  • Medications or devices used because of the motorcycle accident.
  • Therapy and other special medical visits.
  • Lost income from missed work due to the incident.
  • Property damage especially to your motorcycle.

In motorcycle accident cases, non-economic damages are also incredibly common.  They are also referred to as general damages.  They attempt to compensate plaintiffs for losses that are tangible, financial, or specific in nature.  They generally alleviate the manner in which a victim’s quality of life has declined because of the motorcycle incident.  Here are some reasons why you might receive non-economic damages:

  • If you experience persistent and significant pain and suffering from the accident.
  • If you were scarred or disfigured as a result of the crash.
  • If you cannot live the type of life you could prior to the incident.

It is important to realize that some states have made efforts to curb the extent to which plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages.  You should consult with your attorney for the extent to which you can obtain them.


Unlike economic or non-economic damages, where the award is based on the measure of a plaintiff’s losses, punitive damages are based on the court’s aim to punish a defendant or defendants.  Also, through financial and other kinds of punishment, courts try to discourage others from acting in a similar manner prospectively.  The key to discerning whether or not there will be punitive damages is if the defendant’s actions were severely wanton, egregious, or reckless.  And you typically see that with motorcycle accidents in the following circumstances:

  • Cell phone usage.
  • Alcohol involvement.
  • Turning accidents.
  • Accidents in yield zones.

As with non-economic damages, courts in certain states might take efforts to curb your ability to receive punitive damages or the extent to which you can receive them.  Therefore, it is important to discuss their availability with your lawyer.


If someone unfortunately dies because of a motorcycle accident, their absence can impose innumerable hardships upon his or her family as well as others.  The court recognizes these injuries and compensates those that have suffered them accordingly.  Typically, you either must be a spouse or near relative to claim them but this is not a hard and fast rule.  Additionally, the nature of your compensation can be quite varied.  There is no hard and fast rule as to why you should or for what you should recover.  Here is a list of reasons why many plaintiffs do recover for wrongful death damages in Illinois motorcycle accident cases:

  • You lose income because your spouse or family member died and no longer provides it to you.
  • You lose companionship with the decedent that you previously and regularly had with him or her.
  • You lose other support or services as a result of the motorcycle accident and subsequent death.

Hopefully, this provides you with more insight into what you can recover for in an Illinois motorcycle accident case.  However, remember your case is unique and you should speak with an attorney to get a proper and thorough understanding of what compensation might be available to you.

For more information on questions related to Motorcycle Accidents please visit the following pages: