Determining Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 07, 2018 in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries, including paralysis, loss of limbs and traumatic head injuries. These injuries can be life-changing and result in high medical expenses for ongoing treatments.
One of the most important things to do when pursuing any claim for compensation is to determine who is responsible for your injuries. After a motorcycle accident, you may be able to seek compensation for damages suffered.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, contact our skilled South Bend motorcycle accident attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak for a free consultation. We can review your claim, discuss your legal options and determine the party or parties you may hold liable for your accident.
Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Many factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident. The majority of accidents are due to the careless acts of drivers of passenger vehicles. Some of the leading causes of these accidents include:
- Left-turn accidents
- Failing to yield
- Swerving in front of a motorcycle
- Distracted driving
- Not keeping a proper lookout for motorcycles
- Failing to check blind spots before making a maneuver
- Impaired driving
- Opening a car door in front of a motorcyclist’s path
- Unsafe lane changes
- Sudden stops
- Failing to leave enough room between vehicles
Liable Parties After a Motorcycle Accident
Before you can pursue compensation for your injuries, you must identify the party or parties who are legally liable for the motorcycle accident. It is in your best interest to consult a personal injury lawyer to conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to determine who is at fault.
Some possible parties who may be held responsible include:
- The driver of the passenger vehicle involved in the accident
- The government entity responsible for the maintenance of the roadway if the accident was caused by a hazard in the roadway
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle
- The manufacturer of a component of the motorcycle or safety equipment
- The motorcycle rental company
- The repair shop that is responsible for inspecting, repairing and maintaining the motorcycle
In order obtain financial compensation, juries must first determine who is at fault. This could mean than more than one party is responsible for the accident.
According to Indiana’s Comparative Fault Act, the jury determines the percentage of each party’s fault and multiplies it by the amount of damages you suffered. For example, a party who is 20 percent responsible for injuries that cost you $200,000 would be responsible for $40,000 in damages. Another party who is 80 percent responsible for your injuries would be responsible for $160,000 in damages.
In comparative fault cases, any degree of your own negligence causes a proportional decrease in the amount of damages you can receive. For example, if a jury finds that you are 10 percent at fault for an accident, the amount of damages you can receive is reduced by 10 percent.
However, if the jury finds you to be 51 percent or more at fault, any party involved in your accident will not responsible for your damages.
Elements of Negligence
To prevail in a personal injury claim, you will have to show the other driver was negligent. Establishing a valid claim requires you to show the following four elements:
- Duty of care – The duty of care is the at-fault party’s legal obligation to drive or act safely. All motorists must try to prevent accidents from occurring. The motorist’s conduct will be compared to that of a reasonable person.
- Breach of duty – The at-fault party must have breached his or her legal duty to act carefully, such as by speeding or failing to follow traffic rules.
- Causation – The at-fault party’s negligent actions must have caused the accident, resulting in your injury.
- Damages – You must be able to prove that you suffered damages because of the accident by showing medical bills or lost wages post-injury.
Speak with a South Bend Attorney
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, a South Bend attorney can help you determine how the other party was at fault for your injuries. We can help you establish the elements of a negligence claim in order to pursue compensation from the responsible party.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you recover compensation for your claim.