You can seek compensation even if you are partly to blame for your motorcycle accident. Many jurisdictions now follow the legal concept that considers the proportional fault of each party involved in a case. This statute means that you can seek compensation for damages so long as you are responsible for 50 percent or less of the motorcycle collision.

There are many circumstances where two parties can share responsibility for a collision. It can be difficult, however, to determine who is responsible for what percentage of an accident. This is where a Augusta motorcycle accident lawyer can administer guidance to you.

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How Two Parties Can Share Blame for a Motorcycle Accident

Fault for traffic accidents is not always cut and dry. Sometimes, two parties involved in a collision do things to contribute to the accident. Some hypothetical examples of shared fault include:

  • One motorist is distracted while riding their motorcycle when another motorist runs a stop sign and hits them
  • A car driver stops abruptly without good reason when a tailgating motorcyclist strikes the car in the rear
  • A motorcyclist whose brakes are not in good condition strikes another motorist who changes lanes in a dangerous manner

These are just three of countless circumstances where two parties can share fault for a motorcycle accident.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Your lawyer will have to determine the cause of your motorcycle accident. They may determine that the collision resulted from the following:

Changing Lane

  • Motorist negligence: Motorists often break traffic laws and strike motorcyclists because of their reckless actions. Speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, and running red lights are among the many types of motorist negligence that can cause motorcycle accidents.
  • Defective vehicle components: Defects in motor vehicles or motorcycles can contribute to collisions. Such defects may include thin tires, unresponsive brakes, or any other flaw that increases the likelihood of an accident.
  • Unsafe roads: Potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces, defective traffic lights, and dangerous work zones can contribute to motorcycle accidents. A municipality may share fault for your collision if dangerous roads contributed to your accident.
  • Distracted driving: Distracted driving is an immensely dangerous form of motorist negligence. If a motorist takes their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their minds off the priority of safe driving, they are guilty of distracted driving. Because motorcyclists are more difficult to see than larger vehicles, they may face a greater-than-average risk of being hit by distracted drivers.
  • Impaired driving: Motorists who are tired, intoxicated, enraged, or impaired by a drug are more likely to cause a motorcycle accident. The motorist, a medical provider, and certain other parties may be liable for a motorcycle accident caused by impairment.
  • Negligence by a pedestrian: Pedestrians sometimes cause collisions by interfering with the roadway. Crossing the street when it is unsafe may cause one or more motorists to brake or swerve in a manner that leads to a collision.

If any other hazards contributed to your motorcycle accident, your attorney will document those causes and establish liability.

Insurance Companies Often Blame Motorcyclists

Insurance companies often try to shift the blame onto the motorcyclists. They have been known to use stereotypes and biases against motorcyclists in an attempt to minimize or deny their claims. As a motorcycle accident victim, you have rights and should not be responsible for the negligence of others.

Insurance adjusters may try to claim that motorcyclists are reckless or careless on the roads, making it easier for them to deny or undervalue your claim. However, remember that everyone has a duty to drive safely, regardless of the type of vehicle they are using. Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as any other driver on the road.

Don’t let insurance companies unfairly assign blame and downplay your injuries. Consult with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney who will be your advocate and fight for the compensation you deserve. Your rights and well-being should always be protected, and an attorney can help make that happen.

A Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Can Help Establish Fault for Your Motorcycle Accident

To determine how much money you deserve for your accident, your attorney must calculate the exact share of fault of the other parties for the collision. They will make an evidence-based analysis in calculating these figures, and some of the evidence your lawyer will use to establish the share of liability include:

Statements from Those Involved in the Accident

Those involved in motorcycle accidents often make recorded statements to insurers, law enforcement officials, and others. These statements may:

  • Help establish why the motorcycle accident happened
  • Include an admission of fault by one or more motorists
  • Help determine who is primarily responsible for the motorcycle accident

Your attorney will advise you to say as little as possible about your accident, as statements can either support or undermine your case; remember to use them strategically.

Eyewitness Testimony

Eyewitness testimony is a common form of evidence in motorcycle accident cases. Such testimony can be valuable because:

  • There is not always video footage showing how an accident happened; in that case, eyewitness accounts can be particularly helpful in establishing your version of the accident.
  • Eyewitnesses are often unbiased and unaffiliated with those involved in the collision, meaning their accounts are typically trustworthy.

Witnesses will give their account of the collision and may even state why they think it happened (and who is at fault).

Professional Testimony

Professionals understand the common causes of motorcycle accidents. Legal professionals also know how to determine the share of fault for traffic accidents. Your attorney will hire any Professionals whose testimony can improve your case.

Video Footage

Video Footage of an Accident

Your lawyer will seek any video footage that is relevant to your case, and the footage may come from:

  • Traffic cameras
  • Dash cameras
  • Cell phones (if such footage is admissible and authenticated)
  • Handheld video cameras
  • Security cameras

Video footage may show the collision in great detail, making it important evidence in your claim or lawsuit.

A Reconstruction of the Collision

When there is no clear video footage of an accident, motorcycle accident lawyers can hire skilled accident reconstructionists. These reconstructions may be digital or physical and can be critical in establishing fault for the accident.

