Riding a motorcycle can be an exciting experience, though it can also often result in tragedy. Out of 5,014 reported vehicle crash fatalities in 2019, motorcyclists made up a whopping 53.83%. These shocking statistics are one of the reasons many think motorcyclists are always at fault in accidents.
But this is a common misconception. Riding a motorcycle may be more dangerous than driving a car, but it doesn’t mean motorcyclists always cause collisions. The main cause of accidents is reckless driving, which isn’t something motorcyclists do exclusively.
Therefore, for motorcycle drivers who were involved in accidents, the main objective is to prove who was at fault for the accident. Establishing who caused a crash is the surest way to prove their innocence and get the compensation they deserve.
How to Prove Liability in a Motorcycle Accident
In many accident cases, establishing who caused the collision isn’t always easy. When a case isn’t clear-cut, insurance companies can easily deny the injured party's claims or offer low-ball settlements. Therefore, for a lot of motorcyclists, the best option is to sue the other party involved. However, a lawsuit is just the first step in the process.
They must first consult with a personal injury lawyer to gather all the evidence they need to prove the other driver’s negligence. There are four basic conditions that need to be met if the injured party wants to build a good case.
Duty of care refers to the responsibility imposed on an individual, which requires them to adhere to a standard while performing an act that could harm others. In simple terms, it means the other party was obligated to drive carefully for their safety and the safety of other motorists on the road.
Breach involves proving the other party broke their duty of care, by driving recklessly. This step usually involves proving the other party violated a traffic law they were meant to obey.
After establishing that the other driver breached the duty of care, the next step is to prove that the breach caused the accident.
The last piece of the puzzle is damages. The injured party has to show that the accident resulted in damages to their vehicle or body. Damages can refer to non-quantifiable losses, like pain and suffering.
How to Build a Strong Case
After gathering the evidence to prove the other driver’s liability, motorcyclists have two options. They can directly sue the other party’s insurance company or push for a settlement. Suing isn’t always beneficial, because it can hamper the settlement process.
Therefore, the better option is to first seek a settlement. However, to guarantee a good outcome, the injured party needs to build a strong case.
1. Gather All the Evidence
The first and most important step when preparing a case is to gather all the evidence. The injured party and their lawyers should compile the police reports, medical records, any eyewitness testimony, and pictures or videos of the accident scene.
2. Determine the Value of Their Claim
Determining the value of a claim doesn’t just involve the cost of vehicle repairs and medical bills. It also includes non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Because this category is particularly difficult to evaluate, the other driver’s insurance party can push for a lower settlement. Therefore, the injured party needs to work closely with their lawyer to ensure they get the amount they deserve.
3. File a Claim
After gathering all the necessary paperwork, the injured party should get their lawyer to submit it to the courts. The most important thing here is to file the paperwork in time. Most states have a statute of limitations, which is a law that stops victims from filing damages after a certain period of time has passed.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
Negotiations are possibly the most difficult part of the process. As mentioned, insurance companies will work tirelessly to prove their client was not at fault, and settle for less. To avoid stressing themselves further, victims should allow their personal injury lawyer to handle all communication with the insurance adjuster.
5. If Negotiations Fail, File a Lawsuit
Can one sue after a motorcycle accident? While most accidents result in a settlement, there are cases where negotiations fail. Therefore, the victim’s only option is to take the case to court to get the justice they deserve. This is also possible for those wondering if they can sue their friend for crashing their motorcycle.
In the event of a lawsuit, the injured party should use all the previously gathered evidence to prove the other driver’s liability. Once the victim has proven they’re not at fault, they can then file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
When examining who is at fault in most motorcycle accidents, the answer isn’t always the motorcyclist. Therefore, motorcyclists who were involved in accidents should rightfully try and clear their names, and seek reparations. The best way to do this is to work closely with a skilled Des Moines motorcycle accident attorney. With dedicated professionals at Tom Fowler Law backing their case, accident victims will certainly get the best outcome in court.