Determining Fault After a Motorcycle Accident
When a motorcycle accident occurs, blame commonly shifts to the rider. This is what we call, “unfair motorcycle bias.” A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that motorcyclists are just adrenaline junkies who “get what’s coming to them” when they’re involved in a collision.
That’s simply not the case. Actually, in most instances it’s the driver of the car or truck who is to blame. At Jones Law Group, we have a lot of experience representing motorcycle riders who have been hurt through no fault of their own. We know how to gather evidence to prove a motorcyclist should obtain the compensation to which they’re entitled.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
There are a lot of reasons that motorcycle accidents take place. Sure, there are times where a motorcyclist is to blame. But in the majority of cases, blame lies with the driver of the four-wheel vehicle. Here are just a few of the more common reasons these kinds of accidents happen.
Opened car doors, “doorings”
Motorcyclists will often strike the open door of a vehicle parked on a busy street. In far too many instances, riders can’t slow down because the door opens so suddenly.
A driver operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous at any time, of course. But the risks are even higher when that driver is sharing the road with a motorcycle. Drivers can have a hard enough time seeing motorcyclists. When they’re impaired, it’s even more difficult.
Driving while distracted
Motorists will often be distracted by a phone or one of the many tech gadgets found in modern cars. It only takes seconds to be distracted to the point where a driver can’t see a motorcycle stopped in front of them at a red light.
Who is at fault for my motorcycle accident injury?
The actions of both the vehicle driver and the motorcyclist will always be considered when assigning responsibility for a collision. If you have been hurt in this kind of accident, or you have been blamed for the wreck, you need to get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will work to find the proof you need to get the compensation you deserve.
What if I’m partially at fault for the accident?
You may still be able to obtain compensation even if an investigation shows you were partially to blame for the wreck. The State of Florida uses what is known as the “comparative fault rule” when it comes to accident liability (more on this in the next section). The amount of money you can get will depend on what percentage of the blame is assigned to other parties.
But if you are blamed for the accident, don’t simply accept that as fact. Police officers can make mistakes, just like anyone else. Witnesses can also be wrong. You might have received a ticket, or the insurance company says you were at fault. But that doesn’t mean the accident really happened that way.
That’s why it’s critically important for you to contact an attorney as soon as possible after your accident. We know how fast evidence can disappear. So we act quickly once we’re hired. We also have access to expert witnesses and accident reconstruction specialists who can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the accident was not your fault.
What if I wasn’t wearing a motorcycle helmet?
Things can get complicated with any motorcycle accident. They get even more complex when the rider isn’t wearing a helmet. Florida law doesn’t require you to wear a helmet if you’re older than 21, and your insurance policy provides no less than $10,000 worth of medical coverage if you’re hurt in a wreck.
However, if you weren’t wearing a helmet, that could make it more difficult for you to obtain compensation – even though not doing so is your right. If you have a personal injury claim, it will more than likely involve some sort of negligence. Unfortunately, the court might find that you may have contributed to your own injury because you were negligent in not using a helmet.
How will fault affect my settlement?
As we’ve already described, accident liability in Florida is determined by the comparative fault rule. The court will hear the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys, and then determine how much responsibility should be assigned to each party involved in the collision.
The division of responsibility will affect how much compensation you can get. If, for example, the total amount of damages is $200,000 and you’re found to be 20% at fault, then your compensation will be reduced. If the other driver is assigned 100% of the blame, you’d receive $200,000. But if you are given 20% of the blame, your award would be $160,000 ($200,000 minus 20%, or $40,000).
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
To obtain as much compensation as possible, you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney. Your Jones Law Group lawyer will listen to the details of your case, and then get to work determining the most effective strategy to help you prevail.
Never try to go it alone when it comes to getting the money you deserve. There are simply too many complexities involved with this area of the law. You have to uncover the evidence you need to prove your case, and negotiate with your insurer as well as the driver’s insurance company. If you don’t receive a fair settlement offer, you’ll need to take the matter to court.