Motorcycle Accident Lawyers: How Is Fault Determined in Motorcycle Accidents?

carlsoninjuryMotorcycle Accident, Motorcycles accident attorney, Personal Injury

Motorcycle accident injuries in Utah

Motorcycle accidents can result in serious physical damages such as traumatic head injuries, loss of limbs, paralysis, and so on. These can not only mean high medical costs for victims, but also turn their life upside-down. As a result, victims also have to endure mental anguish and pain. 

Taking legal recourse with the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer can be helpful in pursuing justice as well as financial compensation to pay for your treatment. 

Your lawyer will review your case facts, validate your claim, discuss your legal options, determine who is liable for your injuries, and demand a fair payout from the at-fault party.  

6 Reasons Behind Motorcycle Accidents

As seasoned motorcycle accident lawyers, we know that motorcycle crashes commonly occur due to the following reasons:

  1. Distracted drivers: Drivers may take their attention off of the road for any reason, like taking a call or changing the radio station. As a result, they may swerve into another lane or miss a traffic light, causing a collision. 
  2. Speeding: Driving too fast can lead to fatal crashes as the driver may hit other vehicles or an object on the road. They may also lose control of their vehicle.
  3. Following too closely: If the moving vehicle in front stops or slows down abruptly, the motorcycle behind can crash into it, resulting in a wreck and serious head injuries to the motorcyclist.
  4. Blind spots: Many a time, motorcycle drivers are in the other driver’s blind spot and are unable to see them, which results in accidents. 
  5. Bad weather: Bad weather can affect visibility and make roads slippery. Motorcycles may skid or the motorcyclist may lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a crash. 
  6. Poor road conditions: Poor-constructed or badly-maintained roads tend to have potholes and other barriers which can cause crashes. Low lighting may also spell trouble for motorcyclists. 

Once your motorcycle accident lawyer determines which of the above categories your crash falls into, they’ll be able to gain clarity about who was responsible for your accident, and determine fault accordingly.

Liable Parties in Motorcycle Accidents

As mentioned, before you can file a legal claim and pursue compensation, you need to be clear about the party or parties who are legally liable for the motorcycle wreck. It is in your best interest to retain the services of a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer who can thoroughly investigate your case and then make inferences. In some cases, more than one party may be liable for the accident. 

Mentioned ahead are some of the parties that may potentially bear fault:

  • The other driver who was involved in the accident
  • The governmental agency responsible for the upkeep of the road (in case the accident was caused by a roadway hazard)
  • The motorcycle rental company (in case the motorcycle wasn’t a personal property but a rented one)
  • The motorcycle manufacturer
  • The manufacturer of the motorcycle’s parts or safety equipment
  • The repair shop responsible for inspecting, repairing, and servicing the motorcycle

Evidence That Can Help Prove Fault

It isn’t uncommon for motorcycle accident lawyers to deal with cases wherein victims think a certain party is responsible for their accident, only to realize later that someone else is at fault.

Proving fault is complex because multiple factors come into play. Lawyers, therefore, need to gather different types of evidence to determine exactly what transpired during the crash. The evidence also helps determine which party directly caused the crash, injuries, and subsequent damages.   

Motorcycle accident attorneys collect the following evidence in their investigation:

  • Photographs of the accident site
  • Police reports
  • Witness statements
  • Footage from traffic cameras
  • Footage from dash cameras
  • Medical records

Motorcycle accident lawyers use these documents to correctly figure out who caused the crash and hold that party/parties responsible for your damages. 

How to Determine Fault in a Motorcycle Accident Case

Of course, simply pointing a finger at the other driver and claiming it was their fault isn’t enough to obtain compensation from them. Victims should be able to support their claim with evidence and a proper legal strategy. 

Another thing that victims of motorcycle accidents need to know is that insurance adjusters tend to consider motorcyclists inherently reckless. This makes it all the more difficult for them to prove their claim. Their preconceived notion is also used to minimize or completely deny the victim’s claim against the careless driver.  

It’s always advisable to entrust your matter to a well-practiced attorney. They’ll prepare a watertight legal strategy to protect your rights and ensure that the blame is placed where it rightfully belongs. 

Here are some of the steps that motorcycle accident attorneys take to establish fault.

1.     Study the Site of the Accident

The site of the crash can reveal a lot about what happened in the moments right before and immediately after the accident. Motorcycle accident lawyers work with professional investigators, who visit the place of the accident to gather information pertaining to:

  • The road’s layout
  • The design of the intersection (if any) where the crash took place
  • The position of the traffic light
  • The timing of the traffic light
  • The location of road signage
  • Damage to curbs or barriers, skid marks, debris on the road, and similar indicators/remnants of the crash

The investigators take photos and videos of the site as evidence; and compare it with the reports prepared by the police and insurance company to fortify your claim against their defenses. 

2.     Gather Statements from Witnesses

It’s also important to have statements from eyewitnesses that can help identify the at-fault party correctly. Accident reports often include the names and contact details of witnesses at the site. If you didn’t need to be taken to a hospital following the crash, you may also have spoken to the people present at the scene and saw the crash happen. 

Knowledgeable motorcycle accident attorneys know how to find witnesses and interview them to get their testimony. They also evaluate their credibility and compare their statements to the facts of the case. 

Eyewitness testimony plays an important role in supporting your account of what happened at the time of the accident. Even if they contradict your claim, being aware of disadvantageous facts will help your lawyer anticipate potential arguments that insurers may use. 

3.     Inspect the Vehicles Involved

During the inspection, your lawyer will check the nature and extent of damage to your motorcycle and the other vehicles involved. They’ll also note the location of the damage as well the presence of vehicle defects that may have contributed to the accident. If any of the vehicles has an event data recorder, the information gathered by it will be considered too. 

Your motorcycle accident attorney may engage accident reconstructionist if the insurance company contests liability in your claim. They’ll use their expertise to analyze the collision and present their findings to reinforce your claim.

4.     Consider the Other Driver’s Role

In a motorcycle accident claim, victims need to determine what the other driver did or didn’t do in the run up to the crash. This can be monumental in proving the claim. During the consultation, your motorcycle accident lawyer will speak to you in detail about what you remember seeing the other driver do before hitting your motorbike. 

They may be looking for signs of negligence on the part of the other driver. Negligent behavior on the road includes:

  • Speeding
  • Disobeying traffic rules and signals
  • Reckless driving
  • Honking or being aggressive towards others on the road
  • Tailgating
  • Swerving into other lanes

5.     Figure out the Liability of Other Parties

In some motorcycle accident cases, fault may be assigned to different parties. For instance, if your case involves an automotive defect, the manufacturer of the vehicle or its component may be held liable for your injuries. Similarly, if the other driver was a commercial driver, their employer can be held responsible for the accident. 

Simply put, only a thorough investigation by factoring in all the aspects of the case can help a motorcycle accident attorney determine if additional parties are at fault.  

In Conclusion

Being the victim of a motorcycle accident can be life-changing since you may have to deal with severe physical, mental, and emotional impacts. The last thing you want to do following a crash is run from pillar to post trying to obtain justice. 

As you can probably tell by now, proving fault is complicated, and hence, best left to the experts. Experienced motorcycle accident lawyers know exactly how to strengthen your case by anticipating the possible defenses the at-fault party may use. They’re also adept at communicating and negotiating with insurance companies to get you fair compensation. 

If you sustained injuries in a motorcycle crash, our Utah motorcycle accident attorney can determine who is liable for your damages. We’ll help you prove the at-fault party’s negligence, while pursuing justice and the compensation you deserve and need. Call us at (801) 845-4577 or fill out our online form to get in touch.