Establishing Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Before filing a motorcycle accident claim in California, it is important to understand how establishing fault in an accident works. After all, establishing fault is one of the key parts of a successful claim – without establishing fault, compensation for the damages sustained cannot be obtained.
Since the State of California is an at-fault state, responsibility for damages accrued after an accident are contingent on who was at-fault for the accident. Establishing fault, however, is a complex matter. Based on California’s comparative negligence fault, injured victims will also face responsibility for their share in causing the accident. For instance, when a person files a claim for damages, their compensation claim can be reduced in proportion to his or her degree of fault. Consequently, it is important to establish the at-fault party’s degree of fault to the highest extent possible.
Although non-comparative fault can sometimes create difficulties for an injured rider seeking compensation for his or her damages, the law can be beneficial in some serious accidents. For example, when a motorcycle accident involves multiple at-fault parties, monetary compensation can be sought from all parties involved. Depending on the case, this can lead to the likelihood of a higher damages award.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Drivers in the State of California have a legal duty to drive safely and responsibly, in a manner that would prevent the injury or harm of others on the road. Unfortunately, a vast majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by driver error. Even when a rider takes proper precautions to ride safely, he or she will always be vulnerable to others on the roda.
Examples of driver negligence that can expose a rider to serious injuries include, but are not limited to the following: Failing to yield, Speeding, Driving while drunk, Driving while under the influence of drugs, Driving while distracted, or Aggressive driving or engaging in road rage.
As previously mentioned, some cases involve more than one party in an accident. Third parties that can face responsibility for causing or contributing to a motorcycle accident, include, but are not limited to: Companies responsible for the maintenance of vehicles; Manufacturing companies responsible for a defective auto body part; The government agency responsible for maintaining the road where the accident took place; or The construction company responsible for the construction of the road.
Damages Available from a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Another key component of a successful motorcycle claim is to provide evidence of the extent of damages sustained. Any motorcycle accident can lead to serious injuries for the rider as a result of the lack of bodily protection. Unfortunately, injuries can sometimes be difficult to prove. To make matters worse, some injuries can take several weeks to several months to fully develop. Although it is often recommended that claims should be filed as soon as possible, ascertaining the full scope of the injury can be difficult to determine soon after the accident.
Catastrophic injuries that can take a long time to become apparent include: Bone fracture injuries, Spinal cord injuries, Internal injuries, Soft tissue injuries, Back and neck injuries, Scalp and facial injuries, Burn injuries and road rash, Loss of use of limb or amputation, and Head trauma or traumatic head injuries.
A catastrophic injury is not the only concern a rider will have to face following an accident. Proving the existence of the aforementioned injuries is necessary in a successful case, but an accident will also lead to other concerns. In addition to serious injuries, an injured rider can be left with prolonged physical pain, emotional trauma, and possibly impairment or disability. Moreover, a vast majority of injured motorcyclists will also experience financial losses as a result of the accident.
When seeking damages after a motorcycle accident, the following economic and non-economic damages can be pursued: Cost of emergency transport, Medical treatment and hospital bills, Prescription medications, Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs, Loss of wages and benefits, Loss of earning potential, Emotional distress, Loss of quality of life, and Pain and suffering.
In the event of a permanent disability, it may be possible to obtain monetary compensation for any home modifications needed to improve the victim’s quality of life.
Building a Strong Motorcycle Accident Case
Establishing a well-documented claim is important to not only resolve the case quickly, but to also recover the highest amount of compensation possible. Collecting as much evidence and information as possible is crucial to establishing liability and securing a triumphant case. Evidence that should be secured includes: Photographs of the scene and the damage of the vehicles involved; License and auto insurance policies of those involved; A copy of the accident report from the officer responding to the scene; Witness statements along with their contact information; A medical record and bills from associated costs; Wage and income statements for the loss of income; and Accident scene reconstructions.