How is Fault Determined in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident in Pennsylvania, you have probably suffered an injury, perhaps serious, and you need to know what you can expect in terms of compensation. Compensation for a motorcycle accident depends upon the injuries and other damages you suffer as well as the degree of your fault for the accident.
In this comprehensive article, the Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Cousin Benny explain who may be at fault for a motorcycle accident, how fault affects compensation, what evidence helps to determine fault for the accident, elements you must prove to show someone else was negligent and at fault for the motorcycle accident, and the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in Philadelphia.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident, call Cousin Benny to find out how much your case is worth considering your degree of fault for causing your accident. Talk with us about your case free of charge!
Parties Who May Be Held Responsible after a Motorcycle Crash Include:
- The other driver or drivers involved in the accident
- The motorcycle manufacturer
- The manufacturer of any other vehicle involved
- The manufacturer of any component of the motorcycle or other vehicle involved
- The motorcycle retailer
- The retailer of any other vehicle involved
- The manufacturer or retailer of safety equipment, such as a helmet
- The motorcycle rental company
- The rental company of any other vehicle involved
- The repair shop that is responsible for inspecting, repairing and maintaining the motorcycle or any other vehicle involved
- The government entity responsible for maintaining the road, if a road hazard contributed to causing the accident
Why Determining Fault Matters for Your Compensation
Pennsylvania is a comparative fault state, which means that if you are in an accident and sue the other party or parties, the degree to which you are at fault for causing the accident will reduce your compensation accordingly.
For example, if a judge or jury determines that you have suffered $400,000 in damages and were 25% at fault for causing the accident, you will recover $300,000.
Evidence Used to Determine Fault in a Motorcycle Crash
The Police Report
Any police report should include information such as the location, time of day, weather, and road and visibility conditions. The report should also contain information about every party involved in the accident as well as the identity of witnesses.
If the police cited any party involved in the accident, those citations (and the absence of citations for other parties) may show fault.
If anyone besides the parties involved saw the accident, their testimony can contribute to determining who is at fault for causing the accident.
If the scene of the accident was covered by a municipal, commercial, or residential camera, that footage can serve as evidence of how the accident occurred.
The report of insurance adjusters may contribute to the determination of fault, because adjusters note damage to the vehicles involved, which can show which vehicle struck which and how.
Admission of Fault By One Party
Any admission of fault at the scene or thereafter can contribute to the comparative fault calculation. This is why it is important to refrain from saying anything at the scene and to speak with an experienced motorcycle attorney before speaking with the insurance company.
Four Elements of Negligence that Prove a Personal Injury Claim
1. Duty of Care
To prove negligence and recover compensation from an at-fault party, you must show that party owed you a duty of care. In this case, the duty of all motorists is to act as a “reasonable driver” in driving responsibly and avoiding accidents.
2. Breach of Duty
You must also show that the other party or parties did not act as a reasonable driver would by acting negligently such as speeding, tailgating, or failing to observe road signs.
You must then show that the breach of the other party or parties’ duty contributed to or directly caused the accident.
Lastly, you must show you suffered physical injury requiring medical treatment, property damage, or lost wages due to the accident in order to claim compensation. You may also be entitled to non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of earning capacity in serious accidents. Your family may be entitled to loss of consortium, loss of financial support, or loss of guidance.
Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident fault statistics show that the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Malfunction of parts of a motorcycle or other vehicle
- Other motorists fail to notice a motorcyclist
- Head-on collisions
- Cars making left turns
- Unsafe lane changes
- Motorcycle lane splitting
- Distracted driving, such as texting and driving
- Aggressive driving
- Driving or riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Deer or other animals darting across the road in a motorcyclist’s path
- Road hazards such as loose gravel, standing water, potholes, dead animals, or uneven pavement
Hire a Philadelphia Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Philadelphia motorcycle attorneys at Cousin Benny can help you determine who was at fault for your accident, prove they were negligent, and calculate the compensation you are due. Schedule your free consultation today and find out how much your motorcycle accident case is worth.