A motorcycle accident can have devastating consequences. California personal injury law allows an injured party to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Most of these cases end during negotiations, where both parties agree on a settlement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the case typically gets filed as a lawsuit and eventually goes to trial, where a jury renders a verdict. However, very few cases make it all the way to trial.
The primary factor considered for settlements and verdicts is fault. To receive compensation for a motorcycle accident, you must prove the other party caused the accident. If successful, you can receive compensation for the harm you suffered.
Since fault is so important, you may be wondering, When is a motorcycle accident my fault? A motorcycle accident would be your fault if something you did or did not do caused the accident. Even if you can prove the other party’s fault, the compensation you can receive is decreased if you are also found to be partially at fault. Determining fault can be complicated. A California motorcycle accident lawyer is essential to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible. Contact the Frederick Law Firm and speak with one of your experienced accident attorneys today.
How Is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident?
More than one party can be responsible for a motorcycle accident. And that can complicate the case, especially when the injured party is partly at fault for the accident. For example, suppose a car ran through a red light and hit a motorcyclist. It seems clear that the car driver caused the accident. But, if the motorcyclist was intoxicated, a court may deem them to be partly at fault for the accident as well.
Motorcycle accident liability is the foundation of any related accident claim. It is often a focus of contention between parties, as each party tries to place the bulk or all of the blame on the other party. They do this because compensation allocation is based on a percentage of fault, so the lower your percentage of fault, the more money you likely can collect.
Proving Negligence in California
Motorcycle accident claims in California are based on the law of negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care. You must prove the following elements to succeed in a negligence claim:
- Duty—you had a duty of care toward the other party,
- Breach of duty—you did not fulfill that duty,
- Causation—the breach of duty caused the accident, and
- Damages—you suffered losses because of the accident.
You can be held responsible for the motorcycle accident if the other party proves you were negligent. All drivers on the road have a legal duty to follow traffic laws and drive safely. This duty exists for all drivers, whether in a car, motorcycle, truck, RV, or bicycle. This duty of care can be breached in several ways, including:
- Distracted driving,
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
- Running a red light,
- Failure to stop or yield,
- Reckless driving, or
- Other traffic violations.
You must then directly connect the breach to your injuries. If you can prove all four elements, you can successfully prove your negligence claim.
Pure Comparative Negligence
As stated, even if you can prove that the other party was negligent, your compensation can be reduced if you are also found negligent. California is a pure comparative negligence state. Thus, your compensation is reduced for the portion you were at fault for the crash. The purpose is fairness. A party should not be compensated for the part of the accident that they were responsible for.
For example, suppose a motorcyclist and a car were in an accident where the motorcyclist suffered severe lacerations and internal bleeding. Damages were estimated to be $250,000. The car driver was found negligent because they ran a red light, but the motorcyclist was also at fault because they were speeding. The car driver was allocated 70% of the fault, and the motorcyclist was 30% at fault for the accident. So, the motorcyclist can only recover $175,000 (70% of $250,000).
Determining accident responsibility is tricky. Never try to negotiate with the other party or their insurance company alone. They will use aggressive tactics to force you to settle for less than your case is worth. The motorcycle accident lawyers at the Frederick Law Firm never back down. We will fight for justice and fair compensation for you, even if we must go to trial. Our priority is getting your and your family’s lives back on track.
Benefits of Hiring a Attorney
An accident attorney can help you at all stages of the claims process. This help is crucial because you are dealing with your injuries. You may need surgery or have a long road of recovery ahead of you. An attorney can help you with the following:
- Collecting evidence,
- Identifying all parties involved in the accident,
- Determining fault,
- Interviewing witnesses,
- Calculating your damages,
- Negotiating with the other party’s insurance company, and
- Representing you at trial, if necessary.
Having an attorney on your side can lessen the burden of dealing with the motorcycle accident claim. Contact an attorney as soon as possible. California has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. If you fail to file by this deadline, absent certain exceptions, you will be prohibited from proceeding with your claim.
Contact the Frederick Law Firm and Speak to Our Lawyers
If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle accident, we know your life has been turned upside down. But you don’t have to face this disaster alone. Attorney Jacqueline Vitti Frederick has over 40 years of experience. She graduated in the top 10% of her class at the San Fernando Valley College of Law, University of LaVerne, and is a strong community leader.
Our attorneys give you dedicated service and representation tailored to your case. Nothing we do can turn back the clock to before the accident. But we help injured victims daily and get the justice, fairness, and compensation they need to become whole again.
We can guide you through the motorcycle accident claim process and aggressively represent you before insurance companies and the courts. Contact the Frederick Law Firm for a free case evaluation.