An Attorney Will Then Seek Fair Compensation for Your Accident-Related Damages

Once your lawyer has gathered all relevant evidence and determined the share of fault for the accident, they will pursue your financial recovery. Their process will include:

  • Documenting your damages: Your attorney will gather medical records, images of injuries, employment-related records, motorcycle repair invoices, and all other documentation proving your damages.
  • Calculating a settlement target: Your attorney will determine exactly how much compensation you deserve for accident-related damages. They will also consider the percentage share of fault, determining the total value of a fair settlement.
  • Completing settlement negotiations: Your lawyer will negotiate with insurance companies and demand a fair settlement. These negotiations may be difficult when multiple parties share liability, as the insurance company may claim you have a larger percentage of fault than your lawyer has determined.
  • Completing a trial, if necessary: Though most motorcycle accident cases settle, trials can be necessary when attorneys and insurers cannot agree.

Your lawyer should be willing to go to trial if it is in your case’s best interest. Seek a law firm with an extensive history of completing cases at trial. You can be sure that your attorney will take all necessary measures to secure a fair financial recovery.

What Damages Should a Motorcycle Accident Victim Seek Compensation For?

Your lawyer will create a detailed record of your accident-related damages, which may include:

Professional Harm

Riders often have severe injuries that prevent them from working after a collision. The severity of your injuries and the duration of your recovery period may determine the cost of professional damages, which can include:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Lost benefits
  • Lost bonus and promotion opportunities

Motorcycle accident lawyers also know that professional uncertainty can worsen pain and suffering. Your lawyer will factor this reality into your settlement demands.

Pain and Suffering

The cost of a motorcycle accident includes any forms of pain and suffering, including:

Motorcycle Accident Victim

  • Emotional anguish
  • Psychological distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Scarring and disfigurement

These are only a few of the many types of pain and suffering that can result from a motorcycle accident. Attorneys often consult mental health professionals to ensure they are accurately evaluating clients’ pain and suffering.

Mental Health Treatment Costs

Riders who seek therapy, medications, or other types of mental health treatment should expect fair compensation from liable parties.

Motorcycle Repair Costs

Your lawyer will work with automotive professionals to determine:

  • Whether your bike is repairable
  • Whether your bike is totaled
  • The cost of repairing or replacing your bike
  • The cost of replacing any other property damaged during the accident
  • The cost of temporary transportation

Your attorney will discuss your property damage with you so they can account for the full cost of your accident.

Medical Expenses

Medical costs are often among the most expensive damages in motorcycle accident cases. Injured riders may need:

  • Ambulance transport
  • Care in the emergency department
  • Surgery
  • Hospitalization
  • Many other medical services

Disabling injuries may require medical equipment, a disability-friendly vehicle, and other services. Your lawyer will contact your doctors and their medical professionals when valuing your medical expenses.

Essential Steps to Complete After a Motorcycle Accident

Those involved in motorcycle accidents should:

Get Medical Care as Soon as Possible

Seeking medical attention should be an urgent priority after your collision. You must get medical care because:

  • Your health depends on getting a complete evaluation of your injuries
  • You must document your injuries to prove they occurred because of your motorcycle accident
  • Your doctor will provide a recovery plan that will ensure you heal as soon as possible
  • Your doctor will inform you whether any injuries are disabling

Your lawyer will use documentation of your injuries and medical care to build your motorcycle accident claim or lawsuit.

Find an Attorney Who Handles Motorcycle Accident Cases in Their Area

Finding an attorney is another priority after any traffic accident. Retaining an attorney is a time-sensitive obligation because:

  • Insurance companies may be urging you to make recorded statements and offer you settlements, and you should have a lawyer’s protection before making any significant case-related decisions.
  • Your lawyer needs to collect evidence, and several types of evidence may be time-sensitive
  • Your attorney will want to resolve your case as quickly as possible but can only do so once you hire them.

You may also want to rest and focus on recovery after your accident. The sooner you hire your lawyer, the sooner you can free yourself of case-related responsibilities.

Let Their Lawyer Deal with Insurers

Insurance companies will need to contact you about your case. However, these insurers may want to pay you as little compensation as possible, so having an attorney deal with them may be wise.

Why Accident Victims May Hire an Attorney

Injured riders often have several reasons for hiring attorneys, which can include:

  • The desire to focus on their recovery, which an attorney allows
  • The financial support lawyers provide for motorcycle accident cases, as the law firm will pay the upfront cost of completing the case.
  • The experience an attorney has handling motorcycle accident cases

An attorney will provide sound advice throughout your case. You will not face stress or obligations from your case, which may aid your recovery and mental health.

Jacque Hawk, Attorney in Augusta
Jacque Hawk, Augusta Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Hiring a Lawyer Is a Time-Sensitive Obligation, So Don’t Wait

Attorneys usually have a limited time to file motorcycle accident cases. You can find lawyers serving your area online, and you should not wait to begin your search for a motorcycle accident attorney.

When selecting your law firm, take the time to carefully consider not only case results and client reviews but also any other pertinent information that may guide your decision. Free consultations with different attorneys can be a valuable step in the evaluation process, allowing you to gather insights and make a well-informed choice that aligns with your legal needs. Exploring multiple aspects and seeking professional advice can enhance your confidence in selecting the right legal representation for your case.