Proving Fault in a Motorcycle Accident
- September 5th, 2018
- The Law Office of David E. Gordon
After a motorcycle crash, you may have a lot of questions. Most motorcycle collisions are more serious than regular car wrecks because the resulting injuries can be very severe. With rising medical costs, lost income from work, and daily pain, many injury victims feel overwhelmed with nowhere to turn, particularly when the insurance company is trying to push the blame onto them.
At The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we aim to calm these fears and anxieties by giving our clients real answers to their questions, right from the start. One of the biggest questions people have after a motorcycle crash is how to prove fault. Here are some of the common questions we receive about proving fault after a motorcycle crash:
I Was in a Traffic Accident When a Car Turned Left in Front of Me While I Was Riding My Motorcycle. Who Is at Fault?
This is a great question, and we hear it all the time. Here’s how the crash typically happens: You are on your motorcycle riding straight toward an intersection. In the oncoming lanes of travel, you notice a car approaching with or without a turn signal. You have the clear right-of-way, as you are just going straight through a green light or uncontrolled intersection. However, the car either doesn’t see you or doesn’t “acknowledge” you. The car then abruptly turns left, cutting in front of your lane of travel. You either strike the car or lay down your bike to avoid the crash.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many motorcycle crashes involve people who were struck in intersections due to drivers not seeing them and violating the right-of-way.
So, who’s at fault? Well, it largely depends on the specific facts. If you both had a standard green light, then you had the right-of-way. In most cases, this means the other person is at fault. Likewise, if the intersection has no traffic controls, you still had the right-of-way. But right-of-way is not everything. In Tennessee, if you were speeding or impaired by drugs or alcohol, a jury could find that you were more to blame because your reaction time was too slow. Therefore, it’s important to discuss the unique facts of your case with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer right away.
I Got Rear-Ended on a Motorcycle by a Car. Who Was at Fault?
Much like the question of fault in a left-turn crash at an intersection, fault in a rear-end crash is a fact-specific issue. However, in the vast majority of cases, a driver who rear-ends a motorcyclist is at fault. In many cases, if a driver hits a motorcycle from behind, one of the following is likely true:
- The driver was texting, on the phone, or otherwise distracted and not watching the road.
- The driver was impaired by drugs, medications, or alcohol, thus slowing his/her reaction time.
- The driver was following too closely to stop (tailgating).
- The driver had inattentional blindness.
What Is Inattentional Blindness?
TheAmerican Psychological Association (APA) has recognized this intriguing condition for decades, but in recent years the motorcycle community has begun discussing how it affects drivers. Inattentional blindness is a condition where a person cannot perceive things that are directly in front of them. If a driver is not “expecting” to see motorcycles, then he or she may entirely ignore one, even when it is directly in front of the car.
So, many times drivers are not intentionally disregarding motorcyclists (although that does happen, too).But rather, their minds don’t process the motorcycle’s presence. Either way, that is no excuse.
What Can a Lawyer Do to Help Prove Who Was at Fault?
At The Law Office of David E. Gordon, we pride ourselves on taking a proactive approach to proving liability. We don’t wait and depend on the evidence the insurance company gives us. Rather, we go out and look for anything that might help to verify that you were the innocent party in the crash. For instance, we look for evidence from:
- Police accident reports
- Independent witnesses
- Surveillance cameras
- Scene photographs
- Crash reconstruction experts
- Medical records and EMS reports
Ultimately, we know that insurance companies are incredibly biased against motorcyclists. That’s because motorcycle injuries are usually much more severe than regular car accident injuries. So insurance companies are exposed to much greater risk when a motorcyclist is injured.
For this reason, the insurance companies will look for any excuse, no matter how strained the logic, to avoid paying. An experienced board-certified trial lawyer can rebut these attempts and work to hold the correct parties accountable.
What If a Motorcycle Accident Was Partially My Fault?
First off, in most cases, as long as you are less to blame than the other driver, you should still be able to obtain some compensation. Yes, if you are partly to blame, Tennessee law does permit a jury to offset your compensation by your share of the liability. However, unlike some states, Tennessee will still allow you to recover compensation, even if you share a small amount of liability.
If, on the other hand, you are 50 percent or more responsible, then you will not be able to recover compensation. This is a decision for the jury to make.
Therefore, when negotiating, it all depends on what you and your attorney are able to elicit and use to convince an insurance company that if the case went to trial, you would be successful. This is often a delicate balance in negotiations. Therefore, it is highly recommended you consult an experienced motorcycle crash attorney near you.
Contact David E. Gordon Today
If you are worried about getting full and fair compensation for your injuries after a motorcycle crash in Memphis or anywhere else in Tennessee, contact The Law Office of David E. Gordon today. Consultations are always free, and we never collect an attorney fee unless we successfully recover money for your injuries.
But act quickly! Tennessee law only gives you one year to file a lawsuit for your injuries.The longer you delay, the harder it becomes to collect the strong evidence needed to build a solid case for maximum compensation.