If you have suffered serious personal injuries in a crash, you will need to know how negligence is established in a motorcycle accident. Most motorcycle accident claims work off the basis of the driver being bound to a ‘duty of care’ while behind the wheel. This means that the driver has the responsibility not to provoke harm to others by their actions. This could apply to the motorcycle driver or another vehicle driver.
Essentially, this means that when a person gets in a car to drive, the person is expected to follow driving rules and regulations, drive with caution and care, drive without being impaired, and not drive in a reckless manner that would force other drivers to swerve to avoid an accident. The same expectations are applicable to motorcycle drivers too.
Most motorcycle accidents are caused by a motorcycle driver being negligent or reckless, or another driver being reckless or negligent and hitting a motorcycle driver.
In the case of the former, it’s up to the motorcyclist to not drive recklessly on the road, as there is little to protect a motorcyclist from serious injuries in an accident, save for the helmet and some strong outerwear. For the latter, exhibiting negligent driving can cause serious physical injuries to a motorcyclist. It can also initiate a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver or the driver’s insurance company.
Elements of Negligence
In many personal injury claims involving the cases of vehicles crashing into motorcycles, there are four key areas that a plaintiff must prove for a winning case of negligence, as per the American Bar Association (ABA). These are:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must show that the at-fault driver (the defendant) owed a duty of care to those other vehicles, including motorcycles, around them while driving.
- Breached the Duty: Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached that expected duty of care.
- Harm Caused: Additionally, the plaintiff must show that the breach of duty caused harm to happen.
- Damage Done: Lastly, the plaintiff will need to exhibit evidence of the damage caused as a result of the breach of duty.
If a negligent driver smashed into you on your motorcycle and caused you to suffer injuries, you could be in a hospital for months, undergoing surgeries to mend your body, all the while being off of work.
The chances are slim that you will recover from your injuries in a short amount of time after a dangerous motorcycle accident. If you are an older motorcyclist, there are more risks involved, and thus, your chances are reduced for you recovering from injuries sooner as time goes on.
If you are a motorcycle driver who got hit in a crash, and you suffered serious injuries, then you have the option of hiring a personal injury lawyer to assess your legal options. By doing so, you will learn how negligence is established in a motorcycle accident, and how to gather the right kind of evidence to support your claim.
Dealing with an Insurance Company
The insurance company of the at-fault driver may try to make a quick settlement payout to avoid litigation from a personal injury lawsuit. You may receive an offer like this while still recuperating from injuries in the accident. For this reason alone, it is recommended not to accept the offer. There may be additional costs resulting from injuries that are still unknown, and accepting a payout from the insurer means you will never be able to make a claim for these ensuing costs.
Once the insurance company learns that you are moving ahead with a personal injury lawsuit, the insurers will try to prove that you were also partially negligent for the accident.
The insurance company of the at-fault driver may try to pin the blame of the accident on you, suggesting that you were driving recklessly, or you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, and so on. Other charges may come up, like:
- Were you cognizant of the road conditions?
- Did you exercise extreme care on your motorcycle?
- Was your motorcycle in a proper working condition?
- When was that last verified?
- Were the tires of your motorcycle at fault for the crash? Were they worn?
Comparative or Contributory Negligence
Depending on which state you file a personal injury claim, you may face two standards of negligence in accident cases. One is the concept of comparative negligence, which means in a personal injury claim, a motorcycle driver may get a certain percentage of damages for which the motorcyclist holds no responsibility.
In other states, contributory negligence is acknowledged. This means that a motorcyclist will not receive any damages at all if the motorcyclist is found to be responsible for more than one percent of an accident.
This is why building up a good case of evidence is important in a personal injury claim involving a motorcycle accident. If you have suffered injuries recently in such a crash, and you want legal help, then give Pintas & Mullins Law Firm a call today at (800) 223-5115 to discuss your case with our legal team.