Who is At Fault in Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities. Determining who is at fault for a motorcycle accident is crucial for the victims to receive compensation for their damages. However, it can be challenging to determine who is responsible for a motorcycle accident, as multiple parties might share the blame. 

In this article, we’ll explore the common at-fault parties in motorcycle accidents and the process of determining fault. In addition, we’ll cover how state negligence laws can affect the amount of compensation you can pursue and the importance of seeking legal guidance if you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident.

Who Might Be At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident?

Multiple parties can be at fault for a motorcycle accident. In some cases, multiple parties share the blame, each shouldering a percentage of the blame. Common at-fault parties in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Motor vehicle drivers: Drivers of other involved vehicles might be liable if their negligence causes the accident. For example, suppose they don’t yield to the right-of-way or change lanes without checking for traffic. 
  • Motorcyclists: The motorcycle rider might be at fault if their negligent actions caused the accident. For example, the motorcyclist’s excessive speed or failure to yield could cause an accident, resulting in the rider being held liable.
  • Product manufacturer: Defective motorcycle parts, vehicle components, and other similar products can cause motorcycle accidents. For example, if a motorcycle accident has a defective brake system, the motorcycle manufacturer might be liable for the accident. 
  • Property owner: Owners are required by law to maintain their property free of dangerous conditions, so if a motorcyclist was injured due to a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, the owner might be liable for the rider’s injuries. 

Determining who is at fault for your accident requires an in-depth investigation to evaluate all aspects of your case, as these cases are rarely simple. 

Who is At Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents?

In many motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist or other driver is to blame for the accident. Sometimes, the two may share fault, each shouldering a percentage of the blame. However, this isn’t always the case, as other parties can occasionally be at fault for the accident. 

Determining Who is At Fault in a Motorcycle Accident

Fault is essential in nearly any personal injury case, including motorcycle accident cases. Establishing who is to blame comes down to careful evaluation of pertinent information, which often requires the skilled eye of a lawyer. 

Your lawyer will piece together evidence, including dashcam footage, surveillance footage, witness statements, expert testimonies, and other applicable information, to establish who is at fault. In most states, this process involves four key elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. 

For example, suppose you were riding your motorcycle and were struck by a driver who failed to yield to the oncoming traffic on a left-hand turn. In this case, your lawyer would establish the driver’s duty of care to exercise care while driving. The driver’s failure to obey traffic laws and yield to oncoming traffic is a breach of their duty. 

Next, your lawyer would connect the dots. They would show how the driver’s failure to yield caused them to strike you, resulting in your injuries. Lastly, they would show the financial losses or damages associated with your injuries, establishing that had the driver not breached their duty of care and caused your injuries, you would not have incurred these damages. 

The amount of damages you may pursue can vary based on the circumstances of your accident, but you can usually seek two types: economic and non-economic. Economic damages cover the financial aspects of your case, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages extend to non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering. 

Your lawyer will typically use the economic damages to determine the non-economic damages and the total worth of your case. 

Contributory and Comparative Negligence Laws

It’s important to understand how state negligence laws can affect blame in a motorcycle accident case and the amount of compensation you can pursue. 

Some states have contributory negligence laws. Under these laws, victims can’t pursue compensation from the other party if they are found even partially at fault. So, if the courts find you to be even just 10 percent at fault, you can’t recover compensation. 

Other states have comparative negligence laws, meaning you may still pursue compensation if you are partially to blame. However, your damages will drop in proportion to your percentage of the blame. So, if the courts find you to be 40 percent at fault and you are set to receive $10,000 in damages, you would only receive $6,000 due to your contributions. 

Some states don’t have either type of negligence laws. However, given the impact of contributory and comparative negligence laws on a motorcycle accident case, it’s essential to know and understand the type that applies, if either, to your state. 

For example, if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident in Rhode Island, your damages would drop in proportion to your percentage of the blame, as this state operates using comparative negligence. 

Contact Our Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, seeking legal guidance is paramount. Insurance companies rarely offer fair settlements and may try to shift the blame to you to minimize or eliminate payouts, so it’s important to talk to a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer for help with your case. 

Our knowledgeable team at Fogelman Law Firm serves residents throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island and is well-versed in motorcycle accident cases. If you’re unsure of your legal options or need assistance with your case, we’re here to help!

We offer free consultations to help you determine your legal options and work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay unless we win. Contact us today to start with your free case review and learn more about your legal options.

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